Originally Posted by eyefloater
is there little improvement in SQ between this $30 clip+ and a player costing $600?
it doesn't seem possible.
people buy them are claim they have incredible audiophile sound, have they been fooled into believing that?
The Placebo Effect is very powerful among the self-selecting group of people who will spend a thousand dollars on a DAP without wanting to see evidence - and all the properties of a DAP that ad to SQ are measurable with bench gear. In fact, much bigger gaps in price-performance have been sustained in thousands of test:
For another measurable disaster among audiophile players:
If you do some googling you also find plenty of cases where expensive audio equipment actually contains very cheap parts - the dissections I've seen of the HiFiMan players make it very to understand the price, I know of a case where a $150,000(yes!) speaker system used the same core components (minus a few thousand dollars of pretty wood) as a $15,000 speaker system (really good speakers can legitimately be very expensive) - and then there was the highly praised tripath based audiophile selling for around $1000... that turned out to have exactly the same internals as an amp you could buy for $100. It gets even worse when you look at magic hifi cables...
I'd strongly suggest keeping the Clip+ and putting the best IEMs/headphones you can on them. My Clip+ sounds amazing playing Blonde On Blonde (ie the Dylan album, not the porn film of the same) through $200 HD25-1-ii. (In Grado terms the 25 is said to sound very like a 225i with lower bass extension. I think it's a great buy because it's amazingly tough, user repairable, and high isolation.)
Otoh if you want IEMs, there seems to be quite a shake up going on in the market - I'd probably wait a few months and see what comes out on top. Some - but not all - mid and upper end IEMS and headphones to offer substantial increases in sq over what a Grado 60 can do, and your Clip will be able to drive virtually all the portable options. (Or if you go crazy and buy Earsonics SM64s, then you can add a pocket amp.)
Of course, a lot of people will disagree with me, so weigh what they say and the evidence they can show.