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Which digital audio player?

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dakchi

New member
Apr 9, 2011
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I have always been wondering whether I would hear a difference in sound between a good DAP ( I like the AK70) and my mobile phone Mi Note Pro which has a internal DAC and separate amp for hi-res music. If it is just a placebo effect, then I prefer not to waste my money. Some even say that I have to have a very good headphone to hear a difference. That becomes a huge investment. Is it really worth it?Which in-ear headphones would be sufficiently good to hear this difference?
 
dakchi said:
I have always been wondering whether I would hear a difference in sound between a good DAP ( I like the AK70) and my mobile phone Mi Note Pro which has a internal DAC and separate amp for hi-res music. If it is just a placebo effect, then I prefer not to waste my money. Some even say that I have to have a very good headphone to hear a difference. That becomes a huge investment. Is it really worth it?Which in-ear headphones would be sufficiently good to hear this difference?
I had similar issues but was finally left in no doubt that mobile phones, however good, are not going to beat a device that is purpose built for one thing. Hence I own a couple of DAPs and even a camera...... :)

To be honest some places I work you cannot take a mobile phone or a camera but that's not the reason I went the DAP route.
 

jonboywalton75

Well-known member
Jan 11, 2012
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18,595
I found that using my HTC one m8 (great sounding phone), when I connected the dragonfly, the sound improved dramatically.
It was even better with both the Ak70 and the Pioneer xdp-100r.
Coupled with the storage possibilities of over 400 gb's,
I think it will give you a decision to make as to whether you spend the money.
I already had reasonable in ears(soundmagic e80c) and the b and w p5's, so extra expense wasn't as much.
I'm happy with my Pioneer, for now anyway, lol.
Probably end up paying 400 and odd pounds for new in ears, mind!!!!
 

paulkebab

New member
Dec 26, 2014
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I've been reading this thread with interest as I'd like a new player but not interested whatsoever in hi-res. The only ones that tickle my fancy are the AK's, and 'that' auction site has the AK JR player together with the ICP-AT1000 earphones for £270. Is that a good buy or not, as I need some new buds too. I have the Sennheiser CX300 ii and although they sound good the cable is just atrocious, I'm convinced it's molecularly magnetised and will try to wrap itself around anything, they almost went in the bin the other day. It'll be used for FLAC and WAV files, possibly some 320 or VBR mp3 files.

Comments and advice welcome.
 
paulkebab said:
I've been reading this thread with interest as I'd like a new player but not interested whatsoever in hi-res. The only ones that tickle my fancy are the AK's, and 'that' auction site has the AK JR player together with the ICP-AT1000 earphones for £270. Is that a good buy or not, as I need some new buds too. I have the Sennheiser CX300 ii and although they sound good the cable is just atrocious, I'm convinced it's molecularly magnetised and will try to wrap itself around anything, they almost went in the bin the other day. It'll be used for FLAC and WAV files, possibly some 320 or VBR mp3 files.

Comments and advice welcome.
I'd be very much appreciative of some more information as to where you intend to use this device and why your interest only in AK.

You say not interested in hi-res and then mention WAV. Perhaps you are more interested in storage capacity.

Personally I would look at exactly what you want, do you want a pure music player and are not worried about apps and Bluetooth and the like.

If you're not interested in hi-res then look at some cheaper items like the Fiio's and invest in more expensive headphones.
 

paulkebab

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Dec 26, 2014
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maybe I should have been more specific, or maybe I'm a bit confused. I thought hi-res was anything above CD sample rates? Hence WAV and FLAC do me very nicely but some well-mastered stuff can sound pretty good in 320k or VBR mp3 format. The player will be used on holidays and when I'm in and out doing odd jobs like cleaning the car, doing stuff on the PC etc. It won't be used daily, maybe once or twice a week tops. Re better earbuds a recent WHF test rated the Beyerdynamic Byron above the Soundmagic E10, neither of which Ive heard but it was mentioned that the lead on the E10's was better and I'm already paranoid on that point. I'm willing to go higher but it's easily going to get to the point where the buds will outperform my current little player.
 
paulkebab said:
maybe I should have been more specific, or maybe I'm a bit confused. I thought hi-res was anything above CD sample rates? Hence WAV and FLAC do me very nicely but some well-mastered stuff can sound pretty good in 320k or VBR mp3 format. The player will be used on holidays and when I'm in and out doing odd jobs like cleaning the car, doing stuff on the PC etc. It won't be used daily, maybe once or twice a week tops. Re better earbuds a recent WHF test rated the Beyerdynamic Byron above the Soundmagic E10, neither of which Ive heard but it was mentioned that the lead on the E10's was better and I'm already paranoid on that point. I'm willing to go higher but it's easily going to get to the point where the buds will outperform my current little player.
So what is your top budget on the earbouds and again on your DAP.

If you have no intention of using hi-res files then you don't need something with a state of the art DAC, or two even.....
 

paulkebab

New member
Dec 26, 2014
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bladdy eck Al you mentioned the moolah dammit :) OK I want to get things in perspective here, I'm prepared to spend up to £200 on buds and double that on a player...or should it be the other way round? Or I could pick up my PM1's and spend.. errr umm on a player.. you get me drift? We know the AK has a damn good DAC if nothing else and that's where I want my money to go, not a seperate DAC or fancy apps etc. My current DAP is.. you wont believe.. a Sandisk Clip. Plays FLAC and WAV, and FM radio to boot and has just enough grunt to power my PM1's but not all day!
 

paulkebab

New member
Dec 26, 2014
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a really good intuitive 'low res' player and I'll gladly take a look but they all seem to be phones on an online search hence my AK fancy. Sony is OK but Im not a Pioneer fan at all for various reasons.
 
paulkebab said:
a really good intuitive 'low res' player and I'll gladly take a look but they all seem to be phones on an online search hence my AK fancy. Sony is OK but Im not a Pioneer fan at all for various reasons.
I have nothing against AK range except they seem a little overpriced compared to the opposition. They are good but worthy of the extra cash? Only you can decide that. One with a top of the range DAC in would seem a little like overkill if you have no intention of playing hi-res files.

If you don't need the Android operating system and apps then I would be looking at something like the Fiio X5 mark2, a bargain, and spending more on the earbuds.
 

paulkebab

New member
Dec 26, 2014
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is only £10 cheaper than the AK plus AK buds so which is the better buy??

Edit just found it for £229
 
paulkebab said:
is only £10 cheaper than the AK plus AK buds so which is the better buy??

Edit just found it for £229
Which AK are you looking at? If the Junior it has been around since 2015 and obviously does not contain the most up to date DAC. £229 is a very good price most are £289.
 

paulkebab

New member
Dec 26, 2014
66
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Yes it is the JR but it does seem a good deal regardless of its age. My 'buy now' finger is twitching ;)
 
paulkebab said:
does look like the one to go for after reading a few reviews - thanks Al.
I was joking.... I am sure either would be great but I know which I would choose, which is why I own one. The AK has dropped a bit in price since but I don't think that would have influenced my choice anyway.
 

dakchi

New member
Apr 9, 2011
18
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Hi,

I received my AK70 this morning and spent several hours testing it and comparing the sound against my mobile phone (Mi Note Pro). I started with 16bit/44khz files first but couldn't hear any difference; then I thought that I should test with 24bit/192khz files. I was very disapointed because even with those very high quality files I couldn't hear any difference between AK70 and the mobile phone. I run the test with all types of music (jazz, pop, electronic...). The other surprise is that the volume on the AK70 is not significantly higher than the one on the mobile phone, although AK70 has an internal amp dedicated to music and my headphone has an impedance of 48 Ohms which is not high. The other bad surprise is that the battery does not last for a long time (max 4 hours). The positive point of the AK70 is the build quality and the size (small enough to be put in the pocket). The navigation is quick but not always easy. It would have been good to have a home button for example. Sometimes you go so deep in the navigation that it is painful to go back to the home screen.

The last doubt I have is on the headphones (Sony 1A). Maybe they are not good enough to demonstrate a clear difference between AK70 and my mobile phone. I will receive RHA T20 and B&W C5 2 series tomorrow and I will test with them. In the meantime, my conclusion for today is that AK70 is not worth the investment (600€ to get the same result as my mobile phone). I am not the type of person who will be a victim of a placebo effect

I will keep you posted
 

jonboywalton75

Well-known member
Jan 11, 2012
118
21
18,595
Yeah I was worried that I might be doing the thing that we sometimes do:- buying for buyings sake.
Now though I can't listen using my note 4, it really is terrible, sound quality wise.
I'm on hols at the moment and my HTC M one 8 is brilliant for using in the hotel room through the excellent speakers
I left my pioneer at home as I don't really use my headphones on hols.
Looking forward to to using my pioneer once more for some serious listening with quality headphones
I don't think I've been a victim of Mr. Placebo, lol
 

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