I remember when I got my first player but to be honest isn’t wasn’t really a DAP, it was the iPod Classic which I hooked up to the CypherLabs CLAS SOLO DB and some portable amp.
Quickly after the DAP market exploded and everyone wanted a piece of the pie, the list at the bottom of this article proves that. Nowadays almost every self respecting audio brand has an “audiophile” DAP in their product line-up and that has advantages and disadvantages.
The disadvantage is that the market is flooded with DAPs. Which one too choose? Which one sounds best? What user interface is best? Does the company keep putting out new firmware’s? Is there a company that does it al? Choosing a DAP really has gotten complicated. There are DAP companies that get a lof things right but there simply is no perfect DAP (yet) for everyone. Take the Luxury&Precision L3, it’s one of the best sounding IEM DAPs on the market but it has a lacking User Interface. Then there are DAPs that work great but don’t sound that good, and then there are also companies like Astell&Kern that get almost everything right, but their DAPs come with a heavy price. Do you feel comfortable walking around with a DAP that costs more than your first car?
The down side at the same time also is an advantage. There is so much choice now that you can choose your DAP based on the type of music you listen to. At the same time DAPs got so powerful that you can spend more on your DAP as you won’t be needing an external amplifier anymore. Another advantage is that DAPs just keep getting better: DAP companies push each other to keep on producing DAPs better than the competition and that has already brought us DAPs with a desktop sound quality. And there are DAPs in all price classes that let you enjoy high Resolution music, going from the $99 Fiio X1 to the $3999 AK380. If you’re serious about audio, there’s no excuse anymore to keep using your phone.
Anyway, DAPs these days look and sound great and there’s something on the market for everyone. DAPs that I use most are the iBasso DX90, the LP L3, the Fiio X7 and the AK380.
Which is your favorite DAP and why?