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What is the benefit of having a 'Portable Music Player'? (Fiio X3, Sony Walkman Z, etc...)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm really dumb but I hope someone can answer my question.

 

1) On a normal day, you'll be carrying 2 things for good sound quality (cellphone + portable DAC AMP)

 

2) With the Fiio X3, you'll be carrying 2 things for good sound quality (cellphone [not for music] + Fiio X3)

 

So what I'm not understanding is that in the end you'll still always be carrying 2 devices, why opt for a 'portable music player' altogether? Why not just listen to all of your music on your phone, then add an amp if necessary?

 

And is there something about the Sony Walkman Z (does it have a better internal DAC and AMP than cellphones) that makes it sound better than say their Sony Xperia Cellphone?

 

Thank you for reading all of this. I'm really dumb.


Edited by SonyMDRer - 1/21/14 at 10:54pm
post #2 of 11

battery life is pretty much my reason why

post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SonyMDRer View Post
 

1) On a normal day, you'll be carrying 2 things for good sound quality (cellphone + portable DAC AMP)

2) With the Fiio X3, you'll be carrying 2 things for good sound quality (cellphone [not for music] + Fiio X3)

So what I'm not understanding is that in the end you'll still always be carrying 2 devices, why opt for a 'portable music player' altogether? Why not just listen to all of your music on your phone, then add an amp if necessary?

And is there something about the Sony Walkman Z (does it have a better internal DAC and AMP than cellphones) that makes it sound better than say their Sony Xperia Cellphone?

Chances are the DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) chip in the FiiO X3 is going to be better then the DAC chip in the smartphone (cellphone).

Chances are the headphone amplifier in the FiiO X3 is better then the one in your smart phone.

Most people in the world carry a smartphone what can not be connected to a external DAC.

 

The website anythingbutipod is another good site for asking about portable digital audio players.

post #4 of 11

Is quite a simple question.

 

It provides a better sound quality. If your satisfied with your phone, you wouldn't get a DAP.


Edited by Ishera - 1/22/14 at 1:20am
post #5 of 11
Battery life, compatibility, HD size, and sound quality.
post #6 of 11
No worries, its not dumb question at all.

Its a pain sometimes to add a small DAC to a phone (which I might add cost a fair bit of cash by itself) then lose the functionalities of a headset. To qualify myself on this point, most really small DACs don't really support mike in anyways, those that do either cost quite abit or add considerable bulk. I'm really much better off with a dedicated player in my workbag with a nice set of earphones.

As for adding a amp section to the phone, as most guys have already pointed out the DACs aren't really that fantastic. I have a iphone 4S which has decent SQ, but my Fiio X3 blows that one away quite comfortably.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you all. I have been very satisfy with your responses! Cheers
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishera View Post
 

Is quite a simple question.

 

It provides a better sound quality. If your satisfied with your phone, you wouldn't get a DAP.


I am happy with my iPhone 5 s and to get some improvement and more grunt I use the AK10 DAC / Amp. I mostly stream my Music from WIMP who provide HiFi Quality Sound, and use Grado GR10 and Sennheiser IE80.I am thinkking of buying an iPod Classic , as I think they are far more reliable (7th Generation) than relelative new creations by the like of FiiO,iBasso, Astel & Kern, and far more cheaper. I downloaded some Avant-Prog rock Music for the first time ever from iTunes,this went fairly easy, and Sound Quality is not on the Level of WIMP Streaming but satisfiying nonenthless.The new Generation of Astell & Kern AK120II Comes also with Streaming ability and the French Qobuz is their Partner,all in all very intresting who can afford, in the EU the Price is 1800 Euro, for the American friends,this is about 2456.30 Dollar, so way to expensive at least for me, so I will go on to look for the best Sound for the best Price, and than it is hard to find anything better than the Apple gear not to mention the reliability.... 

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SonyMDRer View Post

 

1) On a normal day, you'll be carrying 2 things for good sound quality (cellphone + portable DAC AMP)

 

2) With the Fiio X3, you'll be carrying 2 things for good sound quality (cellphone [not for music] + Fiio X3)

 

So what I'm not understanding is that in the end you'll still always be carrying 2 devices, why opt for a 'portable music player' altogether? Why not just listen to all of your music on your phone, then add an amp if necessary?

 

If purely on the basis of smartphone+DAC-HPamp vs DAP and a smartphone (first one was mentioned already):

 

I. Battery life on the phone and DAP - you'll minimize the times you'll have to hook up the phone to a charger/powerbank because you're not using it for music.

 

II. Depends on ergonomics and trade-offs the user prefers, for example:

 

Smartphone+DAC-HPamp 

Pros: 

1. You can hear calls coming in, but...(see below)

2. You can listen to streaming services

 

Cons
1. Cables can be a mess, even if it's a custom, short data cable from the iPhone to an iDevice DAC, and might not fit in your pocket anymore as together they can be too thick for some pants or coats.

2. You can hear a call come through, but remember that DAC-HPamps don't have a contact for a headset mic, so the smartphone+amp that probably won't fit inyour pants pocket and is in your bag now has to be pulled out when you answer a call.

3. Some DAC-HPamp units might also get interference from the phone, as some might have been tested and designed with the iPod in mind (not really all that common). 

 

DAP and a Smartphone

Pros:

1. You're carrying two devices, sure, but you can have the phone in one pants pocket and the DAP in the other pants pocket. Keys in one back pocket/belt loop, wallet in the other back pocket, instead of one thick brick (does not apply as much  to something like the DX100 or the HM901). Powerbank in your bag, or if you won't be out that long, you can leave that at home.

 

Cons:

1. You might not be able to hear calls coming in, nor feel the phone vibrate in your pocket.

 

 

My solution (for now*) - Smartphone+easy to drive IEM:

1. I can take calls, and I'm looking for someone to make a custom cable that integrates a mic from a stock earbud properly without using a stiff cable wrap to secure the mic braided around it.

2. Lower SQ from smartphone's integrated audio chip (my S3's output is too warm for my tastes) is offset by: ambient noise where I am likely to use such a set-up, need to devote enough attention for awareness of my surroundings - traffic, street crime like pickpockets, snatchers, muggers, etc.

3. NeutronMediaPlayer (Android) or Accudio (if they get around to updating it for the latest iOS) has sound tuning features to correct some SQ issues with IEMs in general and even with their use with a smartphone.

 

 

*If the Fiio X1's bass-happy sound doesn't make my IEMs' bass overpowering (ie, if their claim of increased bass response to make it sound "fun" is similar to what NAD refers to as "added bass slam" on their CDPs), I'm getting one.

post #10 of 11

One major advantage is that you can't hear your phone ringing in the middle of that nice solo .. :)

And battery-life .

A DAP may also be better at driving 'real' headphones, but the phones are getting pretty good at that to ..

post #11 of 11

I can think of another good reason.

 

Your DAP won't keep pestering you to share, like, broadcast or any do of that other social media guff.

 

Just you and your tune.

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