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DAP Suggestions? (No Sansa clips pls)

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi guys,

I'm looking for a DAP that outperforms my current DAP, the Sony Walkman Z. While i enjoyed the sound, the player is having problems of its own, such as excessive static and songs distorting randomly for no reason. My warranty period has run out so i'm reluctant to send it back for repair. TBH i found the Walkman too warm, and when i plugged my IEMS into my brother's phone it sounded so much clearer, which was a big shock for me.

I have around ¥3500 to spend, which is approximately 550 USD. Budget can increase if needed, but stuff in China is always cheap so it may not be needed wink.gif

 

Thanks for reading!

post #2 of 19
Your title says "no Sansa Clips", so I'm gonna recommend the latest iPod Touch (5G), if you're not against Apple products, touch screens or having to use some special software (iTunes, but also others) in order to transfer songs to it. It sounds great, it's perfectly neutral and its output impedance of 0.75Ω makes it suitable for any headphones or IEMs. I also find its user interface to be very reactive and highly usable. It's also quite sexy!
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post

Your title says "no Sansa Clips", so I'm gonna recommend the latest iPod Touch (5G), if you're not against Apple products, touch screens or having to use some special software (iTunes, but also others) in order to transfer songs to it. It sounds great, it's perfectly neutral and its output impedance of 0.75Ω makes it suitable for any headphones or IEMs. I also find its user interface to be very reactive and highly usable. It's also quite sexy!


How does i compare to the Walkman Z? I've owned 2 iPod touches and were disappointed by their mediocre music quality.

post #4 of 19
I have no idea about the Walkman Z. I don't know if it's flawed in any way that might affect sound quality (such as high output impedance or some kind of rolloff, for instance). I can only give you both subjective and objective impressions on the iPod Touch 5G. Technically speaking, it's an excellent product.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post

I have no idea about the Walkman Z. I don't know if it's flawed in any way that might affect sound quality (such as high output impedance or some kind of rolloff, for instance). I can only give you both subjective and objective impressions on the iPod Touch 5G. Technically speaking, it's an excellent product.

Do you know what audio chip the iTouch uses? I'm quite reluctant to purchase apple products due to my bad experience with them before but if it proves to be a good choice i won't mind :)

post #6 of 19
The DAC is the Cirrus Logic 338S1077, same as the iPhone 5, according to iFixIt. Cirrus Logic DACs used in the latest Apple DAPs are completely neutral and suffer from very little distortion. They're very likely transparent.
post #7 of 19

Hey, perhaps consider the Cowon Z2. I love mine, but I don't know if it outperforms the Walkman Z (in terms of what? Sound? Build quality? Features?). Anyway, here are my thoughts:

 

The Z2 is not warm at all, but very detailed and has no particular frequency bias that I can tell. Some complain it sounds cold and boring, but the EQ suite is effective and should fix that pretty quickly should you want excitement. Clarity is great, I have no official stats to roll out to convince you (I don't think output impedance is below 1 like some other players, but I've never had problems with IEMs and there is little to no hiss) but I go with my ears and boy, these sound really nice!

 

I bought mine in the US from Amazon with a screen protector and case and I couldn't be happier with my new DAP - features-wise, it competes more with an old iPod Touch, as it lacks a camera and GPS, etc.. It browses the web fine, and has more features than your typical mp3, while apps can easily be added if you want more configurability.

 

In this (Apps) respect it is probably not as nifty as the Walkman Z, which I understand runs on Android 4.0 and has a much better processor for all the new Android stuff as well as a better screen (the Z2s is very nice AMOLED, but doesn't have a blazing high resolution), but I can do with it given that the Z2 makes my music (and headphones, which are warm and complement its analytical sound well) sound great. As a bonus, it has a micro SD slot, which takes 64GB cards if you want lots of lossless music.

 

Things to consider: It's on Android Gingerbread 2.3 (but it does have access to the Play Store, which I really like so far), battery life is short-ish at 22 hours audio (I can get 20 hours easily, though I often charge it before) and has no Line-out Dock for amps - I just use a micro interconnect, but some say this is audio sin.

 

Since you're in China you could check out some of the more audiophile DAPs from Colorfly and Hisound, but as my all-around media player which sounds-pretty-good, I'd pick the Z2. You lose a few things, and gain a few, so weigh them up, and best of luck...

 

EDIT: +1 on the iPod Touch 5 purely in terms of the plethora of features, the battery life and the great screen. I haven't heard it extensively yet though, so I'll defer to the iPod experts...


Edited by StyleElements - 1/28/13 at 7:57am
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StyleElements View Post

Hey, perhaps consider the Cowon Z2. I love mine, but I don't know if it outperforms the Walkman Z (in terms of what? Sound? Build quality? Features?). Anyway, here are my thoughts:

 

The Z2 is not warm at all, but very detailed and has no particular frequency bias that I can tell. Some complain it sounds cold and boring, but the EQ suite is effective and should fix that pretty quickly should you want excitement. Clarity is great, I have no official stats to roll out to convince you (I don't think output impedance is below 1 like some other players, but I've never had problems with IEMs and there is little to no hiss) but I go with my ears and boy, these sound really nice!

 

I bought mine in the US from Amazon with a screen protector and case and I couldn't be happier with my new DAP - features-wise, it competes more with an old iPod Touch, as it lacks a camera and GPS, etc.. It browses the web fine, and has more features than your typical mp3, while apps can easily be added if you want more configurability.

 

In this (Apps) respect it is probably not as nifty as the Walkman Z, which I understand runs on Android 4.0 and has a much better processor for all the new Android stuff as well as a better screen (the Z2s is very nice AMOLED, but doesn't have a blazing high resolution), but I can do with it given that the Z2 makes my music (and headphones, which are warm and complement its analytical sound well) sound great. As a bonus, it has a micro SD slot, which takes 64GB cards if you want lots of lossless music.

 

Things to consider: It's on Android Gingerbread 2.3 (but it does have access to the Play Store, which I really like so far), battery life is short-ish at 22 hours audio (I can get 20 hours easily, though I often charge it before) and has no Line-out Dock for amps - I just use a micro interconnect, but some say this is audio sin.

 

Since you're in China you could check out some of the more audiophile DAPs from Colorfly and Hisound, but as my all-around media player which sounds-pretty-good, I'd pick the Z2. You lose a few things, and gain a few, so weigh them up, and best of luck...

I'm not focused on apps, android and all those features. My main focus is SQ and nothing else. The Z2 looks like an interesting prospect, but i'm not sure how much money was spent on all the unneeded features (touchscreen, android, etc.) and how much was spent on the sound itself.

I've been looking into the Colorfly and Hisound, especially the C4, but am unsure as to whether it will affect the sound quality by much.

post #9 of 19
See what saratoga has to say about the Walkman Z line. It doesn't look good (see the RMAA measurements linked in that post, too).
post #10 of 19
IPod classic 7G
post #11 of 19

Aha, well, I think the Z2 is a very capable DAP with superb resolution and detail reproduction, and they are not excessively warm at all. In that respect they might help you.

 

As for sound, Cowon is quite well known among audio enthusiasts for the attention it pays to the sound of its products (the J3 is very well regarded here, I wish it wasn't discontinued, else I'd buy one) as well as the JetEffect + BBE stuff, which must have required a good bit of work. The EQ on this is definitely usable and bearable for those who like to tweak, unlike the non-customisable ones on some iPods and the not-so-well executed stuff on other players (like my old Samsung Q1). Before purchasing, I read that the Z2 retains (and improves a little upon) the typical Cowon sound, which I take as a good thing, so I'd say that a good deal of the money you spend is for the sound, but naturally the features are a rarity outside of Apple and Sony, so they do charge a premium for the larger versions (I have the 16GB).

 

I do not think the Z2 will offer the super high end, doesn't-need-an-amp sound of a DX100, for instance, but you know, I'm still learning head-fi and I'm happy with this DAP. Keep searching though, you never know what you might find!

 

EDIT: Also, no hiss. I like that about it, it has a pretty black background between notes. The IE80s (my primary IEM) are not super sensitive like multi BAs or CIEMs, though, so take that with a pinch of salt.


Edited by StyleElements - 1/28/13 at 8:10am
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by randomkid View Post

IPod classic 7G
+1 the iPod Classic 7G with LOD cable to a discrete amp. Still very portable.
post #13 of 19
I like my iPod Classic a lot, but the 5.5Ω output impedance isn't ideal, and the HDD is a bit laggy (compared to instant access flash memory). And like StyleElements said, you're stuck with a list of non-configurable EQ presets (some of which clip and distort audio), unless you replace Apple's firmware with Rockbox (which you can't do with the iPod Touch, btw).
post #14 of 19

IPod plus rockbox = awesome

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

Are there any other choices apart from iPod Classic? i find the storage space to be somewhat unneeded as my music library is pathetically small.

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