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Has there ever been a competently designed DAP? ;)

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Yes, that's a loaded question (and I'm hoping that the soon-to-be-released FiiO X3 will be the answer). Of course, it depends entirely on your definition of “competent.” 


FWIW, here's mine:


1] Must play back FLAC files (at least with Rockbox installed)


2] Must have a LINE OUT jack (not just a headphone jack)


3] Must allow files to be transferred to and from the DAP by simple drag and drop of your files and/or folders (i.e. no need for iTunes or any other form of crap “music management” software)


4] Must not do any unwanted processing of the audio signal (i.e. EQing, etc.)


5] Should have expandable memory via SD or microSD cards


6] Should use a simple USB connector (rather than bing dependent on some foolish unique “dock” connector that requires me to buy specials cables, only to have them break on me)


7] Should sound half decent (seriously, 99% of what I've heard is only tolerable at best)


The closest I've been able to come to the above is a Gen 5.5, Gen 6, or Gen 7 iPod Classic with Rockbox installed. Yet even my Rockboxed iPods don't satisfy 5, 6, and 7.


Frankly, I'm sick and tired of dealing with the stupid dock connector as a line out. Even the high end connectors break eventually, and the internal dock jack inside the iPods always gets loose and within a year. The jack becomes wobbly and connection becomes intermittent. It's also a hassle connecting the damn thing to my PC. I'd love something that connects via basic USB, or better yet, with removable SD cards so I never have to bother with a connector at all.


Is there some DAP out there that I may have missed that satisfies more of the 7 factors on my want list?


Or should I just keep counting down the days until March when FiiO finally releases the X3?  :)



post #2 of 22

Ibasso dx 100 fills all of your need as far as i know , as for decent sound , its taste dependant , but alot of people seems to be very sastified with it

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

That Ibasso DX100 looks very nice.  The main drawback would be the price.  At more than 4 times the projected price of the X3, I doubt it could be four times as good. 


I wish there were a way to audition these products before buying. 

post #4 of 22

I dont think that is how you count the price increase of something , you cant expect 4 times the price would be 4 times the quality. But eh whichever i didnt know fiio x 3 alreadt have a price , but how about the hisound studio v , i dont know it have a line out or not

post #5 of 22
All your boxes are ticked with Hifiman HM-601 or 602. However it has been designed with some treble roll-off to adapt an analogue sounding signature.
post #6 of 22
The Hifimans come with high output impedance, that's a flaw.
post #7 of 22

You seem to be very picky about your player. I just happen to have an iPod cable back from 2007 - still functional, though it looks all yellow and beaten. And I had a USB cable that became loose after 2 months. But hey, who gives a damn. etysmile.gif


Originally Posted by Retrias View Post

how about the hisound studio v , i dont know it have a line out or not


It's not a true line out - it's an internal setting - HDMS mode. But it sounds like a line out. So, technically, yeah. It has a line out. Another option on the list. Horrible interface though.


I'd just wait for the X3. I really hope Fiio doesn't screw it up.

post #8 of 22
Originally Posted by skamp View Post

The Hifimans come with high output impedance, that's a flaw.

i dont think he is finding a flawless player , he is only trying to found a player that fills his category

post #9 of 22

check out the HiFi ET MA9 and the upcoming HiFiMAN 901.


MA9 actually has interchangeable DAC and Amp board and already sounds great. Lacks EQ and that is it!



post #10 of 22

Well considering you said you're sick of having dock connectors as line out, Maybe a sansa clip is what you're after. It does all of those things you mentioned except for having a separate line out jack. But it compensates with price, as the DX100 is something like 40x as expensive as a clip+. 

post #11 of 22
post #12 of 22

Well certainly not a HiFiMAN.

post #13 of 22
Originally Posted by Satellite_6 View Post

Well certainly not a HiFiMAN.

Hifiman is far from perfect, however ticks all the boxes the OP was after. Read the first post, not the title.
post #14 of 22

AK100 & DX100 are both competently designed and serves most of your requirements.


I would love to purchase either one of them but for me both don't have the look of what I want.

The DX100 is kind of bulky.

AK100 volume knob totally lost my attention (something so digital needed something so manual?)

post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

Guys, thanks so much for all of your suggestions.  When my Gen 5.5 iPod started acting up a couple of hears ago, I almost bought a Cowon player as it seemed like the only alternative on the market at the time.  When I realized it had no microSD slot, I kind of gave up on the whole thing.  So I bought another iPod Classic, installed Rockbox and stopped logging in here. 


So I've obviously been out of the loop for some time.  I'm now seeing all these new players.  Some look interesting, but few meet my requirements as well as the X3 promises. 


I was actually THIS close to ordering a Colorfly C3 last night, until I realized it doesn't allow gapless playback.  I had no idea that was even an issue in 2013.  Are they seriously still making DAPs that won't playback gapless?  I guess that should have been on my list.  Requirement #1.5 is gapless playback.  Luckily the X3 supposedly supports it. 


The DX100, AK100 and Hifiman products (and maybe the Colorfly C4) all appear to have potential, but they're all outrageously overpriced.  Considering these are all built in mainland China, I see no reason why any of them should cost much more than $200.  I realize these are small volume products, but $800+ for a portable player that can fall out of my pocket, get left on a plane, etc. is just not practical.  I am sure it's possible that they sound better than $200 products, but how much better (specifically through the LINE OUT)?  Enough to justify 4x the price?  I seriously doubt it. 


At this point, I would just like something decent sounding (i.e. better than an Rockbox Ipod's lineout) that meets all of my practical requirements.  Once someone manages to get #1-7 right, then they can start trying to make something that actually sounds good. I simply have no use for a wonderful sounding player that has a horrible UI, or won't play FLAC, or won't play gapless, etc. 


The recommended Sansa Clip+ really has my attention now.  At $30, I could almost consider it disposable.  I used to pay more than that for one import pressing CD!  For that price, I would be willing to try the headphone jack as a lineout.  One question: Why the Clip+ over the Clip Zip?  Isn't the Clip Zip newer/better? 

Edited by jj69 - 1/23/13 at 5:05pm
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