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Portable player with great sound?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Having just bought a pair of Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors, I could do with a portable music player.  I’ve been using the FM radio on an old Nokia 5310 XpressMusic phone, and the earphones sound great, but I’m keen to try a player with top notch sound quality (I’m assuming that the Nokia isn’t very good).  However, I don’t really know what’s available.  My main priority is accurate sound reproduction, and I’d want to be able to play pre-recorded music transferred from CD’s, as well as my own WAV files.  It would have to have buttons rather than a touch screen.  A portable CD player would also be fine, as I tend to listen to one album for months on end!  An FM radio would also be a bonus. I’m not that bothered about album artwork or any fancy features.  My maximum budget would be in the Colorfly C4 territory – is there something as good (or almost as good) for less, such as a Sony?  There’s also the possibility that I could ‘borrow’ a 60GB iPod Photo from someone who’s now using an iPod Classic.  Any pointers for an ‘audiophile’ player would be much appreciated. I’m in the UK, if that makes any difference.

post #2 of 5

OK. iPod Classic is good, and it is easy to convert FLAC to ALAC without losing quality. Sansa Clip+/Zip is really nice, for about $30-$50. Has a microSD card slot, so you can expand it to 72 gigabytes. It has really nice SQ, and it works well with an amp. An amp would be better than spending your whole budget on a player. Normally you would want a line-out signal for an amp, though the Sansa Clip line has very low output impedence, so you can amp the headphone line. It does have FM radio. Honestly, switching to recorded songs over FM radio is really the big deal. Don't go in for a DAC though, because only a few players have digital out.

post #3 of 5
Colorfly C4, iRiver Astel & Kern AK100, HiFiman HM 801, IBasso DX100. All ultimate players that cost rather alot in the UK £400-500+. Never heard any of them. Should all give balanced colourless high quality sound and need lossless files. Typically these players have short battery lives (sub 10hours) as well as often quirky UIs. These sort of players really shine with reference headphones like Sennheiser HD650 and substitue for a CD player rather than a portable player. However I am sure some people use them outdoors. There was one player a QLS QA-350 that I always thought was a little unusual in that it was a WAV player utilising SD cards. For me this was a non starter but you say you might listen to an album for months on end so this might be a much cheaper option. It also utilises Wolfsons WM8740 DAC which I have grown to like in my Nationite S:Flo2 (only now available in China as Teclast T51).
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all that.


I must say the QLS player appeals to me!  I wonder if it sounds good... 


I have a pair of HD600, but they always seemed a bit too warm and woolly, although I've not used them with a good amp.  The UERM seem much more natural - I bought them for recording, but I need to do a lot of listening with them, and a good quality player ought to make the experience even more enjoyable.  Even though I'd just be lugging the player between locations, rather than listening while moving around, I'd prefer an integrated unit instead of a system comprised of individual player, DAC and amp etc.  Yes, I'm very tempted by the QLS...

Edited by deejayen - 1/3/13 at 10:18am
post #5 of 5
The QLS should sound wonderful. I think there was a V2 updated model that put in some better quality components. They talk quite a lot about how their SD card implementation has very low jitter. Unlike most players it also looks rather durable. If it supported flac (their new and much more expensive model does) I might have been interested. I think my music collection will be about 60-70GB in flac. As WAV files it would be quite a lot more for no increase in sound quality. I actually never thought anyone would produce a WAV only player but there you go.
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