Class A amp
Screen: monochrome, 3 lines of text
Battery life: 100h music
Build quality and hardware:
Simply put, the Studio-V is built like nothing else I have seen, excellent materials and first class build quality! It is made of metal and I am sure it would come out as the winner in a smash-up fight with a brick. Great work HiSound.
Below the screen you have five buttons that acts as playback control (prev/next and rew/ff) and volume control, as well as menu buttons (up/down and left/right) and in the middle the play/pause and enter button.
On top of the Studio-V you will find the headphone out, which also acts as line out, line in and reset hole, on the bottom of it you have the micro SD(HC) slot, mini USB connector and two led lights.
Menus and overall usage:
The menu is easy to use, even if it’s not always that logical or intuitive. There is a bare minimum of settings to be found, no EQ or DSP options (apart from being able to change sound character through firmware), but there are settings for line in and line out. It is very apparent that the Studio –V aimes solely on delivering great sound without any fancy gimmicks.
The Studio-V uses MSC mode, which means that Windows sees it as a mass storage device with drag and drop support.
The Studio-V can play mp3, flac, wma and wav files. Unfortunately there is no gapless playback.
There are two things that separate the Studio-V from other players, three if you count the tank like build quality.
The first thing is the built in class A amplifier, which gives a very clean and powerful signal.
The second thing is the possibility to change the sound character with firmware. There are two different firmware versions stored on the player, one for armature earphones and one for dynamic ones. The armature firmware has a warmer sound character, while the dynamic one has a more analytical one, to suit the sound characteristics of the earphones.
As I always do, I plugged in some high end earphones and hit play. Wow!
The Studio-V is the cleanest sounding player I have heard, with its neutral, nearly linear frequency response (with the dynamic firmware), and a very clear and detailed sound throughout. This is how a player should sound, not adding or leaving anything out, just a pure and unmodified signal.
With the armature firmware things change for the warmer. The low end gets thicker sounding and there is a slight loss in micro detail in mids and upper end, not much but still noticeable with high end earphones.
My favourite is the dynamic firmware, and with this the Studio-V is the best sounding player I have heard.
You can search the music library either by folders or by ID3 tags, nothing fancy or flashy, there is no album art for example, but all that is forgiven and forgotten once you hear the glorious sound it is capable of producing.
The Studio-V simply offers the best audio experience available today, at least in a pocket friendly size.
Line in and line out, for expansion and adding amps etc. The Studio-V can be used as an amplifier for a secondary source, and it can also be used as a secondary source for an external amplifier.
No gapless playback, but on the other hand the best sounding player I have heard, and as an added bonus it can play non-stop for the better part of a week. Highly recommended.