Budget DAP to run Roon ARC Advice

With Roon ARC, I now think it makes a lot of sense for me to get a dedicated DAP as I tend to like having a dedicated device with lots of storage that’s not my phone. As I understand it, the main requirement is that it needs to run Android 9.0. Any advice on a budget device (under $300-$400)? Some more about what I’m looking for:

  • Lots of storage through SD card or internal (I used to really like having nearly all my music on my iPod in the '00s)
  • does not need to be Roon Ready I believe…will mainly use to play downloaded music on the train/bus
  • budget is good as portable devices tend to get lost/damaged (for me at least)


The Hidizs AP80 PRO-X might be a good choice.
I had the earlier model and liked it so much I upgraded to the HiBy New R6 (same company).
Lots of features including LDAC Bluetooth and MQA support.
The MSEB tuning is a neat feature.
The company has good customer service as well.
They were quick to respond to my questions.

Keep in mind that (currently) Android DAPs that aren’t Roon Ready will downsample hi-res files in ARC and Roon Remote.

Current ARC doesn’t allow you to choose SD card currently so I would not dive in until that’s sorted.


This feels like a very solidly important use case. While I’ve spent some money on a few dongles / portable DACs over the years (Fiio Q3, KA3, apple dongles etc) to run from my iphone, which works ok, I think if I could get a DAP which just ran ARC, and allowed ARC to download locally to an SD card, and had a good DAC / opamps & reasonable battery, I’d be pretty excited. Even if it didn’t function as a great DAP on its own but was really effectively an ARC appliance, I’d be psyched.

Has anyone solved this use case?

No solution for this use case.
All DAPs, which are able to use Roon ARC, are based of android and so:

  • resampling to 48 kHz with Roon
  • not able (yet) to use an external SD with Roon

At the moment I see there only an iPhone as an audiophile Roon ARC client.

Bummer, thanks. I’m sure it will be big news when this gets settled, either by a new generation of DAPs or ARC compatibility / development or both. Until then, Q3 + iPhone is the way to be I guess!

Not an ideal solution but I did get the SD card working on my Hiby R6 2020 by formatting it as internal storage.

I can live with the 48 kHz resampling for now but the poor offline experience is a deal breaked for a DAP right now (for me) i.e. not being able to properly navigate albums offline when I’ve downloaded them in a playlist. Just a simple filter on the playlist would be enough to make it more usable.