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I Need Help Finding A New Portable Wolfson-Based DAP/DAC or DAP/Amp Combo

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I need help help finding a new portable Wolfson-based DAP that can work with a portable amp, or a DAP (doesn't have to be Wolfson-based) that will work with an external Wolfson-based DAC/Amp combo. My current headphones (Bowers & Wilkins P7), do not require much power to push, but I am looking at getting some higher ohm headphones that will probably require some amping. My current DAP is just a smartphone that has a Wolfson DAC in it with the Voodoo sound running on it, but that phone is dying and it's time to move on.

 

What I am specifically looking for is an all touchscreen-based DAP that has a Wolfson DAC in it, or can be connected to a DAC/Amp combo that does have a Wolfson DAC in it. My dream DAP would really be another touchscreen Android phone that can run sound through an OTG cable to a portable amp or a DAC/Amp combo (because the sound quality is better through the OTG cable). The reason that I'd like another smartphone is that I love having full touch screen controls, and I love using Poweramp. I tried going with an iPod Touch 4G and the FiiO e12, but I just did not like the lack of bass in the Cirrus DAC chip. Even with bass boost turned on (on the FiiO e12) and the bass eq'ed up (using an app), the bass just wasn't strong and punchy, and it actually got distorted and muddy sounding. I am not at all "Beats bass head", but I do like strong tight bass with my music.

 

So my requirements are:

 

1. An all touchscreen DAP (preferably a smartphone, but it doesn't have to be a "brand new" model since it will only be used as a DAP).

 

2. The phone must be able to connect through OTG to a Wolfson-based DAC/Amp combo (if no Wolfson DAC is in the phone) or an external amp (if the phone does have a Wolfson DAC in it).

 

I looked at the FiiO e18, but the issue with that DAC/Amp is that it does not have a Wolfson DAC in it and it lacks an eq (the Poweramp eq will not work since the sound is being processed by the FiiO e18 DAC). I have heard that the FiiO e17 has better sound than the e18 (as well as some eq abilities), but I do not know if that DAC/amp combo will work with any Android phones through the OTG cable.

 

If anyone can provide any suggestions/help for me I would very much appreciate it.

 

Thanks in advance!


Edited by Illustrator76 - 6/26/14 at 5:34am
post #2 of 11

errr a DX50 sort of fulfils what your after

post #3 of 11
Quote:


 I tried going with an iPod Touch 4G and the FiiO e12, but I just did not like the lack of bass in the Cirrus DAC chip. Even with bass boost turned on (on the FiiO e12) and the bass eq'ed up (using an app), the bass just wasn't strong and punchy, and it actually got distorted and muddy sounding. I am not at all "Beats bass head", but I do like strong tight bass with my music.




 



How do you know that it was the Cirrus that had a lack of bass.  The Cirrus DAC like every other DAC converts the entire frequency spectrum from 20-20 to an analogue signal as flat as can be.  I do not think it was the Cirrus DACs fault.



http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/ipod-touch-5g/audio-quality.htm

 



I do agree the DX50 is what you are after.


Edited by meat01 - 6/26/14 at 7:12am
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meat01 View Post
 
Quote:
 
 
 I tried going with an iPod Touch 4G and the FiiO e12, but I just did not like the lack of bass in the Cirrus DAC chip. Even with bass boost turned on (on the FiiO e12) and the bass eq'ed up (using an app), the bass just wasn't strong and punchy, and it actually got distorted and muddy sounding. I am not at all "Beats bass head", but I do like strong tight bass with my music.
 

 

 

How do you know that it was the Cirrus that had a lack of bass.  The Cirrus DAC like every other DAC converts the entire frequency spectrum from 20-20 to an analogue signal as flat as can be.  I do not think it was the Cirrus DACs fault.



http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/ipod-touch-5g/audio-quality.htm
 

 

 

I do agree the DX50 is what you are after.

 

Are you saying that the signal gets converted to flat sound when going from the iPod LOD to the amp like I had it? I thought each DAC (Wolfson, Cirrus, etc...) had very distinct sound signatures. Are you saying this isn't the case? The Wolfson on my phone sounded a lot more warm and had more bass quality and quantity than the Cirrus-to-amp sound of the iPod did.

 

Do you have any suggestions to correct this issue with the iPod and FiiO e12 setup? I tried tweaking every eq setting that I could within the apps that I was using (Equalizer and SoundFocus), but it only made the bass more distorted and the overall sound worse.

 

Also, are there any smartphones in combo with a DAC/amp that I could use as opposed to the DX50? I really like using Poweramp and I am wondering if that may have something to do with why I like how my current DAP sounds so much. I also heard that the DX50 is buggy (even Rockboxed), and it's not a full touchscreen either.

 

Any further info you (or anyone else) could provide would be great!

 

Thanks!


Edited by Illustrator76 - 6/26/14 at 8:22am
post #5 of 11
The problem with smartphones and iPods is that they don't have good amps built in like the Fiio X3/5, or ibasso DX50/90 DAPs do to drive some headphones. There may be some other DAPS that have full touch screen and better amps, but I do not know of them in your price range. Hopefully others can help you out.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meat01 View Post

The problem with smartphones and iPods is that they don't have good amps built in like the Fiio X3/5, or ibasso DX50/90 DAPs do to drive some headphones. There may be some other DAPS that have full touch screen and better amps, but I do not know of them in your price range. Hopefully others can help you out.

 

That is why I am looking for a smartphone that has a Wolfson DAC that can go OTG to a portable amp if at all possible. That way I can still have a full touchscreen and the ability to eq using Poweramp as well.

 

So my preferred setup would be: Smartphone with Wolfson DAC > Amp (Preferably FiiO) > Headphones

My alternate setup would be: Smartphone without Wolfson DAC > Wolfson DAC/Amp combo (Preferably FiiO and preferably with some kind of built-in eq) > Headphones

 

In my alternate scenario I lose the ability to eq using Poweramp, but at least I can still use Poweramp as a player as well as have the use of a full touchscreen.

 

Can anyone else suggest anything?


Edited by Illustrator76 - 6/26/14 at 12:46pm
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

I noticed that most of the Cowon music players are touchscreen and they run on some form of Android (I even saw one using Poweramp). Does anyone know if any of the Cowons use the Wolfson DAC or if they are quality players on the level of the iBasso DX50 (after further research it seems like the stock iBasso firmware is improved)? I saw a lot of Cowon music players on Amazon, but the reviews didn't seem to be that great on any of them.

 

I am thinking a Cowon player could be the compromise that I am looking for, but I would much rather go with an iBasso DX50 (if I have to) if the build /sonic quality is much better.


Edited by Illustrator76 - 6/26/14 at 4:16pm
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

I just went ahead and grabbed an iBasso DX50. It was on sale on Amazon, so it was a steal to me. The DX50 pretty much offers everything that I am looking for except for the ability to use Poweramp, but I will have to learn to live without that I guess.

post #9 of 11

sensible choice i think

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2410 View Post
 

sensible choice i think

 

Yeah, especially given the fact that I literally caught the DX50 at the right moment on Amazon for $30.00 off. I basically got the DX50 and a memory card for the same price that the DX50 normally goes for. When I went back to Amazon about 10 minutes later, the price of the DX50 was back up to it's normal price. Not sure if it was some kind of 1-hour sale going on or something like that, but I lucked-out nonetheless.

 

I also found out that (only if necessary) I can hook up a portable external amplifier if I ever acquire a pair of quality high ohm headphones. Most of my DAP must-have boxes got ticked with the DX50, so I think I will be happy.

post #11 of 11

well you can use an external amp but i really dont see any need to whatsoever.  i rather think that you buy something like the DX50 so you dont have to strap an amp to it.

 

it will happily drive high impedance headphones, i used my HD600's (300 ohm) and it worked exceedingly well together.

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