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Portable audio players vs Smartphones

Would you go for a portable audio player?

  • Yes, I'd go for it.

    Votes: 10 76.9%
  • No, I'd rather go for a smartphone only.

    Votes: 2 15.4%
  • No, I'd rather go for a smartphone+dac/amp combo.

    Votes: 1 7.7%
  • I'd go for a smartphone while outside, I'd go for a hifi audio system in home.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    13

tkin

Back to school!!
Hey guys, back here after a long time.

I'd like to start a discussion here regarding the usefulness of Portable Audio Players in these days. Smartphones had pretty much replaced our portable audio devices, no more fm radios(back in the nineties I'd go nuts for a digital fm radio which sold for around a 100 bucks and sounded like $hit), or portable audio players like ipod etc. A smartphone is quite good at all of these, playing audio(even flac), fm, or streaming via internet.

Portable audio players have something which no smartphone can compete with, dedicated dac and amps which sound a lot better, but you have to use a quality headphone to even tell the difference, also they lack in some areas as well. Specially the fact they lack internet connectivity or fm radios, also most of them won't serve as a video player or a lousy one at best.

So how useful are portable audio players these days? Would you use one? There are the hassles of carrying an extra device as well.

Discuss freely and respond to the poll.
 

High-Fidelity

Journeyman
Yes I would go for a dedicated audio player. In UI, smartphone may win but if I want to experience sheer sound quality, I always prefer listening my IEMs and full sized can with my DAP. There is a significant difference between a mobile phone and DAP when it comes to sound quality, driving capabilities, sound stage, imaging.

I would attach amplifier to the line out of my DAP only in case if my DAP failed to drive my IEMs and full-sized CANS(because it cannot remain as portable as a DAP alone when we go outside for evening walk and morning walk).

As for the FM Radio, when I listen to FM on my mobile, I rather put my mobile and earphones on the table because in my locality or city, FM sound quality is so bad. Even it's reception is good so it still cannot sound as good as my FLAC and WAV collections in my DAP.

If you are a music lover so DAP won't be a hassle to carry it around. These days DAPs sizes are so small and light (if we leave high end DAPs) to carry.
 

$hadow

Geek in making
I will certainly go for smartphone + amp. This make the IEM's or Headphones sound so amazing. I am using E11 and it is certainly money well spent.
 
OP
tkin

tkin

Back to school!!
I will certainly go for smartphone + amp. This make the IEM's or Headphones sound so amazing. I am using E11 and it is certainly money well spent.
Since Amp just boosts the headphone signal it appears you are satisfied with your phone's sound quality i.e the inbuilt dac of the phone. I'm also satisfied with my G2's audio quality, I haven't found ipods to be any better, would like to try some other brands like FiiO, or Sansa.
 

$hadow

Geek in making
Since Amp just boosts the headphone signal it appears you are satisfied with your phone's sound quality i.e the inbuilt dac of the phone. I'm also satisfied with my G2's audio quality, I haven't found ipods to be any better, would like to try some other brands like FiiO, or Sansa.

I am not much of a portable audio player type of a person but using Fiio amp did make a visible difference in the SQ as far as I am concerned and I am happy with it.
 
OP
tkin

tkin

Back to school!!
I am not much of a portable audio player type of a person but using Fiio amp did make a visible difference in the SQ as far as I am concerned and I am happy with it.
Yes, they come with an inbuilt equalizer, some enhancement can be done.
 

Anorion

Sith Lord
Staff member
Admin
I use Cowon D2+
it's not a great player (smile curve on frequency response)
but the battery life is too good, about 50 hours. That's really useful, combined with portable speakers it lasts longer than a smartphone.
Also use portable battery :p

experimented with saavn, 8tracks and shoutcast on phone, but barely use it for music. Streaming is not bufferless, especially if moving around.
 
OP
tkin

tkin

Back to school!!
I use Cowon D2+
it's not a great player (smile curve on frequency response)
but the battery life is too good, about 50 hours. That's really useful, combined with portable speakers it lasts longer than a smartphone.
Also use portable battery :p

experimented with saavn, 8tracks and shoutcast on phone, but barely use it for music. Streaming is not bufferless, especially if moving around.
Saavn streaming is very bad, also gaana, sometimes songs just doesn't play or gets stuck, add to that the huge cost of 3g, I sometimes use TuneIn, but saavn is too expensive to maintain.
 

RCuber

The Mighty Unkel!!!
Staff member
I prefer DAP over smartphone.
I own a Sansa Fuze+ & a Fiio X1 coupled with Astrotec AM-90 , I also have a iPod Shuffle lying somewhere in the house! :lol:
 
OP
tkin

tkin

Back to school!!
I prefer DAP over smartphone.
I own a Sansa Fuze+ & a Fiio X1 coupled with Astrotec AM-90 , I also have a iPod Shuffle lying somewhere in the house! :lol:
How would you rate the FiiO X1 in terms of sound quality, operating system/ui operations and battery life? Overall?
 

RCuber

The Mighty Unkel!!!
Staff member
How would you rate the FiiO X1 in terms of sound quality, operating system/ui operations and battery life? Overall?

Sound quality is the very good that I have experienced with all the DAPs I have owned (including smartphones), I upgraded it from my Fuze+, but both sound different. It cannot compare with my Xonar Essence ST sound card. I need to still experiment with the EQ. OS needs improvement, but is passable for daily use, if you load lots of songs then it will be difficult to manage. Battery life stated is about 11 hrs, but cannot confirm as I haven't listened continiously for more than an hour.
The most horrible thing on the X1 is the wheel, its horrible. but the sound quality makes up for the downsides.

EDIT: Another thing. when my colleagues saw the deivce they asked "why didnt you get a iPod"!!! .. get to my nerves when trying to explain just because it sells a lot or its from Apple doesn't make it sound better, yea and FLAC.
 
OP
tkin

tkin

Back to school!!
Sound quality is the very good that I have experienced with all the DAPs I have owned (including smartphones), I upgraded it from my Fuze+, but both sound different. It cannot compare with my Xonar Essence ST sound card. I need to still experiment with the EQ. OS needs improvement, but is passable for daily use, if you load lots of songs then it will be difficult to manage. Battery life stated is about 11 hrs, but cannot confirm as I haven't listened continiously for more than an hour.
The most horrible thing on the X1 is the wheel, its horrible. but the sound quality makes up for the downsides.

EDIT: Another thing. when my colleagues saw the deivce they asked "why didnt you get a iPod"!!! .. get to my nerves when trying to explain just because it sells a lot or its from Apple doesn't make it sound better, yea and FLAC.
Same here, I just recently purchased a long sought after Headphone and a Desktop Amp+Dac, when my friend heard they thought I was crazy, according to them a 500/- over the ear hp is good as anything, although they would not mind paying through their nose to get a Bose or Beats, but paying over 1k for an unknown brand is crazy. Same with the dac, onboard sound is better than anything, unless its from Bose. It doesn't bother them that they cannot hear 50% of the instruments when using those cheap headphones. If I bought a PMP they would again think I'm crazy, unless its an ipod. Apparently style and brand beats everything.
 

SaiyanGoku

kamehameha!!
I had an old phone lying around unused (Galaxy Y). So I flashed CM11, stripped off unnecessary apps, disabled some system apps and now I'm using it as a music player only with PowerAmp and Soundmagic ES18. Stand by time is 10-12 days in flight mode without the sim card. Haven't tested the playback time at a stretch.

I'm quite satisfied so haven't thought of buying a dedicated music player yet.
 
Last edited:
OP
tkin

tkin

Back to school!!
I had an old phone lying around unused (Galaxy Y). So I flashed CM11, stripped off unnecassy apps, disabled some system apps and now I'm using it as a music player only with PowerAmp and Soundmagic ES18. Stand by time is 10-12 days in flight mode without the sim card. Haven't tested the playback time at a stretch.

I'm quite satisfied so haven't thought of buying a dedicated music player yet.
A good idea that, a lot of phones come with good dacs now a days, a 10k smartphone can be flashed to create the perfect media player. Are there any android distro out there that can turn a phone into a dedicated music player? Strip off the calling systems, wifi etc, stop all but 2 cores like that. I know there is already an OS for that, like this: RuneAudio - Embedded Hi-Fi music player

I am thinking of buying a raspberry pi 2 and use rune audio to turn it into a digital music system, wish it could be done to mobiles as well.
 

SaiyanGoku

kamehameha!!
A good idea that, a lot of phones come with good dacs now a days, a 10k smartphone can be flashed to create the perfect media player. Are there any android distro out there that can turn a phone into a dedicated music player? Strip off the calling systems, wifi etc, stop all but 2 cores like that. I know there is already an OS for that, like this: RuneAudio - Embedded Hi-Fi music player

I am thinking of buying a raspberry pi 2 and use rune audio to turn it into a digital music system, wish it could be done to mobiles as well.

I haven't thought about finding a dedicated rom, however i doubt I'll be able to find one. It'll be a headache to make it for a specific phone and would be better to not fiddle with your current phone(s).
 

$hadow

Geek in making
Buying cheaper phone and converting them into a audio player works for many of my friends.
 
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