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Portable music player

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I'm searching a portable music player for a friend:
- He has about €200 (250$) to spend on both (closed) headphones (also for notebook and other use) and the music player. Might be a bit more if it is much better.
- Only for music listening, at least 20GB+ on storage.
- Something portable, but doesn't have to be tiny.
- Flac support would be very nice.
- He doesn't have a smartphone to pair with a DAC/amp.

Headphones I can find, it's the portable music player I need help with. I went seaching for one, but basically found almost nothing:
- Cowon stuff, like the D2, costs more then $100, which seems a bit much to me given the budget.
- Sandisk Sansa Clip +/zip or fuse+. These seem to be a good value, but I'm worried about battery life and especially their ability to drive a decent pair of headphones. Currently I seem to prefer this option though. Clip+ and a 32GB µSD-card would be about €60, so enough left to spend for a decent pait of headphones.

So basically my questions are:
- Is this a good fit to drive a decent pair of headphones? Is the Clip the best option, or is the Zip / Fuse+ a better option? (From what I read they don't have any real advantage, Fuse+ seems to have a kind of Line-out option?)
- Is it possible/usefull to add an amp to this cheap source if sound quality is lacking? (Or do I need a player with Line-out capabilities?)
- Do you have a better recommendation/should he spend a little bit more money on something better?

(I intend to buy him a pair of headphones like a Krk Kns-8400, Brainwavz HM5, ...)

post #2 of 6

I suggest getting a Sandisk Clip Zip and putting Rockbox(a free alternative firmware on it). The Clip+ is very similar to the Clip Zip except that even though these players are basically the same size, the Clip Zip has a larger screen. Battery life using Rockbox is around 14 hours. For longer run time, use it with a usb battery pack. It can play while being charged by it.


The Clip+ and Clip Zip work best with headphones between 16 and 32 ohms. If you choose a headphone under 60 ohms that is reasonably efficient(over 100 db/mw. Over 104 is even better) then it should be okay without an amp. It will work fine with the tiny $25 fiio E6 amp, which will let you use headphones up to 300 ohms(although under 150 ohms is better) with the player.


A perfect headphone to pair with the Clip Zip(or Clip+) is the JVC HAS400. In the US it is just $25. It has great detail and sounds better than some headphones over $100.


Using Rockbox one can even use a 64GB microSDXC card(formatted as FAT32) with a Clip+ or Clip Zip.



post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your reply, my only second thought about this player;
isn't there any player on the market for <100 dollars/80 euros that provides the same or better audio quality, can drive higher impedance headphones (still under 80 Ohms though) and is easier to use (menu/screen navigation and the jack on top or bottom instead of  on the side)?

Edited by bertp1 - 7/30/13 at 6:05am
post #4 of 6

The Clip+ and Clip Zip can drive most headphones under 80 ohms(if they are over 96 db/mw), however with headphones like the Sony V6 for example the headphone and the player don't seem to be at their best without an amp between them.

The Koss Portapro also doesn't seem so great when used with the Clip+ or Clip Zip. It does better with a higher powered source. Which headphones are you planning to use with the Clip+ or Clip Zip?


Real impedence seems to vary quite a bit depending on the frequency, while the single number for a headphone measured at 1,000 hz doesn't tell the whole story. While the 63 ohm Sony V6 which I think is 104 db/mw, another headphone that is around 63 ohms and around 104 db/mw might do much better with a Clip+ or Clip Zip without an amp. The best idea is to try the combination yourself and make your own judgement of how well they work together. lower impedance efficient headphones though like the 36 ohm JVC HAS400 seem to be driven very well by the Clip+ and Clip Zip.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

At this point:
- KRK KNS 8400 which has an impedance of 36 Ohms and a sensitivity of 97 dB/mW
- or Brainwavz HM5, which has an impedance of 64 Ohms and a sensitivity of 105 dB/mW

Might be a basic cmoy is a good solution? currently working on one of my own :)

post #6 of 6

I guess both will likely work okay with the Clip+ or Clip Zip without an amp, however you might want to try the combinations yourself just to be sure. I don't know why for example the Sony V6 doesn't seem to work so well with the Clip+ or Clip Zip without an external amp.

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