In what's reported to be a first for Digital Audio Players (DAP), Onkyo's new DP-X1 features two digital-to-analog converters (DAC) and two amps with balanced headphone output for greater power and control. The device supports hi-res digital music playback in WAV and FLAC formats, has native DSD, too, and is one of the first to support the MQA standard. It runs an Android-based OS and features two micro-SD slots that take its storage potential right up to 432 GB.

At the heart of the DP-X1 Digital Audio Player are two ESS Technology Sabre ES9018K2M DACs and two Sabre SABRE9601K amps with balanced headphone output. The power supply has been moved well away from the DACs and amps in an effort to keep noise at bay. The CPU and analog circuitry have been separated into a second PCB for the same reason. The device boasts less than 0.006 percent distortion, 115 dB or more SNR, an impedance of 32 to 600 ohms (balanced) or 16 to 300 ohms (unbalanced) and a frequency range of 20 Hz to 80 kHz.

The player can handle playback of digital formats such as WAV, FLAC, ALAC and AIFF up to a resolution of 24-bit/384 kHz and also native DSD up to 11.2 MHz, but can also convert playback audio to DSD in real-time. It's one of a number of audio devices showcased at CES last week that support the MQA format, a new standard launched in December last year that's aimed at capturing and preserving the sound of the original studio recording and delivering it in a digital package small enough for streaming.

In addition to a 3.5 mm headphone jack, the DP-X1 also features a 4-pole, 2.5 mm output that supports both BTL (Bridge-tied load) and ACG (Active Control Ground) balanced drives – the latter is said to offer greater stability, more space and dimension and a clean, crystal clear sound, with more definition in the lower registers.

Onkyo's new hi-res audio player is powered by a 2.2 GHz processor supported by 2 GB of RAM and runs an operating system based on Android 5.1.1. There's only 32 GB of internal solid state storage, which will soon run out as hi-res files are loaded in, but the company has included two micro-SDXC card slots capable of supporting up to 200 GB each. The built-in battery should be good for up to 16 hours of playback before needing a top up over micro-USB, which also caters for file transfer to the player.

Other features of note include a powerful precision linear-phase FIR equalizer with up to 16,384 bands available and up to 1,000 profiles can be saved to memory, Bluetooth and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity and physical volume (with 161 steps for fine adjustment), play/pause and track forward/back controls for those occasions when the 4.7 in, 1,280 x 720 capacitive touch display has been disabled to limit distractions.

The DP-X1 is due for release in April for a suggested retail price of US$899.99.

Product page: Onkyo DP-X1

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