Whats a great Budget DAP Option?

So, with my CD Collection growing, and me having more and more FLAC files to play, i see myself using Spotify less and less.
I could just use my phone, but where’s the fun in that? I’m looking for a Portable Player that can handle FLAC Files, sounds decent and isn’t too small. I had a Sanza Fuze that is just so small i’d loose it every second day :wink:

I’m willing, or actually intend to, go used. I’m just not sure what the best Value would be. Some options i’d look at would be an IPod Classic modded with an SD Card, I’ve been eyeing a Zune for some time now.
What options should i look at for a great value DAP?

I think you should look at Hidizs devices. They make really good devices at a decent price. I only bought a DAC cable from them but so far has been working great and contacted the customer service once for a question, and they answered me immediatly (albeit with just an “ok” english). Also their DAPs work as external DACs if you want and I appreciate flexibility in things that I buy.

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Certainly looking nice. The AP60 could be an option. I’ll be looking into those.
I’m also looking around to see, if there is anything out there to make a Pi Zero Into a decent player. I have one lying around and it should be powerfull enough for this. Just not sure if there are any decent dac’s for that. Running this of an 18650 Battery could work as a more DIY solution.

You can buy DACs for Raspberry Pis but I’ve never saw one with just a 3.5mm headphone jack. Everyone using those (they’re not cheap btw) always integrates the Pi into a speaker setup to have a good DAC with smart features without turning to ultra expensive brands like Sonos. I’m also thinking that the Pi Zero might not have the raw power to smoothly play big FLAC files. Last but not least you need a screen for it and the DAC hats usually take up most of the GPIO pins you could use to attach a basic 3.5" resistive touch LCD to the Pi.

To be honest, Going with a 5.5 or 6th gen IPod Classic might just be the best option here. They are still less expensive than even entry level new DAP’s, and certainly don’t sound worse. A little DIY is involved though.
From the Hidizs the AP60 seems a little small for my big hands. The only other one looking decent is the AP200, and that’s a bit out of range of what i’d like to spend ono a “fun” project with no real actual usecase.
I get why DAP’s went more expensive when smartphones took over. Going with pre-smartphone era stuff might just work out cheaper here. Also, I’m looking at what fiio is up to lately. I got an E11 years back that still works really great.

Fiio has quite the range of DAP’s


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@SgtAwesomesauce and I took the ipod classic plunge. He did a 6th gen with SD cards. I did a 5th gen with msata. Ask us anything.


Yeah i saw that and have been there before years back. I didn’t restart the Project as Prices for those things skyrocketed. More recently, they seem to come down a bit.
Is the 5th gen still the way to go in terms of moddability, or has the 6th gen cought up? I remember stuff like rockbox and replacement parts being way better for the 5th gen…

I am more of a fan of a portable DAC/AMP over DAPs. You get the option of increasing sound quality on all you devices rather than one. Plus you can take it and use it with your phone on the go.


But then you still rely on battery and storage of the phone. I don’t specifically look for better sound. My S10e sounds fine. I’m looking for a simpler, more compact, and longer batterylife device that’s independent of the phone.
No Internet, no social stuff, just offline music Playback…

The go to still seems to be the 5th gen. Sgt had to run a different bootloader to get rockbox to work on his 6th with the SD setup. I’m not sure why. On my setup with the msata my battery life takes a hit. They make a deeper back and 3000mah battery upgrade, I haven’t gotten that yet though.

I also have a jailbroken 4s that’s pretty good for audio but I gave it to the wife.

Many portable DACs act as backup batteries.

A lot of DAPs run Android btw. And are chunky.

If a DAP is what you want, then I second @MazeFrame with FIIO.

Also you wanted affordable and I can tell you now that restoring an iPod classic is anything but. It seems not bad at first glance and then before you know it you’ve spent well over 100 on it.

Was it worth it? It was for me. I use it all the time.

It’s not without some caveats and gotchas. I have to boot into stock firmware to add music because rockbox was never designed for SD or SSD use. Rockbox runs like dogshit sometimes. I have to run a user modified version because there wasn’t any SSD support. Rockbox is for all intents and purposes a dead project at this point.


Sadly, yes. Thanks for pointing this out and being honest enough to say that it won’t save money. Back then i was able to get an 5th Gen for sub 40 bucks. They are still double to tripple that now.

I really like the X5 from Fiio. But that’s probably more in the “for Christmas” price ranger than in the “just get it for shts and giggles” price range… I’ll keep looking though.

to be honest, the Q5s looks really nice. Could work at work over BT from the phone and i could use it at home instead of getting a new Headphone amp for my PC. I’m looking to find a shop in the EU to see what it’s priced like…

Edit: nvm. It’s 400 Bucks. That’s a bit too steep for my taste.

Buy once, cry once? :grin:

I have the first generation of the FiiO X1. It has issues with FLAC files, but other than that it has been working like it should. Could just be my microSD card though, it was the cheapest 128 GB one at the time.

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I’m NOT spending 400 bucks on a DAC. There are SOOOO many nice Headphones that would improve my Setup Much more than a DAC at that pricepoint.
That, and the wife would literally kill me :grin:

I bought mine for 45 in working condition and threw parts at it to bring it back to a newer condition.

The idea of just a portable media player has gone the way of the dodo.