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Thread: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

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    Old and VERY grumpy. g8ina's Avatar
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    Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    An eight quid DAC/Headphone amplifier from China

    A six quid Maplin waffer thin 2200mAh power bank

    A two hundred quid iRiver audio player with a 120gb HDD, RockBox installed to play FLAC at 24bit/192kHz

    A pair of sixteen quid XiaoMi pisten earbuds.

    Some drilling and screwing, a bit of Velcro .....

    Bliss.

    Yep, seriously



    Last edited by g8ina; 24-04-2018 at 08:41 PM.

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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    "portable"

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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    I have no idea what's going on here. Are you telling me that in a blind hearing test, you could discern the difference between music coming out of that (assuming same track and headphones) and my google pixel?

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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    Quote Originally Posted by g8ina View Post
    A two hundred quid iRiver audio player with a 120gb HDD, RockBox installed to play FLAC at 24bit/192kHz
    I guess there aren't many (any?) portable music devices with digital out these days?

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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    I have no idea what's going on here.
    The player is providing a digital optical output to an external D to A converter which includes a headphone amplifier. The whole lot is oowered by an external battery bank.

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    Are you telling me that in a blind hearing test, you could discern the difference between music coming out of that (assuming same track and headphones) and my google pixel?
    I dont think he is saying that at all - this isnt a comparison review, but a statement you need to take at face value.

    A large element of the quality depends on the encoding of the source. Flac and wmv wav generally give the best quality as they are lossless. Ogg vorbis comes next as it is lossy compression, followed by mp3. There are other nuances, such as the dynamic range of te encoder (number of bits) and the bit rate of the encoding stream.

    I have no idea what the audio capabilities of a Google Pixel are, especially the codecs it supports.
    Last edited by peterb; 20-03-2018 at 06:52 PM. Reason: Typo correction
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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    this looks like fun, but not all that portable!
    wmv is not always lossless, is it PeterB?

    My current notional setup is :
    FLAC to
    Android Rocket Player (bypass android mixer) via OTG to
    Cambridge Audio DACMAGIC XS (v2?) DAC / Headphone amp to
    Chinese IEMs (KZ? ZS6?) they are bright but well controlled can't complain really. I have upgraded them with a silver cable and foams.

    This setup works well and the DAC/AMP is UK and well made and SMALL!
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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    Many phones(like my cheapo Huawai P9 Lite) do have DSPs/DACs on-board so sound quality is surprisingly good. However,the main issue is many phones might lack the power to drive higher impedence headphones,etc as well,so the amplification really does help.

    Thanks for sharing g8ina - it suprising what you can pick up today for under £10. I might give it a try too!!


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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Millennium View Post
    wmv is not always lossless, is it PeterB?
    sorry - wav! (now corrected in original post)
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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    I probably would have gone for this, used with a smartphone. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...d_i=1591692031
    "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."


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    Old and VERY grumpy. g8ina's Avatar
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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    Well, that was an unexpected set of comments

    Portable ? yes, its a lot smaller than it looks, the iRiver is 10x6x2 cm, the DAC is 8x7x3cm plus sticky out bits, the battery is 9x6x0.4cm - the whole lot fits in my coat pocket and is perfect for when I take a walk around town, or my local nature reserve, or when Sally is at church and Im in 'Spoons eating breakfast and reading.

    The optical output is quite a rarity for portable audio. It also has the capability to record WAV. Its upgraded from the original 20GB HDD to a 128GB HDD. FLAC being lossless is an order better than any MP3, and depending on source can be better than CD quality. Some of my FLAC files are derived from SACD, others from vinyl.

    wazzickle - yes, without a doubt

    Cat, the DAC is £8 delivered from AliExpress :
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/BGEK...ceBeautifyAB=0

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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    Anyone got a recommendation for a cheapish portable music player? The battery on my phone is messed up so want something I can use to listen to music on the go withoput draining it.
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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    Quote Originally Posted by MLyons View Post
    Anyone got a recommendation for a cheapish portable music player? The battery on my phone is messed up so want something I can use to listen to music on the go withoput draining it.
    Spend the money on replacing your battery? Or grab a cheap iPod off eBay - the latest gens are a few years old, but well built and reasonably cheap.



    On topic to the thread, I thought the DAC in my OnePlus 5 was alright, but I splashed out on a USB DAC/Amp and a decent set of earbuds and even I can hear the difference - even on streamed audio. And I can plug it in to my laptop/PC for desk-based listening.

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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    How cheap ?

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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    Quote Originally Posted by g8ina View Post
    How cheap ?
    say £50. If that's not enough then £100. If there's something for 125 that is much better and worth the money then that aswell
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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    some ebay options from iRiver :

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/253557572224

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/173262005032

    Upgrade the HDD to 128GB like me and her's a good un

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    Re: Portable audio, best Ive heard for a long time :)

    You can get a Sony Walkman MP3 player for about £65, but these are only about 8Gb and I'm not sure you can get an SD card in one. I've got the NW-A15, which is the Hi-Res player and I'm very pleased with it. It was £150 new but that was a few years ago. Only 16Gb, but you can put an SD card in. Battery life is epic, and sound quality is very good. You need to supply your own headphones though. Not available any more. There are more advanced hi-res players from Sony that have full touch screens and more storage, but these start at £160.
    Other than that, there's high end stuff like Astell and Kern, or Fiio, which has a very good reputation, but is also quite expensive. Saying that, the X1 is under £100...

    Edit: Or you've got those little Sandisk Clip things which are cheap, expandable, and apparently surprisingly good sound quality. I think when I was in the same situation as you a few years ago, that one was recommended to me...

    Edit 2: Here's the thread from when I was looking at MP3 players... https://forums.hexus.net/consumer-el...p3-player.html
    Last edited by Smudger; 20-04-2018 at 11:05 AM. Reason: Additional info

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