Onkyo DP-X1 Android Audio Player Review

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Onkyo DP-X1 Android Audio Player Review

 High-end audio remains a niche market, but as of late we’ve been seeing the genre inching further and further straight into the mainstream. As an example, several from the well-known headphones we’ve covered in 2012, including the best noise canceling headphones, pack the prowess to handle extra fidelity, even inside the wireless space. What’s much more exciting for audio lovers is high-end manufacturers are specializing in more capable mobile HiFi solutions. Not do you really need a full-fledged desktop stack to obtain righteous playback.

It just so happens We‘re given this type of device to review, a HiFi digital player that’s powered by Android created using a company having a lengthy history inside the audio scene – Onkyo. The Japanese-based manufacturer is primarily recognized for premium A / V home theater and stereo equipment, but that’s now changed like the DP-X1 bursts straight into the elite hi-res player arena. We’ll examine if Onkyo built the best mobile HiFi player solution in your Onkyo DP-X1 Android Audio Player Review.

Overview

Price: $672 on Amazon
Available: June 2016
Model: DP-X1

Summary:  The DP-X1 is Onkyo’s first mobile audio player, and it also hits the bottom running having a high-end dual DAC / amp system, full Android support, all of the features for today’s audiophile, and also a premium metal build. An understated design and modest battery slightly hold it back, to not mention the top-end pricing, however the DP-X1 remains a champion in your books overall.

What We Liked

  • Unrestricted Android software
  • Balanced output option for enthusiasts
  • Support for a wide variety of audio formats.
  • 432GB total storage capability
  • Sound quality is top-tier and of the best in its class

What We Didn’t

  • Design is a little flat for a high-end device
  • Need to use balanced output to unleash the sound’s full capability
  • Screen quality and battery life could be better
  • Expensive

DP-X1 Specs

Display 4.7" 720p LCD
Storage 32GB internal + two microSD card slot (up to 200GB each)
Battery 1,630 mAh (up to 16 hours in unbalanced mode)
Software Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop)
DAC Dual ESS Sabre ES9018K2M
Amp Dual ESS Sabre 9601
Audio Outputs Standard 3.5mm or Balanced 2.5mm (TRRS) ports
Audio Formats DSD (DSF, DSD-IFF), FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, Ogg Vorbis, MP3, AAC, MQA
Impedance Unbalanced: 16 - 300 ohms
Balanced: 32 - 600 ohms
Frequency Response 20 - 80,000 Hz
S/N Ratio 115 dB or more
Price $672
Buy Now

Design

Onkyo aimed for any design that‘s just the maximum amount of effortless as it‘s premium to its top-tier portable audio player. The device’s rectangular, hard-edged form can be too basic and understated to its high-end price tag, but wait until you will get your hands onto it. The DP-X1 is entirely encased inside a premium metal unibody, save to the front glass to the display and a little glass strip on the rear in the direction of the bottom (which we assume can there be for antennas that cannot work with the metal like WiFi and Bluetooth wireless connections ).

Usually there are some extra elegant touches, though subtle, all around the chassis. As an example, the circular volume knob includes a ridged texture and also a gold lining, and also the back casing is interestingly bent to taper in it. This unique design choice gives the DP-X1 character but additionally causes it to be therefore the volume control is accessible coming from the front or back.

Onkyo DP-X1 Player

The rotary volume knob is aesthetically fabulous. We only wish that Onkyo caused it to be firmer – it’s simple to accidentally turn.

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The embedded glass panel that houses the modest 4. 7″ display sits flush using the chassis and with a slight asymmetrical placement. As expected, the screen’s 720p pixel count and LCD panel won’t win any quality awards for any mobile device in 2016, however it still does its job all a similar. Most high-end players aren’t generally display spec monsters outside of the audio prowess, anyway.

Onkyo DP-X1 Player

The 720p 4.7″ LCD display is not spectacular but does its job, with vibrant colors and decent viewing angles.

Features

You’ll find all the DP-X1’s features on each edge. Starting at the highest, we Haven‘t one, but two audio output ports – a typical 3. 5mm jack to the common headphone, you that‘s 2. 5mm for balanced output (TRRS 4-pole connection ). Many high-end audio manufacturers are including balanced capability with their products today, due to its ability of the cleaner output, and Onkyo Didn‘t enjoy being left out.

Onkyo DP-X1 Player

A skinny silver plate surrounds the gold-plated ports for some extra sheen.

The DP-X1’s controls are handled upon the right-hand side from the device, via small circular buttons from top to bottom. They follow the simple-but-still-premium aesthetic of the remainder of the device and maybe have a nice, tactile firmness to match. We wish the buttons were a little larger, but it’s a small gripe.

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Onkyo also generously incorporated two microSD card slots. The 32GB base storage which comes inside the device won’t offer you lots of audio legroom, but each microSD card slot can use to 200GB extra – so we’re looking with a total capability of 432GB when all is said and done.

Onkyo DP-X1 Player

The playback buttons on the ideal side are understated but nonetheless premium. The dual microSD card slots are labeled “1” and “2”.

Lastly, upon the bottom edge We‘ve a lonely microUSB port. It’s in fact employed for charging, but here you may also make use of the DP-X1’s USB audio-out function, that‘s if you would like to make use of it like a source for an external DAC.

Sealed within is really a modest 1, 630 mAh battery which Onkyo says is designed for as much as 16 hours of listening, but bear on your mind that that’s under unbalanced load (and assuming no radio use ). Hearing offline music we achieved leads to that ballpark, but could only hit around half that figure with streaming music enabled.

Software

The DP-X1 includes a feature that almost all HiFi audio players don’t – the software capabilities in an Android device. This flexibility enables it to become much not only a music player. You should use it to watch videos, browse the web, play games, or maybe pretty much anything that Google’s Play Store enables for.

Running the show behind the scenes is Android version 5. 1 (aka Lollipop ), which isn’t the newest version from Google, but it’s not removed from it either. Many of the Material Design interface aesthetics still in play inside the latest smartphones today are present, such like the 2-motion pull-down notification shade and also the Recent Apps carousel.

Onkyo in fact throws in its own audio-centric software touches, but the majority of it revolves around it’s own HF music app, which we consider to become perhaps one of the more quality and refined bits of player software available.

Among Onkyo’s software tweaks are in fact the addition of specialized audio options, accessible from either the internal system settings as well as Onkyo app. Many are usability controls, as a system volume limiter or volume lock to the knob, while others allow audio gurus to alter the sound’s characteristics bit by luscious, luxurious-sounding bit.

Sound

The rationale why anyone buys a dedicated music player lately is perfect for superior audio upon the go, otherwise a typical smartphone can serve a similar purpose just fine. Half the DP-X1’s internals are taken up by dual-ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DACs (digitial-to-analog converters ) and dual-ESS Sabre 9601 amps. What’s more, there’s the choice for balanced output with two separate modes : a typical BTL drive proficient at more power, or perhaps a specialized ACG (Active Control GND ) option that produces a good cleaner sound more enhanced separation. And although everything sounds great in writing, will it mean anything in real world listening?

Onkyo DP-X1 Player

The DP-X1 is rated for headphone impedances between 16 and 300 ohms, meaning it can drive sensitive in-ear monitors or power hungry cans.

The short answer is yes, it‘s a significant step up when compared with even today’s top-end smartphones. Mind you, that consensus will depend upon your headphones and music files though, like a high-res player is merely as good as the things you provides it. For our particular testing, we used CD-ripped FLAC and TIDAL HiFi files, and Shure SE846 and Sennheiser IE 800 headphones. The DP-X1 continues to sing well above the grade even with TIDAL streaming, where some competitors such as the Fiio X7 may become victim to WiFi signal interference.

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As much as the sound quality goes, it’s easily discernible that Onkyo knows a thing or two in regards to the craft. The DP-X1’s default sound signature (via the 3. 5mm port ) is best described as clinical, where there’s a deep concentrate on striking the notes as accurately and articulated as you can. We wouldn’t go as much as deem it a “reference” sound though. There’s plenty impact inside the delivery, coming from the crisp highs towards the bodied sub-bass.

Separation and imaging will also be masterly done, and all of the elements inside the sound are clearly discernible for analytical appreciation. However, the soundstage could possibly be more expansive, and also the general reproduction could possibly be livelier. Interestingly, once we switched towards the balanced output, both of those criticisms disappear, but the very fact the balanced mode is that the ideal listening situation leaves us just a little mixed. Many listeners don’t get access to a balanced connection or might not look after one, so we wish that Onkyo didn’t tune such a lot in its favor alone.

Final Thoughts

There’s plenty to think about when examining a high-end (and correspondingly high-priced ) stand-alone audio player ; it’s a costly investment. Our impression from the DP-X1 is it’s perhaps one of the best you can purchase at this time, both acoustically and functionally. It’s feature-packed with a lot of the luxuries that audiophiles look out for today, for example balanced output and practically all of the audio formats you are able to throw at it.

What’s more, There‘s full-fledged Android support – a rarity among audio players – and also the dual DAC / amp system proved to us that It‘s the chops to contend with the large boys. This can be a superb start for Onkyo during this market, and also a must-have to the high-end audiophile in most of us.

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