Looking for a Small dedicated Music player with 4,4 output


I hope this is the right place to ask.

I’m trying to find an mp3 player or similar with a 4,4 balanced output.
It seems to me they only make them huge nowadays with big screens; I don’t get it…
I want to listen to music, not look at it. Not only does it make the device more expensive, it makes it less convenient and drains battery.

I was thinking more of the form factor of an IFI GO Blu, but that can store/play music without a phone.
Does that even exist anymore?

You’ll likely want to look at something like the HiBy R3 Gen 2 (or RS2), Shanling M1s, and other options around that form factor. I’d also give a nod to the Hidizs AP80 Pro but you’d need a 2.5mm bal to 4.4mm bal adapter for that one. If you drop balanced requirement there’s a few others in this form factor as well.

There are still options within this market segment, but generally these days most people looking for portable options around this size opt for dongle dacs or things for wireless like the go blu since they generally offer better value (but require a phone)

Feel you on the overkill processors and screens on modern daps, really not needed, most of my favorite (and what I’d consider best sounding) daps have ended up being more custom linux based daps without android or fancy screens and stuff like that lol. If I wanted fancy screens and play store and all that stuff, I’d rather just get a phone instead lol. Prefer daps that focus on sound quality value rather than trying to be a phone replacement


uhm, actually I suppose it doesn’t need to be 4,4.
Wasn’t aware a 2.5 balanced output was an option here.
It does need to be balanced. I haven’t bought the cable yet, it would be 3,5 at the drivers and and then whatever really on the source side: provided I can find an appropriate cable.

It will be for smaller headphones, in this case AKG K451, so I don’t need a ton of power.

2.5mm balanced was basically the standard before 4.4mm existed

I’d really only go balanced if the dap you end up with has balanced output. A lot of modern daps do prioritize balanced output so getting a balanced cable for those makes sense, but if you have a quality dap with only single ended output, you aren’t missing out on anything being not balanced.

Ideally you’d want to pick the daps based on both feature set but also sound quality and synergy with the iems. I’d say a lot of these players at this price point are more similar than different but there’s still some notable differences that might be worth considering. I’ve personally only tried the R3 for a decent amount of time, so unfortunately I can’t really make any comparisons with the other options. I’ve got no experience with the K451 so I can’t really give any insight there either

Edit: I should note that it doesn’t look like the K451 is balanced capable out of the box, might require some modding to allow for balanced, otherwise you’ll need to use single ended

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The K451 is normally direct (and broken in my case), but I was unable to fix these while also keeping them that way. So mine ended up becoming balanced, can’t go back on that.

So unfortunately I understand that is going to limit my options.

If you recabled them to balanced, no problem then. Just wanted to make sure you didn’t damage your headphones and dap lol. Any of the options would be good imo (at least based on my direct experience with the r3 and rs2, and trying other shanling and hidizs daps), so I’d look through some comments from people on here or some reviews to see which one would be a good fit

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Apparently the Shanling M0 Pro has ability to do balanced. That might work.

Looks like it can with an adapter, so that would be a decent option as well. Although if you’ve already terminated the cable in 4.4mm balanced, then I’d just get a dap that natively supports 4.4mm so you don’t have the hassle of an adapter that might break

Hmm, getting any of these seems to be tougher than expected.
Hiby and Hidizs are US based if I understand correctly and I wouldn’t want to buy directly from them.
Amazon either doesn’t have them in stock, or doesn’t ship to my country.

Hidizs doesn’t seem to have a reseller and the site I could find looks shady Hidizs-shop.eu or so
Same for Hiby but a bit less in audodomain.de. Even if it isn’t though, both are way more expensive.
the Hidizs for example is nearly 300 euros…soo oyea…think those brands out.

Shanling is not on amazon except for one sold by fiio-shop (least for the m0) …which to my knowledge is a different brand so not exactly the most trustworthy. The other site that sells them is hifi-passion but that seems shady as well. Saw a post of a guy currently suiing them.

And finally there is hifi-go but with those you would have to go through customs again it seems.
And they don’t seem to answer much when it comes to customer service. That said, it seems hifi passion and hifi go are legit, but somewhat unprofessional and your mileage may wary.

Am I missing something for europe? (I tried thomann, but they have nothing…)

I’m pretty sure both are Chinese, it might just be down to finding a retailer that carries them or getting them directly

Strange that you’re not really able to find any non sketchy sellers in your area. I’m personally only familiar with the US market so I can’t say much on where some of this stuff could be had

The official hiby site looks to ship from China and ships to the EU. Same with hidizs.

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Linsoul carries Hidizs, Hiby and Shanling…and ship virtually everywhere. I have had good experience with them.

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Get the Hiby R3 2 and don’t look back. $179 and makes me feel like I’ve got a souped up iPod, nothing more, nothing less.

4.4mm, 3.5mm, USB-C, Bluetooth, AirPlay connectivity. Great build quality, smallish screen, knob.

Available on Amazon here in the US.

This is not an ad, just really enjoying the product. Only shortfalls I’ve found are:

  • slow loading of album art (software issue)
  • no ability to queue tracks
  • generally clunky playlist making, but very lightweight OS overall

Feel free to shoot over any questions you’ve got!

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Did see the r2 for 120€ and the r3 for 205€ here at amazon.de, nit sure if this is also available in your region at Amazon

no, that’s the issue.
They show up as US imports, as in vendor “Amazon US”, but do not ship to my particular location sadly.
I would have to use audiodomain.de to get these or hifi go.

I’m on the fence atm if I want to pay extra to get the Hidizs AP80 Pro on amazon or take the risk with one of those two / hifi passion. The Hidiz at least is sold by amazon, only issue is that they are 100 euros more expensive than on their site.

On the plus side I would get them from a reputable source that has no issue with returns and I would get them fast. Also…since I am looking for pads for the AKG K451, I could get some of those on the same site, as well as (hopefully) a 2,5 mm to 3,5 mm balanced cable.

hm did get some iem from hifigo and didnt have any issues, but that also means i got experience with their customer service, so its up to you if you want the risk for some savings :confused:

Actually…hold on. Maybe I am going about this wrong?
This is going to cost me at least as much as an ifi go blu.

Could it make sense to go with a cheaper source that I feed via bluetooth into the go blu?
In that case the screen would matter even less and the output would be irrelevant.
The go blu I can get much easier.

ah…this just in…
Since this player will be a gift…It appears it needs to have quobuz streaming
Why do I feel like I just got hit in the wallet?

Would say if you already have a streaming service than a Bluetooth dongle would be the easiest option or even better a dongle and local files on your handy would give you a literally shit ton of options :wink:

hah, thanks for the help everyone.
We have indeed landed on the go blu in the end.
Mission complete, detour be damned !


Glory shot for anybody that cares :wink:

(the 90 degree angles are there because of my magnificent lack of foresight causing me to course correct on the angle of the connectors…ending up with backwards ports as opposed to being angled downward and forward…ahem)