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  #1  
Old 03-15-2009, 11:51 PM
Rustilocks Rustilocks is offline
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Help FLAC compatable DAP on a budget?

So, I've recently started to develop some audiophile tendencies, despite the fact that I don't really have the budget for it. Long story short, I now have all of my CDs ripped to FLAC, and I'm looking for a DAP that will play them.

I haven't had any portable music since my last CD player broke a few years ago, so I'm not familiar with any DAP brands. However, I've done some searching, and it seems that the FLAC compatable players with the best sound quality are the iAudio 7 and the SanDisc Sansa Clip.

I'm leaning towards the iAudio 7 16GB model at the moment, since the Clip will probably not have enough space, but I wanted to ask for some opinions before I make a purchase. Are there better players that play FLAC files and have good SQ in the sub-$200 (preferably sub-$150) range? The iAudio has most of what I need, but if there's a player that does the same - or similar - things that also has expandable storage, I'd like to know. Video is unimportant, and my Sennheiser PX100s are the cap on audio quality - anything that they can't pick up is superfluous.

Recommendations are much appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 03-16-2009, 12:04 AM
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Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustilocks View Post
So, I've recently started to develop some audiophile tendencies, despite the fact that I don't really have the budget for it. Long story short, I now have all of my CDs ripped to FLAC, and I'm looking for a DAP that will play them.

I haven't had any portable music since my last CD player broke a few years ago, so I'm not familiar with any DAP brands. However, I've done some searching, and it seems that the FLAC compatable players with the best sound quality are the iAudio 7 and the SanDisc Sansa Clip.

I'm leaning towards the iAudio 7 16GB model at the moment, since the Clip will probably not have enough space, but I wanted to ask for some opinions before I make a purchase. Are there better players that play FLAC files and have good SQ in the sub-$200 (preferably sub-$150) range? The iAudio has most of what I need, but if there's a player that does the same - or similar - things that also has expandable storage, I'd like to know. Video is unimportant, and my Sennheiser PX100s are the cap on audio quality - anything that they can't pick up is superfluous.

Recommendations are much appreciated.
The Sansa Fuze is like the Clip's younger but bigger brother. It's video is ok, but the sound is the same as the Clip....the big difference is the microsdhc slot. You can get an 8GB Fuze, and an 8 or 16GB card for it. The Fuze + 8GB card could be less than $100 if you shop smart, probably no more than $140 if you got the 16GB card instead of the 8GB.

Now, most would say that the i7 is the better sounding player, especially if you use EQ and effects.....and the battery life is certainly better....but you're maxed out at 16GB. Either one of these is a fine player....as others here will surely tell you.
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:19 AM
Rustilocks Rustilocks is offline
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I looked at the Fuze, and it looks like a good deal, but I don't see FLAC support listed on its comparison page. Of course, I don't see FLAC support mentioned for the Clip either, but the Top Five MP3 Players list says that it does. So, does the Fuze play FLAC files? Also, this site's review states that the sound quality is slightly below that of the iAudio 7, will this be noticeable on a pair of headphones cheaper than $100? I don't typically use EQ.

Edit: I checked a retail site, and FLAC is a supported codec. Looks like this is what I'll get. Thanks a bunch for pointing me in the right direction.

Last edited by Rustilocks; 03-16-2009 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:26 AM
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Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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Originally Posted by Rustilocks View Post
I looked at the Fuze, and it looks like a good deal, but I don't see FLAC support listed on its comparison page. Of course, I don't see FLAC support mentioned for the Clip either, but the Top Five MP3 Players list says that it does. So, does the Fuze play FLAC files? Also, this site's review states that the sound quality is slightly below that of the iAudio 7, will this be noticeable on a pair of headphones cheaper than $100?

Edit: I checked a retail site, and FLAC is a supported codec. Looks like this is what I'll get. Thanks a bunch for pointing me in the right direction.
Enjoy
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Old 03-16-2009, 02:08 AM
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Chili Chili is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustilocks View Post
Recommendations are much appreciated.
I was going to whole-heartedly recommend the Fuze, but Marvin already did.

My 8GB Fuze was priced at $99.99 at Best Buy, which means you can get it way cheaper anywhere else. It's a great player, and the sound quality and usability far surpass the price. Currently searching for a 16GB microSD card..
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Old 03-16-2009, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Chili View Post
I was going to whole-heartedly recommend the Fuze, but Marvin already did.

My 8GB Fuze was priced at $99.99 at Best Buy, which means you can get it way cheaper anywhere else. It's a great player, and the sound quality and usability far surpass the price. Currently searching for a 16GB microSD card..
Amazon.com.....currently $42.04
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  #7  
Old 03-16-2009, 06:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustilocks View Post
Also, this site's review states that the sound quality is slightly below that of the iAudio 7, will this be noticeable on a pair of headphones cheaper than $100? I don't typically use EQ.

Edit: I checked a retail site, and FLAC is a supported codec. Looks like this is what I'll get. Thanks a bunch for pointing me in the right direction.
I understand you made the decision on the Fuse, congrats and hope you enjoy its a very good player

I thought Id reply so others can see the differences as well. Yes, the sound quality is slightly better on the iAudio 7, but what really puts it way over the top is the JetEffect sound enhancements, not the EQ you mention you don't typically use . Personally I use various ones to tweak my tunes to suit my taste and Ive found no other enhancements that meet my needs other than the ones included with rockbox. The JetEffect settings are: 5 Band EQ presets (normal, rock, jazz, classic, pop, vocal) user definable EQ, BBE, Mach3Bass (enhances low end bass), MP Enhance (restores distorted music from digital compression), 3D Surround, Pan (left/right balance) and 10 presets. IMHO this technology really improves the quality and I use all of them except the 5 presets.
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  #8  
Old 03-16-2009, 03:34 PM
Rustilocks Rustilocks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chili View Post
I was going to whole-heartedly recommend the Fuze, but Marvin already did.

My 8GB Fuze was priced at $99.99 at Best Buy, which means you can get it way cheaper anywhere else. It's a great player, and the sound quality and usability far surpass the price. Currently searching for a 16GB microSD card..
The cheapest 16GB card I've found so far is this one by Transcend. I don't know much about memory manufacturers, but this item has review scores comparable to the 16GB SanDisc card. It's also a class 6 instead of a class 2, so unless it's very poorly made, it looks like the best deal.
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Old 03-16-2009, 04:18 PM
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Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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Originally Posted by Rustilocks View Post
The cheapest 16GB card I've found so far is this one by Transcend. I don't know much about memory manufacturers, but this item has review scores comparable to the 16GB SanDisc card. It's also a class 6 instead of a class 2, so unless it's very poorly made, it looks like the best deal.
No ! that one is not compatible with the Fuze!!!!! The Fuze takes a microsdhc, the Transcend one you link to is a full size SDHC. Hpe you didn't order it yet
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  #10  
Old 03-18-2009, 10:25 AM
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marc2003 marc2003 is offline
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this post is just my humble opinion.....

just because your music is already in flac format on your pc, i don't think you should limit yourself to just players that are capable of playing flac files. the hardwork of ripping/tagging all your cds is done. it's now fairly trivial to encode those flac files to mp3 (if you use foobar, that could do the lot in one go and takes a matter of seconds to set up - obviously the encoding will take awhile but i'm sure you can keep yourself occupied in the meantime )then you can have your pick of any player you like. and of course you have the added bonus of getting 6-8 times as much music on your player due to the much smaller file sizes.
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Last edited by marc2003; 03-18-2009 at 11:10 AM. Reason: typos
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  #11  
Old 03-18-2009, 10:37 AM
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I agree with marc2003. With proper encoding to LAME mp3 ~192 or more, it is nearly transparent(completely transparent in my case).. I don't think many people in the world can tell between LAME ~192 and FLAC if they were given a true blind test.
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