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Need budget DAP that will play nice with Starving Student amp

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I am currently building SSMH (Starving Student Millett Hybrid) amplifier and need a portable source that will be a good match for it. This will be for a bedroom headphone system but space is limited that's why I can't go with a desktop source like CD player or a turntable. HTPC is also out of the question.

 

So are there any budget friendly DAPs that have decent DAC and can output line out to the SSMH? Please do not recommend iPhone or anything that is expensive. If I had that kind of money, I wouldn't be building Starving Student amp. :)

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 14

Sansa Clip+ can be had for $25 or so... rockboxed that's easily the most sound for the buck. Has no real line out but phone out should be fine to feed your valve amp. Also can be used solo on the go with way more headphones than any i-device...

 

Joachim

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for replying. Anything else besides Sandisk DAPs? Previously I had two Sandisk mp3 players that died prematurely so I am trying to avoid this brand (even if I have to spend a bit more money).

post #4 of 14

Colorfly C3 will go the job at just under $100. The UI is pretty non-existent, but okay..

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artem View Post
 

Colorfly C3 will go the job at just under $100. The UI is pretty non-existent, but okay..

Do you know of any places other than Ebay where I could buy this player?

post #6 of 14

Taobao? It is like China's version of Amazon. but you'll need to purchase it via a third party like MisterTao. They will place the order on your behalf, then ship it over to you with some commission.

post #7 of 14

Portable CD player would be my first choice

post #8 of 14

+1 sansa Clip+

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for replies. I have no more CDs so CD player is not an option. I would also prefer US based online stores but will look into the C3 player. Maybe somebody is selling it used here in US.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

I was at local BestBuy store today and they had few left over Sansa Clip ZIPs for $29.99 so I bought one. It is the 4GB version but I have plenty of microSD cards to extend its storage. So far, I have RockBox'ed it, charged the battery and uploaded few FLAC albums into the onboard memory. Will test the sound tomorrow thru one of my amps as I have no decent headphones that will directly plug into the CZ.

post #11 of 14

Good to hear you found sth - and yes, while build quality might be spotty at times with Sansa, the low price and good sound / feature set with rockbox more than make up for it. I have had good luck with refurbished units... these are even cheaper and have run for some time so the low end of the bathtub curve of electronic failure is over, faults are repaired and usually the battery was replaced.

 

Joachim

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jring View Post
 

...while build quality might be spotty at times with Sansa, the low price and good sound / feature set with rockbox more than make up for it...

Yeah, it was kinda funny to look thru the headphone jack and see world on the other side thru openings near the USB port. :-) As to the RockBox, I still haven't decided if I want to keep it. It would be nice if they had a streamlined version of UI without all the fancy settings and options. The original Sansa firmware allows you to hide options you do not use.

 

As to the sound, I am impressed. So far, I have only tested it thru vintage Sansui receiver and AKG K240s but the sound is nice and pretty detailed. Beats my Apple shuffle but that in part is probably because I was listening to high quality FLAC files vs 160Kbps mp3 files.

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by drabina View Post
 

Yeah, it was kinda funny to look thru the headphone jack and see world on the other side thru openings near the USB port. :-) As to the RockBox, I still haven't decided if I want to keep it. It would be nice if they had a streamlined version of UI without all the fancy settings and options. The original Sansa firmware allows you to hide options you do not use.

 

As to the sound, I am impressed. So far, I have only tested it thru vintage Sansui receiver and AKG K240s but the sound is nice and pretty detailed. Beats my Apple shuffle but that in part is probably because I was listening to high quality FLAC files vs 160Kbps mp3 files.

 

The difference you heard is probably due to the compression - 160KB/s mp3 leaves a lot of room for improvement. The apple DACs are quite nice actually - what's usually lacking is the amplification part - and of course they cost at least double the price of a clip and have the dubious joy of i-tunes. The output impendance is usually a few ohms with i-devices and that's way too much for low impendance phones. Sansa on the contrary drives almost anything - whoever built this class-d amp knew his stuff.

 

As for rockbox if it's just the amount of info on the little display, there's skins which keep the display clean. But of course all the options are still there...

 

Joachim

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jring View Post
 

 

As for rockbox if it's just the amount of info on the little display, there's skins which keep the display clean. But of course all the options are still there...

There was a thread on RB forum from 2006 (I think) that was about a streamlined UI but I do not think it went anywhere. I like RB for its super fast startup but I do not like the tons of options in main menu. Sansa's original firmware is nice with main screens for audio, books, radio, etc that you just scroll thru but the startup is painfully slow comparing to RB.

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