DAP with the best SOUND QUALITY for my MS-1 in $250 range
Mar 7, 2006 at 11:25 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 26

HeadLamp

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Hi Guys,
I am looking for a DAP. My most important criteria is sound quality. It should drive my MS-1 well.
I have heard the iPod and found it good but I dont have the luxury of auditioning other good players like iRiver, Creative Zen etc...

My budget is around $250.
Kindly suggest me the best possible DAP on the basis of sound quality and decent Voltage output (so that my MS-1 is driven well).

The only other requirement is FM radio, it would be great if the player has FM built in or through an add-on.

Please guys its quite urgent as I have to decide within 2-3 days.
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 11:51 AM Post #2 of 26

GreatDane

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Zen Vision:M - $300

Great SQ- check
Great power- check
FM radio- check

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...and a whole lot more...
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 12:17 PM Post #3 of 26

HeadLamp

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No Its around $330.
Where did you see it $300 ?? Can you give me the site.

See actually, $250 is almost my last budget so stretching further is very difficult.

BTW how is Creative Zen Touch ?? I read a lot of reviews about them which says its has Excellent SQ...what say

Will there be any difference in SQ between Creative Zen Toch and Zen sleek ? (Zen sleek has an inbuilt FM radio) but I am worried if there would be down gradation of SQ..
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Mar 7, 2006 at 1:40 PM Post #4 of 26

bangraman

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The iPod+remote, iRiver H300/H100 if you want to hunt, the X5, the Samsung somethingorother
tongue.gif
or the Creative ZV:M are all pretty similar choices in terms of your requirements. I'd suggest you do some research into best price, and usability for you.
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 9:35 PM Post #7 of 26

GreatDane

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Yes, you can buy the ZVM for $300 as others have stated. I bought mine from Best Buy(
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) in store so that I could get the 2 year warranty.

I don't really like Best Buy (long story) but I have always gotten my way with extended warranty issues and spending the extra $20~$40 has always paid off in the end.

OK, you're budget won't allow a ZVM. You mentioned having read that the Creative players have very good SQ and that it what steered me toward the Zen models.

My budget was around $250 at first because I thought that was as much as I needed to spend to be happy so I decided on a Zen Sleek for $250. I couldn't find one locally and then realized that for $10 more I could get a Zen Sleek Photo. If for nothing more than a prettier color screen it is worth it.

The Photo does display... photos (duh) , but I quickly realized that the screen is too small to be impressive for picture viewing, but that's not what I bought a DAP for although I had been secretly lusting for a Zen Vision:M.

After I had bought the Sleek Photo I discovered that the ZVM was available at Best Buy so I returned the ZSP to Wal-Mart(10 days later) and added the $40 and bought the ZVM. The upgrade was an easy choice.

I have really nothing bad to say about the Sleek Photo and I would have been happy if I would have kept it. The build quality is very good and imo it is sexier than an iPod.

At Best Buy the Zen Touch is $270 I think which is a good value for a 40 GB player. It is bulkier than the ZVM or Sleek and of course doesn't do video.

If you can manage a $300 budget you can't go wrong with the ZVM (which has incredible screen quality btw)...but the Zen Sleek is also a very respectable player.
 
Mar 8, 2006 at 6:46 AM Post #8 of 26

HeadLamp

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Thanx guys for all those replies.....

But my problem is not solved....
Please understand that I am looking for the best SOUNDING Portable player.
The word in caps is the key.

I am ready to sacrifice a few GB of storage or even compromise in User-Unfriendliness, but if it sounds awesome (near audiophile grade) then its for me.

Thanks for the links to $300 Creative ZVM, to tell you the truth, its very expensive for me at the moment. Apart from all its great features, is it also one of the BEST SOUNDING machine is my question ???

As I have said in my previous post, I have read great reviews about Creative Zen Touch, has anyone out here heard them, is it better than the iPod for pure sound ?

Whats the strength of the iRiver models you have suggested, are they awesome in SQ ?
Please help me out with all your experiences as I dont have any opportunity to listen to them.
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Mar 8, 2006 at 8:27 AM Post #9 of 26

manhattanproj

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i think someone in one of the thread say its best: the best sounding or the best whatever dap is the one that you have. so it's pretty hard to find the absolute best sounding dap, beside most don't own more than one dap. that makes comparison harder. dap aren't headphones. they all perform the same function, no point in getting more than one.

find one that is within your budget, that you think is the most sexy looking dap on earth, that has all the features you are looking for, and that has the color you like. if you find that the player doesn't do your headphone any justice, then save up and start lurking around the amplication and dedicated source forums. that's why companies make dac and amp so that you can enjoy that perfect sound you are after.
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but i myself is pretty tempted to buy the vision :m. i like the fact that you dont need to install itunes and can be used with windows media player. it's much more convenient that way.
 
Mar 8, 2006 at 8:48 AM Post #10 of 26

HeadLamp

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Hmmmmmm.......not the answer I had expected..
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How on earth can I believe that all DAPs sound as good as it looks and feature-rich ???

Ok...I am not looking for the absolute sound or the absolute BEST in sound quality....I know its not possible to conclude on any one as Audio is very subjective.

But in general there should be some DAPs which are more known for its excellent sound !!! Am I not making sense here...
After all they are mainly meant to produce sound, so there should be DAPs which do it best......WHEN COMPARED TO OTHERS...is the catch !!
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Is it possible or not...
Look, in audio after a certain extent, a small improvement in sound is infact a large improvement and its that precission which audiophiles look for.
So thats what I am looking for. I am not looking for a DAP whcih can do more Boom Boom than others, not at all, I am looking for something which just give me precise sound, close to natural sound, close to a high quality CDP...with all frequencies intact....

Midrange is very critical to me and it should not be sacrificed at all...
 
Mar 8, 2006 at 10:30 AM Post #12 of 26

rhymesgalore

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By the way: when you're looking for sound like a high quality cdp: there is NO mp3-player out there, who is able do to this...
 
Mar 8, 2006 at 11:04 AM Post #13 of 26

HeadLamp

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Quote:

Originally Posted by rhymesgalore
By the way: when you're looking for sound like a high quality cdp: there is NO mp3-player out there, who is able do to this...


Agreed....but how about trying to be there ???

Since most if these portable players are for the masses, so they tend to be plagued with un-necessary boost of some frequencies while sacrificing other frequencies. I just want to avoid those deliberate boosts.

I mean which are the most natural sounding DAPS among the DAPS ?
 
Mar 8, 2006 at 11:55 AM Post #15 of 26

bangraman

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In terms of colouration I suppose the Sony NW-A3000 might be considered 'natural' but it's underpowered for use with full-sized phones. Out of the likes of an MS-1 you aren't going to notice a variance really worth noting across the ZV:M, X5 and 5G iPod (assuming you aren't using the EQ). Out of the Qualia 010, I'd say the ZV:M is the slightly more natural sounding as the X5/iPod has more of a sharp edge to the sound. But who's to say what sounds more natural to you? I obviously couldn't second-guess that.


SQ-wise, I tend to lump these three into one mass. I say pick any of the three as far as core SQ is concerned, and make your final selection based on what you want in terms of usability and/or features.


X5 = The best for features but they don't all work that well. Drag & Drop. Full USB-OTG. Has single OTG playlist. Extensive sound shaping options, all of which screws up the sound. Excellent display remote if you need that sort of thing, but the remote screws up the sound. Napster To Go / Rhapsody compatible via a rather weird lashup. Extremely poor video.
ZVM = Halfway house between the X5 and the iPod, excellent out of the box package, well-featured if not as good as the X5 or the iPod in some ways. Capability to generate and manage playlists on the go. Good video facilities, probably the strongest DAP due to it's diecast chassis and polycarbonate front. Custom EQ which does affect SQ... maybe slightly more than the X5. Napster To Go / Rhapsody compatible. No USBOTG. Flavor Of The Month
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iPod 5G = Simply put, the best jukebox. Lacks many features "as is" but is the best at what it's supposed to be, which is to present and play a large music collection. Multiple OTG playlists. Superior screen, unprecedented third party support. Truly crappy EQ. Camera-only USBOTG.


Catscratch says the Kenwood is the best, but we've got no comparison pics that I'm aware of and no other opinions about it so far.


You could also look at a used iRiver H320. Roughly speaking the SQ is in line with the above three players, but it has better headphone amp performance with lower impedance loads (i.e. your MS-1).
 

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