Some DAPs, such as some of the higher Sony models and some Apple iPods, are really intended to play from local storage only, so you could copy your CD rips or downloads to it and play them. Many other models allow you to run apps on them much like an iPod or iPhone, so that you can use them with Spotify, Tidal, radio etc etc. To do this they need to connect to a wireless network.
An alternative approach is to just use an iPhone, which doesn’t actially sound that bad, but can be upgraded by playing it through a DAC, and there are many small, more or less portable DACs that are designed for this purpose, such as the Audioquest Dragonfly and Chord Mojo or Hugo.
Do you have your last phone still? Take all the apps off it, run it in flight mode and switch the wi-fi selectively on. You’ll receive no notifications. Battery life will be remarkably long - an old Sony Xperia lasts me 7 days easy. Plug that into a Mojo or Hugo. Works for me, might be worth a try.
Except for the fact that when listening to music you don’t want distractions of your phone like notifications briefly stoping your playback.
Or even battery life for that matter. I think the main reason people who want daps and have daps is because they don’t want their phone involved…
Easily fixed with later versions of Android using Do Not Disturb, Focus Mode etc, Notification settings etc. (For example, different use case, but I have a Lenovo TAB K10 for listening to music. No spurious apps, dedicated email address and Do Not Disturb on, so no distractions.)
I couldn’t be bothered with that everytime I want to listen to music (phone that is) and then when I’ve finished, putting everything back in again.
A dap is designed to do one job and one job only.
The way I see it, listening to music on my phone is like listening to music on an Alexa or just from the TV.
A high end DAP is for audio fidelity and that is what it’s been designed for. It’s no different to our full size Naim rigs.
I much prefer to keep my portable music separate from my phone. My Sony DAP sounds excellent, and even after 7 years has a long battery life, much better than an iPhone which would run out of juice even faster than it already does if it was used for music as well. Also much better life than a Chord DAC, although if you can be bothered to carry a Hugo around it’s a great portable(ish) option.
Also no need to eat into phone storage, plenty of space on a DAP and SD card.
Following up the various comments, I currently use my iPhone and/or iPad because I always have one or sometime both with me, so nothing extra to carry apart from headphones, and no cost. They have far more storage capacity than utilised by my normal use as pocket email/video communicator/map/satnav/notebook/internet browser/calendar/alarm clock/weather station/translator/manual library/book reader/emergency camera/occasional telephone/etc. I have never had music interrupted except by a phone call, but that is an interruption by its very nature regardless of on what device I may be playing music - however I only have limited alerts set up, and all are vibrate only as I hate spurious noises whatever I’m doing.
However whilst these devices have spare memory capacity, it is limited for music copied across as .flac, meaning I have to select in advance what I want to play on a trip and spend time copying, which is why I mentioned interest in an alternative that can take my entire music collection. I could improve the phone/tablet sound quality with an external DAC/headphone amp, and better headphones (I currently have Bose noise cancelling), however a better device likely would get me closer to proper hifi - but at a not trivial cost, both for device and for headphones. My ‘driver’ here is wanting music while living in a campervan for weeks on end, where decent speakers are an impossibility.
Does your phone not have a card slot? I’m an Android user, and my Sony has a card slot for storage expansion (up to 1TB). I’m not suggesting you swap to Android, and I’m sure you’ve looked into it, seems a shame to have to spend so much on the chord ecosystem when a card and a second hand Hugo world probably suit you really well? (Plus your choice of Gucci headphones )
Absolutely right @popeye I’ve got an Astell & Kern SP1000M with Campfire Andromeda IEM’s/Focal Elegias. I use Qobuz, with hundreds of albums and playlists stored on the internal storage/SD card; no need for WiFi when travelling.
Sound quality from an iPhone is incomparable (I’ve tried it) and simply not in the same league.
One thing I will say, and haven’t heard yet to say so myself but two dealers I have spoken with advised that the Chord Hugo2 is now rather dated and the latest DAPs like the Astell and Kern and the Sony NW-WM1ZM2 are sonically superior.