Best SQ DAP playing flac
Dec 2, 2008 at 7:45 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 34

rms

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I need recommendos for a DAP that will play flac files. I am mainly concerned with getting the absolute best sound possible, the interface is secondary so long as it is functional. I won't be playing video or using it to record.

My earphones are Westone UM2's. My files are ripped to flac using EAC and my home playback system uses recording studio monitors that are very precise, revealing, dynamic, and fun to listen to. I would like similar for my portable setup in terms of hearing detail with a flat response across the spectrum, and being fun to listen to.

The players I am aware of that will play flac are the Cowan D2 or iAudio7, and the Fuze. Have any of you compared these head to head? Do any of you know of any other quality players that can handle flac?

Thanks,
RMS
 
Dec 2, 2008 at 7:48 PM Post #2 of 34

Sherwood

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How crazy are you willing to go, here? Are there limits to size/portability/reasonable cost?

The best SQ I can fathom in this application would be a rockboxed iPod that has been iModded coupled to a quality outboard amp. That's two boxes and at least $500, though.
 
Dec 2, 2008 at 8:22 PM Post #3 of 34

Calexico

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iMod with Rockbox and a quality amp. And if you REALLY want to go all out, some people feel that higher quality cables improve the SQ, but that is debated.

The D2 has bass roll-off with low-impedance headphones, IDK what the impedance of the UM2s is. The Fuze has a very flat response.
 
Dec 2, 2008 at 9:02 PM Post #4 of 34

rms

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As far as cost goes I can't go sky is the limit but if the sound quality is worth spending $500 I'll do it. So I am curious about the iMod and Rockbox - can you give me more info. or some links? And the UM2's are 27 ohm, very easy to drive. The Fuze sounds like a good option too and certainly affordable right now. If the Fuze' sound is close to what I would get spending lots of money than that might be the best way to go especially since the UM2's are so easy to drive. I do have a P2V2 but it is not really helpful with the UM2's.
 
Dec 2, 2008 at 9:35 PM Post #5 of 34

Sherwood

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Here's the iMod

Rockbox is a third party firmware for the ipod that allows it to play FLAC natively. You can add it to most any ipod, including every model that has been imodded.

The iMod procedure bypasses the internal amp completely, so it is necessary to use an external amp with volume control. What amp is entirely up to you of course.
 
Dec 2, 2008 at 9:58 PM Post #6 of 34

Robisan

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At under $100 for 16gb (8gb + 8gb microsd card) the Fuze is an overlay for you. If it meets all your SQ needs, then great. If not, you'll still have an inexpensive, excellent sounding portable "beater" unit to use when you don't want to carry your $300-500 Rockbox + amp rig.
 
Dec 2, 2008 at 10:08 PM Post #7 of 34

ri_toast

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look at meizu M6sl, 10 band EQ, lots of boost/spacial settings. 8gb only; no card slot. can be had for around 100usd. I'd suggest you get it from a dealer like B&H photo. this player will drive my sennheiser 545s (120ohm) pretty well. it will have no problem with your iems. i run my player flat when playing flac files, mp3s need a little help; not the fault of the player.
 
Dec 2, 2008 at 10:12 PM Post #8 of 34

Calexico

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ri_toast /img/forum/go_quote.gif
look at meizu M6sl, 10 band EQ, lots of boost/spacial settings. 8gb only; no card slot. can be had for around 100usd. I'd suggest you get it from a dealer like B&H photo. this player will drive my sennheiser 545s (120ohm) pretty well. it will have no problem with your iems. i run my player flat when playing flac files, mp3s need a little help; not the fault of the player.


MP3s don't change overall frequency response of files does it? It's not like a bassy FLAC file will suddenly lack bass when converting to MP3.

Or maybe I'm wrong?
 
Dec 2, 2008 at 10:41 PM Post #9 of 34

ri_toast

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^ the difference is lossless (flac: free lossless audio codec) mp3 is lossy. so yes, mp3 drops audio information (usually in high frequency range) but takes less file size. sorry for the simplistic explanation but the process is complex; lame is one of the better for mp3, still not as good as flac.
here's the skinny, good reading if you have the time. EAC and FLAC - Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase
eac can also be configured for lame. LAME - Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase
 
Dec 2, 2008 at 11:40 PM Post #12 of 34

rms

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Robisan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
At under $100 for 16gb (8gb + 8gb microsd card) the Fuze is an overlay for you. If it meets all your SQ needs, then great. If not, you'll still have an inexpensive, excellent sounding portable "beater" unit to use when you don't want to carry your $300-500 Rockbox + amp rig.


Thanks Robison, I like the way you think - more options are definately always desireable, especially with the Fuze being well under a hundred bucks. You're right, there are plenty of times when I may not want to carry a more expensive and larger rig - like when splitting firewood or doing other yardwork.

Sherwood - thanks for the link to the iMod, I am going to investigate that further. Now where can I buy a 4th, 5th, or 5.5 gen iPod and how do you know that is really what you are getting? Is one or the other better? And what are your amp recommendations to go with my 27 ohm UM2's? The P2V2 is nice with my DT770's but yields a bit too much lowend with the UM2's, and since they are so easy to drive is a bit too powerful - or rather does not have enough attenuation at low volume.
 
Dec 3, 2008 at 12:50 AM Post #14 of 34

RubenNYC

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Don't know how the SQ compares to a Rockboxed iMod, but I think a flash modded Rio Karma is worth mentioning.

I'm also a huge fan of the vibez, but they're really really hard to find. (The new flash versions still aren't in stock anywhere and won't be in time for Christmas.)
 
Dec 3, 2008 at 8:04 AM Post #15 of 34

Robisan

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Quote:

Originally Posted by rms /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks Robison, I like the way you think - more options are definately always desireable, especially with the Fuze being well under a hundred bucks. You're right, there are plenty of times when I may not want to carry a more expensive and larger rig - like when splitting firewood or doing other yardwork.


Just to add to the thought... You might want to hold off on the SD card until you decide whether the Fuze will be your primary rig. The price for 16gb microsd cards is now about $60 and dropping (down from $75 just a month ago). If you like the Fuze (and I think you will), the 16gb card (making 24gb total) would make sense given you want to use FLAC files.
 

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