Test 4 Sound qual­ity

The key at­tribute for HRA play­ers

Mac Format - - APPLE CHOICE -

All five play­ers de­liver su­perb sound, but some moreso than oth­ers. While all five did fan­tas­ti­cally well with crisply pro­duced pop and funk, in other areas there were no­tice­able dif­fer­ences in bass, clar­ity and stereo stag­ing.

The Opus#1 has nicely de­fined bass, but lacks clar­ity on busy mixes and can be a lit­tle harsh. The Pi­o­neer is more in­volv­ing, but up­right basses sounded a bit elas­tic-band-y and rock gui­tars a bit fizzy. The FiiO is fizzy too, but for pop, elec­tron­ica and jazz it’s great.

We loved the Astell&Kern and the Onkyo best. Both are as happy with in­ti­mate, close-miked jazz as they are with Muse’s overkill, and both made Ra­dio­head more un­set­tling than ever. But we’d give the gong to the Onkyo: there’s some­thing about its warmth and de­tail that makes it the high-res­o­lu­tion player we keep com­ing back to.

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