Oct 12, 2017176 views

DAPs below 1 Grand

For most of us AK 380 or the A&ultima SP1000 is a thing to drool and dream about, saddened internally by never increasing wallet in this weird economy.
With Sony back in the audio game with their Hi-Res walkmans, Cowon bringing out beautifully designed Plenues and Astell & Kern soon to update AK 70 with Mark II as their first dual DAC below $1,000, the competition is stiff near this price point.
To fellow audiophiles, which DAP do you think is the best allrounder below $1,000?

My vote is for the Onkyo DP-X1 A. I have that as well as a Fiio X1 2nd gen. The Onkyo's audio quality is leaps and bounds ahead of the little Fiio and can hold it's own quite well against the more expensive offerings from Astell and Kern. As a result, I really have not had an urge to upgrade from it. By the way, there is no need to wait for a drop from Massdrop to get it at a lower price than 550 bucks :D. All you need to do is buy it from Amazon Japan! (Amazon Japan account is independent of Amazon US account). If you opt for their prime trial, it gets delivered to US in 3-4 days. IIRC, I bought mine at close to 350 bucks around the time it was launched and it was retailing at close to 600 bucks here. Don't forget to use a credit card that does not charge you an international transaction fee.
Wow! Thanks for the tip on Amazon Japan. Do you know how the DP-X1A compares to the Pioneer XDP 300R?
I have not had a chance to listen to the XDP-300R, but from what I have read, the differences are negligible as both the DP-X1 and XDP-300R are essentially the same device and DP-X1A is same as XDP-300R-B.(Pioneer is owned by Onkyo). Even DP-X1 vs X1A only has minor differences (better capacitors, issue fixed with the audio jack etc.). I ultimately went the the X1-A since some of the early batches of DP-X1's suffered from audio jack problems (both 3.5mm and 2.5mm becoming loose ) and didn't want to risk getting one from that production batch. The Amazon Japan price advantage holds good for pioneer as well btw :) . Make sure to select seller as Amazon as other sellers may not ship outside Japan
I bought the Plenue D over half a year ago and I've been happy with it. Interface is a bit slow and it's a drag to make playlists sometimes but there's a lot to love about it. Especially the long battery life. :D
I like design and feature set of Plenue D as well. I would have swooped on it if it had DSD playback and Bluetooth. The biggest plus point is the battery life.
I'm curious about opinions too, so far I've seen the FiiO X7 Mark II ($649) and the Onkyo DP-X1A ($549) mentioned the most.
Maybe we'll get lucky and Massdrop has been designing their own DAP behind the scenes like they did the Massdrop Plus