Echobox counts on hip crowd for its flask-shaped hi-res audio player
At first glance, the Explorer X1 has the look of a hip flask. But rather than offer a wee nip to help take the edge off a chilly autumn stroll, the X1 is aimed at satisfying a very different thirst. Echobox is taking aim at the modern audiophile's pocket with a high resolution media player housed in a curvy wooden jacket.
The Explorer X1 portable digital audio player from California's Echobox Audio is reported capable of playing back all of the usual suspects in hi-res audio, including WAV, AIFF and FLAC formats, up to 24-bit/192 kHz resolution, plus native DSD support. It has 64 GB of internal storage and 2 GB of DDR3 RAM, with microSD card expansion (an important consideration given the often enormous file sizes of uncompressed/lossless high resolution audio files), and runs Android 4.2, with users able to choose between the company's interface or design a custom UI over stock Android.
Joining the 1.6 GHz Rockchip RK3188 quad-core processor in the circuitry department is a Burr Brown PCM 1792 DAC for digital-to-analog conversion and a 300 mW per channel TPA6120A2 op-amp at 32 ohms, reported sufficient to drive "even the most demanding pro headphones." There's also a 3,700 mAh Li-ion battery inside, which should provide 6 to 8 hours of streaming and 12 hours of local lossless playback before needing to hit the charger, and a 3.5 inch, 720p LCD touchscreen display out front.
Up top there's a knurled aluminum knob that's used to control functions, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a coaxial output, while down below is a micro-USB port that provides cabled connectivity. Wireless streaming high bandwidth tunes from services such as Pandora, Spotify and Tidal is also catered for with the inclusion of Wi-Fi.
At the time of writing, the Indiegogo funding campaign being used to bring the X1 into production is 98 percent funded with 28 days remaining. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is expected to be US$499, but pledge levels for crowdfunding backers start at $249. By comparison, Fiio's upcoming high spec X7 hi-res player, which also runs Android, is expected to be priced at $650.
The wooden flask body is being offered in mahogany, maple or black walnut finish, and all perks will include three months free subscription to Tidal's premium hi-fi music streaming service.
If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in April 2016. The pitch video below details what's on offer.