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10 tips for buying a portable audio player

Today, the range of pocket audio players is quite extensive both in functionality and price, which can range from several thousand to several hundred thousand rubles. At the same time, most people prefer to use their smartphones for personal listening to music, which has long and firmly taken the place of the "Swiss knife" - a tool for all occasions. Listen to music, watch a movie, chat with friends and family, read the latest news or a book, take a picture of something memorable, make a video or play a free minute - for all this we have a smartphone. Well, sometimes you can call it ... But if you are thinking about purchasing a separate personal device for listening to audio, then you certainly already found the arguments for such a solution. For example, if you have higher quality requirements for sound quality, then the level of the average smartphone offered by you is unlikely. And if you decide to purchase good headphones, then all the shortcomings of the analogue path of the smartphone will become even more obvious. And the quality of sound is often sacrificed by the manufacturer intentionally, because in the priority in the design of the smartphone is absolutely different criteria. A high-quality and powerful audio track will not only increase the size of the device and the cost of its production, but also reduce the battery life of the gadget on one charge of the battery - and this is one of the most important criteria for evaluating modern smartphones. For the sake of the secondary functionality, no one will be sacrificed. Or an example of another argument for the use of separate devices - this will save you from an unpleasant situation with a battery power deficit, when long listening to music will leave without communication at the right time. In general, there is a separate audio player, but we will try to help in choosing this gadget.

Tip # 1: Give the smartphone a chance

With all the advantages of using a separate audio player, this solution has drawbacks that stem directly from the isolation of the player and the smartphone - while enjoying the sound quality of an audio-audio gadget it's so easy to miss an important incoming call or message. Can I improve the sound of your smartphone? Can!

As noted above, the main claims arise to the analogue amplification path of mass models of smartphones. Next comes quality conversion of digital material into an analog form. These two tasks can be shifted to a separate device - the so-called DAC for a smartphone (more precisely, this device, which combines the DAC itself and the headphone amplifier). Music is broadcast to such a DAC "in the figure" via the USB port of the smartphone. The advantages of this solution are obvious - the smartphone remains for you a wand-zashchalochkoy for all occasions, and at the same time the problem with the average quality of the gadget's sound is removed. Do not forget about the economic aspect - this device will cost less than comparable in quality of sound of a separate player.

Disadvantages are also seen right away. More precisely, one drawback, but quite serious - is ergonomic. For handheld gadgets, the issue of wearing comfort has a fairly high priority. Here you have to carry two devices connected by cable. And there is a fairly high probability that they will not be able to be joined together, because the DAC will catch the interference from the radio module of the smartphone. As a bonus, you will be able to use this device not only with the smartphone, but also as an external audio interface for your laptop. When choosing a specific model, you should pay attention to the presence of the gadget own battery. This will not only save your smartphone's charge when listening to music, but also, if necessary, recharge the phone, acting as an external battery. Such portable DACs are in the nomenclature of many audio-brands. For example, you can pay attention to the model FiiO Q1 II, built on the XMOS platform and AK4452 DAC chips from Asahi Kasei Microdevices. The amplification is realized on OPA926 chips, which are also used in the company's flagship player FiiO X7 II. The model is capable of processing the PCM stream with parameters up to 32 bit / 384 kHz, as well as material in DSD format (up to DSD256). A powerful 1 800 mAh battery provides up to 10 hours of continuous operation when using a digital USB port and up to 20 hours when operating from a line input.

Advice 2: Cases of the heart

When choosing a specific model of an audio player, it is worth paying close attention to the chips used for the conversion of digital material to an analog form and for the subsequent amplification of chipsets. They determine the quality of the gadget sound to a large extent. Approaches here are similar to the choice of stationary equipment - the production of such electronic giants as Texas Instruments, Asahi Kasei Microdevices or ESS Technology, is guaranteed to provide a very decent level of sound quality, and the choice between specific series of chips of a specific manufacturer can already be done on the basis of personal tastes and preferences after listening .

By the way, in the case of DAC chips there are no special models for use in portable technology - players build on the basis of the same chips as stationary components. For example, in the top models of personal players it is possible to meet DAC chips popular in stationary equipment of the SABER series.

Tip # 3: I carry my everything with me

As you know, the stock does not pull the pocket. This can be said about the amount of flash memory of the audio player. Of course, here this question is not as acute as for a multimedia player that works with high-definition video, but, nevertheless, this parameter should not be underestimated for an audio player. The cost of SD-cards today allows you to keep on board the gadget 64 - 256 gigabytes of data, which is enough to store a fairly large library in high definition. The more available volume, the less often you will have to connect the player to the computer to revise the collection.

Continuation of the article read here.

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