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DAP Advice Under $250

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by s1mp13m4n, Dec 28, 2018.
  1. s1mp13m4n
    Hello everyone. I am in the market for my first dedicated budget DAP. This will be replacing an old iPod 3 64GB model. I am interested in value for the money. Name brand does not matter. I have three headphones I would use. Sony MDRV6 from the 90s, Grado SR225 twenty years old, and six year old Shure SE215. I want something that will last, hold up, and provides bang for the buck. I am careful with my stuff. That iPod is eight years old. Thanks for the help.
  2. davidcotton
    If you don't need streaming then either of Shanling M0 or Ibasso dx120 should see you right.
  3. s1mp13m4n
    What are your thoughts on the Fiio or Sony NW-A45 models? I am looking for something $250 or less. The Ibasso dx120 is $320. Yet I am interested in that model.
  4. davidcotton
    Not heard the sony a45 but got it's predecessor the 35. Works fine, generally bombproof, battery life for days and sounds decent enough. Being sony "stuff just works". Two downsides (at least for me) were that a)no podcast/audiobook support (if it had those I would not have "upgraded" to the hiby r6) and b)proprietary usb lead (bad sony). Other than that nice little player. No real experience with fiio aside from the x5-iii which I sent back pretty damn smart as I was a noob with android at the time, but even so didn't like it that much. One other option for you is the 128 ipod touch at $299 (though I bet you could get one cheaper on refurb or sales if you look around, failing that) if you want to stick with itunes?
  5. PurpleAngel Contributor
    I've used both FiiO and Sony DAPs in the past and would buy ether one in the future.
    FiiO should offer a better DAC function and more powerful headphone amplifier and more input/output features, and storage space (memory) for a given price.
    While Sony has the big bucks for developing and refining the user experience.
    I really liked my Sony E464 DAP, as it had all the features that I needed in a player and was small.
  6. KimChee
    Ibasso DX90 used with Rockbox. Fiio X3 with a Topping NX1 is also a nice combo about your budget..
  7. SoundDouble
    If you're happy with the apple experience I would agree with the 128ipod touch.

    But if you need a lot of space, musicteck has the n5ii with the case for $259. I just got one for Christmas

    Edit: I also like the Sony battery life and UI but the plug is what dissuaded me.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  8. s1mp13m4n
    Many of these brands I have never heard of. LOL. I will not be buying right now but I do want to research and learn. I thought about the iPod as well. My reasoning for not looking at one this time goes like this. The iPod is a do it all product. Music, video, Internet, apps, and camera. In my mind that makes it a "jack of all trades but master of none". My logic may be wrong. The reason I am interested in a DAP such as the Sony is due to the fact that all it does is music. My logic tells me that the device will have better components in its case and therefor be better at playing music. Keep the ideas coming.
  9. SoundDouble
    I understand the logic. If they don't spend money on a camera they can spend it on a better DAC.

    From my experience none of the daps here have cameras. They don't play games or videos well. But that doesn't mean it can't stream music or have good Bluetooth connectivity. IBasso, Fiio and Cayin have great sounding products with good connectivity.

    If you want a barebones player for music on the sdcard/internal memory I suggest thebit opus 1s. Might have to save a little more or look for used but I don't think anyone will fault the sound/build quality. Unfortunately I don't think they make them anymore.
  10. s1mp13m4n
    I want a player that will do these things:

    Power Grado SR225, Shure SE215, and Sony MDRV6
    Work with Linux, MacOS, and W1nd0w$
    Ability to use a bluetooth speaker now and then but not often.
    Will play audiobooks (can always use mp3 for that)
    Ability to reverse contrast display.(black background white text)
    Like the idea of external amp/dac (think use with old netbook or Raspberry Pi 3)
    Ability to stream Pandora, Spotify, etc for the gym or bluetooth speaker would be nice but not a must have. (Can use cellphone for that)

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