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Dedicated Hi-Res Audio Players - break from the norm

JonB1001

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2014
33
10
10,545
I'm looking for some views on choices of dedicated Hi-Res Audio players. I use my iphone out of sheer convenience like most people do.

I bought an AK Kann a while back which I thought was going to be the answer to having a dedicated player but I'm just constantly underwhelmed by it. Its big, clunky and supports a really dated version of Tidal. Its also useless with wireless headphones. It's great when run through a headphone amp but on its own it just feels and sounds underwhelming, even more so with hi end headphones.

Headphones I am using: Audeze LCD i3 IEMS, HiFiMan HE 400i, Sony WF-1000XM3.

I intend to pair whatever I end up with to a chord mojo.

I need something up to date, portable and versatile capable of running the latest version of tidal. I think I'm done with AK - I've had an AK Jr and a Kann and neither has excited me.

Anyone have experience with the likes of Cowon, Fiio, Sony or the more exotic stuff like Lotoo, Shanling or even the HiFiMan range??

Price wise, probably up to £500.
 

Al ears

Moderator
I'm looking for some views on choices of dedicated Hi-Res Audio players. I use my iphone out of sheer convenience like most people do.

I bought an AK Kann a while back which I thought was going to be the answer to having a dedicated player but I'm just constantly underwhelmed by it. Its big, clunky and supports a really dated version of Tidal. Its also useless with wireless headphones. It's great when run through a headphone amp but on its own it just feels and sounds underwhelming, even more so with hi end headphones.

Headphones I am using: Audeze LCD i3 IEMS, HiFiMan HE 400i, Sony WF-1000XM3.

I intend to pair whatever I end up with to a chord mojo.

I need something up to date, portable and versatile capable of running the latest version of tidal. I think I'm done with AK - I've had an AK Jr and a Kann and neither has excited me.

Anyone have experience with the likes of Cowon, Fiio, Sony or the more exotic stuff like Lotoo, Shanling or even the HiFiMan range??

Price wise, probably up to £500.
The best that I have owned, apart from my current Onkyo X1, are those by Fiio.
Best value for money out there.
No point in splashing out too much money if you are going to run it through the mojo to as you're bypassing the DACs in the device itself.
Unless you already own the Mojo I wouldn't bother just by top end M11 and use this on its own.
 

JonB1001

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2014
33
10
10,545
Unless you already own the Mojo I wouldn't bother just by top end M11 and use this on its own.
That's what I thought when i bought the Kann but its internal DAC comes up well short when driving decent headphones.

I did see the M11 and wondered whether there was a big difference between the standard M11 and the M11 Pro. The difference in money is about £250 so I'm assuming there must be.
 

Al ears

Moderator
That's what I thought when i bought the Kann but its internal DAC comes up well short when driving decent headphones.

I did see the M11 and wondered whether there was a big difference between the standard M11 and the M11 Pro. The difference in money is about £250 so I'm assuming there must be.
As far as I am aware the Pro differs in having top end DACs and greater internal storage

Surely on most you can download whatever version of Tidal you like?
Note: most players are limited on volume by regulations.
 

Jimboo

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2019
510
208
770
There are different price ranges in the tidal package but different versions? I assume you had the all singing dancing top price package for the equipment you are using. What other version can you not get, confused ?
 

JonB1001

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2014
33
10
10,545
Surely on most you can download whatever version of Tidal you like?
Note: most players are limited on volume by regulations.
you can only get a very basic version of Tidal on the Kann and it doesn't let you download for offline listening.

it's not the volume on the Kann, it just struggles to get the best out of good headphones. Sounds flat, muddy even.
There are different price ranges in the tidal package but different versions? I assume you had the all singing dancing top price package for the equipment you are using. What other version can you not get, confused ?
the only version of tidal you can download onto the Kann is a more basic user interface which doesn’t allow download for off line use. Menus are also more limited.
 

EricLeRouge

Well-known member
Jan 15, 2020
28
6
45
Macbook with Audirvana, connected via USB to Chord Mojo — driven remotely on iPhone app.

Will connect to Tidal, Qobuz and your music collection.

An older Macbook model will work just fine, will run fanless if you don’t overload CPU with other apps.

Best with a good USB cable, Audioquest Pearl works fine. (Carbon is better, but ridiculously expensive).

+ Will feed a wireless headphone (I use Sony CM3).

+ Can be taken anywhere for music on the go and other less important things such as emails, internet and work.

If you already have the laptop, total setup will cost you a little over €100, including USB cable.
 
Last edited:

Al ears

Moderator
Macbook with Audirvana, connected via USB to Chord Mojo — driven remotely on iPhone app.

Will connect to Tidal, Qobuz and your music collection.

An older Macbook model will work just fine, will run fanless if you don’t overload CPU with other apps.

Best with a good USB cable, Audioquest Pearl works fine. (Carbon is better, but ridiculously expensive).

+ Will feed a wireless headphone (I use Sony CM3).

+ Can be taken anywhere for music on the go and other less important things such as emails, internet and work.

If you already have the laptop, total setup will cost you a little over €100, including USB cable.
Yes but he's hardly likely to be able to carry it in his pocket is he.
Please stick to the subject matter at hand.
 

EricLeRouge

Well-known member
Jan 15, 2020
28
6
45
Yes but he's hardly likely to be able to carry it in his pocket is he.
Please stick to the subject matter at hand.
Where did he say he wants to carry something in his pocket?
If he carries a laptop around, like 90% of the people I know, my post makes perfect sense.
If he feels differently, he can ignore my post or simply answer.
Don’t moderate more than is needed, thanks..
 

Jimboo

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2019
510
208
770
Er the op said

I need something up to date, portable and versatile
90% of the people you know have a different understanding of 'portable' compared to 90% of people I know.
 
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Al ears

Moderator
Where did he say he wants to carry something in his pocket?
If he carries a laptop around, like 90% of the people I know, my post makes perfect sense.
If he feels differently, he can ignore my post or simply answer.
Don’t moderate more than is needed, thanks..
You obviously misread the issues.
He considers the Kann to be big and clunky and asked about dedicated hires music players and then lists a variety of digital music players.
How do you figure a laptop fits into this??
I will moderate as I feel necessary thank you.
 

EricLeRouge

Well-known member
Jan 15, 2020
28
6
45
You obviously misread the issues.
He considers the Kann to be big and clunky and asked about dedicated hires music players and then lists a variety of digital music players.
How do you figure a laptop fits into this??
I will moderate as I feel necessary thank you.
Perhaps you feel that you own the forum as a moderator, but as far as I’m concerned I come here for the WhatHifi name, and I expect to have a polite and courteous exchange with other similar-minded people interested in hifi.
I realize that the OP wanted something to use on-the-go, but 1) he could have said so, or not bother and 2) you don’t need to be snappy in your comments.
If you want to step in the discussions and kill all interaction between people, perhaps you should rename the forum to your liking and rule it as you please. In the meantime, please stay civil in your messages.
 

Jimboo

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2019
510
208
770
Eric , he did say portable. So...
You writing
"I realize that the OP wanted something to use on-the-go, but 1) he could have said so,"
Is kinda putting you in an unattainable position.
I am generally rude but the mods for the most part rarely intervene.
You need to read the thread again.
 
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Al ears

Moderator
Perhaps you feel that you own the forum as a moderator, but as far as I’m concerned I come here for the WhatHifi name, and I expect to have a polite and courteous exchange with other similar-minded people interested in hifi.
I realize that the OP wanted something to use on-the-go, but 1) he could have said so, or not bother and 2) you don’t need to be snappy in your comments.
If you want to step in the discussions and kill all interaction between people, perhaps you should rename the forum to your liking and rule it as you please. In the meantime, please stay civil in your messages.
My message was perfectly civil.
I don't consider owning the forum comes into it.
I have been here long enough to know what turns a good forum into a bad one and, as such, was grateful that they asked me to become a moderator.
Old hands will know what shape this forum became under the magazine's last owners.
If you came here for the WhatHiFi name I am sure you have read the forum rules.
The OPs question was regarding Digital Music Players and he posted it correctly in the right subforum. He didn't post it in Computers and Software.
At no point does he mention on-the-go, and my attempts to keep this thread on track and pertinent seems to have gone over your head.
Perhaps you should, as Jimboo points out, go back and re-read the original post.
I have no intention of 'killing all interaction' only that that is irrelevant and superficial.
Should you persist in this attack on my character I am sure other moderators will intervene.
My sincere apologies if this not in the style of response you seem to require.
Do have a good weekend.
 

JonB1001

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2014
33
10
10,545
Wow. Guys, please chill out. This is just silly. We all have different interpretations and I wasn’t that clear about what I meant. Everyone has a view and we need to stay open minded. Please, we use this forum for fun. Let’s all be friendly.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Wow. Guys, please chill out. This is just silly. We all have different interpretations and I wasn’t that clear about what I meant. Everyone has a view and we need to stay open minded. Please, we use this forum for fun. Let’s all be friendly.
Your post seemed eminently clear to me.
Do not consider this forum to , hopefully, be anything but helpful.
We try our best.
 

JonB1001

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2014
33
10
10,545
Macbook with Audirvana, connected via USB to Chord Mojo — driven remotely on iPhone app.

Will connect to Tidal, Qobuz and your music collection.

An older Macbook model will work just fine, will run fanless if you don’t overload CPU with other apps.

Best with a good USB cable, Audioquest Pearl works fine. (Carbon is better, but ridiculously expensive).

+ Will feed a wireless headphone (I use Sony CM3).

+ Can be taken anywhere for music on the go and other less important things such as emails, internet and work.

If you already have the laptop, total setup will cost you a little over €100, including USB cable.
thanks for your thoughts Eric. Sorry you’ve had to suffer some ridiculous comments from people who should know better (ie grown ups). There’s an ignore function if you click on the name so you don’t see their comments. Best thing to do when people seem intent on being wind up merchants. Obviously nothing better to do.

The laptop route isn’t one I’ve really explored. I normally have an hour commute on a busy train/tube so I’m more suited to handheld devices. I’ll probably go the Fiio M11 route.
 
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Jimboo

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2019
510
208
770
Jon , no one was being a wind up merchant. A little humour was posted and your problem was addressed as per your question. Hence even you needing to reiterate the point in your final post . People do their best on here and are willing to help. I am sorry you feel the need to be humourless and consider the correct addressing of your post to be considered by wind up merchants. As I said to Eric , you should perhaps put your toys back in the box and read the thread again.
Good luck with your quest.
 

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