10 Best Digital Audio Players That Money Can Buy In 2021

If you are the kind of person who loves listening to music on the go, one of the most important devices you should have is the best digital audio player. These devices store high-resolution digital music files and come with a 3.5mm headphone jack to allow you to listen to music privately. Additionally, they are portable, one of the most significant strengths compared to when you have to use a laptop or your phone to listen to music.

Digital audio players (DAPs) have been in the market for many years now. Manufacturers have remodeled them over the years, and since their introduction, you’ll find a host of options in the market. If you want to choose the best option for you, it can be difficult, especially if you are looking towards investing in a device that you will use for years to come.

Since we know that these digital audio players come in different sizes, shapes, and features, we decided to do the heavy lifting for you. We went out into the market to see the best DAPs from different brands. In today’s article, we’ll review the best Digital Audio Players for the money. So if you want the best options in the market, read further.

Best Digital Audio Players

Best Digital Audio Players Summary:

Best Buy #1
Astell&Kern A&Ultima SP2000 High-Resolution Music Player, Stainless Steel
Best Buy #2
Sony NW-WM1A 128GB Premium Walkman - Digital Music Player with Hi-Res Audio, Black
Best Buy #3
A&Ultima SP1000 Copper High Resolution Audio Player by Astell&Kern
Astell&Kern A&Ultima SP2000
Sony NW-WM1A 128GB Premium Walkman
A&Ultima SP1000 Copper High Resolution Audio Player
  • The new OCTA-CORE CPU offers excellent performance.
  • It offers an intuitive interface for easy use.
  • It delivers a convenient 5-inch display.
  • 512GB internal memory
  • Supports fast charging
  • Excellent WIFI and Bluetooth
  • The gold-plated copper body offers durability
  • It supports different audio formats
  • Works with different headphones
  • The 4-braided cables guarantee more extended service
  • Up to 33 hours of continuous music
  • A true high-resolution music player
  • It offers a natural and original sound
  • No sound distortions
  • HD5 Display
  • Open App service for music streaming
  • Made up of Rigid Stainless Steel
Price not available
$1,234.99
$2,999.00
Best Buy #1
Astell&Kern A&Ultima SP2000 High-Resolution Music Player, Stainless Steel
Astell&Kern A&Ultima SP2000
  • The new OCTA-CORE CPU offers excellent performance.
  • It offers an intuitive interface for easy use.
  • It delivers a convenient 5-inch display.
  • 512GB internal memory
  • Supports fast charging
  • Excellent WIFI and Bluetooth
Price not available
Best Buy #2
Sony NW-WM1A 128GB Premium Walkman - Digital Music Player with Hi-Res Audio, Black
Sony NW-WM1A 128GB Premium Walkman
  • The gold-plated copper body offers durability
  • It supports different audio formats
  • Works with different headphones
  • The 4-braided cables guarantee more extended service
  • Up to 33 hours of continuous music
$1,234.99
Best Buy #3
A&Ultima SP1000 Copper High Resolution Audio Player by Astell&Kern
A&Ultima SP1000 Copper High Resolution Audio Player
  • A true high-resolution music player
  • It offers a natural and original sound
  • No sound distortions
  • HD5 Display
  • Open App service for music streaming
  • Made up of Rigid Stainless Steel
$2,999.00

Best Digital Audio Player 2021

1. Astell&Kern A&Ultima SP2000

The Astell&Kern A&UltimaSP2000 digital Audio player boasts an elegant stainless steel finish. It offers excellent WI-FI, Bluetooth, and USB connection technologies for an immersive musical experience.

Additionally, this DAP offers the ultimate digital music experience with its unique sound quality. What’s more, the unmatched design is something worth noting. Fitted with an excellent Amplifier, Display, and Memory functions, the A&ultima SP2000 DAP is, undoubtedly, the center of unrivaled musical experiences.

Quality audios for you

In case you’re not aware, most standard DAPs compress original live performance recordings into inferior sound formats like mp3 and streaming services. In that case, this forces audiophiles to sacrifice the quality of their live performances.

However, that isn’t the case with the A&ultima SP2000 digital audio player. With this top-tier musical gadget, you don’t get half-baked and highly compressed audios. You conveniently enjoy the full soundstage ambiance and electrifying live performances while on the go!

What about the sound qualities

Why should you settle for less when you can enjoy the best? With the A&ultima SP2000 Digital Audio Player, the sound quality is top-notch. The SP 2000 retains the original sound quality while still giving you the freedom to move around with it. It gives you a unique chance to grab the most refined sound details that you would miss when using an inferior audio player.

A truly HD player

How many DAPs live up to the HD expectations? The answer is VERY FEW! And yes, the A&ultima SP2000 audio player makes it to this prestigious list of the few DAPs that retain the true HD sound quality of up to 32 bit/768kHz.

Pros
  • The new OCTA-CORE CPU offers excellent performance.
  • It offers an intuitive interface for easy use.
  • It delivers a convenient 5-inch display.
  • 512GB internal memory
  • Supports fast charging
  • Excellent WIFI and Bluetooth
Cons
  • For the price, the battery can do with some improvement.

2. Sony NWWM1Z Signature Series Hi-Res Walkman

Sony isn’t your average brand; we all know that. This advanced Digital audio player belongs to the Signature series models whose sound quality matches the best.

It features an elegant golden color with advanced Bluetooth functions. The unit also supports many top-tier standards like FLAC, DSD, PCM, and WAV and offers a micro SD function for a more impressive experience. You will also enjoy 128GB memory, which is enough to hold all your audio files. The Sony NWWM1Z DAP also offers a convenient 4-inch display for easy operations.

Expanded Compatibility

Unlike most floppy models, the Sony NWWM1Z offers broad compatibility, ideal for all your musical needs. It is perfect for use with different headphones. The device also works with different audio formats and amplification. With the excellent DSEE HX and S-Master HX, this audio player is for everyone.

Unrivaled wireless connections

This excellent musical gadget offers a special wireless connection. It utilizes top-grade Bluetooth functionality with LDAC and features uncompromised wireless components to deliver an immersive unwired musical experience for ardent audiophiles.

More and more music

The ample 128GB storage space is enough to hold all your audio files since they take up less space than videos. For that reason, this is enough space to hold all your audio files. The gadget also features a micro SD slot just in case you need more storage space.

Pros
  • The gold-plated copper body offers durability
  • It supports different audio formats
  • Works with different headphones
  • The 4-braided cables guarantee more extended service
  • Up to 33 hours of continuous music
Cons
  • The battery is not user-replaceable

3. A&Ultima SP1000 Copper High Resolution Audio Player

Like its cousin in the first position, this A&ultima SP1000 HD Digital Audio player retains the original touch of your audios. The product offers excellent Wi-Fi, USB, and Bluetooth connections as well.

It comes with excellent copper colors give it that rugged and long-lasting look. The DAP also hash advanced memory and display components for a great experience. It supports DSD and other file formats. Note that the SP1000 is an actual HD gadget that delivers the expected audio qualities.

The advanced bit-to-bit playback hits up to 32 bit/384kHz and also offers unrivaled Native DSD functions. What’s more, this unit is also fitted with dual AKM DAC chips that deliver outstanding performance. The high-grade OCTA-CPU offers an efficient response.

Enough storage for your music

While most standard DAPs lack enough storage space, this audio player cranks a whopping 256GB storage with an additional micro SD port just in case you need more. Therefore, there’s enough space for all your audio files.

New intuitive interface for user-friendliness

Using some DAPs can be difficult. However, that’s not the case with this gadget. It has a user-friendly interface that offers quick and fluid access to all its functions. The large 5-inch display gives quick access to the different functions and offers convenient viewing.

Enjoy quick charging

This gadget offers a fast charging option. It supports a USB type C charge that offers data transfer and charging. Therefore, you never run out of juice. And you get to transfer files from your laptop to the DAP with ease.

Maintains Sound originality

Unlike most floppy gadgets, this unit keeps the voices precisely as the singers and live performances. This is thanks to the superior recording technology installed by the manufacturer.

Pros
  • A true high-resolution music player
  • It offers a natural and original sound
  • No sound distortions
  • HD5 Display
  • Open App service for music streaming
  • Made up of Rigid Stainless Steel
Cons
  • It’s pricier than some other models, but the quality is worth it

4. FiiO X7II

Next on the list is the FiiOX7II Digital Audio Player. Although not quite a household name, this is another great manufacturer of top-grade audio players. The gadget is fitted with excellent WIFI and Bluetooth functions for a great wireless function. Its flashy titanium finish gives it an elegant look. And yes, the audio player supports different functions, including MP3, AAC, DSD128, DXD. It is a versatile musical device.

Completely redesigned device

This is one of the latest improvements of the previous models. Therefore, it comes with improved features and functions. It features redesigned exteriors and upgraded interiors, which guarantees the user immersive audio that you’ll love. The 8-channel ESS is perfect for your different musical needs.

Separate isolators

The device comes with three unique crystal isolators for excellent performance. Each of the isolators cranks a whopping 44.1 kHz sampling rate. It also comes with yet another robust oscillator that delivers a 384 kHz performance.

Adequate space for your music

Although the storage isn’t the best, it is, nevertheless, impressive. This DAP has an internal storage of 64GBs and comes with a micro SD card slot that supports up to 256GB. Therefore, you can store all your audio in it.

Pros
  • We liked the durable construction
  • The elegant finish makes it attractive
  • It is portable
  • The battery lasts long
Cons
  • The storage could be higher than 64GBs

5. Sony NW-ZX507/S Walkman

The Sony NW-ZX507/S DAP model provides the user with new and advanced features that are rare to find in the older models.

It is remodeled and redesigned, and the improvements are evident in the excellent sound quality it delivers. The device offers excellent wireless connectivity. It also boasts impressive Amplifier components and supports MP3 formats. The added Micro SDXC function and 64GB internal memory make the Audio player worth a purchase.

Engineered for excellence

This isn’t your regular Digital Audio player. Sony carefully designed it to offer the best and most enjoyable audio outputs and HD sound quality.

Android support

Unlike most of its competitors, this DAP comes with excellent functions for easy operations. It also has an android support feature that offers easy streaming of music from your favorite online platforms.

What you buy isn’t just what you get

Although you only purchase the Digital Audio Player, the package includes many other accessories to spice up your experience. For instance, you will get a startup guide, a user manual, and cables within the package. You won’t need any extra costs after buying.

Pros
  • Utilize USB type C for convenient charging and data transfer
  • It is fitted with an S-master amplifier for excellent sound quality.
  • You can stream music from your favorite platforms
Cons
  • The power output would be better with some improvement.

6. HiBy R6 Pro Portable Hi-Fi Music Player

The HiByR6 Pro is yet another Digital Audio Player that delivers high-resolution audio. From the famous Soulcker Company, this DAP offers unique Bluetooth and USB functions. The gadget supports WAV formats and also offers a storage capacity of up to 16GB. Although this isn’t the best storage device, it still gets the work done. It’s also a smaller and compact DAP that offers a 2-4 inch screen for easy navigation through the different functions.

Multi-functional

This is a multi-functional gadget for avid audiophiles. It supports FM radio, Bluetooth functions, voice recording, Bluetooth connection, E-book reading, and picture browsing, among other functions. The gadget also supports a timed screen-saver that keeps you updated on matters to do with time. The excellent locking button also makes it convenient. It also comes with a built-in pedometer perfect for sporting and traveling.

Advanced Wireless technology

This DAP comes with Bluetooth 5.0 technology. Therefore, it delivers the fastest and most stable transmission with an excellent anti-jamming capability. You can easily use it with Bluetooth headsets or speakers.

Easy-use interface

This audio player offers easy operations since it has advanced features that offer easy navigation through numerous functions. The seven highly sensitive buttons offer easy operations with a single touch and noiseless operations. The independent unlock/lock button makes the DAP more convenient for use.

Pros
  • It offers professional-grade audio outputs.
  • It supports many formats
  • It offers long playbacks
Cons
  • 16GB is not enough for some users.

7. Pioneer hi-res Digital Audio Player

Like the other products in this list, the Pioneer Digital Audio Player boasts an advanced Audio output. It is fitted with an excellent USB feature for easy charging and file transfer. The product also boasts unrivaled amplifier performances. Additionally, the large 4.7-inch display offers quick navigation, and the SDHC media support makes the gadget versatile.

Excellent audio quality

Thanks to the advanced and redesigned functions, the Pioneer High-resolution Audio player delivers excellent functions and performances. It retains the original sound quality of your audios and offers un-distorted voices. The unrivaled soundstage function offers immersive listening. It also supports high-grade formats for a lossless performance. Hence, you enjoy up to 320kbs with all MP3 files.

User-friendly interface

This DAP features a 4.7-inch display that offers quick operations. It comes with some requisite features that are absent in standard DAPs. The navigation remains smooth and intuitive. Hence, you are free to apply the custom mixer and enjoy your customized audio outputs.

Quality construction

This Digital audio player boasts a top-grade construction. Therefore, it is durable. It also looks elegant and appealing.

Pros
  • It works with headphones or speakers.
  • It offers smooth operations.
  • Durable construction and design
Cons
  • It is a bit pricy

8. Astell&Kern A&Futura SE200 Portable High Resolution Audio Player

Like all the other Astell&KernA&FuturaSE2000 Digital audio players, this versatile DAP is designed to work with different formats. The device supports WAV, MP3, FLAC, OGG, DFF, DSF, ALAC, APE, and other formats.

It features an elegant moon silver color making it attractive. The DAP also has functional Bluetooth, WIFI, and headphone technologies for an immersive listening experience. It also comes with an excellent memory component for a seamless listening experience. The Micro SD port offers an opportunity for additional storage and comes with 256GB of storage for your audio files.

Long-life battery

This device comes with a long-life battery that lasts for up to 14 hours on continued listening. The fast-charge battery also makes this a perfect DAP for outdoor uses.

Intuitive control

The large 5-inch display offers quick navigation and convenient control of all functions. This audio player is ideal for all users and doesn’t have complicated functions. The multi-functional construction makes it perfect for all your musical needs.

A true HD sound quality

While many DAPs promise HD sound qualities, only a few actualize this wish. And this digital audio player is among the few that get the work done. The manufacturer designed this device to offer unchanged and clear audio.

Independent AMP function

It boasts an independent AMP structure designed to complement the different functions and characteristics. It also allows you to choose your preferred audio profile.

Pros
  • It offers high-resolution audios
  • The upgraded premium feel makes it elegant.
  • It offers enough storage.
Cons
  • The switch between frequencies can be a challenge.

9. Astell&Kern A&futura SE100 High-Resolution Audio Player

This SE100 series comes with some advanced features for a great musical experience. It offers an impressive 128GB storage making it perfect for holding all your audio files and other documents. The device also supports DSD. Similarly, it offers excellent display and memory components. The large 5-inch display offers quick and easy navigation.

A radically unique sound

This DAP is a unique model that stands out among most standard audio devices out there. It comes with excellent features that deliver crisp and clear audio for an immersive experience. The ES9038 Pro 8-channel functionality makes this audio player ideal for all your needs. What’s more, the device also features an advanced OCTA-CORE CPU for outstanding performance.

Intuitive user interface

The high-definition display offers a 5-inch screen that guarantees convenient and smooth operations. The screen also provides easy viewing.

Perfect USB

The DAP comes with a type C cable that is perfect for charging and data transfer. The cable is rugged and durable and is ideal for fast charging and efficient data transfer.

Pros
  • It offers 128GBs of storage.
  • The micro SD slot holds up to 400GBs.
  • The battery lasts long.
Cons
  • No slot for a memory card

10. FiiO, M11 Pro Player

The FiiO M11 Pro Digital Audio player is far from the ordinary DAPs. The product boasts advanced Bluetooth, USB, AUX, and WIFI functions, making it perfect for all your needs.

The package also comes with a long-life and fast-charge battery ideal for music enthusiasts that spend most of their time outdoors. The versatile construction supports different file formats like MP3, WMA, WAV, DSF, and FLAC. Therefore, there’s no limitation when it comes to this digital audio player.

Largest display

At 5.15-inches, this audio player offers the most significant screen display compared to the other models we’ve reviewed above. With the large screen, you enjoy easy navigation and access to all functions similar to using your smartphone.

Long-life battery

This audio player comes with a long-life battery that delivers up to 9.5 hours of playtime. Although this isn’t enough playtime for most people, the battery also offers quick charging.

Bonus Google Play framework

The gadget comes with an added Google Play framework that guarantees better and more convenient performance. It boasts advanced firmware for M11PRO/M11 for guaranteed safety.

Powerful configurations (Hardware and software)

This DAP boasts a powerful configuration of software and software. The six-core processor delivers high performance with the fully balanced THX AAA feature.

Pros
  • It gives a powerful sound output.
  • It offers a versatile headphone output.
  • The two-way LDAC Bluetooth makes it convenient.
  • The quick-charge feature makes it perfect.
Cons
  • The 9-hour battery time is not enough for some people.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing Digital Audio Player

best digital audio player buying guide

Digital Audio Players are abundantly available in the market. We have made a list of the factors you need to consider before you take the plunge.

  • Audio Codec Support

The extension next to a song name? Yes, that’s the audio codec. Codec is basically a program for compressing the data for transmission and decompressing the transmitted data for playing. Thus, they are directly responsible for your listening experience. 

A full-resolution Digital Audio Player must take advantage of lossless and high-resolution music files. The most common support to look out for are DSD (Direct Stream Digital), FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec), ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec), which are some of the best and most popular codecs used by most music websites. 

The other commonly used audio codecs your device must support are Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), MP3 (MPEG Audio Layer 3), WMA (Windows Media Audio) amongst others.

  • Sound Quality

Anyone who appreciates quality music is the one most likely to invest in a Digital Audio Player. It is a device that is worth losing the pocket space for. While the market is flooded with variants, some of the exceptionally cheap and budget models deliver exceptional sound quality.

The Audio Player’s irrespective of the price you pay is a tremendous leap from the sound quality of music on your multi-purpose devices. The more you invest, the better they get, but even an inexpensive version is better than none.

  • Music Sources

This means where the music is stored. Where will the device access the music from? Would you be playing from a flash drive or a memory device like a memory card? Would the music codecs be saved in the device itself? Will the music be streamed from the internet from streaming channels like Spotify, etc?

While some gadgets sport multiple source options, it is always a smart move to select one that you most commonly use.

  • Storage

If you are choosing an Audio Player which saves media on the device, then you need to consider the storage options available to you. Some models have internal as well as expandable external storage. It is important to remember that expandable is the external storage when you invest. 

  • User Interface (UI)

How user-friendly a device is, makes or breaks the entire end-user experience. They mostly operate as Android Digital Audio Player or iOS Digital Audio Player. The ones using Android as their OS are used similarly to an Android phone. While iOS has a click wheel. There are some who may use neither of these two and have their own operating system. It is important to understand which works best for you.

  • Screen

In today’s times every model, whether inexpensive or a highly advanced model, comes with its own quality screen. It is a display that helps you navigate the music. The screen may or may not be a touchscreen. But nowadays all the good and reliable brands have a colorful and crisp display. Font sizes, legibility are some of the important criteria. 

  • Headphones Compatibility

Music lovers have their set preferences for headphones. Some prefer over the ear, some prefer in-ear headphones. In-ear headphones have a higher sensitivity to electric noise as compared to over the ear. For in-the-ear versions, one should look for a gadget with higher power output. Also, most players come connected with only one headphone jack, so choose your headphone jack with care and consideration.

  • Connectivity

Most of the models worth their salt have a bare minimum of Bluetooth connectivity. This helps to connect them to AirPods, earbuds and other wireless headphones, speakers, or even to a tablet, or a laptop.

Wi-Fi is less common but very handy. If you need to stream music through online radio and music hosting sites like Spotify, Wi-Fi is extremely handy. 

  • Battery Life

Audio Players are carried around and are portable. They need to have a battery life that prevents you from reaching for a charger more often than not. The price of a model doesn’t define its battery life. There are some really inexpensive models with far greater battery life than the most expensive models.

As per our estimate, a device with a battery life of 9 hours or above is pretty adequate and standard. As a prototype, we’d suggest getting the one that has a common charging connection to that of your smartphone. You’d save on carrying two chargers everywhere.

  • Portable or Transportable?

Some models are so bulky and large in size that they can’t be carried about everywhere and definitely not in the pocket. These ones are more suitable for a desk or coffee table, to be listened to for a longer period of time. The larger ones have more features and higher sound quality. Therefore, it is important to know if you need a transportable or a portable one.

FAQs About Digital Audio Players

1. Is a digital audio player worth it?

Digital Audio Player reveals and highlights all the nuances of the music as compared to a smartphone. The high-resolution music is best played on a Digital Audio Player and it enhances the user experience. It also helps play various sound formats, has large battery life and is fairly inexpensive.

2. Is a Digital Audio Player better than a phone?

This is a question that is thought of for the umpteenth time while purchasing the Audio Player, but we have a clear answer to this. Smartphones are Jack of all trades. Digital Audio Player is the master of one. Smartphones play audio, but they do not have the specialized hardware or processing power to play dedicated audio. Therefore, a dedicated player is better than a phone for audiophiles.

3. What is the best way to store my digital music?

The best and safest way of storing digital music is by storing them on external memory devices like USB drives, flashcards, memory drives. For someone with a large collection of music, it is best to get external memory cards or hard drives that have over 500 GB of storage. This prevents any loss of music or damage to its quality.

4. Do MP3 players need wifi?

If you plan to listen to digital music or stream digital radio stations, then it is a must to have an MP3 player equipped with Wi-Fi. Otherwise, Wi-Fi is a convenient add-on that helps you transfer and download music on the mp3 remotely but is not a necessary addition.

Final Remarks

There you have it, friends. The products mentioned above are the best Digital Audio Players you’ll find in the market. As you can see, most of these products have similar qualities but different functionalities. Therefore, it’s always important to consider what qualities resonate with your needs most as a music enthusiast.

If the device you pick satisfies your need, you can be sure that you’ll enjoy using it, even if you have to invest a lot of your money in buying it.

From the article, all these products stand out in one way or another. However, in our opinion, the Astell&Kern A&Ultima SP2000, the first on the list, is the best digital audio player. It comes with numerous qualities that make it a worthwhile investment. Additionally, we liked all the added functionalities that the manufacturer included in this device. You can also be sure that the sound qualities of your audio remain uncompromised, regardless of the format used.

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