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10 Best Portable Digital Audio Players under $1000 for Audiophile | Hifigo

10 Best Portable Digital Audio Players under $1000 for Audiophile | Hifigo

Are you looking for the best DAP’s, but have no idea what one will suit you best? Then you’ll save time by taking a look at this buyer’s guide where you’ll find some of the best DAP’s the marketplace for sale. Even if you don’t buy from us at least you what have learned the right information to buy elsewhere. 

2019 Best Budget DAP Under $200

Hidizs AP80 ($139)

Storage: None (Exp. to 1TB)
Max Sampling Rate: 32-bit/348kHz
File Types: DSD, FLAC, APE, WMA, WAV, ALAC, DSF, DFF


Reasons to Buy

Incredible value for what you get.

Reasons to Avoid

Sensitive headphones can be a little noisy with this DAP.



The Hidizs AP80 is, without a doubt, the best budget DAP available. Nothing else even comes close. For just $150, the AP80 supports a wide range of files types, up to 32-bit/348kHz - the top-rated FiiO M9 only supports up to 192kHz - and an excellent operating system. While the FiiO M9 is a better overall pick, and the Shanling M5S offers improved sound, the Hidizs AP80 is a genuine winner at this price point. It's an improvement on the original AP60, and although it isn't a complete overhaul, it definitely ticks the right boxes. We were tempted to put the cute little Shanling M0 here, but in a world where the AP80 exists, we know exactly which one we pick.

That being said, you should probably reconsider the AP80 if you have sensitive headphones or IEMs – we picked up some noise in our testing that feels like a hangover from the AP60. Regardless of this issue, we had tremendous fun with this little beauty. If you're in the market for a budget DAP, we'd strongly recommend checking this one out. It's damn good.

Full View at Hidizs

 

Fiio M7  Buget Audio player ( $179) 

Screen size: 3.2-inch | Dimensions: 109mm(H)x52mm(W)x13mm(D) | Weight: 116g | Support: 24bit/192kHz, DSD128 | Storage: Internal storage(about 2GB) + micro SD card(supporting up to 512GB) 

Battery Capacity: 1880mAh 
File Types: DSD, APE, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, MP3, WMA, ACC,AAC,OGG

Reasons to Buy

Incredible value for what you get.

Strong and robust build.

Reasons to Avoid

OS, though simplified, is still not as polished

We wish for a bit more sonic sense of space

FiiO is known for its strong and robust build and the legacy is carried forward quite well by the M7. It’s a solid block of goodness that’s quite pocketable and hardly weighs anything - 116g to be precise. But the lightweight doesn’t mean it feels cheap, in fact, it feels like it can survive a few drops and then some.


FiiO M7 audio player has a sort of neutral approach that is backed by clarity and precision detail. We do wish it were a bit more open and spacious as sometimes tracks do tend to sound congested, but it isn’t very prominent. Switch to Bluetooth which comes with LDAC and aptX-HD and there’s hardly any difference in the quality. The FiiO M7 doesn’t change the character or lose those finer details and puts out a strong performance even when you use Line-out. FiiO has also included radio, which is sort of odd, but it works well.

The FiiO M7 is quite a capable player that looks cute and has a lot to offer. It gives you the LDAC codec along with aptX-HD and supports DSD128 via its USB Type-C port. For what it offers and the price that it comes at, the M7 is a great option for those looking for a separate player that’s capable of a lot.

Full view and buy at $178.71

Apple iPod Touch 2019 ($200)

The last of the iPod family proves it still has its place.

SPECIFICATIONS
Storage: 32GB/128GB/256GB | Screen size: 4-inch | Battery life: 40hr | Dimensions: 12.3 x 5.9 x 0.6 cm | Weight: 88g

File Types: AAC, MP3, WAV, FLAC, Audible


Reasons to Buy

Spritely, entertaining sound
Good picture quality
excellent OS
Long battery life

Reasons to Avoid

Definitely not the best sound on this list!

Given the iPod Touch’s extensive feature set and comparably low price, it would only need to be decent for us to be able to recommend it. However, this seventh generation is more than that: it proves there is still a place for the iPod in this market of smartphone streaming and premium hi-res PMPs.
In terms of tonality and overall character, it is a very Apple-sounding product. It gets everything right, without overstretching itself in any regard. Balance is even, rhythms snap in time and there is enough dynamic interest to discern between varying moods and genre.
That's before you consider its HD screen, extensive app access, gaming capabilities, and even front and rear-facing cameras. iPod Touch music player is essentially a smartphone without a cellular connection.

Full view at apple 

2019 Best DAP Sub $250

Shanling M2x ( $219 )

 
SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 3.2-inch | Dimensions: 90*60*16mm | Weight: 147g | Support: 32bit/384kHz, DSD256 | Storage: external TF card, support 2TB capacity 

Battery Capacity: 2400mAh(single-ended output: 10.5hours /balance output: 7.5 hours ) 

File Types: DSD, DFF, ISO, DXD, APE, FLAC, WAV, AIF, AIFF, DTS, MP3, WMA, ACC, OGG, ALAC, MP2, M4C, AC3, M3U, M3U8

Reasons to Buy
Excellent sound for the price
An outstanding upgrade for a much cheaper price.

Reasons to Avoid
Nothing at this price

Shanling is continuously renewing their DAP line-up and their latest addition is the Shanling M2X. The M2X takes the previous version, the M2S, and improves it, especially on the volume wheel front. This small slab of metal and glass is easy and pleasant to use. The M2X is an affordable, richly featured DAP that delivers excellent sound quality. The UI might be a little rough around the edges here in there but is smooth, responsive and intuitive to use. The sound I feel can be best described as neutral with a bit of punch and a slightly brighter tonality to make the music detailed and exciting. Build quality feels great and with a lot of up-to-date features, I think it makes for a great value DAP that is definitely worth a closer look.

Full view and buy at $219

2019 Best DAP Sub $500

Shanling M5S ($429) Portal Audio Player

SPECIFICATIONS
Screen size: 3.2-inch | Dimensions: 117*56*16mm | Weight: 178g | Support: 32bit/384kHz, DSD256 | Storage: external TF card, support 2TB capacity 

Battery Capacity: 3400mAh (single-ended output: 17hours /balance output: 10 hours ) 
File Types: DSD, DFF, ISO, DXD, APE, FLAC, WAV, AIF, AIFF, DTS, MP3, WMA, ACC, OGG, ALAC, MP2, M4C, AC3, M3U, M3U8

Reasons to Buy
Excellent sound for the price
dual AK4493 DAC look promising

Reasons to Avoid
Built-in EQ isn't amazing


Shanling has been one of the biggest audio surprises in the past few years. It’s becoming hard to write bad things about Shanling players. Their M5S HiFi player keeps them at the top of our list. It is well designed, got great specs, sounds superb and… cost less than 500 bucks. It's an improvement on the original M5 – albeit not a massive one – that switches up the design and boosts the sound quality. The original M5 can only handle 192kHz, whereas the Shanling M5S supports up to 768kHz files. Shanling did an excellent job with this HiFi DAP! The pricing is fantastic for the quality received and it is punching way above the list price. The battery life is very good and the UI is not problematic at all for me. It offers slight customization in what icon folders will be front and center on the home page and also feels fantastic in the hand in terms of build quality. The only lacking aspect is the relatively basic EQ system which is just not good enough for the very good fidelity offered from the system’s hardware. I hope they can improve that in future products. Beyond that, the Shanling M5S  is a fantastic midtier hi-res DAP. I will certainly be recommending it to enthusiasts looking for something in the $500 range. Again, there are better players out there, if you focus on musical performance only. But, if you want a player, that does it all without costing an arm, the Shanling M5s is the one to go for.

Full view and buy at $429


Cayin N5iiS Digital Audio Player ($470)

 

Screen size: 3.5-inch | Dimensions: 117*59*15.3mm | Weight: 248g | Support: 32bit/384kHz, DSD256 | Storage: 64GB (Expandable to 400GB*2TF)

Battery Capacity: 3000mAh (single-ended output: 12hours /balance output: N/A) 
File Types: ALAC, AAC, OGG, APE, MP3, FLAC, WAV, SACD ISO, DSD, DSF, AIFF, WMA, WMA Lossless

Reasons to Buy
Enormous storage capacity

Reasons to Avoid
Doesn't do anything particularly special.


The Cayin N5iiS Digital Audio Player uses a durable design because it’s made from materials such as steel. The 3.5-inch IPS touch screen is highly responsive and is easy to navigate. With the touch screen, you can shuffle between songs, mute when needed, and regulate the volume. Also, there are buttons located on the side that can be used to do the same things.
The HD DAP supports third-party apps, which means you can download Spotify, Apple Music, and other popular music applications to play music. The 2 GB of RAM means that the DAP can run most apps and doesn’t lag when in use. Also, the device has 64 GB internal memory, so you won’t need to purchase a micro SD card separately.
Furthermore, the quad-core processor offers intuitive user experience and extraordinary digital audio. The DAP supports DST and DTS encoded format, which means the audio sounds pinpoint perfect. The device has a 3.5 mm input allowing you to connect your headphones or earphones with ease.
With this DAP you can see scratches easily because of the light steel design. Also, the battery life is only 10 hours long when playing at full volume, but at lower levels, you can extend the playback time to 20 hours.
In conclusion, the Cayin N5iiS Digital Audio Player is a brilliant choice because it comes with a durable design due to the steel exterior. The DAP supports DST and DTS, which means the audio quality is enhanced. The internal storage is 64 GB so you won’t have to purchase an external micro SD card.

Full view and buy at $470

2019 Best DAP Under $1000

 
Sony ZX-300 ($ 698)  Digital Audio Player

Screen size: 3.1-inch | Dimensions: 117*59*15.3mm | Weight: 157g | Support: 32bit/384kHz, DSD256 | Storage: 64GB ( Suport ExpandablemicroSD/microSDHC/microSDXC)

Battery Capacity: N/A (single-ended output >15hours / balance output>13hours) 
File Types: MP3 / WMA / FLAC /WAV / AAC / HE-AAC / Apple Lossless / AIFF / DSD / APE / MQA


Reasons to Buy
Great Sound
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing at this price


A world in which Sony does not lead the middle and top end of the DAP market is thankfully a bitter past. Sony’s disappointing A-series Walkman are long gone. And so are fiddly controls whose sole capital is the size. The ZX300 pulls its weight both stylistically and in use. With the singular proviso of audible hiss when combined with sensitive earphones, it sounds great. It looks great. It works great. Its screen is better than most of the competition at its price. It’s a killer.


$698 from Sony


M11 Pro ($699.99)  Digital Audio Player

Screen size: 5.15-inch | Dimensions: 130*70.5*16.5mm | Weight: 220g | Support: 32bit/384kHz, DSD256 | Storage: 64GB (Expandable to 2TBx2)

Battery Capacity: 4370mAh
File Types: DSD, APE, FLAC, WAV, AIF, AIFF, DTS, MP3, WMA, ACC


Reasons to Buy

Increase battery life
Upgrade dual DAC chip

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing until now coz it is the latest one pre-sale. 

Estimated SRP at USD 600-700 (New PN with high price)

Scheduled to be released in Oct. (subjected to change)

Inside the M11pro are dual AKM AK4497EQ DACs decoding your music. Compared to its dual AK4493 predecessor in M11, not only has the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) been increased, but distortion has also been reduced by 3dB for greatly improved sound quality.

M11 pro increase ROM from 32GB to 64GB. The copious 3GB of RAM ensures smooth multitasking, while the 64GB of storage plus two micro-SD card slots (each supporting up to 2TB card) means you can store thousands of lossless music without having to delete songs to free up space.

M11 Pro increased battery capacity from 3800 to 4370mAh. M11pro deliver us 60 days of sleep standby. Comparing with M11, 1hour charging time more because of increased battery capacity. M11pro continues the Quick Charge 2.0 and MediaTek Pump Express quick charging support, allowing it to only take 3.5 hours to fully charge its large battery. It increases 3800 mAh high-voltage battery of M11 to considerable 4370mAh.

Full view and buy at $699.99

Colorfly Pocket HIFI U6 ($ 819) Portal Audio Player 

Screen size: 3.97-inch | Dimensions:104*69.5*18.5mm | Weight: N/A | Support: 32bit/384kHz, DSD256 | Storage: 64GB (Expandable to 256GB) | Battery Capacity: 4600mAh

File Types: ALAC, AAC, OGG, APE, MP3, FLAC, WAV, SACD ISO, DSD, DSF, AIFF, WMA, WMA Lossless

Reasons to Buy
Significant improvement on the previous model.
Excellent sound, superb EQ options.

4 DAC Chips
Reasons to Avoid
The design may not appeal to all

Colorfly new flagship hi-res portable player, the U8, has been widely praised for its sound performance by audiophiles, but many people have joked about other aspects except U8 sound performance, including sliding volume controls, short battery life, and appearance design. The newly launched U6 seems to be a lower-level product than U8 in terms of product number and price. However, from the actual experience, U6 is more like a product that "fix" U8, solves some problems of U8, and will be more popular. The U6 continues the main technical features of the U8. But it comes loaded with 4 chips,8-channels DAC (ESS ES 9318) first time which can directly decode DSD512, PCM 32bit/384KHz audio data. It is unique among portable players. So U6 offers high dynamic range (DNR) of 121dB measured and impressively low levels of total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) as low as 0.00017%. The outputs performance reach professional desktops grade comparatively.

U6 opts the traditional mechanical roller for volume adjusting, which is much easier to operate than sliding control of U8. U6 is equipped with 4600mAh battery, offers up to 7 hours of continuous playback in low-gain balanced output. Without reducing the output power, it is improved much comparing with the 5-hour playback of U8.

Other improvements: With same android OS customized, U6 has improved much on responding time and runs more smoothly; The appearance design looks more "normal" than U8, you will find an anodized, CNC aluminum alloy body paired with glass double sides, for a more attractive look. The 3.97 inch IPS HD 800 × 480 touchscreen is a feast for the eyes with its sharpness design. Comparing with U8, U6 is slightly shorter and thicker. Heat dissipation of U6 is better than U8. 3.5.mm pro port is adopted in U6 to replace the fragile 2.5mm port on U8.

Full view and buy at $819

iBasso DX220 Reference DAP ($979) 

Screen size: 5-inch | Dimensions: 126*70.5*18.7mm | Weight: 240g | Support: 32bit/384kHz, DSD256 | Storage: 64GB (Expandable TF)

Battery Capacity: 4400mAh
File Types: DSD, APE, FLAC, WAV, AIF, AIFF, DTS, MP3, WMA, ACC, M3U8

Reasons to Buy
Bluetooth 5.0 featured
Dual OS system

Reasons to Avoid
The price might not appeal to everyone

The iBasso DX220 is the company’s latest flagship reference digital audio player. It features the same dual ES9028 PRO DAC chips with its predecessor the DX200, but there are a lot of new features added with the new model. The DX220 features a very nice 5″ full HD touch screen display from Sharp; one of the best-looking display in portable DAPs nowadays. It supports both PCM 32bit/384kHZ, up to DSD512 (native) and MQA audio formats. Like with most iBasso DAPs, the DX220 also features the replaceable amp card design and by default you get the AMP1 MKII with 3.5mm unbalanced, 2.5mm balanced and line out. If need a 4.4mm balanced out, you’ll have to get another amp module for that. The DX220 is powered by an 8-core CPU paired with 4GB of memory and a 64GB of internal storage. Actual usable capacity may be lower, but there is a single microSD card that can support up to 2TB of microSDXC (theoretically). The iBasso DX220 also features a dual OS system, with Android 8.1 and Mango OS. Currently, this is one of the hottest DAP in the market as it is a new release. 

Full View and buy at $979

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