I'm inclined to think now that the lower end of the DAP market is most suited to people who either don't own Apple products, have an iPhone but want a separate music player, want to play high-res files on the go, want a player that takes micro-SD cards, or simply don't want something that is made by Apple. They have done such a good job improving the SQ of iDevices over the years that my own experiences have fairly matched what has been discussed here, the only difference between the less expensive players, other than functionality is a slightly different tuning.
what dap's would you consider to be in the lower end of the market?
<$500 models. I was thinking of the X5 I have here.