PAGE 2 Features

What a DAP can do is certainly very important and while I appreciate that you certainly may want different features from reader to reader, there is becoming a rather standardised set of abilities and specifications. That being said there are still smaller differences that let some units stand out more than the others. For the most part this chart will cover the most important things but I have babbled into little more depth if that interests you.

Features iBasso DX80 Aune M2 Pro Cayin N5 Opus #1
Battery 13 hours (3600mAh) 6.5 hours (3500mAh) 9 hours (4200mAh) 10 hours (4000mAh)
Micro SD Slots

2

1

2

2

Coaxial Yes No Yes No
Optical Yes No No Yes
Balanced Out No No Yes Yes
Line Out Yes Yes Shared with Headphone Jack No
Signal to Noise 114dB N/A 108dB 114dB (SE)

115dB (BAL)

THD

0.002%

0.0009%

0.006%

0.0007%

Digital Filters

2

4

5

0

For me connectivity is really quite important but again for some of you as long as it has a headphone jack you don’t want no more. It is without doubt the Aune that is the most basic, as will become a bit of a trend for the physical sections of this review. It is limited to just two outputs, both 3.5mm jacks and one being dedicated for a line out, the other a headphone out. While I appreciate the line out it is the only model that lacks a digital output. Of course if you don’t want an external DAC and use its own specifically designed internals then that won’t be needed, but I like the option of a digital out as it allows you to hook up your DAP with your HiFi which is cool.

The other three have either a 3.5mm coaxial output (Cayin and iBasso) or their headphone output doubles up as an optical output in the case of the Opus (like its inspiration the AK series).The DX80s coaxial out is actually even more special as it doubles up as a mini optical, for double the digital output. While I do feel the Opus and Cayin are the best for connectivity (Cayin actually as I prefer coaxial to optical) since they both feature a 2.5mm balanced output, they do lose the dedicated line output of the other two. The Cayin does have a line out option and the Opus can of course be set to max for use with a portable amp but I still don’t think it classifies as a true option like the Aune and iBasso. The DX80 and N5 also can both behave as USB DACs which is also very handy. Considering the N5 is the cheapest it really is the most kitted out in this area.

DAP-OFF-12 DAP-OFF-11 DAP-OFF-2 DAP-OFF-5 DAP-OFF-6

Now considering that all 4 of these players can handle DSD and hi res PCM (nothing past 24/192 mind you), memory is an important feature. As Astell & Kern moved into their 2nd generation of players their biggest mistake was going from 2 to 1 micro SD ports. Fortunately other companies realised how smart having two ports is and have adopted that as a feature. That is the case for the Opus, DX80 and N5 while the Aune only has one measly port. This instantly puts the Aune at a heavy disadvantage, especially with the fact that along with the iBasso and Cayin it has no onboard memory. Only the #1 has 32gb on board so you will be needing micro SDs with all of these to have a decent chunk of your music collection with you on the way. With 128gb and 200gb cards being a thing now you can get 400gb at least on any of the players that have two slots but Aune is much more limited with their website saying it only takes up to 128gb cards, ouch.

DAP-OFF-3

Lastly I thought we should look at the internals for the product. I have to say that while the Aune has looked a little disappointing up until now in terms of features, this without doubt looks like the one that has had the most time put into the internal design. Instead of just boasting what DAC chips it uses (AKM4490 like the AK380), it puts emphasis on the class A headphone amp section and also the Crystek clocking, low noise power supply and even comes with 4 digital filters. Like the Aune the Cayin also uses a AKM4490 DAC chip but doesn’t go into near as much detail for the rest of internal design. It does however out do the Aune in DFs with 5 to boot! Opus and iBasso both opted to have their take on the DAC chip selection of the AK240, making these both dual DAC designs using Cirrus Logic’s CS4398. While both these companies do mention a little about clocking, jitter and the amp section, just look on the Aune website for the technical manifest they offer.

The Cayin being the cheapest is surely the big surprise here, offering just so much at the price and really being quite the complete package. It even offers more than Cayins flagship N6 hinting that perhaps everything people requested for the N6 ended up in the N5. The iBasso and Opus seem to be pretty well rounded as well and also come to boot with touch screens, which may or may not tickle your fancy. It certainly seems that the Aune is by far the lowest denominator here, with low battery, poor memory and little connectivity, it is a cause for concern. Thankfully it does seem like while they may have forgotten about all these things they have been VERY serious about the components and design of the PCB for this and with me already knowing how good their portable amp sounds this keeps the DAP in good stead for the sound section.

Go Back to Page 1 for the Introduction

Page 3 is UI

Page 4 is Build 

Page 5 is IEM Performance

Page 6 is Headphone Driving Ability

Page 7 is Sound Quality

Page 8 is Our Summary

Sonny Trigg
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