Entry to Mid-range DAP recommendations 🎶

I’d like to go the DAP route as I don’t want to use my phone for music listening sessions.

Currently own a LG G8 Quad-DAC as my main DAP.
Just got Olina IEM and might buy more sets in the future.

I mostly listen to classic rock, punk, pop and jazz music.

Would Olina be a great match for a Sony NW-A45 DAP (with Walkman One custom firmware)?
Better with Shanling M3X or Hiby R3 Pro Saber?
Other recommandations?

Thanks a lot!

Hello community!

I’m still looking for a great DAP.

Leaning towards DX170, RS2 or used WM1A. I have Olina IEM an might buy other sets in the next months. What would you go for, and why?


I’d say going with a BTR5 or similar is better than any cheap DAP and unless you plan on upgrading IEM’s you don’t need much power and won’t really benefit from higher end sources

Thanks for your rec. Is my LG G8 Quad-DAC phone as good as a HiBy RS2 DAP? I don’t have any experience with modern DAPs, but I want a device to play my music on the go (other than my phone).

That’s a very apples to orange comparison. The hiby has a R2R DAC where your lg is most likely a DS DAC. R2R DACs can have a fuller sound depending on it’s implementation. All the DAPs you listed you’ll probably hear gains over the cell phone just from power alone. So at this point I would pick the one that has the most useable features you like.
Also what is your budget?

1 Like

Can’t speak for either that DAP or phone but I have a Hiby R5 Saber and a Samsung S10.
Sound wise the R5 is a bit better than the phone and has more power but its also slower and less responsive.
Examples - when I unlock it the screen freezes for 3-5 seconds, downloading songs through spotify and other apps didn’t work (would say downloading for days and barely progress while my phone would only take an hour at most) not to mention the old Android versions all DAPs run
If you already own a lot of music files maybe it’s worthwhile but you’re getting trade offs.
If you only want a DAP to save battery on your phone using a portable DAC/AMP like the BTR5 is pretty efficient (has its own battery can be used wired or BT)


Tempotec V6. On sale now for $279, MSRP IS $399. Save yourself $120 now.


600 CAD, so around 450 USD
I have a big FLAC library and I don’t plan on streaming. 2 microSD slots of the RS2 is appealing.

Thanks for your comment! I understand they have to sacrifice something to keep the low prices, but a laggy player is a big no for me. That’s why I would probably go for a Android 11 based DAP or any non-android DAP.

Thanks! Another option that I wasn’t aware of. Android 8.1 though…


If you can get it on sale for around $170+tax go for the Hiby R3 Pro Saber otherwise the Shanling M3X is very good also (I own both of these btw).

I’ll put in another vote for the tempotec v6. Seems most reviewers favor it over the m3x and dx160. 600 mW is plenty of power. I have the m3x and it sounds pretty good, but you’re probably better off with newer options like the V6, R2, or dx170.

It’s a little older, but cayin n3pro would also be a great non-streaming option, plus you get more power and more amplifier options (tubes, SS, tubes + SS). It’s $479 retail, but you can often find it for cheaper.

1 Like

I have the DX170. Although the sound is very close to the stock DX300, the Android experience is not smooth, to say the least.

You can sort of mask this by going to developer options and turning off animations, but that’s just a visual “fix”. The SoC will not bare any sort of multitasking, even simple video watching will represent a problem.

Don’t get me wrong, this little guy is amazing, but since you mentioned Android, I thought I’d let you know. DX170 is almost 3x less expensive than DX300, but sounds at least half as good.

I don’t have experience with other players, so I can’t comment as to how smooth they are.

1 Like

I wonder how much software optimization plays a role with DAPs.

The TempoTec V6 is said to have quite smooth interface with regular intended usage.


True. All the reviews state a smooth interface for the V6. Probably going to be my next DAP. Price is insane for the specs.

1 Like

I just received my DX170 today. After some quick testing, it sounds great with all of my gear. Very happy with it. It sounds so much better than my Fiio Ka3.

I actually like the way my Argons mk3’s sound on it better than on the Topping L30 and they’ll play nice and loud on the DX170 and the bass is controlled and textured. All of my iem’s sound great as well.

The DX170 doesn’t sound as good as my main desktop system, which is an A30pro, though. Not quite as much dynamics, punch, and crispness (if that’s the right way to describe it)


Update: thanks for all the recs. I backed TempoTec Variations V6 on kickstarter (279 USD) and I can’t wait to receive it.