Best DAPs for TIDAL under 500$ - January 2020
After listing the best Android Digital Audio Players under 1000$, we now try to give you the best recommendations for half the price. There are amazing products on that price range which could suit the needs of many. It’s more difficult to find Android devices on this price range, so we’ll add some alternatives which can stream even though they don’t run that OS.
One of the best and most complete alternatives is the DX160 by IBasso. It features most of the characteristics of the DX220, but lacks modularity and has some obvious compromises. It comes with 4.4 output, with a 300 mW power output. It has the great advantage of using Android as OS, so you can not only install all of your favorite streaming services but also store some other apps you may need, something which is impossible with other DAPs that run proprietary Operative Systems. The internal storage is luckily decent, with 32 GB of memory.
Where to buy it: http://bit.ly/35DLTGq
That’s not the most powerful player out there, but in my opinion it’s what the M7 should have been. The M9 features the same System on Chip by Samsung, an Exynos 7270, but has a better DAC (Dual AK4490EN), a balanced output (2.5) and the WiFi module. Unfortunately, the internal storage remains ridiculous: 2 to 4 GB to store your applications, which will never be enough, especially in 2020. The storage is expandable up to 2 TB, but the apps will take the internal memory for the installation. However, if you just store your music offline, this choice could be perfect for you. There’s a modern Bluetooth module, which is 2-way so it can also act as a receiver for your smartphone. A complete package, for sure.
Where to buy it: http://bit.ly/2FvjkQK
This is one of the devices which don’t run Android as OS, but are still able to stream TIDAL (not Qobuz at the actual state). This great DAP from Shanling outputs balanced via 2.5mm jack and has a fantastic proprietary O (MTouch 2.0) S which works with touchscreen. Same DAC as the FiiO M9, Bidirectional Bluetooth and USB audio, a long-lasting battery and a weird choice storage-wise: there’s no internal memory, so you have to use a MicroSD card even for basic functions. The design of this device is one of my favorite, with wise color choices and solid components.
Where to buy it: http://bit.ly/2T4IwFV
HiBy R3 Pro
Another non-Android contender: HiBy OS is one of the best ones if you like to link your smartphone to your DAP to control your library wirelessly. HiBy link is used by many brands and it’s one of the most advanced programs of its kind. Specs are top notch for the price: 2.5mm balanced output, Dual CS43131 by Cirrus Logic as DAC, MQA certification and a crazy 20 hours battery life. It can stream Qobuz as well as TIDAL. There’s no Spotify or other streaming services, only available on the FiiO M9 and the DX160 by IBasso on this list.
Where to buy it: https://store.hiby.com/products/hiby-r3-pro