I performed most of my critical listening on the HiFiMAN Sundara ($499), and this setup is awe-inspiring. Both Sundara and AP80 are neutral, yet musical, clear, yet fulsome, and ever so resolving. The Hidizs offers sufficient power to really open these cans up. Together, they make an incredible high-res experience.
For the ultimate in musicality, without breaking the bank, pair her up with the Final Audio Design E5000 ($279, Review HERE). This little thing delivers all the warmth and naturalness you could ever want, enveloping you in deep, rich tones. AP80’s capacity for clarity and transparency help keep things from getting too clouded, while its rapturous low-end brings out the full potential of these monitors.
Down this same path, but on a whole other performance tier, the Massdrop + Custom Art FIBAE ME ($819.99, Review HERE) is a riotous joy. It holds to the tuning philosophy of the E5000, but you get better separation, resolution, and treble extension. It makes another outstanding match with the Hidizs player.
Well shit. That’s not a very long review, but I feel I’ve said enough. It’s no small thing, to have access to the kind of gear I do, and still find beauty and genuine quality in a budget DAP like the AP80. In fact, within this price range, I’ve never heard a better player.