Digital Audio Players: Why Do We Need A DAP?
Today the market is filled with many digital audio players(DAPs). We have audio players from entry level 50-100$ price to flagship models with a 2k-3k$ price tag. Usually, DAPs feature various different OS systems self-developed by brands, like HiBy OS by HiBy or Mtouch OS by Shanling, these both are based on Linux. The latest mid to high-level DAPs also feature Android OS that supports multiple streaming APPS and works similarly to our latest smartphones. Well, now the question arises why do we need a DAP when we can use our smartphones to play music files?? Let us first tell you there’s a lot more to a DAP apart from just playing music files. And today we are going to tell you the Pros and Cons of using a DAP over a smartphone for music satisfaction.
What is a Digital Audio Player??
Digital Audio Player or what we commonly know it as a DAP, is a device that users can use to play music files. The latest DAPs are based either on Android OS or Linux based OS. DAPs houses a variety of features like the DAC chipset, powerful Amplification unit, Multiple Sound Output Ports, Bi-directional Bluetooth with Hi-res codecs support, and much more. A DAP can also be used as a USB DAC to decode high-quality music files on PC/Laptops. The biggest difference between a Smartphone and a DAP is that a smartphone can only play basic music files mostly mp3, while a DAP can decode MQA files, 32-Bit hi-res recordings, and even DSD files with ease.
Pros of using a Digital Audio Player over a Smartphone:-
> High-Quality Chipset Configurations, High-Quality Sound Output:-
DAPs are equipped with premium level audio chipsets including high-performance DAC chips, powerful amplification chips, femtosecond crystal oscillator clocks, and much more. Mid to high-level DAPs are equipped with dual DAC chips to provide an, even more, smoother decoding experience. Such high-quality chipsets ensure a rich and premium sound quality output with high-quality file decoding support. DAPs can easily decode files for up to 32-Bit/768kHz, or DSD up to DSD256 natively with MQA decoding support while a smartphone shows hiss or background noise with cd quality FLAC files.
>Bi-Directional Bluetooth Connectivity with Hi-Res Codecs:-
Most of the latest DAPs support bi-directional Bluetooth connectivity with hi-res codecs support including LDAC, APT X HD, and more. Yes, we know high-end smartphones also feature hi-res Bluetooth Codecs, but some DAPs features UAT Bluetooth codec that is the latest technology developed by HiBy and supports signal streaming for files up to 24-bit/192kHz, ensuring the best sound quality output over wireless Bluetooth connections.
>USB DAC Mode:-
Another area where a DAP excels over a smartphone is the capability to be used as a USB DAC with PC or laptops. Yes, you can use your DAP as a standalone USB DAC and use it to decode high-quality files on your PC or laptops.
>No Notification Interferences:-
Usually, while we play music on our smartphones there are many notifications including calls, messages, social media, and more that disturb the playback. There are no such notification issues with a DAP, provided that you don’t install social media apps on your Android DAPs. This makes one enjoy good quality music without any interference.
>Best Quality Music Over Streaming Apps:-
Yes, you can use streaming apps on your smartphones, but they won’t be able to provide the intended Hi-Fi sound output because of the lack of premium DAC chips. A DAP with the help of premium DAC chips provides the best sound quality over streaming Apps.
>Multiple Output Ports:-
Smartphones have one single output port usually 3.5mm port or USB Type-C port, DAPs on the other hand usually have two to three output ports. Usually an unbalanced 3.5mm port, and a 2.5mm balanced. Some latest DAPs also have a 4.4mm balanced port. So users get more versatility with multiple options to use IEMs with balanced plugs. Also not to mention but with premium chipsets, DAPs give out much cleaner and powerful output as compared to smartphones.
>High Capacity Memory Support:-
DAPs support high capacity memory cards. Most of the DAPs supports up to 512GB microSD cards and some support for up to 2TB of memory cards. So you can carry your entire music library in a single card with your DAPs.
These are some of the benefits of using a DAP over a smartphone, now let’s discuss the Cons of DAPs over smartphones.
Cons of DAPs over Smartphones:-
>Another Device to Carry Around:-
The biggest flaw of owning a DAP is that you have to carry around another device with your smartphones. Most of the Hi-fi DAPs have a bulky and heavy build quality. Sometimes it is really bothersome to carry around another device, but good quality music output surely makes it worth it.
There are no other cons of using a DAP over a Smartphone. So it is quite clear that the advantages of using a DAP outweigh the disadvantages heavily and they are highly suggested if you are going to build a portable audio setup. We have made some portable audio setup recommendation articles. You can check our entry-level portable setup recommendation article here, and Mid-level portable setup recommendation article here. Now we would like to tell you about some of the best DAPs currently available in the market.
HiBy R3 Pro:-
HiBy R3 Pro is one of the finest entry-level DAP available for 199$ only. This cute little player is equipped with two powerful CS43131 DAC chips. It offers dual output ports including a 3.5mm unbalanced port and a 2.5mm balanced port with enough juice to power any of your IEMs easily. It can decode PCM up to 32-Bit/384kHz, or DSD up to DSD256 easily. The player also supports MQA unfolding. It is loaded with HiBy OS with Bi-directional Bluetooth with Hi-res UAT, LDAC, and more codecs support. The players offer a crisp sound output, with a battery life of up to 20 hours. You can grab HiBy R3 Pro at our store here.
iBasso DX160 is a very powerful device with a Full HD 1080P display. The player is equipped with a dual DAC setup featuring two CS43198 DAC chips. It features open Android OS and a 5” 1080P display with crisp clarity. With an open Android OS users can install any of the streaming apps on the player easily from the play store. The device supports MQA decoding with PCM up to 32-Bit/384kHz, DSD up to DSD256 natively. It features dual output ports including one 3.5mm single-ended and one 4.4mm balanced output port. The sound output is energetic, detailed, and has a dark background free from any noise. It is priced at 399.99$, You can grab this amazing music player from our store here.
Shanling M6 Pro:-
Shanling released its latest Android music player in the form of Shanling M6 Pro. It comes as an upgrade to the brand’s highly acclaimed Shanling M6 player. The latest model is equipped with a powerful Dual AK4497EQ DAC setup with a powerful amplification unit featuring OPA1622, ADA4610-2, and more chips. It can decode PCM up to 32-Bit/768kHz, DSD up to DSD256 natively. The player features fully balanced sound output, it has three output ports 4.4mm balanced, 2.5mm balanced, and 3.5mm unbalanced ports. It has a powerful sound output, more than enough to power any of your buds/IEMs. It can play headphones with good clarity too. It has open Android OS, users can download apps from the play store with ease. The player has a battery life of up to 13 hours, also supporting Quick Charge 3.0. It is priced at 759$, you can check more details about it here.
FiiO M15 is the flagship digital Audio Player from FiiO. It houses class-leading chips like Flagship dual AK4499 DAC chipset, CSR8675 Bluetooth chip, XMOS XU208 USB chip, and much more. It provides the best in class sound quality output with its three output ports, 3.5mm unbalanced, 2.5mm balanced, and 4.4mm balanced ports. This powerful player can fully unfold MQA files, decodes PCM up to 32-Bit/768kHz, DSD up to DSD512 natively. It has many more features like ADC volume adjustment mode, headphone mode, All to DSD 2nd gen, and much more. FiiO M15 can easily power your power-hungry full-size cans with its powerful headphone mode. It is priced at 1399$, you can check more details here.
There are more powerful devices like Cayin N6ii, Lotoo Paw 6000, and many more, you can check them at our product range at Hifigo.com.