Looking for user advice on DAP/IEM

Hi all,

Lately I stay more and more time out of home at the finca in the woods, tending to a fledgling chicken farm. While there, I have no Internet access besides a cell 3G antenna on top of a nearby hill. So, no online streaming nor Roon for me while there, nor is there a WiFi network (what would it be good for?). The climate is hot and humid, and at the moment I have no space I could condition for music listening. Or rather, I would not expose HiFi equipment to the climate and insects, so if and until I can build at this place a better adapted home, a solution for music listening is sorely missed.

I have never owned a DAP, but thought that this could be something I would enjoy vastly at the farm. Of course, I’d love something which offers good sound quality, taking into account my main musical fare—mostly classical chamber music and Jazz. What’s your experience with a DAP? I have seen that the only ‘Roon Ready’ players are some models by Astell&Kern; but is Roon-Readyness worth it? Does it work well with Roon over WiFi? This of course would only be of value while at home… maybe for listening at times when I can’t listen on my speakers…

As to headphones, for use at the farm I think IEM would be preferred. Haven’t ever owned IEM, either…

I am not able to invest in the very top models… my budget is about US 2000-2500 for DAP and IEM.

What are you using, what do you like, what would you recommend? What should I take into account, what should I be aware of? If a DAP offers Tidal, would it be possible to download Tidal albums for offline listening on the DAP?

I am looking forward to any recommendation and advice.

Thanks a lot!

I use an A&K Kann Alpha which has great sound and the side loaded apps can download music. It also has sd card slot for your music.

You could use an Audioquest Dragonfly dongle (or any other brand) and your phone for storage.

Envious of the heat and humidity. -25C here today with 2 more months to go.

Thank you for your recommendation. The Kann Alpha is one model I have been looking into. It’s one of the Roon-Ready models; so do you use it with Roon? Does this work well, do you think a Roon-Ready model is worth it over a non Roon-Ready device? There are lots of user reports on the web regarding the glitchy WiFi performance of the Kann Alpha, and problems with the Tidal app, but all these reports are from the first half of 2021… Have these problems been addressed by firmware updates, or maybe for you this has been working well enough all the time?

Thank you, that’s very helpful to know!! When at home with Internet access, I could download Tidal music for offline reproduction. Will this later work when at a place without any Internet access? If yes, this would be great for me…

It’s been about 25 years since I last have experienced -25C… only thinking about this makes my feet feel cold…


I usually use roon with my portable devices when near my wifi network. With the KA I also get mqa (not a fan but most things at Tidal are encoded). Roon ready would be a key buying point for me.

AK devices are 2.4ghz only so most gliches result from troublesome routers. Some people create separate 2.4ghz networks to help.

Downloaded Tidal or Qobuz will work without wifi as long as you have connected recently to verify your credentials.

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Thanks a lot, you’ve been very helpful.