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Obscure Chinese DAPs

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by pekingduck, May 26, 2014.
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  1. Slater
    Guys, I’ve been out of the DAP scene for a while. Still using my trusty xduoo X3 with Rockbox.

    I’m ready to move on.

    What are some good options nowadays? I’ve been out of the budget ChiFi DAP game for a few years. The last I checked in, the Benjie T6 was recommended as a good bang for buck player.

    Ideally, I’d like it to have:

    - line out (for use with FiiO amp)
    - touch screen preferred, but not required
    - no laggy buggy firmware, no goofy 2 second delays or clicks or static between songs, etc
    - ability to set my own EQ (not preset junk like “pop”, “rock”, “jazz”, etc

    Optional but would be a definite plus:
    - Bluetooth 5.0, but I’d settle for 4.2
    - AptX or AAC support
    - balanced port

    I don’t need DAC.

    I guess another option could just be an ES100 adapter plus my iPhone, although that doesn’t help with with flac. Apple is about to discontinue iOS 13 from the iPhone SE, so I might relegate my 128GB SE to duty as a dedicated DAP since it has a headphone jack and the sound is pretty clean. Can also do Tidal among other streaming apps. And I wouldn’t have to spend a penny.

    Otherwise, the DAP budget would be $200 up to maybe $300.

    Some players I’ve considered, but don’t know much about:
    Hiby R3
    Hidiz AP-60 II
    Hidiz AP-80
    Aigo Z6 Pro
    Cayin N3
    Shanling M0
    Shanling M2X

    Cayin N5IIS and Shanling M5S look totally badass specs, and the Cayin has dual card slots which is a definite plus. So I could keep saving my pennies for that if it’s totally worth the extra price.

    Also, as comical as the Zishan DSD Pro looks in 2019, it has nice specs for the price. And coming from an xduoo X3, I’m used to button-only navigation. So I could certainly consider the DSD Pro if it is the best bang for the buck option.
    Last edited: May 15, 2019 at 5:31 PM
    KarmaPhala and hakuzen like this.
  2. gazzington
    Hmm never heard of it but will have a look
  3. hakuzen
    i've only got hidizs ap-80 from your list, but own some daps.
    why don't you consider xduoo x20? it marks all the ticks, except bluetooth is 4.0, and not touch screen. dsd, usb dac & otg, lineout, balanced out, digital coaxial out, aptx, hibylink.. although stock ui is not bad (i'm using it frequently), it allows dual boot rockbox :wink:. real power (not distorted) in balanced mode is so huge than i can drive he400i with it. and i like sabre dac far more than cs4398 of x3. i use it at home but also when commuting.
    check its measurements: https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/title-report.php?id=1322

    got a good price at ebay (way lower than in ae)
    Last edited: May 15, 2019 at 6:29 PM
    mbwilson111 likes this.
  4. Slater
    @hakuzen, although they provide a lot of bang for the buck, I’m kinda skeptical of xduoo after how they handled the firmware updates on X3 and other products. They seem to just abandon owners and leave them high and dry.

    Also, not planning on Rockboxing anything else, as the max resolution is not that competitive anymore. Also, no Bluetooth, etc. I’ll still be able to use Rockbox on my X3, iPod Classic, and Sansa Clip+. But I’m basically looking to update to the 21st century.

    Is the FiiO X5III any good? It’s in my price range and has dual card slots. Also FiiO has some other players I’ve never heard of that are all in my budget range (M6, M7, M9)
  5. mbwilson111
    Don't forget the iBasso DX120... unless you need wifi or android. Don't know about the equalizer requirements... you would have to check in the thread. Most of these DAPs you are considering have their own threads and are not really "obscure."
    hakuzen and peskypesky like this.
  6. Slater
    Ok, I’ll poke around those threads.

    So any “obscure” DAPs I should be considering?
  7. mbwilson111
    for your needs I personally cannot think of any but others in here might have some ideas.
  8. hakuzen
    don't know about fioo x5iii..
    if you seek for a good customer support, including periodical firmware updates to fix bugs and to improve, remove hidizs as well.. and "obscure" daps.
    guess fiio and ibasso are more serious brands, but you'll pay for that of course
    Themilkman46290 and Slater like this.
  9. seanwee
    I have the N5ii and its mostly fine but has a delay when pausing. Its sorta annoying but Cayin promises to fix it in the next firmware update.

    Ive also heard the DX120, R3, X5iii, M0 and own the N3. Of all these, the DX120 sounds the best by a fair margin and is on the same level as the N5ii.

    If you want a cheaper option the FiiO M6 is a good performer for its price.
    Slater and mbwilson111 like this.
  10. crabdog
    I agree about Hidizs. When I sat down at their table at CanJam, the 2 girls there just gave me a bored look and then proceeded to completely ignore me while they were absorbed with their phones and Facebook (I was the only guest at the booth).
  11. CoiL
    Collect money.... and buy iBasso DX120 :wink:
    Slater likes this.
  12. darmanastartes
    Fiio's firmware support has been iffy in the past, but I can't say for sure whether that's still the case.
    If I had to choose between Hidizs, Cayin, Fiio, or Shanling on the basis of firmware updates, I would go with Shanling hands-down. I don't have any experience with iBasso or Hiby.
    hakuzen likes this.
  13. mbwilson111
    iBasso updates quite often and has continued to support older daps with new firmware if necessary.

    Cayin has updated the N3 when needed but the N3 does not meet @Slater 's need for two card slots, nor a separate line out (it only has a menu option). It also does not have balanced out. The iBasso DX120 ticks all those boxes, has an easier UI but is slightly bigger. Not huge like many are these days though.

    Here is the DX120 next to my xDuoo X3 and then with the Cayin N3



    ...and here is a link to another photo comparing various dap sizes

    Last edited: May 16, 2019 at 10:18 AM
    trellus and hakuzen like this.
  14. Slater
    Excellent, that was very helpful!

    I'm gonna go for the DX120 for the DAP, and eventually pick up an ES100 to use with my phone.

    The DX120 not only has dual cards, but NO file limit (which is important for me because I have >20k files spread between (2) 512GB cards.
  15. NotKunvinced

    I'm tempted to do the same!
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