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ONKYO DP-X1 | Dual Sabre Dacs | Balanced | Sabre BTL Amp | MQA | DSD 256 | Android 5 |

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by t.r.a.n.c.e., Sep 11, 2015.
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  1. strooper
    Are you joking about always having the volume at 160? What gain level? I like loud, but not "standing by a 747 at takeoff" loud.
    Tennessee and mrmoto050 like this.
  2. DecentLevi
    Oh I should edit an above mention that I would never recommend using the DP-X1A as a source for any serious desktop rig... what I meant was that while its' DAC section is fantastic especially for portable use, it's still a few steps behind many of the standalone DACs costing hundreds or especially thousands of dollars; OTOH I have also had the amazing (and unexpected) experience of using the DP-X1A as a data-only source. I say 'unexpected' because until a rep an an audio dealer told me to just connect this DAP to their in-house DAC via micro USB male to USB-B male, I had no idea this configuration was possible... tried the DP-X1A with both the Chord Hugo 2 and a larger (unknown) DAC, and for both the external DACs this device was recognized immediately giving me an option on the DP-X1A screen to begin what was a bit-perfect, unprocessed data stream to these DACs, providing a truly perfect stream as a source for an experience I will not soon forget. So in fact this DAP can be used as a very good source to a DAC in data-only mode for a desktop rig bypassing the internal DAC, and sounds fantastic for on the go and even quite good with external amps via analogue output, although it's internal DAC is not quite purposed for a top desktop rig, IMO.

    This is the configuration to use it as a music source for an external DAC.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  3. cj3209
    The other alternative as I haven't seen that kind of cable above is to use a widely available OTG-Micro USB cable adapter such as this one (cheap too):


    Then use a regular USB cable to connect to a desktop rig. This is what I do when I want to listen to my Ether C-Flows and my desktop amp.

  4. Surf Monkey
    I use this setup to send data to my Schiit Stack. Works great.
  5. Evilcartman
    The A4 has amazing bang for its buck. Even a $30 CMoy adds to the sound ( remember Grado use to charge $500 for one and people loved it) There is E12DIY on ebay right now selling with a Muses02 chip if you wanna get fancy. I spent a lot of time playing around with different chi0ps and it gave me a better sense of what op-amps and buffers do.

    I try to put 66% of my money into the headphones, and the last third into the amp. More than that and I should be upgrading the cans first. I read this many years ago and it has served me well as my first instincts were to go all amp. My first pair of really good cans was a revelation. What were they, the Senn HD580 of course.

    160 is just the max output of the player, not a decibel level in and of itself, it is just voltage. It depends on the requirements and sensitivity of the headphones. Even some low impedance headphones have lowered the damping and require more vpltage. Planar Magnetics take some juice to drive, even the Oppo, and they just aren't that loud at 160.

    If I am listening at comfortable volume, I like to have at least 20% more headroom to play with. In my humble view, if you have to crank it over 80%, the headphones are too hard to drive and the amp is working too hard. With this guy, output has always been an issue, no one even starts listening until about 80% (130). So I pop on my favorite amp and it does sound better at similar volume.

    "Need" is a subjective word. This player greatly benefits form having an amp with every wired headphone I own, including the Senn. I am tired of lugging around an amp when I am out an about, so I usually don't, and the results are still good. At home, they are magnificent, from my humble homemade cmoy to my delicious HiFiman tube amp.
  6. Evilcartman
    I have to say be careful. I have had little luck using the Onkyo as a transport. I find the OTG very finicky and Poweramp and Plex, my go to players, do not work at all with OTG. At least I have not been able to make them work. @DecentLevi seems to have had better luck than me with OTG

    Of course, at home, every device I own is a transport so it is not an issue. I have a NAS with my music on it and every computer, wireless device, and htpc has access via dlna, samba, nfs, and upnp. I have no shortage of transports nor have I ever heard any difference in a digital transport outside of jitter. So if you're putting the Onkyo into a DAC it may as well be a phone or a computer.
  7. addyg
    Otg require a good cable, try buy brand cable , most are $20-60 USD. Don't buy no name cable.
  8. addyg
    Thanks for review
  9. addyg
  10. Evilcartman
    I have a Samsung branded certified OTG cable. The apps I want to use just don't have the option.

    Really? Because it's the same chips that are used in those rigs that cost thousands of dollars. The little Onkyo even uses one for each channel and put them on a separate board to which is more than what some of those very expensive boxes do. I can tell by your other posts that we think very differently about audio gear. But I really have to take exception to your claim that these DACs arent made for primetime.

    . .
  11. mrmoto050
    I have no issues listening without a amplifier with my PM2's in Balanced out. jm2c. I never have to turn up past 90 mostly lower. Loud does not always mean amazing sound. imho.
  12. mrmoto050
  13. mrmoto050
  14. DecentLevi
    OK so here we are on a thread for a DAP, which is by definition a DAC + amp unit with an emphasis on portable use, especially for efficient IEMs and low/medium efficiency headphones - but some of us are ascertaining that it should somehow be on the same level as full-size desktop DACs that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars; or that this DAP is meant for summit-fi desktop rigs. I strongly encourage anybody with these notions to PLEASE take more of a facts-based approach before making unproven claims like these: make such a comparison and judge with your own ears whether you like a larger or the Onkyo DAC, or compare the specs of each model. I can tell you with utmost certainty that even with my modest $450 DAC setup I'm using now for my 'transportable rig' (Modi 2 multibit with two USB components via PC source), that the difference using the same songs, same external amp and same test songs is... substantial, unwavering and unmistakable.

    Don't get me wrong, the DAC section of the DP-X1A is fantastic, and to me even much better than than the higher priced Queestyle QP1R and a handful of others I've tried. Even it does at least as good as a PC if not better as a data source in OTG mode, and does sound great, even fantastic with an external amp via analogue out... but that's one of the quirks in this vastly diverse and evolving hobby, is that there's always something better :beyersmile:. Trust me, and ask any of the fellow DAC gurus around, they will all tell you that there are even better performing DACs than the one that occupies half of the DP-X1A. You even said it yourself, that the configuration of this DAP is more than what some of those very expensives boxes do, which I do agree with of some of the sub-$200 ones I've tried. But keep in mind:

    - Try something for yourself, or at least get cross-checked data from multiple users you can trust... before making claims
    - "Implementation is everything". Several examples have surfaced, showing two DACs using the exact same chip can sound completely different, depending on the connecting components
    - Full size DAC's can range from around $50 - $35,000 averaging at (perhaps?) $800, where the DAC of this DAP is worth a factor less than the entire unit of around $530
    - Many full size DACs use R2R or 'multibit' technology, tubes, large capacitors, sometimes silver wiring, and other components that make them unique from the DAC section of this device
    - Full size DAC's are built as the powerhorse to satisfy full-size rigs in hi-res fidelity, including mid and summit-fi upstream amps and headphones that can cost anywhere from... say $200 - $20,000 per example
    - DAPs are geared towards the audiophile or 'hi-fi audio enthusiast', delivering enriching sound especially for on the go or smaller size headphones / earphones

    I'm by no means an expert on the circuitry / scientific formulas that make a DAC work, though there are a few that approach this level such as @warrenpchi, @Stillhart or perhaps @rosgr63, but I'll assure you that they would all agree there is no point to this argument comparing apples to oranges of entirely different classes, entirely different purposes, and entirely different layouts and prices. I have however, been one of the lucky ones to have been able to try virtually all of the current top summit-fi DACs at various trade shows I've been to, including but not limited to the Yggdrasil, Holo Audio Spring level 3, Hugo 2 and many other low/mid fi DACs which has shown me the difference between DACs can be absolutely staggering and can take good enough upstream gear to staggering heights. You can see from the last two points that this argument is, by definition unfair and is comparing apples to oranges.

    I'll admit it was one of my earlier comments that got this topic started, when really I should have just said that the DAP is not meant as a replacement for a standalone DAC.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  15. TheNoose
    Dear DecentLevi
    I agree with everything you’ve said here. It’s is obvious to me.

    I’d like to ask you if you happened to heard say a Denfrips Terminator and a TotalDAC in your show experience? This is certainly off topic so may wish tp pm me.

    Thanks for providing some boundaries to the conversation.
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