DAPs, do you use them?



Hi, I’m new to headphones.com.
I use a DAP all the time. I’m currently using a Fiio X5iii and I personally find mine to be fine other than Tidal is very hot and miss. I mostly use it in pure music mode rather than with apps. As said somewhere else it can slow slightly but I’ve never experienced it in pure music only Android mode where Tidal is. I don’t really have an expensive set up. I use this with a pair of AKG N40 in ears and some K550 mk3 when sat at home. I know both AKG but that’s just how it worked out when I went and tried on some cans. For portable Tidal users the new little Hiby R3 looks interesting. I have one coming so I will maybe make some comments on it after I’ve given it a good few hours of listening.


Yes, I have had mine since the day they came out in the U.K. and I use it every day. It’s really nicely made and works so well especially for the price. Sometimes a little delay on album art (I’m talking 2 seconds) when scrolling albums etc. but never had a problem player wise. Only issue I have is since recent updates if I bother with Tidal it’s gone a bit unstable. Don’t know if that’s fiio or tidal or both but it’s very annoying to use now.


I am a huge advocate of DAPs. I started with an Aiwa cassettes player with tapes made on a Nakemachi Dragon deck, wow guess I’m old.
I currently have a Cowan P1, UERR iems and over 1000 albums in FLAC. I have a V30 and Tidal sounds just like AM radio on a Western Auto portable radio I had when I ws 6.


I believe and don’t quote me on it, that part of the reason for the pricing is the licensing fees they have to pay for the Android-based software. The higher-priced DAPs are usually built like bricks as well. The high-end Sony players for example, are built with a brick of copper that weighs like 20 pounds before they carve it out and put the electronics in it.

As with anything in this hobby though, they tend to get super expensive real fast. In terms of lower priced DAPs, you’re pretty much better off just grabbing an ipod shuffle or mini rather than going in on something that may or may not work. Especially since Apple is now allowing for FLAC (not sure if its been incorporated on their players yet).


That would make sense. I guess it must be still less expensive for them than to develop their own firmware / software.
I did some more research and came across a DAP made by Cayin: Cayin N3 DAP. This actually looks promising. Tons of features, well made and I believe they don’t use Android.

I generally love Apple hardware, but loath iTunes or for that matter any propriatary audio manager that doesn’t allow me to just drag’n’drop my files. It might work for my bro though.



I haven’t tried anything from Cayin myself but I know that they do get some love in audiophile communities. The lack of Android software can be a plus as ironically I found the Android-based software that most DAP companies use to be very limited.

iTunes is probably one of my least favourite audio managers. Super frustrating to use and one click of the wrong setting can completely wipe all of your songs. Its just so ingrained into so many people’s lives now that I can’t imagine seeing it go away or improve any time soon.


I had one of those cassette players> . It was primo


I have a Onkyo DP-X1 that I use.


What price bracket are you considering when you state “ lower priced DAPs”?


Sub $150 since that was the bracket that @z0rk mentioned he was looking at.

My knowledge of DAPs is mostly limited to the big name DAPs though so I could be completely wrong!


I still have and listen to all the time. They certainly rushed it to market way too soon. Yet, I was always impressed by their continually devotion to feedback and quick firmware improvement. For me it was, despite some shortcomings as you pointed out l still enjoy it do their sound with my iSine20 and LCD 2s.


I fall squarely in the mid-fi spectrum of users and I do use DAPs. I have iPhone and dislike itunes. I also find I get better sound quality from my DAPs. I have 2 that I use primarily, and ipod Nano (7th gen?) I use while walking, and an OPUS#1 I use the rest of the time. The UI on the Opus isn’t terrible, it just does well at playing music.
having 2 devices doesn’t bother me it’s not like I’m lugging around an iPhone 8 Plus (mini iPad?) and an AK SP1000.


I had the chance to try out an acquaintance’s FiiO X7 Mark II the other day. Great unit with plenty of power. I didn’t think the firmware was lacking at the time, but things change very quickly in the world of firmware. If I were given the chance, I would like to compare this unit with the Astell&Kern AK70 and the Pioneer XDP-300R. All of them are rather “up there” in the price range, but as with everything else in life, that doesn’t mean that they are equal in quality.

Have I been convinced to switch to a DAP? Not quite. I still don’t feel the need to carry a DAP right now as I did with a cassette and CD walkman, but I’m definitely not closing myself off to the idea of it. I’m sure my phone battery would appreciate me a whole lot more if I chose the DAP route . . . :sweat_smile:


I’ve used a bunch of DAPs and currently have an ibasso DX90 running through an ibasso D14 Bushmaster DAC/AMP and 64 audio U4-SE iems, loving it daily as I need to walk alot and have always loved the ESS SABRE DAC chips…best portable setup I’ve ever had. Sometimes I use my Audeze SINE on ear headphones with the setup and either way I’m in heaven…lol.


I use the Pioneer XDP-300r and I think it’s a great Dap. I previously owned The FiiO X5 mk 2 and compared to the 300r it lacks in a lot of areas. My major gripe was not being able to use Tidal and Spotify.

Sound wise I find the 300r to be a very capable player. It has lots of good features to what I have previously used. There’s dual dac’s and 2.5 mm balanced as well as single ended 3.5 mm. Wi-Fi obviously and a decent version of Android.


Hey, those line of Pioneer DAPs truly look nice. The price point is not in my range though, I am looking for something really simple, but well made around $150,- for my brother. Doesn’t need to have a lot of bells and whistles; it would actually be a distraction for him. :roll_eyes:
I am leaning towards the Cayin: Cayin N3 DAP. No thrills, but the hardware looks solid.


I use the same iPod Classic 160 Gb that I’ve used for years. The battery is shot, but it doesn’t matter because it stays plugged into a Pure i-20 dock. That allows the digital stream to be fed to the Headroom DAC/Amp. The music is all stored Apple Lossless, so there is nothing lost from the original CD’s.


I still love my iPod touch for ease of use and still use it sometimes for a little Spotify session or two. Though having moved over to the XDP-300r Dap it doesn’t sound anywhere near as good.


Yep, carrying my two Clip Zips everywhere, with at least a pair of earbuds.
Smartphone isn’t the right medium to store music on - while the storage might be expandable, phones are huge and heavy compared to a footprint of Clip Zip.
Also there’s no app that’d even come close to full featureset of Rockbox.


Have you ever tried these EQ presets? They can be pretty impressive.