I've been looking at the possibility of replacing my iPod Classic, which has started wigging out on me lately. It's a 2005 model so I think it's about time for an upgrade. There are three DAPs I'm considering in the same general price range, all of which I'd be listening to through my HiFiMan RE-400 Waterlines.
While I listen to many musical genres, my primary love is metal: black, melodic or tech death, ambient, post/shoegaze, etc. All of my music is in ALAC or AAC, and I'm working on slowly replacing the AACs with lossless versions. I'm currently using my old iPod Classic with a FiiO e11 portable headphone amplifier. I generally find the bass response is just a touch lackluster without the e11's EQ ramped up, but with much of my music I feel like there's a hint of mid-bass bloat with it set to "2." Given my genre preferences I guess I like a "V-" or "U-shaped" sound profile, amplifying the punch of double-bass kicks and clarity of the cymbals—which, sadly, are frequently under-produced. Whichever DAP I get needs to be reasonably forgiving of weak production.
I'm looking for advice as to whether I'll likely be happier with a FiiO X3, iBasso DX50, or a replacement iPod Classic to hook up to the e11. If I get the X3 or DX50 I'll be selling the e11 to offset the cost. I've read a lot of the comparison threads here and poked around on Google but haven't seen a clear-cut consensus on which option is superior, although many people appear to favor the DX50 now that the firmware is stable. (I have not seen anyone compare either of these DAPs directly to an amplified iPod, and I am assuming this means either one is strictly superior.)
Your thoughts on the matter will be greatly appreciated.
Edited by Djinnenjous - 5/26/14 at 1:05pm