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Looking to get a new quality portable source (anything but Apple)

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I've been looking to get a new portable source to play my flac files.  I got my self a Sansa Clip + on which I installed Rockbox and it's great but I hate just how small it is.  So I keep looking for something better for my headphones  and music file type.  My headphones are as follows:

 

Alessandro MS2i

V-Moda M-80 Shadow

Shure se215

Westone 1 (now need to be replaced since my Assistance dog brought them to me and crushed one of the earphone and the driver got damaged)

Beats Solo HD ( I know, I know!!! in my defence I got these before I started learning about headphones and the wonderful world of audio. I was a sucker for the looks and the hype)

Might be getting the Atomic floyd SuperDarts (Have not yet researched these)

 

I mostly have 320kbps mp3 since my portable sources are Apple products (iPhone 4 8gb,  iPod Touch 5th gen 64gb, iPod Classic 120gb 6th gen, a dead iPod Video 60gb 5th gen and an iPod Nano 16gb)  Yes I will be selling some of those.  Since I started following this forum about 3 monts ago, I also started updating my music collection to Flac and using Amarra instead of iTunes on my Macbook. So I want my player to support Lossless file types.

 

So I'm looking at HiFiman's DAPs HM-601, HM-602 and the Roccos. But there is the Rocco-BA and the Rocco-P and I'm not sure which would be better for my headphones? I also heard of Cowon but I can't find where to by them. I could also get my broken ipod fixed and completely customize it but I'm not even sure what's wrong with it and if I have to start by changing the board or the hard drive, it might be cheaper to find a used one and start modding right away.

 

There you have it, as you can see I am really at a lost here.  A couple months ago, I only knew of Apple and SanDisc as portable players. But now,  I'm devoting time, money and mind to learning and enjoying my music in high quality sound. So what would you suggest a wannabe audiophile with a budget of around 300$.

 

Your insight will be much appreciated

 

Thanks for your time

post #2 of 16

The Rocoo BA would be the middle ground. If you wanna shoot for the top they have the new Studio V 3rd ANV. It has 55 hours battery life with lossless music and up to 85 horus with lossy music (MP3s). It has 80mW of output power so significantly stronger than most mainstream DAPs (generally 17 to 30 mW). The Studio V is very energetic, super wide and airy sound stage. The imaging is super strong. Upfront vocals, tight and lean bass and very detailed treble. If interested in either of the players you can contact Jack from Hisound. He is the first poster in the thread.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/621204/trade-for-the-perfect-player-in-the-world-hisound-s-studio-3rd-anniversary-edition

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

I didn't know the player affected the sound stage. About the highs, mids and lows is it an equalizer that makes them that way on the player? Because I much prefer listening to a song the way it was intended and recorded.

 

What's the difference between the BA and the P versions of the Rocco?
 

post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilsRightHand View Post

I didn't know the player affected the sound stage. About the highs, mids and lows is it an equalizer that makes them that way on the player? Because I much prefer listening to a song the way it was intended and recorded.

 

What's the difference between the BA and the P versions of the Rocco?
 

 

In a lot of cases that's called placebo. You buy an expensive DAP that's supposed to sound great and then you will imagine just that. The Clip+ has got a very neutral frequency response and with Rockbox you get pretty good EQ possibilities in case you like that.

 

Anyway, I agree with you that the Clip+ and ClipZip are a bit too small.

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danneq View Post

 

In a lot of cases that's called placebo. You buy an expensive DAP that's supposed to sound great and then you will imagine just that. The Clip+ has got a very neutral frequency response and with Rockbox you get pretty good EQ possibilities in case you like that.

 

Anyway, I agree with you that the Clip+ and ClipZip are a bit too small.


Lol this is a joke. If you are happy with your clip and think its on par with a DX100 then good for you and your wallet. However I don't buy into that at all. It would be like me saying your hearing is flawed or that you have no taste in quality music. It goes both ways. I also don't buy into the Placebo bit. If I think it sounds like **** then I'll make it known. I won't guilt myself into hyping a product because I spent a lot of money on it. That's another load of crap if I ever heard it.

 

You also have to take into consideration what that Clip is powering. If its a very sensitive IEM with a basic design then you have a point. But lets say its a high-end custom IEM or multi-driver IEM with cross-overs, things become complicating and the clips flaws will come into play. Abnormal Impedance's will also play a factor in this as well. The IEM won't work to its full potential if the power isn't constant and not enough power; the frequency response will be altered. This will also happen on a Sensitive IEM that is paired to a source with high output impedance (bloated bass, altered sound from the intended sound signature). Same goes for full-size headphones being fed into an amp that is lacking.

 

But there are differences such as sound-staging, imaging, separation and even quality between different DAPs. Those things are more along the lines of subjectivity but they are there. Otherwise I'd have sold my other DAPs and would have just stuck with my Sansa Fuze. Big difference between them. Not comparable at all.


Edited by lee730 - 9/3/12 at 5:51am
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danneq View Post

In a lot of cases that's called placebo. You buy an expensive DAP that's supposed to sound great and then you will imagine just that. The Clip+ has got a very neutral frequency response and with Rockbox you get pretty good EQ possibilities in case you like that.

Anyway, I agree with you that the Clip+ and ClipZip are a bit too small.

I tend to disagree with you there Danneq. There's quite a substantial difference between a Clip+ and my Cowon players. I can clearly hear a difference myself. The Clip+ by all means is a great player but it doesn't meet my expectations in SQ. It's a little hard to grasp what you're saying after trying higher end sources.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Also now, the rockbox firmware in my clip+ has crashed and is giving me a " panic mount 0" error message and won't be detected by my Mac or PC. I'm still working on it but it doesn't sound good.

No one is talking of the Hifiman DAP. I thought it was a popular one around here. Same for the Cowon line, which I saw had some good looking touch screen models but I can't seem to find who sells them.

Any other brands / models worth looking at?
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilsRightHand View Post

Also now, the rockbox firmware in my clip+ has crashed and is giving me a " panic mount 0" error message and won't be detected by my Mac or PC. I'm still working on it but it doesn't sound good.
No one is talking of the Hifiman DAP. I thought it was a popular one around here. Same for the Cowon line, which I saw had some good looking touch screen models but I can't seem to find who sells them.
Any other brands / models worth looking at?


What will you be using the DAP with? Hifiman products are still quite popular here. You have to do a search to dig up the threads. The newest Hifiman product coming out is the Hifiman 901. It should be released shortly. Also Cowons are still very much popular here and there are many threads regarding them and their recent releases. Hisound has some very nice players like the Rocoo BA and Studio V. Very neutral, very wide and airy-sound-stage. Learn to use the search function to find different threads.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/607258/hisoundaudio-rocoo-ba-superior-hi-fi-player-for-ciems-iems

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/621204/trade-for-the-perfect-player-in-the-world-hisound-s-studio-3rd-anniversary-edition

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/586947/rocoo-p-dap-full-review

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/618614/new-cowon-player-cowon-x9

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/580876/colorfly-c3-is-coming

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/592076/ibasso-dx100-true-24-bit-for-bit-reviews-impressions-apps-imgs-video-pg-1-in-stock

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/597981/renewed-at-2012-03-12-the-new-hifiman-802-new-ui-named-tai-chi


Edited by lee730 - 9/3/12 at 5:57am
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post


I tend to disagree with you there Danneq. There's quite a substantial difference between a Clip+ and my Cowon players. I can clearly hear a difference myself. The Clip+ by all means is a great player but it doesn't meet my expectations in SQ. It's a little hard to grasp what you're saying after trying higher end sources.

 

 

I think that the BBE+ on Cowon players can be a bit too artificial. The less EQing, the better. I just add a bit bass to counter the fact that I most often use non-isolating earbuds.

 

I'm just saying that the Clip+ has got a very neutral frequency response in tests (here's it's compared to the HifiMan HM-801). Some of my other DAP's do have deeper bass and sound more dynamic than the Clip+, but considering the size and price it's a great little player.


Edited by Danneq - 9/3/12 at 6:04am
post #10 of 16

Well I won't argue with you there. But then again the Hifiman 801 is crap stock. Its output impedance is very high and not friendly at all with Sensitive IEMs. You have to waste money on a game amp to use it for its intended purpose (portable Hi-fi player). Just another reason why I opted for the DX100 and not Hifimans flagship.
 

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post


Lol this is a joke. If you are happy with your clip and think its on par with a DX100 then good for you and your wallet. However I don't buy into that at all. It would be like me saying your hearing is flawed or that you have no taste in quality music. It goes both ways. I also don't buy into the Placebo bit. If I think it sounds like **** then I'll make it known. I won't guilt myself into hyping a product because I spent a lot of money on it. That's another load of crap if I ever heard it.

 

You also have to take into consideration what that Clip is powering. If its a very sensitive IEM with a basic design then you have a point. But lets say its a high-end custom IEM or multi-driver IEM with cross-overs, things become complicating and the clips flaws will come into play. Abnormal Impedance's will also play a factor in this as well. The IEM won't work to its full potential if the power isn't constant and not enough power; the frequency response will be altered. This will also happen on a Sensitive IEM that is paired to a source with high output impedance (bloated bass, altered sound from the intended sound signature). Same goes for full-size headphones being fed into an amp that is lacking.

 

But there are differences such as sound-staging, imaging, separation and even quality between different DAPs. Those things are more along the lines of subjectivity but they are there. Otherwise I'd have sold my other DAPs and would have just stuck with my Sansa Fuze. Big difference between them. Not comparable at all.

 

You are welcome to join Anything but iPod and chat with the people there.  wink_face.gif

 

I'm far from an objectivist, i.e. measurements override subjective impressions, but still I'm not a 100% subjectivist. I do agree with the objectivists in that placebo might play a part, and that volume checked ABX-ing of the same songs with the same headphones on two different players without any other sense than your hearing might surprise some people.

 

Anyway, headphones prove a bigger difference than the DAP. If you need more power for your headphones, just get an amp. Most audiophile players have got more powerful amps and can go much louder than consumer DAP's. Those things don't bother me since I use headphones that are easy to drive and prefer earbuds, especially vintage Sony and Aiwa, to IEM's...

 

If someone wants to get an iBasso DX100 or a screenless Altmann-Tera, it's fine with me. What bothers me is when I see average headphones such as Koss PortaPro or ATH ES7 used with such "audiophile grade" DAP's. To me that is like getting the most expensive Blu-ray player and plugging it into a CRT-TV.

I have to say that I love the ATH ES7. However they will not sound magically better if you use a HifiMan. Better to spend $500 on a pair of ATH ES10...


Edited by Danneq - 9/3/12 at 6:21am
post #12 of 16

I agree with you on the bit regarding basic headphones/IEMs with an expensive DAP. That's not to say they couldn't sound better on a higher end source. But in reality is it really worth paying that premium to use with mediocre headphones? You'd be better off upgrading those headphones first and then the source (put the horse before the cart and not the other way ;). I can't argue with you at all on that. Plus I know placebo-effect is a real thing. But I don't find myself falling into that camp very often. If anything I tend to be compulsive and lean towards the negatives to be sure I am positive about a piece of kit lol.
 


Edited by lee730 - 9/3/12 at 6:24am
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post


What will you be using the DAP with? Hifiman products are still quite popular here. You have to do a search to dig up the threads. The newest Hifiman product coming out is the Hifiman 901. It should be released shortly. Also Cowons are still very much popular here and there are many threads regarding them and their recent releases. Hisound has some very nice players like the Rocoo BA and Studio V. Very neutral, very wide and airy-sound-stage. Learn to use the search function to find different threads.

That DX100 is quite a nice piece of tech but the price tag is painful. I listed in my first post the headphones I own and you can add to that a pair of Westone 3 that are on their way. I don't own any high impendance headphone or ultra sensitive IEMs and I only use my MS2 at home, so I usually take my M-80 or my se215 when going out. I would probably use a Fiio E7 also if needed and if it sounds good. I'd also like to use my DAP on my Marantz 2225 which eventually would have a DAC but I haven't found one yet that would work well with such a vintage amp and sound. Right now I'm looking at the Audinst Hud Mx1, Maverick Tubemagic DAC 1 or the Hifiman EF2A.
post #14 of 16

I agree with you on the bit regarding basic headphones/IEMs with an expensive DAP

 

If someone wants to get an iBasso DX100 or a screenless Altmann-Tera, it's fine with me. What bothers me is when I see average headphones such as Koss PortaPro or ATH ES7 used with such "audiophile grade" DAP's.

 

 

 

Source First has always been the golden rule of satisfying audio.

 

With the above scenario you'll hear 100% of what the cheap IEMS can do, and about 70% of what the DAP can produce.

 

If you have cheap source and expensive headphones, you'll just hear how bad the source is.


Edited by KT66 - 9/3/12 at 11:29am
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by KT66 View Post

I agree with you on the bit regarding basic headphones/IEMs with an expensive DAP

 

If someone wants to get an iBasso DX100 or a screenless Altmann-Tera, it's fine with me. What bothers me is when I see average headphones such as Koss PortaPro or ATH ES7 used with such "audiophile grade" DAP's.

 

 

 

Source First has always been the golden rule of satisfying audio.

 

With the above scenario you'll hear 100% of what the cheap IEMS can do, and about 70% of what the DAP can produce.

 

If you have cheap source and expensive headphones, you'll just hear how bad the source is.

 

Well, it depends on the source. If we're talking a cheap Chinese MP4/MP5-player with no quality control, yes. A cheap DAP from an established manufacturer, in this case a Sansa Clip+, will sound quite good with quality files (320 kbps MP3 or FLAC) with most headphones. The internal amp might not be able to drive some headphones properly, so then you just add a headphone amp...

 

I still say it is like connecting a high end Blu ray player to a CRT-TV. Using scart...


Edited by Danneq - 9/3/12 at 12:47pm
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