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First Time Poster - Looking for advice to help me become a productive member here!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

First post here. I am an audiophile with about 6TB of FLAC and high resolution music on a dedicated server. I find myself travelling more these days for my work and I want to take my show on the road as it were!

 

I am a complete Newbie to portable audio but here are my criteria:

1. Must be capable of supporting up to 24/192 files

2. Must have substantial HD space (500 GB would be comfortable - even more would be better)

3. Must have an amplifier capable of supporting On-ear phones.

 

I have picked nothing out yet but I am discovering that there are very few all-in-one solutions for the above if I also want portability. That said, I can manage a small bag to carry 2-3 pieces of small gear around if there is no "one to rule them all".

 

I would truly appreciate someone recommending a small setup that might accomplish my goals for under $1000 if possible (not necessarily including the earphones but feel free to name a budget combo taking them into account)

 

I am sorry to ask for advice that has probably been asked a thousand times here but after searching for an hour I have come to realize that I know so little that I don't even know what to search FOR.

 

Thanks in advance for anyone willing to spare a little time and advice for a newbie to the portable world!

 

Russ


Edited by sashua - 5/11/13 at 10:32am
post #2 of 15

Welcome to HeadFi. There are a few DAP's that can do what yo ask but not the storage. You can use additional SD cards for more music.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

I had a feeling that would be the hangup. Can't i just use a portable external HD for storage and buy an amp/DAC/UI all-in-one unit of some kind?

I feel like carrying around a bag full of SD cards is kind of antiquated as solutions go :-(


Edited by sashua - 5/11/13 at 10:50am
post #4 of 15
Welcome to the forum sashua. That is some music collection. There might be some streaming solution for say an iPad 3G that might enable you to upload whichever part of your collection you require although this might not support 24/192 files. The sound quality of iPads are pretty good although many at Headfi would probably not rate them that highly. Hi-Fi media players tend to have very small storage - often 8GB that can be increased using microsd cards. Obviously none have anything like 6TB capacity. Archos sell some 500GB HDD based players but they are mostly film orientated so sound quality will be slightly above average at best. Archos also have a rather unfortunate after sales reputation.
post #5 of 15

Probably the best options right now for you are the Ibasso DX100 and the iriver AK120. There simply isn't anything being made that can do it all. I think you can fit 192gb in the AK120, but its output impedance has been measured at 5ohms which isn't ideal for low impedance iems. Otherwise, people generally say it sounds stellar with an inky-black background. DX100 is a favorite for high-res music, too. Welcome to the forums!
 

post #6 of 15

convert all them to 320 kbps mp3 for on the go, and keep the flac for home use?

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

I am way too spoiled to listen to 320 kbps MP3. I can hear a very clear and obvious difference between this and a FLAC file (and especially a high resolution 24 bit file)

 

I have heard that the AK100 output impedence is not ideal so I'm staying away.

The DX100 is still a consideration, although I can't find one for a penny less than full retail so far.

 

What about a two piece solution? I was thinking about the Practical Devices XM6 for an amp/DAC solution that seems to be a winner. Then I would need a GUI/HD solution to partner with it. The Archos is ideal at 500GB but would I be able to get an uncompressed audio stream out and into the XM6?

 

Any other GUI/HD choices that have 64GB or more flash storage?

post #8 of 15

From my experience with the Archos 500GB, you have to take some things into consideration:

No line out, if you plan on pairing it with an amp

Its bulky for a portable solution.

The UI isn't great especially due to its resistive screen.

It can be buggy, and this goes with many Archos products, crashing and requiring reboots.

I currently have one and have been going back and forth about selling it on ebay because I'm just not using it much. Particularly because of interface and bulk.

I use an ipod classic and sansa clip+, both with rockbox. I'm looking into upgrading the ipod to 240gb. There are drives you can find on ebay, if you're comfortable with making the modification

One thing that keeps me from getting rid of the Archos is the custom firmware openAOS. With it, it becomes possible to swap out the drive, and I wonder if a 500GB ssd would work in the archos. That requires some comfort modding the Archos.

 

Your best bet might be buying a couple of Hard drive DAPs maybe from Cowon, or even Apple, since line out is available.

I don't thinkg 24/192 files are supported by any of these players though.

post #9 of 15

Hello

 

Wanted to add one more thing: I recently read that the clip+ supports 64GB sdxc card formatted to FAT32.

I've also read that the HiFi Man series of players support FAT32 formatted sdxc cards.

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Do you happen to know if either one will support high resolution files? This is the one issue that is non negotiable for me. I can swap out SXDC cards all day long for storage but if the player's DAC won't do high resolution then I can't do anything about it.
post #11 of 15

Actually you might need to forget HiFiMan. I read that it plays 24/96 flac but downsamples. I'd still look into it. Its geared towards audiophiles.

I think the Astell & Kern from iriver does support Flac up to 24/192. http://shop.iriverinc.com/

Its listed on the HD Tracks's site: https://www.hdtracks.com/index.php?file=digital_store

 

Can't give you any experience from personal use.

post #12 of 15

If you can wait get the X3 and save lots of money, or if you can wait even longer until octomber or so get the X5 when will be released.

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks! I was unaware of the X3. I have been looking it over and it really seems to be everything I want.

Can't vouch for the sound quality yet but it seems to have all the features I need with the exception of storage space. I guess I'll just have to keep a small handful of 64GB cards handy.

Now I just have to find the patience to wait until July when they (claim) it will be released!

post #14 of 15

I didn't know that FiiO was working on a DAP. Very cool.

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by sashua View Post

Hi all,

First post here. I am an audiophile with about 6TB of FLAC and high resolution music on a dedicated server. I find myself travelling more these days for my work and I want to take my show on the road as it were!

 

I am a complete Newbie to portable audio but here are my criteria:

1. Must be capable of supporting up to 24/192 files

2. Must have substantial HD space (500 GB would be comfortable - even more would be better)

3. Must have an amplifier capable of supporting On-ear phones.

 

I have picked nothing out yet but I am discovering that there are very few all-in-one solutions for the above if I also want portability. That said, I can manage a small bag to carry 2-3 pieces of small gear around if there is no "one to rule them all".

 

I would truly appreciate someone recommending a small setup that might accomplish my goals for under $1000 if possible (not necessarily including the earphones but feel free to name a budget combo taking them into account)

 

I am sorry to ask for advice that has probably been asked a thousand times here but after searching for an hour I have come to realize that I know so little that I don't even know what to search FOR.

 

Thanks in advance for anyone willing to spare a little time and advice for a newbie to the portable world!

 

Russ

 

Russ,

 

I think I had gone thru the same journey you're embarking on now.  I had lurked on HF for a few years and bought and sold many gears (probably too many) trying to find my ideal portable rig.  My advice to you would be to really prioritize what's REALLY important to you.  The criteria can be largely defined into:

1. price

2. physical size and appearance

3. sound quality

4. usability

 

I started with the believe "Sound quality" was most important and I can sacrifice everything else.  I went on the stacks route with DAC and AMP (mainly from iBasso and Fiio and other chinese manufacturers).  It wasn't long before I recognize I just can't accept the size despite the appreciable improvement in sound quality.  On the way I also had demo'ed better gears from friends and stores and ended up keep upgrading my earphones.  I would say for value, money spent on the phones (IEM or cans) would give you the most return.  I finally settled on the Fitear TG334 which to date I think is the best IEM that offers incredible sound and versatility.  I was using EQu on my iPhone4 mainly at that point with 192k to 320k MP3s.   My urge to go 24bit HD files and better SQ lead me to my first high end DAP - iBasso DX100.  I was extremely happy for the sound but ultimately the short battery life and less than idea usability caused me to replace it with the iRiver AK100.  AK100 was a huge step up in size, responsiveness, but sound quality wise it was a step back.  I have now moved on to their latest model AK120 and is very happy so far.  The new X3 from Fiio and DX50 from iBasso, together with the DX100 and the AKs should be on your audition list if you are like me who needs portability/pocketability.  You may also want to try the Hifiman products if you are into the warm/tube type of sound signature.

 

Headphones/IEMs wise there are really too many price points and brands/house-sound that you'd really need to invest time to demo as much as you can, or simply buy some of the highly regarded ones that fit your budget.  As long as you aren't getting custom IEMs, you can always resell for a reasonable amount.

 

For dedicated DAC/AMP I'd leave it to others with more experience to recommend.

 

For me, I think my search finally came to a conclusion with AK120 + TG334.

 

Cheers

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