OUR PICK OF THE 8 BEST DIGITAL AUDIO PLAYERS FOR ALL BUDGETS AND USES:
We know how important it is to find the right player; whether it is for your mp3 collection, hi-res music or streaming apps such as Tidal or Spotify.
Whether you call them DAPs, players, music players, portable players, mp3 players or anything else, this is the post for you. We've gathered our picks for the best digital audio players that you can buy!
BEST DAP UNDER £100
1. Shanling M0 - £99
If you fancy getting better sound on the move, but don’t want to add a large device to your setup – the Shanling M0 could be just what you’re looking for. This tiny player delivers top quality Hi-Res audio and can be used in two different ways. The SD card slot allows you to store your own library of tunes, from mp3 to DSD – it can handle it all. The M0 can also act as a Bluetooth amp and DAC for your headphones. So, if you prefer using Spotify or Tidal on your phone, then wirelessly connect to the M0 to boost the audio quality while using an interface you are comfortable with.
BEST DAP UNDER £200
2. Shanling M2X - £199.99
Shanling’s impressive M2x is our choice for under £200. The impressive build quality and easy to use software makes the M2x an enjoyable experience. Sound quality is well balanced and clean, with superb detail retrieval. Then the addition of Tidal streaming via the app, opens up the listening possibilities.
BEST DAP UNDER £500
3. Cowon Plenue D2 - £259
The Cowon Plenue D2 may seem simple to look at, this is certainly not the case though. Cowon are very well known and admired for the sound quality of their players. Bringing life and energy to music, as well as impressive customisation with their well developed EQs. The Plenue D2 is solid and very easy to use, with impressive battery life giving up to 30 hours of HD audio playback.
4. iBasso DX160 - £349
A new addition to the iBasso family, the DX160 sports an updated design to previous models and the addition of a 4.4mm balanced headphone output. The large touch screen is very clear, with vibrant colours and responsive touch control. As for sound, the DX160 provides a well balanced and organic sound with an emotional quality to it.
5. FiiO M11 - £449.99
FiiO have really upped their game with the release of the M11. The impressively designed and built player houses some impressive technology. Dual AKM DAC chips and their custom made op-amp helps make the most of the aptX HD, LDAC and LHDC compatibility. Then the flexible headphone connectivity brings 2.5, 4.4 and 3.5mm ports to accommodate all popular jack sizes.
6. Shanling M6 - £499
Shanling has long flexed its muscles in the portable audio player scene, and M6, the latest digital audio player offering takes its place at the top of Shanling's Hi-Res audio player line-up. M6 is the first Shanling audio player to run Android OS and is armed with Hi-Res Audio and Hi-Res Wireless Audio certification taking your audio to the next level.
BEST DAP UNDER £1000
7. iBasso DX220 - £799
We feel that the iBasso DX220 hits the ultimate price and performance point in the higher end of the digital audio player market. The DX220 is superbly built, with solid software and an easy to use design. The dual Sabre DAC chips help to achieve a clean and neutral sound, and the replaceable amp modules provide a level of customisation that is not common at this level.
BEST DAP OVER £1000
8. Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000M - £1999
Astell & Kern were not sure whether it was possible to come up with a product that is different from the SP1000 while delivering the same sound quality, but they decided to take up the challenge so that more people could experience their products’ fidelity. There were many trials and tribulations in making the SP1000, A&K's best product, smaller. They were determined to not compromise sound quality in the process, and ultimately developed the second A&ultima product, the SP1000M.