A brief intro and then a question at the bottom.
I used to haunt these forums a decade ago and then got busy and let things slide. I remember the mantra (welcome to head-fi, sorry about your wallet) and am willing to take the risk.
I've been listening to music through various unamped iPhones since introduction of the 3GS and am currently on the 5s.
I have a variety of earbuds (9Wave, Apple, Blox, Se), IEMs (Fischer, Klipsh, Meelectric, Moshi, Sunrise), and headphones (Beyerdynamic, Denon, Incase, Ultrasone - all circumnaural).
I mostly listen to ambient, glitch, indie, jazz, metal, and modern classical.
I recently pulled out my old iPod Video and Rockboxed it and am having fun with that.
I also saw that Amazon was selling the Venturecraft Go-DAP for iPhone 3GS for $20, so I picked one of those up for my old 30GB 3GS and am going to give that a try.
I also picked up a Fiio LOD to hook the iPod up to an old Xin amp I have laying around unused.
Ok, question time: I used to have (and love) a Rockboxed iRiver H120. I dropped it many years ago, and it stopped working. I didn't know about CF mods, or I would've revived it. I remember the sound being really good (better than my unampd iPhone), but that could be nostalgia. Is it worth it to seek out retro players for sound quality? Am I just being nostalgic? Are these old players any competition SQ-wise for newer players in the same-ish price range like the Fiio X3, iBasso X50, or Hifiman 601?
Thanks for your input!