5 DAPs to choose from. Opinions needed.
Apr 28, 2018 at 10:28 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 28

mesmerized

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Hello there,

I'm just a newbie and I don't have a whole lot of experience with modern DAPs. I used to have a HiFiMan 603 and a Fiio X5 (which I really didn't like) Now I've come to a point where I'd like to invest some money into a good music player. Here are my options:

1) Second-hand Onkyo DP-X1
2) Brand new Onkyo DP-X1A
3) Brand new AK70mk2
4) Second-hand Opus 1
5) Second-hand AK70mk1

I listen to a lot of blues, swing & jazz, classic rock, progressive rock, acoustic guitar, and I also have occasional flirts with classical music.

Now... I travel a lot on the trains/planes, so... I was thinking of pairing up one of those devices with Sony MDR1000mx2 (don't throw tomatoes at me) due to their excellent noise-cancellation system... Now... does it even make sense to splash out a lot of money on a good DAP if I'm not going to pair it up with great sounding IEMs?

Speaking of IEMs... I had a chance to listen to AK70mk2 with Michelle Limited and I was tempted to get that combo.

In a nutshell:

1) Which of those 4 DAP's would you say is the best investment?
2) Is pairing those DAP's with noise-cancelling headphones going to butcher the quality of sound to the point where it's useless to get a DAP?

Thanks... I would really appreciate each and every opinion and comment.
 
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Apr 28, 2018 at 10:32 AM Post #2 of 28

diver110

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I have never heard any of them, but AK usually is ranked high. I have a Kaan on trial. Seems a little bass light, but otherwise very happy with it so far. Make sure the DAP matches your headphones.
 
Apr 28, 2018 at 4:49 PM Post #8 of 28

Smurfs2010

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Hola! I just purchased 2 of the DAPs on your list; Onkyo DPX1 and AK70 mkii. They are very different players. Do you care for Android based player so you can load apps? Obviously Onkyo would be it for that. AK70 sound is up front and narrower than Onkyo. I am unable to tell which one is better as I like them both, however, I do find the AK70 a bit fatiguing due to the forward presentation but it's only with certain music. If I had to choose one, I will prob go with the Onkyo due to all the features and sq is slightly better (easier/laid back?) to my ears in comparison. The Onkyo is a bit awkward to hold vs. AK70 is made for travel, it's so small and easy to operate. The battery on both players is not all that great. Anyway, I am sure I didn't make your choice any easier but if you have a functionality questions, let me know.

PS: I have only tested the balanced out 2.5mm.
 
Apr 28, 2018 at 4:52 PM Post #9 of 28

jamato8

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The fiio x7II gets good reviews and you can use different amp modules.
 
Apr 28, 2018 at 5:05 PM Post #10 of 28

EagleWings

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Now... does it even make sense to splash out a lot of money on a good DAP if I'm not going to pair it up with great sounding IEMs?

@mesmerized , the simple answer is No. When you use a bluetooth headphone, the DAC inside the DAP, or how good the DAP sounds, doesn't really matter, as what gets sent to the bluetooth headphone is not an analog signal, but a digital signal. The Sony 1000M2, supports LDAC, which is type of a bluetooth codec, that allows wireless streaming at higher bit rates. So you need to take advantage of that, as it offers a better sound quality, than the more common wireless codecs like A2DP, in case you use CD quality files or Hi-Res files. My recommendation is a Sony A45 or A35 or a ZX300 that does LDAC streaming to your Sony headphone. You also get very good battery life on these DAPs and the UI is great.

Now in the circumstance, where you might be buying a proper IEM in the near future, that's when you need to worry about the sound quality of the DAP. In which case you could look into picking up a used Sony WM1A for a good deal(lots of people are selling it as they are expecting new DAPs from Sony this year). Buying the WM1A will have you covered on both fronts; bluetooth headphones as well as IEMs or other wired portable headphones. Or if you know that once you buy the IEM, you won't use your Sony wireless headphone, then an AK70ii or an Onkyo would make sense. If you don't plan to buy an IEM, or a wired portable headphone in the near future, simply save some $$ and get a Sony A45 for around $200 and call it a day.
 
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Apr 28, 2018 at 5:09 PM Post #11 of 28

gazzington

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Sony zx300 is my current fav for sound and easy use.
 
Apr 28, 2018 at 10:11 PM Post #12 of 28

mesmerized

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Thanks so much guys! Appreciate it!

Just a few more questions:

1) Is there any difference between ZX300 and ZX300A? I can't seem to find the answer in Google.
2) What do you think about Astell&Kern Michelle Limited 3?
3) Does AK70mk2 support the offline version of Tidal?
 
Apr 28, 2018 at 10:23 PM Post #13 of 28

EagleWings

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I can answer 1 and 3.

1) From what I know, the only difference is the internal memory. 300A version I believe only has 16GB, while the 300 has 64GB.

3) It does not play Tidal offline.
 
May 2, 2018 at 11:44 AM Post #15 of 28

EagleWings

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It really depends on how well the Balanced is implemented on a player. There are a couple of DAPs where there is almost no difference. On the Sony DAPs (1Z, 1A, ZX300), people have confirmed that the Balanced is definitely better.
 

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