Buying a DAP?
Oct 23, 2016 at 11:50 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

ordnaela

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Hi I am currently using my phone and spotify to listen to music I was thinking if it is worth it to switch/buy to a DAP? will buying one make a difference in listening to my music?
 
Oct 23, 2016 at 3:03 PM Post #2 of 13

PL4Y3R 0N3

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Well it really depends on the phone. If you have a flagship (iPhone, galaxy, etc...) then you probably wouldn't be able to tell a difference. However, if you have an older or non-flagship/cheaper phone, it may make a huge difference.
 
Oct 23, 2016 at 11:59 PM Post #3 of 13

PinkyPowers

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Hi I am currently using my phone and spotify to listen to music I was thinking if it is worth it to switch/buy to a DAP? will buying one make a difference in listening to my music?


Nothing improves the sound you hear as much as an upgrade in headphones. That must always come first. Once you have decent headphones/IEMs, then a DAP is a good idea. There is no smartphone in existence that sounds as good as a mid-tier DAP, like the X5, N5, DX80 etc...
 
Oct 24, 2016 at 12:13 AM Post #4 of 13

PL4Y3R 0N3

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Nothing improves the sound you hear as much as an upgrade in headphones. That must always come first. Once you have decent headphones/IEMs, then a DAP is a good idea. There is no smartphone in existence that sounds as good as a mid-tier DAP, like the X5, N5, DX80 etc...

Yes! Should have said that but I didn't think about it. 
Unless your phone is really, incredibly bad, of you already have top of the line headphones/IEMs, buying better headphones will benefit you much, much more.
 
Oct 24, 2016 at 1:01 AM Post #5 of 13

ProtegeManiac

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ordnaela /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hi I am currently using my phone and spotify to listen to music I was thinking if it is worth it to switch/buy to a DAP? will buying one make a difference in listening to my music?

 
That depends on a lot of factors. Spotify Premium vs FLAC on the phone or DAP won't matter as much as you'd think though, but what will really matter is the headphone. More specifically, if the headphone or IEM has a very high impedance or low sensitivity that it is causing the audio chip in the phone to run out of steam, or its impedance is too low relative to the output impedance on the phone. At the same time there are some software issues with both smartphones/tablets and even some DAPs as the OS could have some kind of built-in EQ effect.
 
For some kind of more concrete example my SGS3 kind of sucked with every IEM I threw at it. Everything gets bloated bass, apart from the boosted bass response of the IEMs. On top of that the volume can go from "almost there" at three clicks + from zero to "TURNITDOWNJEEEEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZ" with just one more click of the + button. The Fiio X1 by contrast had a generally less bright treble but its bass response wasn't bloated, and it had about six to eight levels of adjustment between those two points of loudness. Note however that I still did not get an X1 at the time (I might get an X1v2 though) because I was using Neutron Music Player anyway, which allows me to use ReplayGain on the newer albums that got drafted into the Loudness War, and the EQ allows me to trim the bass in such a way that it flattens the response of my IEM - even flatter than with the X1 - which also gets me cleaner bass anyway. Also an Android update earlier this year fixed the volume control steps.
 
Against my Note3, even without Neutron, it's about level with the X1. With Neutron, no contest, I can flatten the sound and the hardware is no limitation, it sounds better than the X1 (note that also requires you know how to use Neutron's DSP). This is the Aurisonics ASG-1.3, with a 125dB/1mW sensitivity, and really the only things I've plugged it into that I had issues with were the SGS3 as described above, and the 3.5mm port on computer speakers.
 
Basically, you don't necessarily have to give up the convenience of Spotify if you can just use a high sensitivity IEM so the hardware would be less of a limitation (mine are 32ohms too so there's a lot less likelihood of impedance issues) forlistening on the go. I even use this phone for my desktop system and it has a touchscreen, something the X1 doesn't have (although you might prefer using the nav wheel) - reference albums on a 64gb card, casual listening music (house, pop, etc) on Spotify. At the time the DK1 dock wasn't out, but now that it is, I might get the X1v2.
 


 
 
 
Oct 24, 2016 at 10:47 AM Post #6 of 13

ordnaela

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Well it really depends on the phone. If you have a flagship (iPhone, galaxy, etc...) then you probably wouldn't be able to tell a difference. However, if you have an older or non-flagship/cheaper phone, it may make a huge difference.

Ohh okay I see. I'm using a Nexus 6p which is a flagship phone if I'm not mistaken.
 
Oct 24, 2016 at 10:52 AM Post #7 of 13

ordnaela

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Nothing improves the sound you hear as much as an upgrade in headphones. That must always come first. Once you have decent headphones/IEMs, then a DAP is a good idea. There is no smartphone in existence that sounds as good as a mid-tier DAP, like the X5, N5, DX80 etc...

The earphones that im using on the go is the SoundMagic E10 when I'm at home I use the shure se86, bose qc 25 or sennheiser momentum on ear. I'm kinda new with the gears and stuff so I don't generally have an idea I just like to listen to music.
 
Oct 24, 2016 at 10:55 AM Post #8 of 13

ordnaela

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That depends on a lot of factors. Spotify Premium vs FLAC on the phone or DAP won't matter as much as you'd think though, but what will really matter is the headphone. More specifically, if the headphone or IEM has a very high impedance or low sensitivity that it is causing the audio chip in the phone to run out of steam, or its impedance is too low relative to the output impedance on the phone. At the same time there are some software issues with both smartphones/tablets and even some DAPs as the OS could have some kind of built-in EQ effect.
 
For some kind of more concrete example my SGS3 kind of sucked with every IEM I threw at it. Everything gets bloated bass, apart from the boosted bass response of the IEMs. On top of that the volume can go from "almost there" at three clicks + from zero to "TURNITDOWNJEEEEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZ" with just one more click of the + button. The Fiio X1 by contrast had a generally less bright treble but its bass response wasn't bloated, and it had about six to eight levels of adjustment between those two points of loudness. Note however that I still did not get an X1 at the time (I might get an X1v2 though) because I was using Neutron Music Player anyway, which allows me to use ReplayGain on the newer albums that got drafted into the Loudness War, and the EQ allows me to trim the bass in such a way that it flattens the response of my IEM - even flatter than with the X1 - which also gets me cleaner bass anyway. Also an Android update earlier this year fixed the volume control steps.
 
Against my Note3, even without Neutron, it's about level with the X1. With Neutron, no contest, I can flatten the sound and the hardware is no limitation, it sounds better than the X1 (note that also requires you know how to use Neutron's DSP). This is the Aurisonics ASG-1.3, with a 125dB/1mW sensitivity, and really the only things I've plugged it into that I had issues with were the SGS3 as described above, and the 3.5mm port on computer speakers.
 
Basically, you don't necessarily have to give up the convenience of Spotify if you can just use a high sensitivity IEM so the hardware would be less of a limitation (mine are 32ohms too so there's a lot less likelihood of impedance issues) forlistening on the go. I even use this phone for my desktop system and it has a touchscreen, something the X1 doesn't have (although you might prefer using the nav wheel) - reference albums on a 64gb card, casual listening music (house, pop, etc) on Spotify. At the time the DK1 dock wasn't out, but now that it is, I might get the X1v2.

Ohh I see thanks for your input! its very detailed haha. I am new to the gears so I am exploring as to what might make listening to music more enjoyable. I use spotify premium and stream with high quality for now im using the soundmagic e10 on the go but i might bring the se846 just to see the difference :)
 
Oct 24, 2016 at 11:01 AM Post #9 of 13

ProtegeManiac

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  Ohh okay I see. I'm using a Nexus 6p which is a flagship phone if I'm not mistaken.

 
"Unfortunately plugging in a pair of headphones sends the stereo crosstalk sky high and results in even lower loudness. Dynamic range also falls a bit even if it still remains very good. Still with that kind of stereo we can’t really be happy with the Nexus 6P performance here – not in the day and age when smartphones that cost half as much can beat it."
http://www.gsmarena.com/huawei_nexus_6p-review-1355p7.php
 
Oct 24, 2016 at 11:15 AM Post #10 of 13

ordnaela

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"Unfortunately plugging in a pair of headphones sends the stereo crosstalk sky high and results in even lower loudness. Dynamic range also falls a bit even if it still remains very good. Still with that kind of stereo we can’t really be happy with the Nexus 6P performance here – not in the day and age when smartphones that cost half as much can beat it."
http://www.gsmarena.com/huawei_nexus_6p-review-1355p7.php

Oh wow I didn't know about this. Thanks I'll read the review! 
 
Oct 24, 2016 at 11:44 AM Post #11 of 13

PL4Y3R 0N3

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  The earphones that im using on the go is the SoundMagic E10 when I'm at home I use the shure se86, bose qc 25 or sennheiser momentum on ear. I'm kinda new with the gears and stuff so I don't generally have an idea I just like to listen to music.

By shure se86 did you mean the Shure se846? Because if so then you are at a point where you would definitely benefit from getting a better DAP. The se846 has an incredibly low impedance so you should get a DAP with an output impedance less than 1. Maybe the Fiio x5ii? Only problem is, if you get a DAP, you will probably have to get actual copies of your music instead of using spotify. The only DAP I know of that you can use spotify with is the Fiio x7, but that is $550 which is a good bit above your budget.
 
Oct 25, 2016 at 10:44 AM Post #12 of 13

ordnaela

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  By shure se86 did you mean the Shure se846? Because if so then you are at a point where you would definitely benefit from getting a better DAP. The se846 has an incredibly low impedance so you should get a DAP with an output impedance less than 1. Maybe the Fiio x5ii? Only problem is, if you get a DAP, you will probably have to get actual copies of your music instead of using spotify. The only DAP I know of that you can use spotify with is the Fiio x7, but that is $550 which is a good bit above your budget.

Yes I meant the se 846 sorry typo. Yeah that's way too much but I think I can save up for it. I'm thinking of actually getting copies of my music instead of Spotify for a while now but Spotify is convenient.
 
Oct 25, 2016 at 11:10 AM Post #13 of 13

PL4Y3R 0N3

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Yes I meant the se 846 sorry typo. Yeah that's way too much but I think I can save up for it. I'm thinking of actually getting copies of my music instead of Spotify for a while now but Spotify is convenient.

Hmm... there is the fiio x3ii which has an output impedance of less than 1 as well. The se846 is a TOTL IEM so your next step would definitely be to upgrade your dap as the source matters more than one would think, especially with a low impedance and high sensitivity IEM.
 

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