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DAPS For Dummies

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I've had my head in the sand when it comes to DAPs because I only listen to music at home and in the car and thought all DAPs where compressed.

 

I listen to CDs at home with my Marantz Player running through a Little Do III Amp pushing AKG 601's.

 

Now with the introduction of Pono it's got me thinking if I'm stuck in something like the DVD era while everyone else is buying BluRays.

 

So...do we know yet if the Pono will be better sounding than the Fiio X3 or 5?

(I assume the same music can be used on both.)

 

Also, where can this better than red book music be found?

I checked out the Linn site and couldn't find much of the music I like.

 

Sorry for being so green.

post #2 of 18
Hello,

I doubt anyone with X3 or X5 have tested the Pono. In fact, Pono have not officially released yet. IMO, there's not much DAP you can choose from as for now, FiiO X3, X5, DX50 that are of more resonable price not crazy high. FiiO X1 is coming out this Aug though

Hope it helps
Billson smily_headphones1.gif
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

"FiiO X1 is coming out this Aug though"

 

 

Thanks for the info, Billson.

 

 

I guess what I'm asking is... are these devices better than CDS and maybe the equivalent of SACDs with the proper download?

 

I get the feeling Audiophiles have moved from CDs and even Vinyl to DACs...no?

 

I have a SACD player but it's hard to find Alternative music in that format.

post #4 of 18
Anytime biggrin.gif

IMO, as long as you enjoy the music, any format would do! Don't really have to follow the audiophile trend and if you happen to follow, "Welcome to HeadFi, sorry about your wallet" xD

If CDS you mean CDs, you can actually rip those CDs into your computer and copy or drag it into any of the DAP mentioned above. They will still sound like CD quality, nothing changed unless you ripped and converted it into, at the same time, to some other format then the performance varies. I remember once I was ripping a CD and raged because it came out MP3.. It was my setting hehe

In terms of SQ, Vinyl over CDs but CDs is still better than mp3. Do note that, some may not be able to hear the difference! DSD is one of the biggest file. And the better the quality, the more space it will occupy. All the DAPs mentioned above supports 24/192 bit at max. I think there will be DSD support in the near future for X5/X3 if I am not mistaken.

Hope it helps
Billson smily_headphones1.gif
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukol View Post
 

Hello,

 

I've had my head in the sand when it comes to DAPs because I only listen to music at home and in the car and thought all DAPs where compressed.

 

Actually even iDevices and Androids can play uncompressed music, and if anything, the circuits aren't made of discrete components with a proper analog output stage and an integrated driver circuit that sometimes can't deal with very low impedance IEMs or very high impedance/very low sensitivity headphones. You can always hook these up to an external DAC, maybe with a headphone amp built into it, but if you're using these as portables they add too much bulk. For some, having a DAP in one pocket and a phone in the other is better than two devices strapped together that need to be in the same space (pocket, etc).

 

Of course, a general purpose device that one would need to spend on anyway for other uses but is more focused/boots up faster than a computer, and also a touchscreen, is great if you're only using it as a digital audio transport at home.

 

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Koukol View Post

 

I listen to CDs at home with my Marantz Player running through a Little Do III Amp pushing AKG 601's.

 

Now with the introduction of Pono it's got me thinking if I'm stuck in something like the DVD era while everyone else is buying BluRays.

 

It depends on what you need really. If you won't be listening to your music on a bring-anywhere portable rig, you're better off  getting a music server - I think Marantz has one for around $700 and you can store all your music in an NAS HDD hooked up to your home network (I think you can get one from Western Digital for just over $200).

 

Even if for listening in a car I wouldn't advice getting a DAP specifically just for that purpose. A lot of people have asked about that and it's not even just because they already have a serious DAP, but because they expect its DAC and output stage to sound better in a car. I always say the same thing: a better DAC on that isn't going to correct the fact that you don't own a Mclaren F1 (and even if you did, why install a sound system in it?). Many of the award-winning IASCA and EMMA cars (yes, they have competitions for these precisely because it's a challenge to get it right in a car) use integration processors that take the analog speaker amp output out of a stock receiver (not voiding warranties, still have OnStar/GPS, etc), convert it to digital, apply processing most important of which is time alignment on each and every tweeter, midrange, woofer and subwoofer, plus the crossover network to assign what frequencies each of them gets. GIGO barely matters when the main problem is that each tweeter, midrange, midwoofer, and subwoofer aren't equidistant to you, sitting closest to the driver's side tweeter+midrange, driver's side woofer. Not to mention a test tone can help it correct any problems in the response coming off the stock amplifier and also, given that a perfectly flat response can still be screwed up by the cabin anyway, making EQ and time alignment more important than a fancy DAC and output stage. Lastly, why have a DAP with a cable on the passenger seat or on holder when the stereo controls are essetially in the right place where it's easy to hit buttons (by feel, without looking) in slow traffic without compromising safety?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukol View Post

 

Also, where can this better than red book music be found?

I checked out the Linn site and couldn't find much of the music I like.

 

HDTracks.com has music that aren't of the stereotypical audiophile variety (most of which are basically remakes of pop songs by audiophile vocalists with better recording and mastering) in high resolution. As to whether 24-bit 96khz is actually better, that's still an ongoing debate. Personally I'd love to shift given a lot of metal albums are now in 24bit/96khz FLAC, but I haven't found a DAC that can decode that format that has a discrete analog output stage, isn't too expensive, works with an Android, and is actually better than the built-in USB DAC on my amplifier (which is surprisingly good, at least it doesn't screw up trying to do a huge soundstage on a headphone, or messing around with the frequency response, which a lot of CDPs I've tried do).

 

 

post #6 of 18

DX50 is the best for sound out of the bunch for the money I would say but the DX90 is coming out soon. Supposed to be under $500, DSD capable, double-dac, and so on.

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Y View Post

DX50 is the best for sound out of the bunch for the money I would say but the DX90 is coming out soon. Supposed to be under $500, DSD capable, double-dac, and so on.
I hope they got the firmware right this time xD how's the current DX50 firmware btw? Hehe
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the great input, guys.

 

I just discovered I can't upload my SACDs to a DAP...what a bummer if true.

I'd hate to re-buy my STONES (Taylor Years) collection another time.

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukol View Post
 

Thanks for the great input, guys.

 

I just discovered I can't upload my SACDs to a DAP...what a bummer if true.

I'd hate to re-buy my STONES (Taylor Years) collection another time.

 

This one can playback DSD, I think: http://www.amazon.com/Reference-Definition-Hdp-r10-Portable-Players/dp/B008OEXAN8

 

And there's that Korg field recorder that can be used as a DAP, problem is the battery life sucks.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

 

 

So... how does one get the music off a computer onto a DAP without compromising the sound quality?

 

I just checked out the FiiO X3 at Amazon and it doesn't come with a USB cord.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukol View Post
 

Thanks!

 

 

So... how does one get the music off a computer onto a DAP without compromising the sound quality?

 

I just checked out the FiiO X3 at Amazon and it doesn't come with a USB cord.

 

Lemme guess...you've only used iPods and iPhones? :D

You just put the microSD card into the computer's SD slot (use the micro to SD adapter that comes with the card), highlight all the artist/album folders you want, right click, then left click on "copy." You then open the microSD card's directory on Explorer (or whatever Macs have) and right click, then left click on "paste." Everything will be copied into the card. Safely remove the microSD card, then put it back in the player. This is all digital to digital copying, not even streaming, so unless you incur an error, it will be the exact same copy.

 

 

Now, if I'm right about your using only iDevices, you might be better served getting an iDevice-specific DAC. Why? Because not only does that procedure up there seem difficult for iTunes users, that isn't even the end of it. iTunes doesn't archive the same way as a detail-oriented Windows- or Linux-using human, so if you just do the above procedure with iTunes-ripped/downloaded files, you'll have nothing but issues with the album art and track numbers.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 3/23/14 at 11:43am
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 

Lemme guess...you've only used iPods and iPhones? :D

 

Not even those. :)

 

This DAP stuff is really new to me which is why I'm a dummy.

I still collect CDs.

 

Right now I'm seriously considering the new Pono.

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukol View Post
 

Not even those. :)

 

This DAP stuff is really new to me which is why I'm a dummy.

I still collect CDs.

 

Right now I'm seriously considering the new Pono.

 

Oh then at least you won't be "spoiled" by iTunes' automatic this and that (that for some actually don't work right) whenever you hook up an iPod to the computer (and took me several days to figure out how to remove and replace content). And presumably since you still are used to getting up and picking/switching CDs (something I've been doing before all this computer-based stuff came along), you won't have as many issues with the user interface, as some tend to demand that they function the same way as an iPod where you can browse in ways other than looking into each Artist folder which has each album in a sub-folder (I had my CDs in alphabetical arrangement by artist, then chronologically by album, n my shelf).

 

I suggest reading up on Foobar or MediaMonkey, and how to rip and archive (ie, how to put track tags, proper numbers for multi-disc albums, etc) before you get any DAP, and start archiving your CDs into your computer. Also, get a separate back-up hard drive so if anything happens to the computer or even the back-up, there's always one other copy of the entire collection in FLAC format.

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

thanks for the advice, PM.

 

 

Edit~ Do I download Foobar 2000?


Edited by Koukol - 3/23/14 at 12:39pm
post #15 of 18

Yes, just download it, and start ripping. MediaMonkey is a lot more straightforward (for my brain anyway) but either one works well. Google "proper track tagging," so you can verify or correct any issues even if there's an auto-tag feature (MM does so if you're connected to the internet, where it can check what albums have the exact same data if it's not embedded in the CD).

 

One other tip: if you have multi-disc albums, don't tag them as "Title-Disc0x." Fix rack numbers so they follow continuously, then use the same tag for all of them. For example, if Disc01 stops at Track 17, make Disc02 start at Track 18 and so on, then use the same album title with no disc title on the album tag. This way when you go into the album folder all tracks are there and they'll play continuously, which is great for concert CDs.

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