The A200P : Beyerdynamic’s portable Amp/Dac Combo

Comparisons

Compared to the good old Fiio E10 the sound is a bit better. If I’m not mistaken the E10 uses the same Wolfson DAC chip but the amp part of the Beyer is more linear. Of course the E10 has the bass boost and hi-low gain switch but it does not work with your iPhone. The advantage of the E10 is it can also be used as a DAC only. So sound wise the A200P might edge it but the E10 has more features (even taken into account the Beyer can skip songs and works with iDevices)

I recently received the Resonessence Herus DAC/AMP combo (review soon) and this unit also extracts digital data from the same devices. The Herus doesn’t have a volume control or any buttons but the sound quality from the DAC, using a Sabre chip, is several levels above the A200P. The amp part of the Herus however isn’t exceptionally good and so I would recommend the A200P unless you can use an external amplifier along with it.

Finally, when comparing the A200P to an upper level setup such as the Theorem or the Hifi-M8 there still is a world of difference. Detail, clarity, sound stage, power, body, timbre, … everything is better when using one of these (way) more expensive devices and I don’t think that surprises anyone.

Conclusion

The A200p will give you better sound than your on-board sound card or your phone and it will drive your headphones better. While delivering a fun, easygoing and inoffensive sound, the sound quality doesn’t get a spectacular boost like with a Cypherlabs or Centrance device but the improvement surely is there. For the price there is nothing to complain about really, you are extracting digital data and it will always be better than what you were used to. Those who want to improve the sound quality (on the go) without spending too much money will quite love this unit. More demanding audiophiles however who want the best of the best, better look elsewhere.

The A200P can be bought directly from the online Beyer store and costs 299€ or $299. Don’t get me started on European price setting but Beyer (and other international companies) should really work on this difference as EU consumers are clearly being disadvantaged.

 

 

 

 

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

44 Comments

  • Reply April 23, 2014

    dalethorn

    I bought this a few weeks ago, and can confirm the impressions here. Good accurate review!

    • Reply April 23, 2014

      L.

      Thank you Dale!

  • Reply April 23, 2014

    ohm image

    I shot it for Headphone Book 2014 when it was just the AK10 and thought it looked cool, but my eyes kept zipping to the AK240 instead. Glad to see Beyer choose a cute company as an OEM.

    • Reply April 23, 2014

      L.

      I just wish it had a higher SQ

      • Reply April 24, 2014

        dalethorn

        My jury is still out on that A200p. I can hear more detail than using most low-budget headphone amps without DACs, like the FiiO E07k to the iPhone LOD, but I think the Zen Head amp might be better even though it doesn’t have a DAC. The comparison I most want to make is to the Portaphile Micro when it arrives in a few weeks. I’m going to compare the A200p to the Portaphile Micro running from the iPhone LOD, since I don’t think putting a good DAC ahead of the PM would be fair – the A200p just isn’t in that league. This really points up the need to have a good amp in these little DACs that doesn’t degrade the sound coming from the DAC. It would be nice to read in the manufacturer’s blurbs something like this: “The ‘xyz’ DAC contains a headphone amp that’s a great match for the DAC, so the maximum sound quality coming from the DAC is preserved all the way through to the headphone”. Or maybe they all say that and I just didn’t see it.

  • Reply April 23, 2014

    tre54321

    Question: Does this work with the Classic?

    • Reply April 23, 2014

      L.

      It does not work with the Classic

      Compatible devices:

      Apple

      iPhone 5

      iPhone 5S

      iPad Air

      iPad (4th generation)

      iPad mini

      iPod touch (5th generation)

      • Reply April 23, 2014

        tre54321

        Thanks, L. Fingers crossed that Apple eventually releases an iPod Touch with 128GB capacity.

        • Reply April 23, 2014

          L.

          Lots of people are waiting for that Classic Pro Ipod 🙂

          • Reply May 25, 2014

            SallyMaeSusan

            If Apple go down the hi-res file path, won’t they have to release a new player?
            Or maybe they’ll do it in a phone.
            Either way, I have no appetite for DAPs, DACs or amps that may only sound a little better than my Classic or iPhone 5 (Thank you, Jamie Delgado)

      • Reply April 23, 2014

        George Lai

        Although some forums mention that iRiver said they were working on a 30-pin connector.

        • Reply April 24, 2014

          dalethorn

          Mine came with the 2 proprietary cables with ends for the amp, then the other ends were Lightning and micro USB. If I could find a male 30-pin to female USB-A or female micro USB or female Lightning adapter, I could see if that works.

  • Reply April 23, 2014

    George Lai

    The volume wheel is indeed a challenge. I find that if you rest your finger on it for a second or two, then it turns freely. I wonder if there is some magic under the button as the side effect is that it is not easy to accidentally shoot the volume to max when it is in your pocket, volume lock notwithstanding.

  • Reply April 23, 2014

    George Lai

    The AK10 has a firmware update on the iRiver website that allows you to then play 24/96 using the Onkyo HF Player app on the iPhone 5.

    • Reply April 23, 2014

      L.

      Is anyone willing to try that on the A200P? 🙂

      • Reply April 28, 2014

        George Lai

        I should add that I’ve actually done that, 24/96 that is.

  • Reply April 24, 2014

    Patrick

    Great article L. Had the chance to use beyerdynamics a200p as well for about a week, can’t give such a detailed opionen as you, because of lacking good IEM (a.t.m CX400-II) but I prefer my fiio e17 over the a200p, because of his great and easy to handle (ergnomic) buttons and also the ability to work correctly with my ipod classic – The wheel was indeed a nightmare. The quality is compared to laptop outputs (which I often used in the past) fabulous – Had my fun on spotify, soundcloud and youtube channels (mrsuicidesheep, riserecords, dangerkids etc.) The prices in my country are at 250$, which is ridiculous – when I see things twice or 3x expensiver than other places. Anyway hope to see your review of the 1964 as fast as possible! – Greetz

    • Reply April 24, 2014

      L.

      Thanks for the comment Patrick. I’m still waiting for the Cosmic Ears CE6P that keeps on getting pushed back…

      • Reply April 24, 2014

        Patrick

        Google it just as you announced it ^^ Well they look really interesting btw. are they customly variable as ACS or the jhaudio? As example a red shell with a black/white plate (at the top) and blue coloring (*gasm).

        • Reply April 24, 2014

          L.

          Of course they are. Have you seen my review of the cosmic ears ba4f?

          • Reply April 24, 2014

            Patrick

            Yeah checked it out, man.. way to many options to choose D: Jhaudio, ACS, 1964 and now cosmic, well gone wait until my current IEMs are gone give up to have a reason. Btw. “Jewels in the crown” pretty nails those IEM after reading your opinion on those shining beautys ;). I mean for less than 450$ to buy a price/quality value of his own, certainly not a bad choice. p.S: What is it holding you back on the cosmic ears CE6P? Logistic problems or suchlike…

            • Reply April 24, 2014

              L.

              I am getting the first unit and they ran into a bass driver issue. It should be fixed next week. Then I will need a few weeks to listen

  • Reply April 24, 2014

    Rich

    Great article again by Lieven. I own both the a200p and the CEntrance HiFi-M8. I agree that the HiFi-M8 sounds superior in every way however it should as it costs more than twice as much as the a200p. I purchased a200p for portable use outside my home and for exercising. As much as I love my HiFi-M8 it is really to big for some portable situations such as exercising or taking to the gym. Also it’s laptop style power supply makes it bulky to travel with in your carry on bag. I love the a200p for the purpose I bought it for. It sounds better than the headphone out of both my iPad and iPhone and is extremely portable so it is easy to take to the gym or traveling. As mentioned in the article it also mates very well with Beyer’s own T51ps, which I own, and my Westone Customs (which I use when traveling or at the gym). My only drawbacks for the a200P are its use of proprietary cables and no iPo classic compatibility. But Beyer North America has told me an iPod classic cable is expected to be released by June 2014. The release date had been pushed back due to difficulty getting Apple approval.

    • Reply April 24, 2014

      L.

      thanks Rich and thank you for the info on the cable!

      • Reply April 28, 2014

        tre54321

        Now that sounds promising (re. the iPod Classic compatibility). :3

  • Reply April 25, 2014

    johthor

    Very nice review Lieven. Could you compare with the JDSlabs C5 as they are fairly close cost wise. Thanks

    • Reply April 25, 2014

      L.

      Thanks Johthor.
      The C5D is of course a little bigger but uses standard cables. C5D on an iDevice needs a CCK, the A200P doesn’t. that’s important to note if you will be using it with a iDevice.

      SQ wise the C5D is ahead of the A200P in all aspects + you get a gain switch and a bass switch with 3 positions. Just looking at sound, the choice is easy

  • Reply April 25, 2014

    johthor

    Sorry meant the C5D

  • Reply April 26, 2014

    johthor

    Thanks for the quick reply Lieven. I would like to take a couple of lines to express my appreciation to both you and Mike. How you guys make time in your busy lives to answer all the posts that you do amazes me. For the 3+ years I have been involved in this awesome hobby the excellent reviews on Headfonia and the constant advice and information you both provide in the comment section have been and immense help to me and many others. Thanks again for the invaluable service you both provide.

    • Reply April 26, 2014

      L.

      Means a lot. Thank you!

    • Reply April 27, 2014

      ohm image

      Have to say, ‘yes’, to this as well.

    • Reply June 6, 2014

      SallyMaeSusan

      I second that; this site is brilliant.

  • Reply May 22, 2014

    SallyMaeSusan

    Mmmm; I read on an another forum of a guy who bought one to pair with his iPhone 5 and SE846’s.
    After initially being excited, he ended up sending the A200P back as he reckoned the sound straight out of the phone was better.
    Next time round, they’ll ditch the silly ‘turntable’ volume…surely.

    • Reply May 22, 2014

      L.

      I turntable volume is the least of the issues of the a200p

      • Reply May 22, 2014

        dalethorn

        It’s not big enough to fix all the traditional “solid state sound” issues. If Beyer started with a better chipset, maybe like the Audioengine D3 or Dragonfly2 etc., they would have a better amp.

  • Reply June 28, 2014

    Eric Thompson

    Doesn’t any USB dac work with an iPhone now? Does this work with older 30 pin i devices?

  • Reply November 21, 2015

    Bharath Yelavatti

    Hi..
    I am confused between getting A200p or AudioEngine D3.. for my iPhone 6+ with beyerdynamic T51i setup..
    Which one do you recommend… ?
    For me… high superb quality and immersive experience is more valued than brand…

    • Reply November 21, 2015

      dalethorn

      A200p is made for phones, but D3 is not – requires extra power -use on computer only. But the Oppo HA-2 is a much better DAC/amp than the A200p.

  • Reply January 15, 2016

    mbze430

    After owning the A200P for 1.25yrs now….. my volume wheel is still hard to turn. German engineering? I just lick my finger and it will grip the wheel.

    Is there another alternative unit that will sound better than the A200P and about the same size? Mainly I am using a PSB M4U2 in planes and then my DN-2000 IEM when out and about. My budget for the new DAC/AMP will be up to $400-$500

    • Reply January 15, 2016

      dalethorn

      Right now AudioQuest has the new $100 and $200 DragonFly’s. There’s the little FiiO K1 and the larger E17k. Pico has a small DAC/amp I think. Any of these would be as good as or better than the A200p (actually the AK10, OEM’d). But you didn’t state what your source is…

      • Reply January 16, 2016

        mbze430

        Source will be primary be with FLAC 44.1Khz I rarely have anything in the 96/192. Unless you mean DAP source… in that case it’s my cellphone/laptop. I don’t own a DAP.

        I have been seriously considering the Chord Mojo. I just wish there are some pictures comparison how big that unit is. If it is “portable” I might even consider that.

        I want to make a noticeable difference in SQ from the A200p to my next unit. But you are absolutely right… can someone really hear the difference once outdoor. Which is why I was considering the Chord Mojo, being marketed as a “portable” unit.

        Would be nice to find a place to demo the Chord Mojo too.

        • Reply January 16, 2016

          dalethorn

          With phones, the perfect form factor is the Oppo HA-2. Perfect form and aesthetics, great sound, good price. It’s my no. 1.

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