Portable DAP as a home source
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kphinn

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It has been a LONG time since I used headphone equipment. Think big, blue Sony Walkman. I truly appreciate this forum for bringing me up to speed. During those interim decades, I have been evolving my home system and I'd like to add a DAP to the mix, for both streaming (Tidal and Deezer HQ) and convenience (web or app controlled). But I'd also like to take it on the road for headphone use.

I understand that the flavor of the DAP and DAC chips is a personal choice, but are there any units that really stand out as a dual use device?

I apologize if this question has been out there for a bit - I did search and didn't find any specifics.

Thanks!
 
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Taz777

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I do exactly this with my Cayin N6ii DAP. I use it as a portable music source for streamed or local music, and it's the source for my bedside headphones system where it acts as a pure digital transport to feed my DAC, which then feeds my headphone amp (see my sig for details). It works perfectly in this scenario and also can also be used as a a preamp directly to my headphone amp if I wanted to use the N6ii's internal DAC. One of the reasons I bought the N6ii was the availability of an I2S interface to connect to an external DAC (rather than USB, which it also can do).

The nice thing about the N6ii is that it uses swappable motherboards so that you can effectively buy the motherboard with your preferred DAC and slot it into the unit. It's a pretty versatile DAP with a good, clean version of Android and system-wide DTA which bypasses Android audio mixer. Some of the swappable motherboards have line outs, balanced outs, etc. You can, of course, install apps like UAPP, Qobuz, TIDAL, etc., and it takes a micro-SD card for additional storage. It has Bluetooth which I don't use. The only downside is that the CPU is getting on a bit now but I don't have issues with too much lag in any app.

My portable system is: Cayin N6ii DAP --> Beyerdynamic Xelento IEMs or Beyerdynamic T5p over-ears (or soon to be Beyerdynamic Aventho over-ears)

My bedside listening system is: Cayin N6ii DAP --> Topping D90 DAC (via I2S interface) --> Arcam rHead headphone amp --> Beyerdynamic T1.2 over-ears

All in all, whilst the Cayin N6ii is a portable DAP, I find I use it more as a digital audio source at home so it gets a lot of use. Charging is via USB-C and it charges fairly quickly (supporting QC 3.0). Battery life depends very much on the motherboard module you are using. The one I use outputs in Class A or AB.
 
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Sebasistan

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I use my DAPs as sources to feed my Peachtree Deepblue 3 bluetooth speaker system. Not sure if that's comparable with what some of all y'all are doing, I don't have the space or the cash for an actual full size hi-fi system and speakers, so I just use this setup. Serves my purposes pretty well.
 
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kphinn

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I do exactly this with my Cayin N6ii DAP. I use it as a portable music source for streamed or local music, and it's the source for my bedside headphones system where it acts as a pure digital transport to feed my DAC, which then feeds my headphone amp (see my sig for details). It works perfectly in this scenario and also can also be used as a a preamp directly to my headphone amp ...
Thanks Taz. I should also add, I have a Bluesound Node 2i. You will find it in the classifieds shortly. I was unimpressed with its DAC. According to the manufacturer it is a "High-end 32-Bit, 192kHz" chip. Right... I bypassed that by running optical into my Red Wine Isabella tube DAC/Pre and it's a massive improvement in presence, sound stage, and tighter punch and roll, but still not on par with vinyl. I'm not expecting to get all the way there, but hope to get close. The amp is a gen 1 Mc240 rfom the 60's.
 
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