Onkyo DP-S1 £400

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Hi-res Music Players -

Good in­sight; fairly dy­namic; neat and or­gan­ised Fid­dly touch­screen; needs more punch

We change to I Like Birds by The Eels, and Mark Everett’s vo­cals are given a lit­tle more space from the back­ground in­stru­ments when com­pared with the tighter-fo­cused Pi­o­neer. Ev­ery­thing is kept or­gan­ised, as this player main­tains a firm hand on both the main vo­cals and the back­ing har­monies, en­sur­ing that no one part of the song in­fringes or clouds another part.

Close at­ten­tion

And in terms of de­tail, there’s a good amount of sub­tlety and in­sight from this player. The me­lan­cholic tones of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Girl In Am­ber come across clearly, with close at­ten­tion paid to each strained in­take of breath and nat­u­ral hiss as Cave’s sibi­lant lyrics slip out – and al­though there is, ul­ti­mately, yet more sub­tlety that can be eked out of the track, the DP S1’s best is still thor­oughly en­joy­able.

Un­for­tu­nately for this Onkyo, stand­ing in the way of a five-star re­view is a ri­val player not in­cluded in this round-up: Astell & Kern’s AK70. Our Award win­ner from 2016, that par­tic­u­lar player also shares a sim­i­lar look to the DP S1, but has a more dy­namic, de­tailed, and punchier im­pres­sion than the Onkyo can muster – and is en­tirely worth the ex­tra £100 you would need to spend on it.

There’s a lot to like about the Onkyo DP S1. It is nice to hold, easy to use, and gives a valiant per­for­mance no mat­ter what you’re play­ing or how you’re play­ing it. But there’s still a lit­tle way to go be­fore it can top­ple the com­pe­ti­tion.

The fairly small screen makes the Onkyo a lit­tle fid­dly to use – es­pe­cially as there’s no search bar to ease the process

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