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Acoustic Research AR-M200

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by audionewbi, Aug 12, 2017.
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  1. Dionysus
    This is back on Massdrop for 99.99 for those still interested.
    trellus and Light - Man like this.
  2. Light - Man
    Wow that is a steal!

    I have one and think that it is very good. The UI is quirky but the bluetooth AptX HD is great.............................
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
    trellus likes this.
  3. Matpar
    Mine is on its way, can't wait to try it out! (had to ship it to a friend in Singapore, then he'll send it back to me in Italy.. :D).
  4. cattlethief
    Just joined this drop m200 and case plus e-10 iems for $200 that is a bargain ,not bothered about the ui as I will be mostly using the amp/dac to stream with my phone, should also have enough power for my RHA CL1.
    trellus likes this.
  5. tomaslam
    Can anyone compare this DAP to the ZX300? Specially in Balanced mode. Thanks
  6. gr8soundz
    Mine arrived a couple days ago. Imo, it's worth the Massdrop price but I can see why this DAP didn't sell well. Good build quality and the case was also a steal at +$10.

    Thankfully, it recognized my 400GB (FAT32) Sandisk card and seemed to scan it in record time. However, as others have stated, the UI and navigation are poor and not intuitive at all. But it works at least. Takes a while to scroll through so many folders and frequent lag when selecting/playing/skipping songs (sometimes double digit seconds; may try a smaller card to see if it makes any difference).

    Sound quality is very good though, imo. No doubt the simple OS (probably single threaded) and minimal features help improve audio quality. I was especially impressed with how it with my Sony Z7 out the 4.4mm balanced jack. However, even after updating the firmware, if I pause playback for more than a few minutes I get no sound when resuming and have to restart the player.

    The best feature so far (and the reason I decided to give the M200 a try) is the bluetooth receiver mode. Playback is almost seamless when using my LG V10 and other android devices as wireless sources. Almost no lag compared to the sluggish local playback and no dropouts so far even when the two devices are 1 room apart. The player's 'Status' menu option also tells you exactly which bluetooth codec (I've tested apt hd, aptx, and sbc) is being used so finally I don't have to wonder if I'm using the best possible connection. I know even aptx hd is lossy but I find the quality to be more than acceptable.

    So, I wouldn't recommend the M200 for standalone DAP use unless you have absolutely no other way to play your music. But, as a cheap bluetooth dac/amp, it has few faults.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  7. crabdog
    The ZX300 balanced out sounds far better than the M20.
  8. Matpar
    But we are talking M200 here...
  9. crabdog
    Ack, confusing naming schemes... M200 is closer to the Sony for sure. Since I haven't heard it for so long though I can't say any more than that.
  10. tomaslam
    But it seems that the M200 is a downgrade to the M20... I'm confusing too. But thank you for the information anyway
  11. maira
    You are saying M200 sounds better than M20?
  12. crabdog
    Yes, M200 sounds better than M20. BUT M200 is a laggy piece of junk with ugly UI. The only good thing about it is the sound.
  13. maira
    No offence here but i have doubts... .
  14. crabdog
    Doubts about which part? Not that it matters...it makes no difference to me either way.
  15. gr8soundz
    There is some truth in simplicity improving sound quality (i.e. Tera Player). Just because one DAP costs more or has a bigger screen does not mean it sounds better. In fact, besides sipping more power, larger screens and more features like streaming can cause jitter and reduce audio quality. The best sounding player in my collection has no screen at all: the Revamp P1.

    By my ears (so far), the M200 certainly sounds better than most mid-range players I've heard. The hardware (pentaconn, type-c, and qualcomm 8675 chip) are in-line with 2019 but the UI belongs in the 20th century. I wonder if AR cut corners on the UI in order to include that latest hardware? Shame. What good is any player if it's frustrating to use? Thankfully they at least got the bluetooth right......
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