Jun 24, 2018477 views

DAP Recommendations? (Entry / Affordable)

Hey folks, could ya help a budding audiophile out?
I'm looking for a decent DAP $100-$300 (maybe $400 for the right product, God help my bank account)
Looking For:
-plays flac / ogg / wav etc
-expandable memory ([micro]SD) or at LEAST 60+ MB internal
-good battery life
-durability (aluminum case, maybe water/shock resistant?) &/or a solid warranty would be a big plus as I'm rough, athletic & outdoorsy
-bluetooth would be a bonus
What's peaked my interest: Shanling M3S, iBasso DX90, AGPTEK H3 (with upgraded memory), Colorfly C3, Sansa Clip Zip - anyone have experience with these?? Know a good place to buy 'em??
For Reference:
-mid-20s Canadian student, big music nerd
-if I could carry 1TB with me I'd be in heaven
-DON'T need wifi / streaming, pics, vid, text files, voice recorder, radio, touch screen et al
-I appreciate the higher-end stuff I've been exposed to, but at this point I've gotta be satisfied with my KRK V4s (for my computer), and my AT-mx50 headphones. What I currently use for mobile listening is a quirky, (read: abused, dying) Phillips GoGear HDD6320 that I've had "since Moses was knee-high to a grasshopper"... and my similarly archaic iphone 4. I've got a modest vinyl setup but won't bother detailing it here. So that's the level I'm currently at, and as you can see pretty much anything would be a step up lol
-For what it's worth, I listen to an extremely wide variety of music, and I'm looking for a flat, clean sound with good detail- erring on the side of 'warm'. Don't need exaggerated bass, but a balanced presence is obviously appreciated
*I don't need 'slick' I need VFM. A friend & I were starting to experiment with cheap portable players & mini tablets from Ali Exp until shipping slowed to a 3 month+ wait (??!). Basically, it doesn't need to be a name brand as long as it meets my needs, has good / upgrade-able sound, I can operate it with one hand, expect reasonable reliability, & glue a carabiner / pocket clip to the back. I love to get creative! After all, this is just for now- not forever
Truly appreciate anyone who's bothered to read all this & reply. Big fan of the community!

Fiio M9 or X5 MK3
With an SNR of 130dB you will be hard pressed to find any other DAC at this price point: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gala-ultra-high-performance-stereo-dac/reft/19247162/massdrop


Grado SR225 for starters.
Interesting. Not in the market for headphones right now, but these are bookmarked for future reference. Thanks.
Try the new Shanling M0


Dyou mean 60+GB internal memory? :)
I'm 2 weeks into my Cayin N3 and I love it for my RBH EP3 https://rbhsound.com/ep3.php . I use the medium amp setting (has lo/med/hi), runs 128Gb chip quickly and easily and will sing FLAC with great definition. Hooked up to my Fiio Q1mk2 balanced out (includes gain/bass boost hardware switches), I switch to my hybrid IEMs on upgraded wires and it's instant soundstage bliss for my classic rock collection. That's DAP and DAC for $250 shipped and very portable with plenty of power to spare! Both are about 2.25 inches by 4.
(Hey, apologies for thread neglect- I've been out on a remote job site with shoddy internet access since posting.) Thanks for the reply propdrc- that's a great rec. By all accounts that sound is exactly what I'm after, the price is within budget, and the specs are good. How's the battery life worked out for you? How's the interface? The more I research my options the more I lean towards something with OTG functionality and 2 outs, (preferably balanced incl). My buddy purchased the xDuoo X3II from here recently, so I think I might wait to test that in person myself before I pull the trigger on anything else.
I get three trips to the gym a week out of one charge, w/wired phones. It's typically an hour and a half each of those 3 days and play it through the car stereo each way and I still have some for the weekend. Stacking with the Fiio Q 1 MK2 for balanced out is fantastic and it includes all cables. Also, the N3 is surprisingly loud in the car by aux cable. No regrets or sound quality sacrificed. All my research paid off and makes this rec an easy one... Enjoy!