Hi, since I switched to the iFi Zen DAC v2 + HiFiMan HE400SE for my desktop solution, I’m starting to fall in love with music again.
Now I need something portable to enjoy on the go. I’m a complete noob when it comes to this topic. So what would you suggest as a “mobile” solution ? DAC/AMP-Dongle ? DAP ?..
I was thinking about getting planar IEMs Dioko plus some sort of Dongle DAC/AMP with 4.4 connection.
I’m planning to use this mainly for work, light Sports, travel and in my car.
Main Source for music atm is amazon music ultimate so flac files.
Cell is a Google Pixle 4XL.
Personally im a big fan of Bluetooth when it comes to mobile, you pay more but its way more convenient, something like a BTR5 / IFI go BLU is small and portable with more than enough power to use with most headphones. The nice thing about thing like this is if you are using a laptop you just hookit up using USB C and you have a regular DAC/AMP.
if you are going IEM maybe go for something like FIIO TWS / KZ A09 is really nice (though KZ are a lot more pocketable, FIIO kinda “thicc”)
The difference is nearly none existent if at all, so dont sweat it. you can dig through the BTR and IFI threads folks are powering some insanely expensive headphones/IEMs. I use both i FIIO TWS and a BTR5 and they are awesome.
in your cases you have aptX HD so you should be more than fine
So the two best portable DAC/Amp combos are the Fiio BTR5 and the Qudelix 5K. They both have 2.5mm balanced, and 3.5 SE, they can do Bluetooth or function as a wired dongle with USB-C. The are around $120. I own the BTR5 and use it for work all the time.
For the IEM, that is a tough call, and probably a bit music library dependent. I like a lot of classic rock. These are my favorite IEMs currently.
Mangird Tea - $300 slightly dark, does everything well, if I only had one this would be it
Tripowin Olina -$100 I run mine with two stock filters, and it makes them a slight V and is great for the money. It has the same driver as the Oxygen, and has good speed and timber.
Shuoer S12 - $160 a bright planar, well reviewed fantastic resolution and speed
I also own the HiFiMan HE400se and the Drop HD58x for my open backs, I use them with the same BTR5 as the amp. The HE400se was sort of life altering once I fixed the headband ( it wasn’t comfortable without some pads ).
For light sports (I assume you mean gym, running, bicycle) nothing beats the convenience of true wireless. No matter how good the cable is, having it moving all the time creates a lot of unwanted noise.
So, whatever is your budget, I would certainly recommend going for a cheaper option on the main gear, and getting a true wireless for sports, as a secondary, cheaper option.
Regarding cable, I have not used Qdelix, Btr or Blu Go, so I don’t know if that’s better or worse, but I am happy with the convenience of just plugging a dongle (Hidizs S9 pro, sounds great, it’s small, it can move full size headphones without problems). I just don’t want to charge another device.
Regarding the IEM, other than the use, I would focus more on the sound signature that you want, more than the kind of music. At this moment I would go for the Olina, they seem the perfect point in terms of price quality ratio
Sometime no wires has a place, and I currently have two options that are wireless, and not very expensive. My favorite wireless set lately has been a pair of KZ ZEX with a KZ AZ09 TWS adapter. They have a couple of better versions than the 09, but this combo was only $50.
The EarFun Free Pro is the travel TWS I use, and for $60 they are pretty impressive. Again I know they have a couple of newer versions that are supposed to be better, but this one has been my travel pair for a while now.
For exercise, I try not to spend too much, since I am going to sweat on them.