Page 8 Scores on the Door
I think the overall feeling of these players as been summed up pretty well from what me and Josh have had to say. As Josh noted the sound of these across the board was really impressive, surely approaching the much more expensive players but it seems the area they lack more than anything is with the overall package. Even then in some of these areas they outclass more expensive models such as with the iBasso feature set.
Without doubt the three signatures that the Opus, Aune and Cayin all possess could appeal to one of you or work better with your earphones in terms of synergy. With that being said it does seem that the Aune was at the highest in terms of overall technical ability. Sadly the iBasso was at the bottom.
Out of the three players that do seem viable the sound alone could be the big selling point, which I know some of you will base your opinion off. That being said when it comes to overall package things do change up a little. Josh said he would take the Cayin N5 if he could only have one and you no what, when I have been in a rush to go to the gym or walk over town, for simplicity the Cayin has been my pick. If in a more relaxed environment then I grab the Aune for sound pleasure and Josh is the same if it is purely for sound.
The Cayin has to be the best value, it is the cheapest player, it has a very functional UI albeit basic, a bucket load of features and while it did hiss a little with the more sensitive CIEMs, it had the trade off of being able to drive higher impedance cans quite well from its balanced output. Paired with a fun but not overdone signature it has a lot of merits to offer and at the price you will be getting an overall great price to performance ratio. I have not dealt with Cayin products before but as first impressions go this is pretty darn good. We have also decided to give the Cayin our Great Value award.
The Aune was more expensive and all throughout the review wound me up for how basic it was. Low memory, tiny battery and sometimes frustrating control system could sometimes get me down. But then you look at how much effort Aune put into the internal design and listen to the result and you know they weren’t messing around. The scalability of the sound here was the best out of all the products we had here and with Josh likening it to his rare and expensive AK240SS it is not a product to be scoffed at. If you plan on just putting your music on shuffle and listening then you probably won’t see an issue on this player, but if you want to enjoy artwork and the smaller things, some of the not sonic things may work against you.
The Opus was the last to turn up to us and more of an unknown quantity than any other player, being from a company with no real audio background. In the nicest way possible this seems to be the cheap mans AK. It attempts to look like them, it uses similar DAC chips to them and I can even see similarities in the UI, which may I add could do with just a little tidying up. Since this seems to be the most modern of the players with its touch screen and chiseled looks, it’s a shame that it was not all out with WiFi, streaming, app store etc but instead it seems its biggest case to buy lies within its analytical sound signature which certainly will have its lovers and does stand its self apart from any other player here. Of course the price of this is a bit more than the rest of the players which it only stayed on the level of and never really exceeded, value is not as high as with say the Cayin.
The iBasso seemed well worked on paper and in design but the continuation of weird UI traits in the clipping and overall disappointing sound makes little left to be said on that player.
Here is a chart to at least have a go at quantifying the individual areas of each player.
This article has certainly helped us gather a better insight into what is going on with all these new DAPs and the bottomline is we are impressed and are going to try and keep more up to date with the latest offerings. We already have the HiSoundAudio S6 in our hands for future review and will surely be looking at the stuff like Echobox Explorer which will soon see release!
Go Back to Page 1 for the Introduction
Page 2 will cover Features
Page 3 is UI
Page 4 is Build
Page 5 is IEM Performance
Page 6 is Headphone Driving Ability
Page 7 is Sound Quality