If you want to preserve memory (and battery life) on your phone or if you want the best sound quality while you’re on the road, go no further than our selection of the top portable music players on the planet. There are now numerous viable competitors in the music player market due to the recent demise of the Apple iPod (only the Touch has survived; it is included below).
We’ve set together a full list of the best portable music players at different price points, ranging from cheap Cowons to expensive Astell & Kerns, with trusty Sony Walkmans and the Apple Touch.
How to pick the best portable music players?
You’ll be astonished at what you can buy these days for your money, regardless of your budget. Of course, every player in this room can play MP3 and AAC files, but in 2022 music player, we can all do better. Nearly all the models listed below also support high-resolution DSD, FLAC, and PCM files for the finest audio quality when listening to downloaded digital music. A few even add native MQA playing to that compatibility list of old music players.
Have a sizable library of digital music? Since many of these players feature microSD card slots, your collection of songs and musicians need not ever run out. Additionally, expanding memory allows you to preserve all of your music at the highest quality without worrying about the enormous file sizes consuming your device’s available capacity. In the modern world, balanced headphones are uncommon, but if you’re the proud owner of a set, you need to consider which players offer balanced outputs to maximize their use of music players.
To improve the audio quality between your smartphone, laptop, and headphones or speakers, there are players here that can function as a DAC. Some have access to streaming services built-in as well, while others have even more features similar to those on the phone.
14 Best Portable Music Player
In its third generation, Cowon’s 2021-issue bijou matchbox-sized player now features Bluetooth, a volume wheel, and a dual DAC, earning it a What Hi-Fi? 2021 Award. The player’s excellent new volume dial, which pays homage to some far more expensive Astell & Kern models (some of which are listed below), makes it appear much more costly music player.
When playing MP3 files, the D3’s battery life can last up to 45 hours, or 30 hours when listening to high-resolution files at a ‘normal’ level. Compatibility of WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, and DSD128 file are also supported at 24-bit/192kHz, which is native. Thus DSD files aren’t converted to PCM while playing.
How about a PMP that you can customize with swappable DAC modules? This is the concept, and we were so impressed that we granted it a What Hi-Fi? 2021 Award. Following the debut SE100 and SE200, both of which won Awards from this publication in 2019 and 2020, respectively, the new SE180 is the third model in Astell & Kern’s near-flagship A&futura series (and are listed below).
The SE180 offers an interchangeable DAC module design, taking the personalization of your sound a step further than the slightly earlier SE200 (which has two user-selectable DAC configurations incorporated into the player). The idea is that owners of Astell & Kern’s DAC modules can buy them and replace the standard supplied module with them if so. Each DAC module has a distinct musical signature.
These are, of course, optional extras, experimental avenues that can be followed or rejected entirely. After all, the SE180 is an all-in-one player in and of itself, with the ESS ES9038PRO DAC as the standard module. It features 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and 4.4mm outputs to accommodate a variety of headphones. It supports 32-bit/384kHz PCM, native DSD256, and MQA audio music player.
Despite being the third member of the Kann series, the Kann Alpha is Astell & Kern’s first member to have Bluetooth 5.0. (complete with aptX HD). It also succeeds in having a more potent internal headphone amplifier than the earlier Kann series players. It also offers increased power in a smaller, more compact chassis thanks to the rearranging of numerous components and the use of smaller resistors and capacitors music player.
Most music file formats,like MQA, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, WAV, and native DSD256, are supported by the device, which is still a little thick but fits in a coat pocket. When it comes to wireless codec support, it is similarly broad (LDAC, aptX HD, aptX, AAC, and, naturally, SBC Bluetooth). Through the use of Astell & Kern’s CD-Ripper, the Alpha additionally supports MQA-CD playback. There are three headphone outputs (2.5mm, a new balanced 4.4mm, and an unbalanced 3.5mm headphone jack/optical), 24-bit and DSD file compatibility, a microSD card slot to increase the 64GB of onboard storage, and support for 33 music streaming services through wifi (although these are a little hit and miss to implement).
The Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 is the most recent in a line of outstanding, What Hi-Fi? ‘Entry-level’ portable music players that have won awards. And every new generation proves to be more talented than the previous one music player. The A&norma SR15 (also on this list) was debuted in 2018, and the SR25 continues that legacy by setting a new standard for performance and battery life.
The SR25 proves how excellent music on the go can sound while also remaining reasonably priced and is noticeably more expressive and eloquent than any other portable music player we’ve met at this price and much beyond anything smartphones are capable of. We emphasize the word “fairly” because, in addition to pushing performance, it also makes the boundaries of what is considered a reasonable entry-level price.
5. Sony NW-A55L
The Japanese firm has provided high-res audio compatibility across a variety of portable players, from the shallow end to the very high end, in the six years since the release of its first high-resolution Walkman music player.
However, the company focuses mainly on the lower end of the market, and in 2019 it was rewarded with a What Hi-Fi? Award for the NW-A45. Sony, obviously not one to rest on its laurels, replaced that budget player with the NW-A55L, which established a new standard for reasonably priced hi-res portable players and earned Sony 2020 What Hi-Fi? Award.
Even after a few years, the winner of our 2019 Product of the Year Award remains among the top portable music players in this price range. The A&norma SR25, at the top of this list, is the successor to the Astell & Kern A&norma SR15 (which means it can currently be picked up at a tasty discount.)
With its user-friendly interface, ample storage, and support for high-resolution files – not to mention the brand’s signature level of detail and powerful sound – it promises a significant upgrade over the sound quality of your smartphone. The gadget can also function as a DAC/preamp, allowing you to improve the audio quality of your smartphone and laptop music player.
The iPod Touch must be passable for us to recommend it, given its broad feature set and similarly inexpensive cost. This seventh generation is more than that; it demonstrates that the apple music player iPod still has a place in the market despite smartphone streaming and high-end hi-res PMPs.
It sounds like an Apple product in terms of tone and general personality. Without overextending itself in any way, it does everything correctly. Evenness, timely rhythms, and dynamic interest allow listeners to distinguish between many genres and moods. Natural, neutral… in other words, standard Apple music player for android.
That’s before you consider its HD screen, a wide range of apps, gaming features, and even front and rear cameras. It is a smartphone without a cellular connection, making it the best portable music player on this list in terms of versatility. As a result, it is highly recommended bard music player.
The same What Hi-Fi? The A&futura SE200, a prize-winner (in 2020), was Astell & Kern’s first portable music player to provide the user with a selection of DACs. These include the most recent chip from ESS in a dual configuration and one of AKM’s top-tier processors in the company’s flagship SP2000 (below). Why? It comes down to letting the user select the preferred audio characteristic. Each DAC type contains a set of audio filters for additional fine-tuning and feeds the conventional 3.5mm and 2.5mm balanced outputs Youtube music player.
Nevertheless, it does seem entirely superfluous. In the end, we don’t think the ESS performance is necessary, given how much better the AKM output sounds. Nevertheless, the company’s SE200 managed to raise the bar for performance for the money. Except for the flagship SP2000, it delivers a sound that surpasses every Astell & Kern player before, which takes some doing music players for kids.
The ultimate SE100 (a past PMP Award winner) is both a luxury and a sensible purchase for people with lofty portable aspirations, high-end headphones, and – crucially – the budget.
Astell & Kern is an expert in creating outstanding high-end music players, as you can see from a simple glance at this list. The SE100, though, kicks things up a step; it’s a natural progression of Astell & Kern’s already superb earlier efforts, offering a compelling audio experience, a striking look, and a feature-rich music player experience mp3 music player.
It sounds a lot better than A&K’s less expensive models. That’s because of its jitter-reduced crystal oscillator clock and 32-bit, eight-channel ESS Sabre ES9038Pro DAC. The most striking feature is its stark openness, which widens the presentation’s soundstage and invites the listener to hear more detail.
10. FiiO M11 Pro
Fiio has been leading a secretive existence for more than a dozen years. The company is known as one of the leaders in portable digital audio players and related accessories in its home in China and throughout Asia. The M11 from Fiio is recognized as one of the best music players available at its price, and it is much more of an underground success here than all those gauche Apple and Sony PMPs.
One will make it clear why. The M11 Pro, an Android-based player with a sound that is incredibly appealing and enjoyable, does the brand proud. It is 2mm thicker than its non-Pro counterpart.
It sounds better than most and as good as anything at this price. Even if the soundstage isn’t quite as significant as other competitors, it’s still not crowded. The M11 Pro is remarkably prompt regarding tempos and overall rhythm control without being overly imposing. Without sacrificing weight, either spotify music player.
When it comes to sound quality, it is practically flawless. But it isn’t perfect. To begin with, it is expensive music player app. We also have a few minor complaints about the controls. Despite being smaller than its predecessor, the device still takes two hands to operate, mainly to get the screen-on/screen-off button. Although it takes a good amount of scrolling to make observable volume changes, the jog wheel is still simple for a right-handed person’s thumb to reach. We occasionally caught ourselves unwittingly knocking it as well. We might be a little clumsy Best Portable Music Players.
However, it is impossible to detect flaws in the performance when it comes to the crucial task of performing music. The music sounds right, and the presentation is crisp, concise, punchy, and detailed. Similarly priced machines can communicate lifeless, muffled, or dull compared to this machine’s short transparency. And less expensive players? They have no hope of success.
12. Cowon Plenue D
The Plenue D3, at the top and is the newest and best budget Cowon Plenue player, but for its reasonable asking price, this one is tough to fault. A feature-rich device with support for FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, WAV, WMA, and MP3 file formats is yours for a meager price. It also supports 24bit/192kHz sample rates android music player.
It is also quite highly spec’d. This high-end product is offered at an affordable price thanks to its 3.7-inch color touchscreen, 32GB of storage (which is expandable to 128GB via microSD), 100-hour battery life (playing MP3s), and sturdy yet lightweight construction.
Additionally, it sounds fantastic free music player. It has more insight than most of its comparably-priced competitors, and the Plenue D has excellent control over the balance of its tones. The Plenue D is an even-handed performer; heavy bass drums don’t drown out the vocal, and treble may soar without sounding strained or harsh.
With its sturdy construction, broad list of capabilities, and excellent battery life, the Kann is arguably the best high-resolution portable music player in this price range best music player for android. There is native support for 32bit/384kHz and DSD256 files, balanced (2.5mm) and unbalanced (3.5mm) outputs, and aptX Bluetooth for wireless streaming with better-than-CD quality.
You won’t want to remove your headphones because of the performance’s abundance of depth, detail, and dynamism. The Kann delves into the lower frequencies and presents them with many thumps so you can hear the drummer’s force. Bass drums are offered with tenacity and strength. Instruments are kept perfectly organized in a spacious presentation.
The SP2000 is unlike many other portable music players in terms of pricing, construction, and performance. It is a unique player that is both prohibitively expensive and impractically portable. If it were a vehicle, it would be a Bentley Arnage, which is more suitable for special occasions than daily errands.
The mp3 music player download A&ultima SP2000 is the musical and multi-talented gadget that’s otherwise difficult to find as a high-end music player, both as a straight-up PMP in a desirable headphones set-up and as a streaming-capable source for your speaker-led hi-fi.
How we evaluate portable audio devices
Our team of knowledgeable, in-house reviewers tests most of the hi-fi and AV equipment. That comes through our door at our state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Reading, and Bath spotify music player svg free.
Although we test each player with a variety of wired and wireless audiophile headphones. Provided the player supports it, such facilities are not always necessary when testing portable players. The most crucial part of our evaluation process is comparing. Each device is to the best in its price range and class. Whether that’s one standout player. Or a handful that we favor most highly out of the many we listen to each year for reviews free mp3 music player.
We listen to various musical genres and give each plenty of time since we are always objective. And want to hear every product at its finest (and time to run in). Of course, it goes beyond sound quality. If a product has distinguishing attributes, such as long battery life. We’ll ensure that a portion of our testing involves verifying the manufacturer’s claims.
To avoid bias and ensure we are being as thorough as possible, all review decisions are made by the team rather than by a single reviewer. The opinions of our sales team or PR firms are not considered in the decision-making process bluetooth music player.