So what is the point of a DAP?
Jun 10, 2015 at 1:29 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 29

kunsucious

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Posts
33
Likes
10
I just purchased a Fiio x3 DAP because my phone was running out of storage for my music, it can play lossless music, and I can also use it as a dac for my desktop system. But after the package arrived, I'm left confused about the usefulness of the device.
 
Flac and other lossless formatted music more difficult to acquire. I couldn't find a really good source since I listen to alot of newer EDM music. So having the option of lossless doesn't benefit me that much. Even playing lossy music requires more time to port the music into the device. I am currently subscribed to spotify premium and mainly get my music off of that, but now I would have to purchase all the music I like just to enjoy it on my fiio x3 since there's no such thing as a streaming service for a DAP. 
 
The only thing that it would be useful for is driving headphones that require more power. But wouldn't it better to just buy myself a portable dac/amp instead?
 
confused_face(1).gif

 
Jun 10, 2015 at 2:27 PM Post #2 of 29

LNuneek

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 14, 2015
Posts
750
Likes
84
Yeah going the route of just getting a portable dac/amp would probably be better for your needs. Especially since you mention mostly listening to spotify now. 
 
I can see a DAP being very useful for when you don't have an internet connection for streaming purposes and for the added storage.
 
I think the lossless route is good for if you have a lot of CD's you want to rip or music you recorded from other formats and you want to have the best audio quality possible for when on the go.
 
When looking for FLAC files on the internet I generally found torrent sites and blogs the best avenue, but finding and downloading that stuff is such a pain. It's not really worth it, and most of the music I listen to just isn't ripped in lossless anyways. 
 
So yeah, if you are sitting there looking at your DAP and feeling "why did I waste my money on this" I would return it if possible. If you do see yourself making good use of it in the long run even if it's not all the time, I would keep it.
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 3:46 PM Post #3 of 29

cel4145

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 16, 2011
Posts
19,499
Likes
2,312
Location
grand rapids, mi
Personally, I hated having a dac/amp strapped to my phone and find it inconvenient to use that way. I have plenty of music files, so I don't feel limited by a DAPs inability to access Spotify or other subscription services. So you might think about whether or not the ergonomics of using a DAC/amp with your phone outweigh not having subscription service music.
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 4:39 PM Post #4 of 29

LNuneek

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 14, 2015
Posts
750
Likes
84
Personally, I hated having a dac/amp strapped to my phone and find it inconvenient to use that way. I have plenty of music files, so I don't feel limited by a DAPs inability to access Spotify or other subscription services. So you might think about whether or not the ergonomics of using a DAC/amp with your phone outweigh not having subscription service music.


That's a main reason why I only buy low impedance HP's. I just don't want the added expense and ergonomic hassle of having an amp. I like to keep it simple and just plug and play wherever possible. Don't like to always fiddle with gear and make sure all my stuff is charged, etc.  I got that enough with my other devices.
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 4:44 PM Post #6 of 29

LNuneek

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 14, 2015
Posts
750
Likes
84
 Even playing lossy music requires more time to port the music into the device.    
 

Not sure what you mean by this. Do you mean it takes more time as opposed to just streaming or does the DAP have to convert lossy files somehow taking more time? If it has to convert lossy files or something that would really suck. I just use my iPhone, so I'm not aware of how these other players work.
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 7:12 PM Post #8 of 29

kunsucious

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Posts
33
Likes
10
Not sure what you mean by this. Do you mean it takes more time as opposed to just streaming or does the DAP have to convert lossy files somehow taking more time? If it has to convert lossy files or something that would really suck. I just use my iPhone, so I'm not aware of how these other players work.

I mean compared to streaming, I have to repurchase everything and drag and drop
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 10:46 PM Post #10 of 29

ProtegeManiac

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Posts
16,236
Likes
3,050
Location
Manila

So what is the point of a DAP?


 
 
  I just purchased a Fiio x3 DAP because my phone was running out of storage for my music, it can play lossless music, and I can also use it as a dac for my desktop system. But after the package arrived, I'm left confused about the usefulness of the device.
 
Flac and other lossless formatted music more difficult to acquire. I couldn't find a really good source since I listen to alot of newer EDM music. So having the option of lossless doesn't benefit me that much. Even playing lossy music requires more time to port the music into the device. I am currently subscribed to spotify premium and mainly get my music off of that, but now I would have to purchase all the music I like just to enjoy it on my fiio x3 since there's no such thing as a streaming service for a DAP. 
 
The only thing that it would be useful for is driving headphones that require more power. But wouldn't it better to just buy myself a portable dac/amp instead?
 
confused_face(1).gif

 
I use an iPhone haha

 
I mean compared to streaming, I have to repurchase everything and drag and drop

 
 
DAPs, especially those that aren't iPods, are obviously not for you. The fact that you like Apple's software should have been the first clue, because at least Android users would be familiar enough with how SDcards work, the same way that I don't find it to be an alien task if I had to pull the SDcard out of my camera in order to copy the images to my computer to be processed on Lightroom. First of all, the file organization - one of the primary reasons why these were developed in the first place was precisely to get around the tediousness of using iTunes. Let's take my experience for example: it took me hours to figure out that I have to delete the albums on my iPad/iPod, then hook it up again to my computer to transfer files. By contrast, with Androids and DAPs (some of which by the way use some kind of Android OS as a basis for the firmware), I just take out the SD card, slip it into my computer, delete the folders I don't want, then copy-paste the new ones; I put it back into the device, reset, done. Apple users think that's a lot of things to do, but I did it all in one device - my computer - instead of deleting on the mobile device then using it on a computer. Drag and Drop was specifically requested as a feature when the X3 was being developed, and obviously, it was something also asked of (or not necessarily needed, as it would have already been a feature acknowledged by) Ibasso.
 
Second, the file formats. Apple's dependence on iTunes means that one is locked into using it as a music manager, from purchasing to managing content on players, but at some point even those  who ripped their own physical CDs were having issues with it. 
 It's like when I purchased a Camera Connection Kit originally for my camera instead of my DAC, only to find out that I can't use my iPad to back up on the go because it can't detect RAW files, only JPEG. It might be as strange to Apple users as FLAC vs iTunes downloads is, but without getting into the long-winded details here, it's because I needed to fix dynamic range/contrast, all the way up to merging RAW frames for high dynamic range photography.
 
Third, and related to the previous point, your music isn't exactly the kind of music that is being sold in lossless format (or even 320kbps VBR).You can spend all day on www.hdtracks.com or any other download sites (hell I found a bunch of new ones just by using Google, including one where I got an album released as an Indie record in Montreal but downloaded from a site in France that didn't give a crap about where I am based on my IP address) , and you're not likely to find your music there. Most of the music there are made with real instruments (to quote that Spongebob meme), to the point that some of them scoff at the idea of using a guitar amplifier. Add to that how real acoustic instruments are more easily recorded for precise imaging to create a space that replicates the positions of each instrument on stage (to scale anyway), whereas your music doesn't have at least four band members in precise locations, but very likely just one guy with a Macbook. There is no soundstage to image there - I'v heard quite a few that sound like they're recorded in mono and some of my friends can't even tell the difference from stereophonic recording standards, which is undertandable because you only really need channel separation in order to hear the lead and rhythm guitar separately (or each of the strings from each of the brass). 
 
Fourth, and again related to the previous points, many of those who use DAPs (or in my case, I don't only because I prefer to hear calls automatically interrupting my music, plus I use my Android as a music server on its own dock) are probably still buying physical copies, not just lossless downloads. It might be strange to an Apple user listening to EDM (because it is to some friends of mine), but on the FB pages of metal bands people who order the limited ed CDs to get some kind of poster or case for the CDs get their photos taken with the stuff when they get them, like how our fathers would have run to the record store with their friends to get the latest Led Zeppelin or AC/DC album.
 
Fifth, in terms of use, some people have very different requirements, some of them related to the batteries. Some don't need to be on-call, so it's alright if they're packed into a metro train and can't hear (much less answer) their phones, so they can use DAPs. Also it saves on the phone battery life, not just the charge but also on the charging cycles - most devices I used use up a lot more battery life running 4G LTE (for streaming), and they also heat up - something exacerbated by a case designed to protect the phone from impact. In the case of Ibasso DX50/90 users, the battery is swappable like on Samsung phones - I use an external charger where the battery is out in the open getting cooling airflow and no continuous charge-recharge processes (like when charging while the device is on). That prolongs the useful life of the battery, while at the same time in the case of the Ibassos, there's no need to send the unit back when the battery dies. You just go on Amazon and order another Samsung SGS3 battery, the same way I have three being cycled on my SGS3. No waiting for a powerbank to charge my phone, I just stop for a couple of minutes to swap out the batteries; of course, such a practice may seem alien to an iPhone user.
 
Basically, you are definitely not the kind of person that Fiio and Ibasso had in mind when those DAPs were developed. That's also why, when someone asks for a DAC-HPamp, I don't strongly attempt to persuade them to get a DAP-DAC-HPamp instead, because already all over the X3 and DX50 threads are too many angry (and that's an understatement) posts from Apple users who found themselves lost and in Purgatory without the helping hand of iTunes (you can find some sociology and psychology papers on certain types of people who unravel when the structure they're used to isn't present, like some soldiers and parolees, which is very similar). I've even tried to dissuade people from getting DAPs as soon as they mention that they use iPhones. Besides, as far as I'm concerned, if one is on the go an IEM is always the most practical thing to use anyway, and at over 100dB sensitivity on most of them, the clean output of the iPhone is more than enough to cause hearing damage without getting audible distortion. 
 
Jun 11, 2015 at 1:07 AM Post #11 of 29

BobMonkhouse

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 29, 2015
Posts
289
Likes
137
Location
Canada
I really enjoyed reading your post; all very well said!

At one point, I had to use iTunes to deal with an iPod Nano 3G and then 5G. It was a painful experience. Android is my personal phone choice. But I still prefer the convenience of a dedicated DAP.

I'm used to "X:\del *.* /s". It's quite powerful. I have my music sorted on my PC, and a quick incremental sync with the DAP does the trick.

I can't even imagine relying on a net service to have my music when and where I want it.

Everybody has their preferences.
 
Jun 11, 2015 at 1:30 AM Post #12 of 29

LNuneek

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 14, 2015
Posts
750
Likes
84
You don't have to delete the song on the device then hook it up to the computer. All you have to do is delete the song from the music panel in iTunes. If you try to delete from a playlist it just deletes the song from the playlist and not the device. iTunes is super easy. I like how easy it is to create playlists. You just drag and drop.

The annoyance I had with Android is that the way music was organized the id3 tags had to be named perfectly and be 100% uniform or everything gets jumbled up in the lists. What a pain in the ass it was to fix all the tags after you realize all your music is jumbled up and out of order. Heaven forbid an artist feature another artist on a song. If that is reflected on the id3 it automatically gets treated as a separate artist. Organizing that **** was a way bigger pain than anything I encountered with iTunes.
 
Jun 11, 2015 at 3:14 AM Post #13 of 29

ProtegeManiac

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Posts
16,236
Likes
3,050
Location
Manila
You don't have to delete the song on the device then hook it up to the computer. All you have to do is delete the song from the music panel in iTunes. If you try to delete from a playlist it just deletes the song from the playlist and not the device. iTunes is super easy. I like how easy it is to create playlists. You just drag and drop.

 
I couldn't see the content like you can on Windows Explorer, I asked a "Genius" how to do it, and that's what he told me. Well, "Genius." In any case, I'd rather drag and drop on Explorer.
 
 
The annoyance I had with Android is that the way music was organized the id3 tags had to be named perfectly and be 100% uniform or everything gets jumbled up in the lists. What a pain in the ass it was to fix all the tags after you realize all your music is jumbled up and out of order. Heaven forbid an artist feature another artist on a song. If that is reflected on the id3 it automatically gets treated as a separate artist. Organizing that **** was a way bigger pain than anything I encountered with iTunes.

 
I hated using playlists. You might be a lot younger than me though, but back in my day we put one disc in (big black disc or tiny silver), hit play, then listen. That's the reason why I never really needed playlists - I just needed to browse by albums, even if not organized per artist. I have no use for playlists or shuffle play because they all come out like I'm listening to radio instead of an actual album, especially when many of the albums on my SD card are thematic if not outright concept albums that tell one story in each album. Even if it's the same artist, if I don't listen to just one album, I'll end up with two songs that sound completely different then have an interlude or intro to another album that supposedly melds into the next track but instead I get another interlude next. 
 
One way to illustrate this generation gap of "i want it now and i'll get it now!!!" playback preference is when my friend's cousin asked for a recommendation on new music because he's bored with what he knows. I handed over my phone with Kamelot's Epica open, and then fifteen minutes later he tells me "it's like there's a story, but it's all disjointed and stuff." Lo and behold, he put it on shuffle. First time to listen to a new album, and puts it on shuffle, then says it sounds weird. In any case, there's the difference of what these two groups define as "doesn't sound like radio" - one group wants "play on demand" and get to the Last Song Syndrome-inducing tracks in an instant, the other group just wants to listen to the album instead of some highlight track that got a lot of airplay but the real best song on that album is the thirteen-minute track at the end.
 
If anything, back when I was using Apple I used the Playlist feature for connecting two concert albums. When I went Android, I just retagged them. Instead of "The Classical Conspiracy (Disc1)" with Track01 to 17 followed by "The Classical Conspiracy (Disc2)" with Track01 to 10, I did "The Classical Conspiracy" with Track 01 to 27. It seems like a lot of work, but I only had to do it once, and that was at the time that I ripped my CDs. After that, whether I rip CDs or download them, it's usually just 2mins to check and edit. The real problem when I did that in one afternoon was that all local albums here don't have the tags stored on an international internet database, and that's really what took me a loooooooooong time typing. Plus when I had to fill up which Chamber Orchestra played and who the hell the conductor is because some of my albums didn't have that - these weren't really important, but after all that I did that afternoon, I felt like I had to go all the way. What was annoying was how one album that prominently had the Conductor's name on the SACD label didn't have it on the internet database. It wasn't that much time to type in one name, just annoying that it wasn't tagged in the database when the SACD has "Sir Charles Mackerras" on large print under "Mozart." As for guest artists, I just looked up my tags again, and a lot of them actually tagged the guest vocalist or guitarist; however, since I browse and play by album, it doesn't cause any chaos in the track listing. 
 
Basically, there are two type of people, and each of them need to stick to the one that works for them to prevent any headaches. For anyone on an iPhone, best stick with your iPhone or risk pulling your hair out. And for what? 100mW or more of cleaner power, which becomes unnecessary when you just use IEMs with 100dB++ sensitivity anyway. Not to mention the iPhones and iPads sound cleaner than the Samsungs I've used so far (yeah, there's the weird part - a lot of people like Apple for the software and interface, I just like the hardware - just look at the new Macbook with a battery cell larger than its motherboard). 
 
Jun 11, 2015 at 9:11 AM Post #14 of 29

wildwood88

Head-Fier
Joined
May 11, 2015
Posts
76
Likes
12
That's my problem too. I am lazy to find my sources. So basically my music is from spotify premium in my iPad. I use ipad to listen song, coz the phone is not enough space and drain battery real quick.
 
Jun 11, 2015 at 9:55 AM Post #15 of 29

LNuneek

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 14, 2015
Posts
750
Likes
84
I couldn't see the content like you can on Windows Explorer, I asked a "Genius" how to do it, and that's what he told me. Well, "Genius." In any case, I'd rather drag and drop on Explorer.



I hated using playlists. You might be a lot younger than me though, but back in my day we put one disc in (big black disc or tiny silver), hit play, then listen. That's the reason why I never really needed playlists - I just needed to browse by albums, even if not organized per artist. I have no use for playlists or shuffle play because they all come out like I'm listening to radio instead of an actual album, especially when many of the albums on my SD card are thematic if not outright concept albums that tell one story in each album. Even if it's the same artist, if I don't listen to just one album, I'll end up with two songs that sound completely different then have an interlude or intro to another album that supposedly melds into the next track but instead I get another interlude next. 

One way to illustrate this generation gap of "i want it now and i'll get it now!!!" playback preference is when my friend's cousin asked for a recommendation on new music because he's bored with what he knows. I handed over my phone with Kamelot's Epica open, and then fifteen minutes later he tells me "it's like there's a story, but it's all disjointed and stuff." Lo and behold, he put it on shuffle. First time to listen to a new album, and puts it on shuffle, then says it sounds weird. In any case, there's the difference of what these two groups define as "doesn't sound like radio" - one group wants "play on demand" and get to the Last Song Syndrome-inducing tracks in an instant, the other group just wants to listen to the album instead of some highlight track that got a lot of airplay but the real best song on that album is the thirteen-minute track at the end.

If anything, back when I was using Apple I used the Playlist feature for connecting two concert albums. When I went Android, I just retagged them. Instead of "The Classical Conspiracy (Disc1)" with Track01 to 17 followed by "The Classical Conspiracy (Disc2)" with Track01 to 10, I did "The Classical Conspiracy" with Track 01 to 27. It seems like a lot of work, but I only had to do it once, and that was at the time that I ripped my CDs. After that, whether I rip CDs or download them, it's usually just 2mins to check and edit. The real problem when I did that in one afternoon was that all local albums here don't have the tags stored on an international internet database, and that's really what took me a loooooooooong time typing. Plus when I had to fill up which Chamber Orchestra played and who the hell the conductor is because some of my albums didn't have that - these weren't really important, but after all that I did that afternoon, I felt like I had to go all the way. What was annoying was how one album that prominently had the Conductor's name on the SACD label didn't have it on the internet database. It wasn't that much time to type in one name, just annoying that it wasn't tagged in the database when the SACD has "Sir Charles Mackerras" on large print under "Mozart." As for guest artists, I just looked up my tags again, and a lot of them actually tagged the guest vocalist or guitarist; however, since I browse and play by album, it doesn't cause any chaos in the track listing. 

Basically, there are two type of people, and each of them need to stick to the one that works for them to prevent any headaches. For anyone on an iPhone, best stick with your iPhone or risk pulling your hair out. And for what? 100mW or more of cleaner power, which becomes unnecessary when you just use IEMs with 100dB++ sensitivity anyway. Not to mention the iPhones and iPads sound cleaner than the Samsungs I've used so far (yeah, there's the weird part - a lot of people like Apple for the software and interface, I just like the hardware - just look at the new Macbook with a battery cell larger than its motherboard). 


I was fortunate enough to grow up as a child with vinyl, cassettes, and even 8 track. I was a teen when cd's were the main thing, and was a young adult when digital started taking over. I don't mess with any kind of tape format anymore in the least, but I still have and purchase new and used vinyl. I even have a portable mini disc recorder around, i got it before MP3 players took off. It's a pretty neat format. You can edit a song after you recorded it. I don't use it anymore but I'm reluctant to get rid of it cause I still think it's an awesome physical and digital format.

I'm fairly well rounded as far as formats go, but I find some formats such as FLAC pretty unnecessary. I usually stick with formats that have the convenience factor, the universality factor, or the I just like it factor.

As far as how I organize my iTunes, I make a playlist and title it with the artist name. Then I drop their albums in chronological order with all the songs ordered correctly in the playlist. That's if I really like the artist and enjoy most of their albums as a whole. I too listen to concept albums as well, so the order of songs is important.. However, if I find I really don't like certain songs I will go and delete them to conserve space. Then I make general playlists for random songs I like in which I don't care for much of the artists other work. I just like one to a few songs. I very rarely use the random feature, cause usually when I listen to music I want to hear something specific.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top