Have earbuds, but don't know what to start
Jan 12, 2020 at 1:39 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

johnbennett

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Don't laugh....So I have spotify and tidal which I listen to, and if there's a song I like (which isn't many), I go to youtube and download the audio part from the video (4k youtube to mp3 app on macbook).

Have shure 846, but obviously not using it remotely to it's potential.

What do I need to buy? I googled "Best mp3 players" and literally 90% of them aren't even sold on Amazon anymore and the remaining 10% have bad feedback (3.5 stars or less).

Where do I get the actual music from if I want best quality? I don't want to buy 50 CDs and spend hours converting files with countless apps.

Are those the only two things I need (mp3 player and better source for music)?

I don't want a big boom box like setup, I want it some what portable so I can listen at the gym (not running, just lifting weights). So I guess portable is key.
 
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Jan 12, 2020 at 10:15 AM Post #3 of 8

mattiav

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Check out the reviews here, and sites like Twister6, Headfonia or Headfonics for DAP reviews. I wouldn’t put much stock in Amazon reviews in this case.

Certainly at the budget end, you will need to compromise on slick user interface be pure audio quality. Your smartphone will be tough to beat in that regard.

Getting high quality files is in general going to be more expensive than buying CDs; alternately there’s the choice of various hi res streaming platforms (Tidal, Qobiz, Deezer to name a few), which means either spending more on your DAP, or getting a dongle for your smartphone. Android has more dongle options but poorer built in audio support natively.

Honestly, starting with slightly better amping may be the best use of 200 bucks. Either via a DAP or a small DAC/Amp dongle.
 
Jan 15, 2020 at 2:30 AM Post #4 of 8

PaganDL

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Don't laugh....So I have spotify and tidal which I listen to, and if there's a song I like (which isn't many), I go to youtube and download the audio part from the video (4k youtube to mp3 app on macbook).

Have shure 846, but obviously not using it remotely to it's potential.

What do I need to buy? I googled "Best mp3 players" and literally 90% of them aren't even sold on Amazon anymore and the remaining 10% have bad feedback (3.5 stars or less).

Where do I get the actual music from if I want best quality? I don't want to buy 50 CDs and spend hours converting files with countless apps.

Are those the only two things I need (mp3 player and better source for music)?

I don't want a big boom box like setup, I want it some what portable so I can listen at the gym (not running, just lifting weights). So I guess portable is key.


Hi @johnbennett,

First of all, welcome to headfi & the messy world of personal audio...apologies to your wallet in advance...

Anyway, just to help steer you on the right track, music players for some time now are called DAPs, or Digital Audio Players so in your next search, you might try using the latter.

As @mattjav stated, I also suggest not using Amazon as a possible source or believing their reviews as pretty sure, in any case, 99% of reviews are croc...not to mention fake & there's actually a site which tracks what's fake or not but I digress...

Back on topic, subjectively & personally, 846 is a decent IEM or In Ear Monitors, though as far as technology & sonics are concerned, they are a little dated but do hold up overall as far as sound quality is concerned.

Just as an aside, not to be pedantic but in terms of terminology, earbuds are completely different to IEMs as they tend to be more open & don't actually go in the ear canal but tend to sit on the outer ear, earphones is a better generic terms for describing all types...

Honestly, as a suggestion, I wouldn't be too hung up on the actual format of music as what really matters is how well said music is recorded but one thing to keep in mind for any at minimum decent to good quality music has to be at minimum CD quality...
What also matters is, does the music, whatever the source, sound good to you?
Only you can answer this & really, at the end of the day, that's what matters...

Also, depending on what music you're into, how much you want to pay & since you're already using a Mac, I suggest looking at the iTunes store & picking songs from there, though keep in mind, the standard ACC format isn't the most stable so you might want to look into other formats to convert to...
There will be some who will scorn recoding a format due to potential further compression, sound quality loss, etc but it all depends...
I suggest .ogg in any case.
Not sure whether Foobar 2000 (player & encoder) is available on Mac yet so if not, just use VLC.
Other options for both music sources are Tidal & dare I say it Spotify with both platforms have options to purchase from though I have never done so though I use Tidal for streaming when not on the move if I have something not in my personal music library.

As to an affordable music player or DAP where you can get at least good potential from your 846, I suggest looking into Cowon Plenue D Series, though Plenue D is a solid choice & has the highest battery life of any DAP...PERIOD.
Subjectively & personally, the PD also has perhaps among the Best Sound Quality of any DAP I have tried (I have tried many, many DAPs,), potentially beating even a lot of mainstream high end but that's my view, others will certainly disagree.

Hope you find this useful & makes sense, feel free to ask more when you need.

Hope you have a great day !
 
Jan 15, 2020 at 9:12 AM Post #5 of 8

Deferenz

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Hi @johnbennett,

First of all, welcome to headfi & the messy world of personal audio...apologies to your wallet in advance...

That was a really good and informative post by PaganDL. I just wanted to pick up on the opening sentence and give the OP a brief insight into this world of personal audio :)


The Hobby & the Pain

So, you start off with the apple earphones you got with your iPhone. They sound good and all is well with the world.

You then think to yourself, 'These earphones are ok, but I wonder if there is something a bit better?'. So you have a look and hey! there are some for £50 which look really good. So you buy them.

Then that voice inside your head says; 'If £50 earphones sound good I wonder what £100 earphones sound like?'

Then you consider £200 IEMs. After all, it's only a bit more money isn't it?

Then the voice says, 'Hey - if you can afford £200 then you can afford £500, go on, just have a look. A look can't hurt can it?'

So you buy some IEMs for £500.

But then the voice asks, 'Are these £500 IEMs getting the most from your phone? Perhaps you need a £300 Dac/Amp to give them some help? After all it's only £300'.

But what about the cable that connects your DAC to your phone? Stock cable??? Is this 1985?

So, the £500 IEMs are great, the Dac/Amp is fab and the cable is smooth...

But then...then...the next thing you know you are spending £1,000 on a DAP and £2,300 on IEMS...And you'll decide to stop there because that is killer...it is totally TOTL.

But it's the voice. It's the voice isn't it? Because...now...yes now... now you need to spend £1,500 on a TOTL cable to link your IEMs to you DAP...


Be warned - There is no end game!

You will sell a kidney. Your partner will leave you. People will look at you as though your are insane because your portable music set up costs more than the gross domestic product of a medium size country.

Stop now and save yourself! (or instead google: Astell & Kern, Cayin, Fiio, Cowon, Hiby, Sony..etc...)
 
Jan 15, 2020 at 1:15 PM Post #6 of 8

kukkurovaca

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What do I need to buy? I googled "Best mp3 players" and literally 90% of them aren't even sold on Amazon anymore and the remaining 10% have bad feedback (3.5 stars or less).

If you want to buy from Amazon specifically, MusicTeck is a US distributor for a couple different brands, like Shanling and Hiby, and they sell through Amazon. You can also buy Fiio and iBasso stuff on Amazon, along with a bunch of other brands.

And as mentioned you may get better results searching for "DAP" or "audio player."
 
Jan 15, 2020 at 5:05 PM Post #7 of 8

gazzington

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That was a really good and informative post by PaganDL. I just wanted to pick up on the opening sentence and give the OP a brief insight into this world of personal audio :)


The Hobby & the Pain

So, you start off with the apple earphones you got with your iPhone. They sound good and all is well with the world.

You then think to yourself, 'These earphones are ok, but I wonder if there is something a bit better?'. So you have a look and hey! there are some for £50 which look really good. So you buy them.

Then that voice inside your head says; 'If £50 earphones sound good I wonder what £100 earphones sound like?'

Then you consider £200 IEMs. After all, it's only a bit more money isn't it?

Then the voice says, 'Hey - if you can afford £200 then you can afford £500, go on, just have a look. A look can't hurt can it?'

So you buy some IEMs for £500.

But then the voice asks, 'Are these £500 IEMs getting the most from your phone? Perhaps you need a £300 Dac/Amp to give them some help? After all it's only £300'.

But what about the cable that connects your DAC to your phone? Stock cable??? Is this 1985?

So, the £500 IEMs are great, the Dac/Amp is fab and the cable is smooth...

But then...then...the next thing you know you are spending £1,000 on a DAP and £2,300 on IEMS...And you'll decide to stop there because that is killer...it is totally TOTL.

But it's the voice. It's the voice isn't it? Because...now...yes now... now you need to spend £1,500 on a TOTL cable to link your IEMs to you DAP...


Be warned - There is no end game!

You will sell a kidney. Your partner will leave you. People will look at you as though your are insane because your portable music set up costs more than the gross domestic product of a medium size country.

Stop now and save yourself! (or instead google: Astell & Kern, Cayin, Fiio, Cowon, Hiby, Sony..etc...)
Wise words. This is the trap we are all in.
 
Jan 15, 2020 at 5:38 PM Post #8 of 8

Redcarmoose

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Don't laugh....So I have spotify and tidal which I listen to, and if there's a song I like (which isn't many), I go to youtube and download the audio part from the video (4k youtube to mp3 app on macbook).

Have shure 846, but obviously not using it remotely to it's potential.

What do I need to buy? I googled "Best mp3 players" and literally 90% of them aren't even sold on Amazon anymore and the remaining 10% have bad feedback (3.5 stars or less).

Where do I get the actual music from if I want best quality? I don't want to buy 50 CDs and spend hours converting files with countless apps.

Are those the only two things I need (mp3 player and better source for music)?

I don't want a big boom box like setup, I want it some what portable so I can listen at the gym (not running, just lifting weights). So I guess portable is key.

Maybe many of the audiophile DAPs would be even too big and not portable enough. When it all comes down to it, this whole possible-fiasco is ultimately personal. And just as value is subjective, it’s a mystery what will be of value.

But just like most stuff in life, like the gym, you get out of it what you put in.

Is a DAP even relative to what people need today?
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/is-the-dap-dead.874120/


I myself only take an IPod Touch 32GB out of the house as my DAPs are simply too big to walk around with. But that doesn’t mean that will be the case with you. Also none of my favorite sounding DAPs I use even stream music internally. Though they can accept and put out Bluetooth. My DAPs just play FLAC, DSD and MP3 files and such. Though I do go on trips with them, they are simply too big and heavy to go in my pocket.

Music:
If you don’t want to take the time to rip your CDs, there are plenty of places online to purchase music to download. Again it IS time consuming and expensive. You probably will be best off getting a style of Bluetooth receiver which you can keep your IEMs connected to, and simply stream Bluetooth with Tidal or Spotify from your phone. For many that’s the easiest way. But if you want higher quality there will always be reference here.

Also there is these two though I have not heard them?
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the-sony-40th-anniversary-walkman-thread.909629/
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/new-sony-nw-zx500.914486/


Cheers!
 
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