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help to find replacement for NX4

lovesound

Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
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Dear all,
I am quite new to high end audio equipment. I enjoy the NX4 as the result of some reviews I found on this forum - thank you all.

I currently have the NX4 for topping with Meze 99 Classics Walnut headphones. I really enjoy the audio quality. However, I see that I need to carry my phone all the time when I want to enjoy music - which can be distracting.

Can I ask which player can I get to get a similar performance/value like the NX4? Thanks in advance. I tried to read reviews but they are confusing as I don't know which level of audio quality is similar to NX4 and also I don't need a wireless headphones or balance headphones.

the reason I chose NX4

1. It has DAC function when I am sitting at my desk
2. It can play when charging
3. Audio quality is good enough for me (not top of the top but enough for me)
4. Good price bracket


The reason and some key points for DAP to replace the NX4
1. Need something to play FLAC/other audio files - without need of the computer/phone
2. I don't need Bluetooth or advance wireless earphone/headphone - but no harm to have
3. I don't need an android function or live stream. I am a bit old school offline classical music and Indian classic are in my collection
4. Internal storage should be not too small or support large micro SD. I currently use 128 GB micro SD for keeping music.


Please help :)
 

JustAnandaDourEyedDude

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2020
Messages
446
Likes
659
Location
USA
Dear all,
I am quite new to high end audio equipment. I enjoy the NX4 as the result of some reviews I found on this forum - thank you all.

I currently have the NX4 for topping with Meze 99 Classics Walnut headphones. I really enjoy the audio quality. However, I see that I need to carry my phone all the time when I want to enjoy music - which can be distracting.

Can I ask which player can I get to get a similar performance/value like the NX4? Thanks in advance. I tried to read reviews but they are confusing as I don't know which level of audio quality is similar to NX4 and also I don't need a wireless headphones or balance headphones.

the reason I chose NX4

1. It has DAC function when I am sitting at my desk
2. It can play when charging
3. Audio quality is good enough for me (not top of the top but enough for me)
4. Good price bracket


The reason and some key points for DAP to replace the NX4
1. Need something to play FLAC/other audio files - without need of the computer/phone
2. I don't need Bluetooth or advance wireless earphone/headphone - but no harm to have
3. I don't need an android function or live stream. I am a bit old school offline classical music and Indian classic are in my collection
4. Internal storage should be not too small or support large micro SD. I currently use 128 GB micro SD for keeping music.


Please help :)
I recommend HiBy R3 Pro (with CS43131). I have no experience with the R3 Pro Saber variant (ESS dac chip). And the iBasso DX160 is superb if the price is not too steep for your liking . I own and have used both HiBy R3 Pro and iBasso DX160. The R3 Pro may not have internal storage but does read microSD cards up to at least 256GB, maybe more. It runs a custom OS (based on Android, but you cannot install apps). The DX160 runs Android 8.1 I think, and you can do anything in it that you can do in Android 8.1, including installing your choice of apps such as music player or streaming service I believe. I think both DAPs can do all that you require, but I have only used them to play audio files from microSD cards, so you would have to check the product descriptions.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-primarily-for-car-with-usb.24623/post-832321
Please note that it is better to update any DAP's firmware to the latest available, after purchase. The initial firmware is often somewhat buggy.
 
Last edited:
OP
lovesound

lovesound

Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
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Dear thanks for great advices.
Can i ask if u know of any non android dap?
And how can i compare them with my current topping NX4?

I prefer to use larger size head phone


I recommend HiBy R3 Pro (with CS43131). I have no experience with the R3 Pro Saber variant (ESS dac chip). And the iBasso DX160 is superb if the price is not too steep for your liking . I own and have used both HiBy R3 Pro and iBasso DX160. The R3 Pro may not have internal storage but does read microSD cards up to at least 256GB, maybe more. It runs a custom OS (based on Android, but you cannot install apps). The DX160 runs Android 8.1 I think, and you can do anything in it that you can do in Android 8.1, including installing your choice of apps such as music player or streaming service I believe. I think both DAPs can do all that you require, but I have only used them to play audio files from microSD cards, so you would have to check the product descriptions.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-primarily-for-car-with-usb.24623/post-832321
Please note that it is better to update any DAP's firmware to the latest available, after purchase. The initial firmware is often somewhat buggy.
 

JustAnandaDourEyedDude

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2020
Messages
446
Likes
659
Location
USA
Dear thanks for great advices.
Can i ask if u know of any non android dap?
I have not looked into this aspect, but the HiBy R3 Pro (and similarly iBasso DX120 and lower end models from FiiO and Shanling) are effectively non-Android, because much of the standard functionality of Android is suppressed in their customized Android OSes which are targeted mainly at the music playback functionality. Whereas full Android functionality is available on higher-end newer DAPs and on iBasso DX160.

The DX160 and similar DAPs have a "pure music" mode (which I use) where most Android functionality is shut off, and only the music player software is accessible. This saves battery power and also avoids any possible interference from Android sound resampling. On DX 160 and other iBasso DAPs, this mode is called Mango player mode, because Mango is the name of iBasso's music player software.

I would guess that almost all DAPs are running some form of Android. The DAPs are mostly manufactured by small companies (with the exception of Sony), which lack the resources to develop their own OS, while Android is open-source and free. They are all using older smartphone SoCs and hardware such as touchscreen.

And how can i compare them with my current topping NX4?
You can check into SINAD and SNR. I think they would give you sound quality comparable to NX4 and perhaps better in the case of iBasso DX160.

I prefer to use larger size head phone
Both R3 Pro and particularly DX 160 should have no problem driving Meze 99 Classics to satisfyingly loud levels. The DX 160 has a lot of power through its balanced output jack if you should ever need it for harder-to-drive headphones. The headphone size does not directly correlate with the required power.

If you can overcome the distraction of your smartphone, you can get as good or better sound quality than the DAPs by using a good USB dongle plugged into your phone, such as E1DA 9038D or a Hidizs or Tempotec Sonata, all reviewed by Amir here on ASR.

I have read that the iPod Classic used a good DAC chip for that time and gave just about audiophile quality sound. iOS is Apple proprietary and Apple does not license it out, so iPod Touch is just about the only modern DAP-like iOS device. I have never used any Apple product, so cannot speak to suitability of iPods to your requirements from my personal experience. I have a friend who recommends the iPod Touch newer generations for those who (like me) don't wish to use a smartphone for music playback. Apple is now again after a long time devoting some attention to audio, with the announcement of Apple lossless audio streaming, the new AirPods and the good quality USB-C dongle. So future iPod Touch models may provide audiophile quality bitstreams of your audio files.

Always, the biggest factor by far in the audio playback equipment that determines the sound quality you hear is the headphones (or earphones or speakers), in this case your Meze 99 Classics.
 
Last edited:
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lovesound

lovesound

Member
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Jul 1, 2021
Messages
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hi all, sorry to bother again but it looks like the iPod 6th gen is no good for me :( and I foundout that i will need something expensive so I will open a new topic to reduce confusion
 
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