I am looking for a newer dap to replace my venerable Cowon J3 for trips and travel. Some Info:
- I am not an iem user so it will need to be able to push full cans which are currently Ultrasone hfi780s with a modded cable. These may change in the future but not any time soon.
- The main focus of the dap will be, oddly enough, a portable music player. I do not need anything fancy. But I do welcome anything that allows me to use the DAP as a source/streamer to plug into a home set up.
- Related to the above but I dont need an android player but i see the market is mostly dominated by this. I currently do not use streaming services but I may dabble with Quboz one day. Once again that is all extras to me
- Battery life would be nice to have 10+ hours, this way you can do a long flight on a single charge
- A good EQ is extremely welcome
- Does anyone make a high end smaller sized device anymore?
More detailed background:
My previous players have been all Cowon (S9 & J3). These have been great but their storage is limited, theyre 10 years old, and their battery life and physical existence has been beat. The S9 is long gone and its time to relegate the J3 to yard work duty. The J3 had a Wolfson DAC chip that worked extremely well with the Ultrasones and the DSP and EQ on the Cowon daps were top notch. With this I was able to get my cans to have good space and sharpness, details were there but it was not in your face and although the mids were recessed nothing sounded cluttered. It felt like you were a table or two back from the stage in a NYC basement jazz club. Not huge but the space was there and it was convincing.
I blind bought an M11 but the synergy is not there. The EQ was extremely lacking and really just cut the volume. Even with EQ off and the M11 on high gain, the volume needed to be up to 70% and even then the dynamics were flat. Everything seemed very cluttered, I had a hard time even hearing vocals. Where the Cowon had a tight bass thump and could extend the highs, the M11 was like holding a tumbleweed in front of you. Everything was so tangled and unclear and the occasional dry branch would fall out of it. The M11 also looked to be getting ~8 Hours of battery time. UI, screen, feel were all fine.
Separation and some space: It doesnt need to be huge but that small nightclub stage where things can breath in their own space. I dont want to fight to hear vocals.
A slight V shape signature is probably prefered
Power: Lack of this is what I think killed dynamics and any extension. The M11 was the first player where the Ultrasones didnt have bass impact
Budget, brand preference, etc: ehh Ill go off of what is suggested and I am more than happy buying used. Lets say DAPs that are $1200 new but i rather be around $600 new or used at the end of the day. No brand preference (I like Cowon but their offerings just have dated hardware at this point) but ill probably avoid Fiio.
Thanks for the help and thoughts.