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DAP + Amp or Android Phone + DAC/Amp?

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by sashimiwu, Oct 4, 2012.
  1. SashimiWu
    Hey all,
    I've been looking to make a better portable set up recently since my Clip+ broke on me and my current Sony Walkman doesn't have enough memory for me at the moment.  I was looking into what type of source gear would be good if I'm looking for a warm sound that goes well with energetic music.  I listen to a lot of genres of music such as rock, folk, jazz, hiphop, pop, etc, and I would really like something that offers a good sense of clarity.  My budget would be around $400 but I really prefer not to get that close if possible.
    My potential ideas were to either get a dedicated source player such as an iPod or Cowon and then pair it with an amp.  However, a "problem" is I also have a laptop with a really bad DAC which is why I would like maybe a DAC/amp instead.  This means that my budget would run a bit higher which isn't something I'm willing to do at this point in time.
    I don't really like the Sansa Clip since it is pretty small for me and I've had two of the jack's break already since I generally don't treat them very well.
    The second option would be to get a US Galaxy S3 (since I am due for a phone upgrade) and just get a DAC/amp (maybe something like an iBasso D-Zero) to bypass the hardware inside.  This would also bypass my computer's shoddy sound card as well.  The problem with this is that my selection of amplification becomes a lot more limited but shouldn't be a problem as long as I find something that is known to sound good.
    I do 50% of my music on the go and 50% at my laptop throughout the week so this is why I'm a bit torn on what to do.  Any experiences or opinions are very much appreciated.  Thanks in advance!
  2. Whippler
    Have you looked into hifiman hm-602. Its a nice player that can be used as a dac and amp on pc. Battery life on it isn't too good same reason I don't use my android phone as a source. I want my phones battery to last as long as possible.
    Also hiSoundAudio studio-V 3rd Ani. is a fabulous player with 50h batterylife, and can be used as Amp, but you would still need a dac for pc use.
  3. PurpleAngel Contributor
    You could get a Fiio E10 USB-DAC-Head amp. ($68) for use with the laptop.
    and a Fiio E11 ($65) for use with whatever portable audio player you get.
    The Fiio E17 ($150) would work with all your stuff, as a DAC/Amp for the laptop and as just a headphone amplifier for the portable audio.
    So far I have not found a digital output on the Galaxy S3, so I'm guessing you can't hook an external DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) to it.
    Edit, I just found the USB (digital) connection on the Galaxy S3, so I know it can transfer audio files thru the USB (both ways), but it might not be able to play audio thru the USB.
  4. Szadzik
    You have not beed searching well enough,as S3 can use USB Audio to DAC, there is even a thread about it in here.
  5. NZtechfreak
    For the OPs use-scenario an S3+USB DAC/amp looks like a good option since the DAC/amp will also get use with the laptop.
    OP: Check the Android phones and USB DACs thread - DanBa has maintained an excellent list of all the USB DACs confirmed working with the S3 there (he reposts periodically when there is new information to update it with, so you should be able to find the relevant post quite easily within the last few pages of the thread).
  6. Gooby
    I would get the S3 and a Dac/Amp because:
    1. I just got the S3.
    2. You even said a phone upgrade was "due".
    3. You could get something like the Headamp Pico DAC/Amp or RSA Predator for the S3 AND laptop.
    4. The S3 is a GREAT phone and I really recommend it. Very customizable. Love how easy it is to put music, movies, etc. on the device. Micro SD slot is very useful for holding your songs, movies, or both. 4.8" screen is lovely.
    If you do decide to go with the S3 and a portable DAC/Amp or whatever, you could always do what InnerFidelity does and use 3M Dual Lock to stick the DAC/Amp onto the laptop/phone. You could just put the 3M Dual Lock in the corner of the laptop, and you could attach the Dual Lock either onto a case or right onto the back of the S3 and you could rotate backs for the S3 for when you don't want/need music.

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