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Would you be interested in a portable source that has no built-in headphone amp?

Poll Results: For those with portable headphone amps, which features are "must-have" in a portable transport with a decent UI, that has no built-in headphone amp? (Select the fewest features necessary to inspire your purchase.)

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 15% (5)
    I would never purchase a portable transport that does not have a built-in headphone amp. (If selected, please do not select any additional answers, below.)
  • 18% (6)
    1 card reader (supporting SD, SDHC, and SDXC)
  • 57% (19)
    2 card readers
  • 21% (7)
    Coaxial input
  • 21% (7)
    Optical input
  • 45% (15)
    USB input
  • 75% (25)
    FLAC support
  • 36% (12)
    ALAC support
  • 42% (14)
    WAV support
  • 21% (7)
    AIFF support
  • 39% (13)
    MP3 support
  • 27% (9)
    AAC support
  • 30% (10)
    Up to 24-bit / 96 kHz support
  • 45% (15)
    Up to 24-bit / 192kHz support
  • 42% (14)
    Dual ESS9018 (or similar, high-end DAC implemenation)
  • 18% (6)
    ESS9023 (or similar mid-range DAC implementaiton)
  • 33% (11)
    Unbalanced Line Out
  • 12% (4)
    Balanced Line Out
  • 9% (3)
    Minimum 6-hour battery life
  • 63% (21)
    Minimum 12-hour battery life
33 Total Votes  
post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

We have so many portable headphone amps to choose from and there are several DAPs available with Line Out, but to my knowledge, no one is manufacturing a DAP that lacks a built-in headphone amp.

 

The parts count and therefore the cost of typical high-end DAPs could be greatly reduced for those of us who have portable headphone amps and simply want a portable transport, with a decent UI, one or more SD card readers, a great DAC implementation, and an analog Line Out.

 

I've exchanged e-mails with two of the well-known DAP manufacturers who have independently expressed their concern that the market for such a device is too small to warrant its manufacture.  I'm not so sure, myself, but then again, I wouldn't be taking the risk of tooling up for such a venture.

 

I'm just thinking that a bunch of us who have portable headphone amps are paying for DAPs, only to bypass the built-in headphone amps and a lot of other bells and whistles (like USB input or optical inputs).

 

I've created this poll just to get a feel for what the community would want in the way of features for such a device, if at all.  

 

What do you think?

 

Mike

post #2 of 19

For an ampless product, expandable storage is a must and line outs are obvious feature. Bigger question is pricing, what should it be priced at? I say similar to the iPod Classic is good.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I think you've nailed the pricing. This thing has to be simple to keep the cost down and thus, increase the potential number of buyers. As it is, I know of two manufacturers who are concerned about lack of interest in an amp-less DAP, so the key would be to deliver high-end sound to Line Out, with as few parts as possible. That's why I'm asking people to specify the minimum feature set necessary to inspire their purchase.

:-)
Edited by zilch0md - 9/18/13 at 6:47am
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

Yeah, I think you've nailed the pricing. This thing has to be simple to keep the cost down and thus, increase the potential number of buyers. As it is, I know of two manufacturers who are concerned about lack of interest in an amp-less DAC, so the key would be to deliver high-end sound to Line Out, with as few parts as possible. That's why I'm asking people to specify the minimum feature set necessary to inspire their purchase.

:-)

 

Hopefully not too high-end that they demand AK pricing. I am sure the current DAP producers can just have a simple trial run of like 10-20 pcs or something. 

 
Just a thought, maybe attract Lounge people to this poll. If enough people take part, maybe you can send the results off to your manufacturers.
post #5 of 19

by taking out the amp section i believe there will be more room space for a even better DAC section. the cost for the amp section can be used to upgrade the internal components with better PCB or better power supply or higher quality jacks...

i'm very interested in this transport...

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KamijoIsMyHero View Post

Hopefully not too high-end that they demand AK pricing. I am sure the current DAP producers can just have a simple trial run of like 10-20 pcs or something. 
 
Just a thought, maybe attract Lounge people to this poll. If enough people take part, maybe you can send the results off to your manufacturers.

Thank you! That's the idea, exactly.

:-)
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PChoon View Post

by taking out the amp section i believe there will be more room space for a even better DAC section. the cost for the amp section can be used to upgrade the internal components with better PCB or better power supply or higher quality jacks...
i'm very interested in this transport...

Glad to hear it!
post #8 of 19

I like the convenience of a DAP, and I think my ideal would look something like this:

iPod Classic (decent size, capacity, and buttons), but with FLAC & ALAC support, built-in amp that can be bypassed, as well as a pure digital line out.

 

I guess most people would agree with everything but the built-in amp part.

But don't many of us have more than one headphone / earphone? And not all of them require "serious" amping? That's why I appreciate the convenience of a built-in amp.

 

It seems like what's lacking is a DAP that has the option of bypassing that built-in amp.

post #9 of 19

I would say that it should have a VERY good DAC and should have 2 SD slots with USB input so you can use it as a USB DAC. 

If it used dual ES9018 chips, the price would be good at $500. but not many people would buy it ...

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by KamijoIsMyHero View Post
 

 

Hopefully not too high-end that they demand AK pricing. I am sure the current DAP producers can just have a simple trial run of like 10-20 pcs or something. 

 
 

 

I doubt 20 is enough to recoup the R&D and manufacturing costs of a new product...

post #11 of 19
I'm very interested in a transport only device. I'm an all or nothing user. I'm not going to add an amp one day and remove it another. PIA. If I could have an odac sized transport connected to a Meier QS, I'm done.

There are already enough daps that have a bypass of the amp but they are big and bulky. The idea of a transport only is to have a very small sized specialty product, not a one gadget satisfies all, which usually satisfies very few- and which already saturates the market with me too offerings.
Edited by shotgunshane - 9/18/13 at 7:35am
post #12 of 19

To me, portable DAP is meant for smaller size-suitable for travelling, and all-in-one solution. If I want a better SQ, I'd definitely go for desktop setup. Thus, without an amp in it, I don't see why the transport is useful to me personally.

post #13 of 19

For a DAP without a built in amp, isn't 12 hours of minimum playback a bit lacking? I'm thinking of 20-30 hours or so, the space for more battery is available anyway.

 

I hate recharging finding my AK120 in a low battery state after 3 days of non-continuous playback (usually only 2-3 hours /day)

post #14 of 19

What about a screenless, or even bottonless DAP?

Controlled via smartphones using bluetooth or NFC, while songs are still stored in the player.

so we can play anything without taking out the whole enormous rig.:) 

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunshane View Post

I'm very interested in a transport only device. I'm an all or nothing user. I'm not going to add an amp one day and remove it another. PIA. If I could have an odac sized transport connected to a Meier QS, I'm done.

There are already enough daps that have a bypass of the amp but they are big and bulky. The idea of a transport only is to have a very small sized specialty product, not a one gadget satisfies all, which usually satisfies very few- and which already saturates the market with me too offerings.

 

I with you on all of that!  :-)

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