It'll still cost the same as a high-end smartphone, mind.

While the Onkyo DP-X1 is considered a more mid-range product in spec and price, it still commands a fairly high asking price. Or to the outsider it does, perhaps, since high-end audio equipment has always come with a price. We had chance to play around with the DP-X1 recently at CE China in Shenzhen, and it's pretty impressive for what it is.

Let's get the price out of the way up front. Onkyo says this is a 'lower' priced product and at around $760 it's not at the very top end of the spectrum in this regard. Sony, for example, will happily sell you a high-end audio player based on Android for over $1,000. Some headline tech specs include:

  • Dual SABRE DACs & Amps
  • Standard Balanced and Active Control Ground (ACG) Modes
  • 2.5mm 4-Pole (for balanced output) and 3.5mm 3-Pole Output
  • Physical Buttons for Quick Music Control
  • Support for up to 432GB of Storage
  • Support for MQA
  • Based on Android Lollipop with Access to Google Play
  • Wi-Fi & Bluetooth

That large storage comes in no small part from the two microSD slots. The model we saw in China had 32GB of internal storage which is enough for some, but probably not all, of your lossless audio collection. And as a piece of hardware it's a chunky, blocky affair. But it's also not a phone, so it doesn't necessarily need to be contoured to the palm of your hand since you'll not be fondling it quite as often. It does have physical controls, though, for music playback and the fairly large volume dial which is impossible to miss.

Rather than transcribe, this is what Onkyo says about its DAC and Amp set up:

"The DP-X1 has two amps and two digital/analog convertors which allow for extreme power and signal control. The double ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DACs and double ESS Sabre 9601K amps make balanced output possible via 2.5 mm output. The DP-X1 is the only player with such an advanced configuration, and the result is unprecedented power and control.

The DP-X1 also has two types of balanced drives: ACG and BTL, for greater stability and clean, crystal clear sound."

The DP-X1 is also, naturally, set up for audio prowess. You'll be able to enjoy up to 384kHz/24-bit audio, with support for WAV, FLAC, ALAC, & AIFF. And since it's an Android based player it opens up the possibility of using a streaming service like Spotify, Google Play Music, Tidal and a bunch more to get some tunes. Albeit tunes of a lesser quality, but you're not limited at least to what you already own. You can get at pretty much anything you can get online.

Maiden Headphones

With a decent audio player such as this one you also need a solid set of headphones. Onkyo was demoing its Maiden Audio Ed-Ph0n3s alongside the DP-X1, and immediately they're exciting because, Iron Maiden. They're over-ear cans designed for "fans of rock and metal music," as if it'd be anything else.

Hardware wise this is what you're looking at:

Category Features
Driver Type Dynamic (Titanium coated diaphragm)
Driver Size 40mm
Freq. Response 10Hz – 27kHz
Max Input Power 800mW
Pressure Level 105dB/mW
Impedance 32 Ohms
Cable Length 1.6m
Plug Type 3.5mm
Supplied Adapter ¼ inch (6.35mm)
Weight 245g

They're very comfortable and they sound very good, especially with the sample tracks on offer from Iron Maidens latest album and the classic demo track, Hotel California. They're also not an impulse buy item, with a $300 price tag in the U.S. But they're pretty damn good for that asking price. And they definitely stand out in the crowd.

You can buy the headphones right now in the U.S. from Onkyo's online store, and if you're interested in finding out more about the DP-X1 it too is on sale now.

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