Flang V5 Dap review - by Ta-ke



Flang v5 - a DAP from a brand that bears the name Van Gogh 
Review by Ta-ke

The down side: it doesn't support fast forward/ backward, no line out, huge size, the build quality could be better, quite a lot of hiss.

The bright side: It is easy to navigate, supports digital out, 10+ hours battery run time
Packing in ES9018K2M6.3mm output, a balanced dock and some cool old school style design, this tough looking DAP caught my attention when I first saw it amongst a sea of DAPs on display.

 I am not sure if there is v1- 4 before v5 and it seems like the V5 is the only model available in the market from the brand, and surprisingly it also supports navigation control on earphones as the marketing materials on web says. 

Since there is little information available I am trying to write some impressions for whoever interested.

The Name of the brand refers to Van Gogh in Chinese, a grand title to use however there is limited brand info on the web so I do not have any idea of the brand story behind it.

The player was acquired as a gift from a friend, it comes in a nice package. The build is sturdy yet light, making use of a metal front plate and wrapping up the player is a nicely molded plastic frame. 




100 hours of playback to break in the unit was done before my impressions were given.



^ the word flang carries some interesting meanings



^ Flang V5 comes in 3 colors, sitting on the front panel is a physical volume knob


Additional dock for balanced output.





On the middle of the player is a physical rolling wheel and the middle fits the "home'' button (the home logo on iPhone), which is actually the "enter" button for this machine

You can find every button needed to navigate around on the left side of the front panel - home, return, change to coaxial output, menu etc. not to mention the easy to spot analog volume knob.

 The UI looks like something coming from Tamagotchi, 8bit fonts looking quite retro yet showing all the info clearlyYou will be using the roller to navigate through the menu which shows 4 rows per page, with the enter button in the middle and the return button on the lower right.

The font size is a bit too big for me and I wish it could show more information on one page, while the unit is handy, easy to navigate and feels right in the hand
I have been leaving the unit alone to play for roughly 10 hours on the go and the music is still playing.



^ "home" button and a physical roller wheel 

Moving on to the sound performance.
The player is labeled as a Natural Sound Digital Audio player, as expected it leans towards the bass intensive side. The bass is quite punchy and stands out from the whole frequency before pushing the bass knob, the vocals feel a bit recessed and the treble is shy. 

There are some grains with the vocals, especially with female vocals and it sounds like it is filtered.
 I tried to listen to some Chinese songs and male Vocals and the presentation is much better. 
The soundstage has good width thanks to the driving power but at the same time it lacks depth and texture, also the sense of refinement compared to the earlier acquired shanling M1. 

I only listen to 24/192 wav files on it and the player claims to be taking DSD sampling at 2.4MHz. 
Generally the player sounds better with older folk songs, rock songs and male vocals, the presentation is harsh with pops/ electronic music.

The device outputs a relatively high 125mW output on 32ohm load, and testing it with the GR07 does show its driving power, but also reveals a noticeable amount of background hiss.
 Switching to higher gain (labeled as normal, the other option is reduced gain) doesn't make the noise in the background much louder and the driving force seems to increase by a tiny bit

The overall sound is a bit too bassy for indoor listening and it does sound better when I bring the unit out for a train ride, however this doesn't fit easily into a pocket
Basically most sensitive iems like se846/ final audio new releases will not be usable on this machine thanks to the amount of hiss.

I tried the unit with a HD598 and it distorts when i turn up the volume up, pairing with a meze99 seems to be good within my normal listening vol and it gives a decent amount of bass.


Conclusion
The player is multifunctional, it could be docked for balanced output or output coaxial signal to another DACas a transport. 

However the hiss amount is very noticeable and the form factor is not too convenient. 

The design, function and user experience may please some users while it pairs better with headphones or gears of higher impedance.
I expect the company to build something smaller in size and more suitable for portable listening in the future, with less hiss and a more forgiving tuning.

The player is listed at 272USD (29800yen) without tax.

 


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