Portable Player Recommendation

  I am not sure where to post this but thought I would try here.  Currently I am using my LG phone but I am tired of all the beeps, squeaks and whatever as I try to listen, and it doesn’t really sound that great despite being on the cover of Stereophile and JVS saying it didn’t need a separate amp.  I am a starting a new job that will require some extended time away from home so I would like to get it right and I don’t want to carry a separate amp.
  I did have a Sony a few years ago that was the size of a matchbox, sounded amazing, but when the SD card filled, it was so tightly inserted that it broke during attempted removal.  To be fair the two reviews that I had read cited this as an issue.  It also didn’t stream.
  I wouldn’t mind something like that again as long as the SD card can be extracted and it it did a decent job as a streamer.  I absolutely don’t want an obtrusive interface loaded up with apps that have nothing to do with playing music.    Cans will primarily be Oppo PM3 and Meze Audio.

I have a 400 dollar Sony Walkman with top Grado in ear phones.   It sounds stupendous......maybe better than my super hi end components

Another option might be something like an Audioquest Dragonfly Red or Cobalt.  I use the Red in my headphone setup and it dramatically improves the sound out of my iPhone and iPad, so if this might work for you it’d also help you avoid carrying around another gadget.  Just another option to consider, and best of luck. 

The Sony that I did have blew away the sound from my phone.  And no interruptions from email and texting alerts.

  I am assuming that these things dont stream well, so I guess I would continue to the the phone for that, but I am interested in HD storage at this point, thus my emphasis on ease of removal of theSD card.

  I called Crutchfeld to ask the sales guy about the SD card issue but the sales guy was worthless 

Anyone that says a phone will do has never heard a good PMP on decent cans. That advice is non experienced.

Look at iBasso too. The ones I’ve heard are better than A&K which I own.

There seemed to be no one that got really close. They seem to have gotten ahead. You might check out Sony's WMU!Z to be in there but a step down.

@ghdprentice - I'm considering getting a DAP as well; what are some others you would consider in the same bracket as the SP2000? And do any of these stream as well? 

I have used high end portable players for decades, always staying on the cutting edge. You want a high-end DAP. Out of the gate I would recommend an Astell&Kern SP2000 DAP Music Player. I have the SP1000. I got there in increments. It streams, plays from internal memory, and has SD card. It is the size of a thick cell phone. They are built like tanks, and really beautiful.

If you want high end sound… this is the way to go. There are others that are good as well. This is arguably the best. You can drop down in quality and cost down the product line… then there are other competitors.
In 2021 virtually any smartphone will suffice.

I’ve got a couple of superb Sony portable players but I never use them.

What’s the point?
Just chose a phone with a decent battery life, good speakers (some have 2) and of course, a headphone jack.
Don't like clutter? Just move the unwanted apps onto the next page out of sight!

There’s some in depth reviews which mention speaker sound quality here:

Any Cowon you can find.
My Z2 takes redbook to heaven compared to hi res on my A&K.
Or just try Sony again. 30 day free return.
Sony NW-A55/B Walkman NW-A55 Hi-Res 16GB MP3 Player, Grayish Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08286VLNB/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_43RK863VBM6QH01KF43W