Please vote ONLY if you have heard at least 2 of these DAPs: iBasso DX120, FiiO X5 III, Cayin N5 II, Shanglin M3s, HiBy R3

What is the best DAP exclusively in terms of Sound Quality?

  • iBasso DX120 - $299

    Votes: 8 17.0%
  • FiiO X5 III - $349.99

    Votes: 11 23.4%
  • Cayin N5 II - $299

    Votes: 12 25.5%
  • Shanglin M3s - $279

    Votes: 7 14.9%
  • HiBy R3 - $229

    Votes: 7 14.9%
  • Other (within a $200 - $400 range)

    Votes: 2 4.3%

  • Total voters
    47
Sep 24, 2018 at 3:55 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 18

deafmutelame

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ibasso-dx120-700x700.JPG



iBasso DX120 - $299




producto-23850-61.jpg


FiiO X5 III - $349.99


61UpDVjgK%2BL._SL1000_.jpg


Cayin N5 II - $299



41RHiEK5jML.jpg


Shanglin M3s - $279




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HiBy R3 - $229


Please answer to these questions:

1 - what DAPs have you been able to compare against each other?
2 - what headphones/IEMs have you used to do the comparison?
3 - explain which do you think is the best one exclusively in terms of its Sound Quality and, ideally, describe its sound signature too.
 
Sep 25, 2018 at 2:31 AM Post #4 of 18

seanwee

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I have heard the N5ii, M3s, R3 and X5iii so far and I rank them like this.

N5ii>X5iii>M3s>R3

Still haven't heard the DX120 but hope to soon.
 
Dec 18, 2018 at 11:25 AM Post #8 of 18

Tsukuyomi

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I would have to agree, despite previously owning a FiiO X5 Gen 3, the Cayin N5IIS has the best sound out of all of them, but, BUT!!! the UI is freaking terrible, and imo, worse than the FiiO.
Build, i can't complain, they're both solid.
 
Feb 19, 2019 at 11:14 PM Post #10 of 18

seanwee

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Feb 20, 2019 at 12:33 AM Post #12 of 18

originalsnuffy

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Hoping Seanwee can chime in on the DX120 and also the Shanling M5S. (OK that Shanling pushes the budget a tad but it would seem the quality is in the pecking order).

I would be interested in what eventually unseats the Cayin N5II. I must admit a love hate with the Cayin; the interface is buggy but the sound is great when things go smoothly. Lately it is running properly most of the time, which is fortunate.

Seanwee seems pretty even keeled to me and I am looking forward to hearing his thoughts.

With regards to the R3; on paper it should be a killer but instead I found I would rather listen to my iphone. I can't explain why (though I think impedance may have been an issue) but I had no bass response on any of my IEMs. And I did not have that issue with any other of my players (and I have three besides my phone right now).
 
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Feb 20, 2019 at 1:24 AM Post #13 of 18

seanwee

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Hoping Seanwee can chime in on the DX120 and also the Shanling M5S. (OK that Shanling pushes the budget a tad but it would seem the quality is in the pecking order).

I would be interested in what eventually unseats the Cayin N5II. I must admit a love hate with the Cayin; the interface is buggy but the sound is great when things go smoothly. Lately it is running properly most of the time, which is fortunate.

Seanwee seems pretty even keeled to me and I am looking forward to hearing his thoughts.

With regards to the R3; on paper it should be a killer but instead I found I would rather listen to my iphone. I can't explain why (though I think impedance may have been an issue) but I had no bass response on any of my IEMs. And I did not have that issue with any other of my players (and I have three besides my phone right now).
The M5s I haven't had a listen to but judging from several reviews I've read it seems to be less competent SQ wise.

The DX120 would be equal to the N5ii SQ wise. The DX120 is more analytical while the N5ii is more dynamic. You sacrifice wifi, bluetooth and android functionality for a more stable barebones operating system.
 
Feb 20, 2019 at 1:30 AM Post #14 of 18

seanwee

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My original comparison from the N5ii thread.

DX120 vs N5ii

DX120-High gain, Reference sound mode, slow roll off

N5ii-High gain, slow roll off

Bass on the N5ii is more detailed and better controlled.

Mids of the DX120 are more nuanced, revealing and detailed.

Treble of the DX120 is slightly more refined and more natural.

The N5ii is more lively and dynamic sounding. Louder parts get louder, softer parts get softer.

N5ii has better instrument separation, layering and soundstage depth. DX120 is flatter sounding and a little more congested.

Both Daps have similar soundstage width

Both Daps have pitch black backgrounds.
 
Feb 20, 2019 at 10:29 AM Post #15 of 18

originalsnuffy

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Thanks Seanwee. Warts and all is seems that the N5II is still king of the midpriced hill. Somebody here recently posted that it was on sale for $199 !

If I start jonesing for a new toy I will still check out the 120. My needs tend to be fairly vanilla and this device checks a lot of boxes.
 
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