Onkyo DP-S1 £400
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.
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