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Advice on new high quality DAP for Heir Audio 8.A

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I recently ordered a pair of Heir Audio 8.A. It will still take a few weeks until they reach me but I'm still not sure which DAP I should get. I hope people with more experience with CIEMs and DAPs can help out out here.



- good user interface and nice display

- gapless playback, good album functionality, no problems with recognizing tagging of sound files

- chargeable by simple connecting the DAP via USB to my PC/Notebook/Tablet

- useable as a USB/DAC (not exactly a must-have but would really nice to have)

- full support for FLAC/APE/WAV (which high quality DAP doesn't support those? :-))

- high quality workmanship

- output impedance with a good match for CIEMs (will only be used for CIEMs or occasionally headphones like HD800 -> no HE6 powerhorse necessary :-))


nice to have:

- scratch resistant (display + surface)

- no protruding buttons (or not too far)

- comfortable size to put into back jeans pockets/jacket

- user replaceable batteries

- fully balanced dac/amp section with balanced inputs/outputs

- DSD256/DXD support


absolute no go:

- lots of bugs/basic faults





While nobody wants to spend more money than necessary I'm willing to spend a good amount of money when the result is worth the investment and I personally find a DAP that just suits me well. So while prices are not set in stone, up to like 1000 Euros is ok, DAPs like the AK120 are already kinda on the maximum side I want to spend for the DAP. I checked out the AK120 Titan and the Red Wine Audio mods for the AK120 but I'm not sure they are really worth this high price. But basically all the common high end DAPs people are talking here about (HM-901, DX100 etc are all within my budget).



I am personally totally fine with 128GB flash storage. If you can upgrade to a higher capacity that's a nice bonus, but this is not my top priority.




Currently the Calyx M and the Sony NWZ-ZX1 (from pricejapan) are most appealing to me. They both seem to have a nice display, user interface, design, craftsmanship, enough memory for my requirements, even support DSD/DXD. The Calyx can work as a USB/DAC out of the box. Is this also true about the Sony ZX1? I know that you can simply connect any usb device to the DAP and simply select the files in the file structure and play them before having to copy them to the DAP which is a pretty sweet thing. No USB/DAC functionality means that an extra mobile USB/DAC needs to be purchased and carried around since I intend to use my new CIEMs not only to listen to music while I am not at home but also to play audio from my notebook when I am on business trips. Having to carry around one less piece of gear is a nice feature. If there is no good dap out with this functionality I will purchase a mobile USB/DAC separately. Does anyone know about scratch resistance on these two DAP's? From what I've seen they don't feature balanced outputs but I might have missed that.


I'm happy for any suggestions/feedback/hints/information/whatever is helpful. I'd greatly appreciate it. I want to state again that they will be used mostly for listening to music through the Heir Audio 8.a and sometimes headphones. I can't say they will never be used for other CIEMs or used occionally to hook my stereo system up fast for a single song but that's not what the DAP has to be good for. The DAP should work nicely with common CIEMs (that is have enough punch but not too high output impedance to get in the way of more sensitive CIEMs).


Thank you all already!!!

post #2 of 13

You can try DX50 + Intruder or wait for the DX90 for DSD support

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

I completely missed the news for the DX90 ... I just checked out the thread. This one sounds pretty promising, especially for the price. I don't even want to know how much iRiver is going to charge for their new AK240 ... they go nuts with their prices. :-)

post #4 of 13

I tend to ignore the AK series due to their insane prices lol

post #5 of 13

By the way, you can contact sorensiim. He also owns the Heir 8A

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'm not quite sure why you suggest me to pm sorensiim unless he has experience with the Heir Audio 8.a in combination with different DAPs.


I will definitely take my time and observe the market in the next couple of weeks before I go ahead and purchase the DAP. It just saddens me a bit that even the high-prices ones out there come with essential drawbacks such as bugs, bad user interface, small memory, connections, usage as usb/dac etc. Where is the company that gets all of the important things right just out of the box? :-)

post #7 of 13
He might have DAP recommendation for you, since he also owns the heir 8a. I think he owns or have own a number of daps
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice, I just pmed him. I'm curious what he has to say about DAP pairing with the Heir Audio 8.a.

post #9 of 13
Hi guys! smily_headphones1.gif

The DX50 checks almost all the boxes, except USB DAC functionality and storage is limited to microSD, so 64gb or 128gb with a SD adapter. The upside is that you'll be able to afford a pocketable DAC/AMP like the Audioquest Dragonfly too. The DX50 is rock solid, sounds great with the 8.A and is easy on the wallet. Heck, pick up a used one and resell with little or no loss if you don't like it. The 8.A isn't picky, but scales very well so feel free to try out as many DAPs as you'd like - but you might want to skip anything with too warm a signature.

As a former DX100 owner, I am eagerly awaiting the DX90, but that won't be out until March. On paper, it looks like it will be THE DAP to get!
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

The DX50 does indeed sound like a reasonable possibility. This option would also easily finance a nice usb/dac in addition when I want to hook the CIEMs up to the notebook. Having to carry around fewer pieces of gear is always nice though. On paper the DX90 looks pretty promising though.


The DX50 can only be used with up to 64GB storage though without having to carry around an external SD adapter right?


I definitely need to see some comparisons to the Sony NWZ-ZX1 though.

post #11 of 13
Fairwell - You mentioned the AK120 but cost was a concern. For everything on your list (except the headphones - which I don't have), the AK100 or RWAK100 might be worth considering. Additionally, for storage capacity you can put in two 64 GB mico sd cards (formatted to FAT32) to get an overall storage space of 160 GB (~154 GB usable).

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

The AK amps are worth a consideration and I even considered buying the AK120 although this one is already pretty expensive. While I've read a lot of good stuff about the AK daps, I read a couple of times that their products are overpriced, especially the AK120. I'm not too eager to spend a lot of money for a product that is not worth the price. When I look at the price and see that Ibasso is able to make a DX90 for a much lower price with dual dac. :-)

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your suggestions. I decided to go for a Sony NWZ-ZX1 on the go and to use a Chord Hugo while at office/hotel room/on holiday.

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