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Finding a suitable mid-priced DAP - help!

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by lucati, Jun 8, 2018.
  1. lucati
    Hey all,

    I've been doing some research on DAPs priced at around £500-800/$670-1100, but am finding it hard one worth buying - I currently have an iBasso DX80 for 2 years and the battery now drains super fast and the UI is pretty buggy.

    I'm ideally looking for a DAP with two micro SD slots (recently bought two 200GB ones), can fit in my pocket, that has a decent battery life, wide soundstage, capable of handling various high res formats and with an intuitive UI. I probably won't stream music, either. Also only needs to drive my Spiral Ear IEMs.

    I've looked at quite a few, but they all seem to be either good-but-not-great, with mixed user reviews, or missing something. I'm leaning towards the Onkyo DP-X1 or Pioneer XDP-300R, but they both seem to have issues with the audio jack, which is concerning. There's also the A&K Kann which seems amazing but that's apparently not pocket-friendly and the A&K AK70 mkii but that has only one SD slot.

    Is there a DAP that would be better than the Onkyo/Pioneer? Or should I get the AK70 and suck up the cost of buying a bigger SD card? Any help massively appreciated!
  2. yong_shun
    I think you can consider Onkyo DP-X1A, the successor of DP-X1. Onkyo claimed that the jack issue is solved in this model.
    I have a lot of friends using XDP-300R and no problem with the jack so far.
    I think the model with jack issue is Onkyo DP-X1...
  3. artpiggo
    What is your headphone btw.
  4. lucati
    Thanks for the responses guys:

    yong_shun - that's good to know, it's weird for the DP-X1 to have such a basic fault. Also I've realised that getting one in the UK might be tricky (on the Onkyo UK website they only mention the DP-X1, which is also the only one I can see on Amazon UK).

    artpiggo - I have a pair of Spiral Ear 3 way reference IEMs, and I think their impedance is pretty low.

    If the Onkyo DP-X1A isn't a viable option, then I'd consider the Sony NW-ZX300 (apparently there's some hissing issues though). It seems like every DAP I'm looking at has some sort of issue!
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
    I have the Pioneer XDP-300 which I use with
    XPA700. I have no issues with the jack. Sound is phenomenal. I even use the Pioneer balanced headphones ($70) sometimes balanced.
    Just love the screen resolution and sound.
  6. yong_shun
    Hmmmm... I think I did not have this issue... I will try mine again!
  7. ostewart
    Check out the Audio Opus #1s
  8. lucati
    DON'TGIVEUP - I think that the Pioneer XDP-300 is essentially the 'European' version of the DPX-1A, in that we only seem to have that choice from Onkyo here (this may not be the case in other markets). The professional reviews for the XDP-300 seem really good, I was just put off by some user comments about the battery life, file transfer issues and headphone jack build. Battery life only degrades (my iBasso now lasts about 90 minutes on 24 bit playback) so would like something closer to 8-10 hours ideally.

    young_shun - Yes, please let me know! A Headphonia review I read mentioned that it was pretty audible (https://www.headfonia.com/review-sony-zx300/2/). I am very tempted to blow the budget and get a Sony NW-WM1A, just because it seems so good.

    ostewart - I did actually look at that recently, but then saw that they had released the #3 more recently which only had one SD slot...I forgot that the #1 had two so thanks for that. That said, Opus is a relatively new player in the DAP game and - like the Onkyo - their DAPs don't seem that easy to buy from the UK.
  9. tarhana
    onkyo and pioneer models have high output impedance. i don't know your iem's impedance but take that to consideration.

    zx300 has 1.6 ohm at balanced. wm1a should be lower than 1.
  10. lucati
    tarhana - Thanks for telling me about that. I looked at the Spiral Ear website and also on here, but couldnt find any more information. Someone in a separate thread mentioned that the Spiral Ear SE5 has an impedance of 135 ohms, so I presume the SE3 isn't too different; if so then I'm assuming there won't be an issue, but tell me if I'm wrong on that!
  11. yong_shun
    I haven't have the time to try it yet but IMO Pioneer XDP-300R will be a better buy as compared to NW-WM1A based on my personal finding.
  12. Audiophonicalistic
    Back in january I purchased 4 different daps; xdp300r, ak70mkii, wm1a, and cowon plenue. Heres what I remember using shure 535.

    Xdp300r sounded very clear, detailed, spacious. Really enjoyed vocals as they had air around them. Sounded more analytical than the others. Has the best screen. Big plus is android system so you can easily stream.

    Ak70mkii, I was upgrading from ak jr which pairs really well with shure 535. The ak70 was much improved with detail, space, soundstage. Sounded neutral with a touch of warmth. Best one for vocals. Again paired nice with 535. Has the best form factor and portability. Battery seemed like it drained quickly and also got hot as music played.

    Cowon was smooth. Smoothest of all of them. Too smooth for my taste but I could see somebody falling in love with it.

    Sony wm1a is the one I chose. Sounds amazing. I think it handles all types of music, and has a good amount of power. Detailed but has a nice amount of warmth. Biggest and heaviest of them all. Has 4.4 plug which I like. Has the best battery as well. Im glad I chose it. With andromeda it did hiss a little bit but didnt bother me once music started playing.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  13. Raketen
    +1 the Opus#1 if you don't need streaming (though haven't heard the current "S" version that was recommended,).

    It's a little on the large side (though Kann looks bigger) & the battery life is not very good (among mid/high price daps AFAIK only Sony zx300/wm1a or Cowon Plenue R offer more than the seemingly standard 8-12 hrs) but it has good stage (both single ended & balanced), neutral but smooth sound (matches well with all IEM's I've tried) dual-microSD slots, basic and IMO intutitve UI (although imperfect with some glitches- again Sony & Cowon for best UI IMO).

    I'm not sure about high-res support & there have been sporadic mention of some hardware/firmware issues (IIRC the worst was some touch control failure with original #1) - there are pretty active threads for both #1 and #1s for researching.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018

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