A noob is (might be) looking to upgrade his portable DAP
May 11, 2015 at 12:27 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4

scottcw

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I have been building a new portable system since my ER-4Ps broke a couple of weeks ago. I went with Future Sonics' MG5Pro as replacement CIEMs and have an Apex Glacier and a RSA Predator coming for DAC/amplification.
 
Now I am at the point where I am considering replacing my source. I currently have an iPhone 6 that I will use with a CCK into the DAC of either the Glacier or the Predator. This will be my daily commute rig where I don't want to carry a DAP in addition to my phone.
 
My other player is an iPod 5.5 with the Wolfson DAC. I could use it via LOD into the amp of the Glacier or Predator. It's only 80GB, so I am thinking of upgrading both storage and sound.
 
However, I read one member comment that made me rethink the need for an upgrade, "What I can tell you is an MP3 player or DAP (especially the FiiO and iBasso units) measure flat. Meaning besides the differences you can slightly hear neither player enhances bass, increases treble or alter the frequency response (when using no EQ), their purpose is to simply play the recording back and let the headphone or IEM use its signature."
 
So my noob question is, do I...
 
  • Stick with my iPod>LOD>Glacier/Predator? OR
  • Purchase a new DAP that would allow me to run a digital signal into the DAC of the Glacier or Predator and maybe even power my MG5Pro's without an external DAC/amp?
 
If 2, what's a good choice without blowing the budget (already over $1K so far, I know not much compared to some portable rigs on here)? I don't need the absolute best, I like that sweet spot where you get 90-95% of the performance for 1/2 the cost. I've been looking at the iBasso DX90 and the FiiO X3 2nd gen. Also, the Geek Wave looks promising if it ever comes out.
 
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
 
May 11, 2015 at 8:40 AM Post #2 of 4

H20Fidelity

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Hi,
 
That was me who made that statement in this thread (for reference)
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/765611/ibasso-dx90-or-fiio-x3ii-second-generation
 
In that instance the member was asking which DAP would suit his music genres. I was explaining neither player will in theory enhance the bass or treble etc as they're designed to play the music back with a flat frequency response.
 
(just like any well-designed DAP should)
 
However, from my experience we shouldn't confuse that with a player pushing out more detail, higher resolution or having stronger technical ability than another. In your case, an iBasso DX50 throws out considerably more detail from its headphone out than the iPod you have (which I have owned)
 
If you're asking for the sweet spot in players wanting to take advantage of line out I would say it comes down to your budget.
 
Both the iBasso units would be my choice for you with DX50 being that 'sweet spot' and DX90 (if you can lay out the extra)
 
There's also FiiO X3K which is around $200, but I'm reluctant to comment until mine arrives soon. 
 
May 11, 2015 at 11:53 AM Post #3 of 4

scottcw

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Thanks for the response.
 
If I understand correctly, the LOD is taking the signal from the DAC in my iPod and sending to the input of the amplifier only section of my external device. What I would like is a player that will allow me to both send the digital signal from the player to the DAC of my external device AND drive CIEMs directly if want to carry less stuff.
 

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