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Dethonray Prelude DTR1

Rating:
5/5,
  • dsc1428.jpg

    Prelude DTR1 technical specifications:

    • Type: HiRes audio player
    • DAC: AK4490EQ
    • AMP: 2 x TI OPA161 (Left+Right channels)
    • Sample rates: 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192 kHz
    • Audio formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, APE (Normal, High, Fast), AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF/DSF, OGG
    • Frequency response range: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
    • SNR: 117dB
    • THD: 0.008%
    • Max. power output: L: 1.7Vrms + R: 1.7Vrms (16Ω)
    • OS: Linux + Ocelot GUI
    • Memory: MicroSD (exFAT), up to 2TB, handles > 100,000 songs
    • Audio outputs: 3.5mm Line-out + 3.5mm headphones
    • Connectivity: MicroHDMI (data + charging port)
    • Battery: 2cell, LiON, ±8.5V PSU, life 10 hours
    • Dimensions HxWxD: 100x56x16.4mm
    • Color: Black
    Most important features of this DAP:
    • Separate power for decoding and amplifying: DTR1 adapts dual high-density battery customized power system, designed for High-Fidelity while ensuring separation of digital and analog power to eliminate circuit noise from the source, alike an enhanced DAP + Amplifier system but with a minimal path and hard soldered joints with no compromises. The ±8.5V PSU remarkably improves efficiency of clean power supplied to the system, with noticeable qualities in transparency and background noise control without the need to excessively damping the output.
    • AMP + LPF: an important part along the signal path – LPF (Low pass filter) adopts two TI OPA1611 on each channel (L/R). Together with the AK4490 chipset the design illustrates a very lively, dynamic output. The amplification circuitry features a mature AD8397 implementation with low distortion, super loading capability not to mention slew rate of 53v/us and 69M bandwidth, further boosted with ±7V power supply.
    • EMI shielding: with the precision machining on aviation grade, light-weight aluminum alloy, DTR1 is shielded from EMI disturbance for a cleaner background during play. Precise structural designs with high reliability parts also a patented user interface are combined in pursuit of perfection in sound and optimization of both hardware and software within the design.
    • Custom LinuxOS and Ocelot GUI: DTR1 runs on a deeply-customized Linux OS audio sub-system which utilize a OSS sub-system 30% higher in efficiency than the ALSA audio sub-system. The customized and optimized decode engine ”Nature” synergize effectively with the Linux OS, decodes in optimal condition and reduces transmission delay. Patented ultra light weight GUI system ”Ocelot”, Customized GAI (Graphics Abstract Layer), GDI (Graphic Device Interface), IAL (Input Abstract Layer), SCM (System Control Module), Audio files indexing system – promises minimal MMI, high speed navigation and supporting up to indexing 160000 songs.

Recent Reviews

  1. terry1109
    User experience on the dtr1
    Written by terry1109
    Published Aug 17, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - 1. Tone neutral, transparent sound
    2. Smooth and simple UI
    Cons - 1. Lack of balance output
    2. Small display
    As the owner of the dtr1 for over 6 months, i am still happy with how clean, tone natural and transparent is the sound. And this player has a really powerful headphone out, i tried many iem and headphone with the dtr1, it can even run hungry beast like the hd600 to a satisfactory level. However, i usually only put it on low gain and run my pair of hum Dolores for daily use.
    The passion and the knowledge of the designer is unparalleled as the team is willing to listen and improve the player throughout firmware update and take users feedback for future product development, which becomes rare nowadays.
    The UI of the dtr1 is really simple, smooth, but nothing fancy like those new dap with Android UI.
    i would say that the firmware seems quite stable and its quite snappy without much lag.
    Which is a big well done considering that the player uses a custom Linux OS
    However, the screen is a little small for my liking.
    it would be better if they use touch screen instead and make the screen bigger.
    One thing I kinda need to complain about is the lack of balance option such as 2.5 or 4.4 output, which is quite common nowadays, but i am enjoying the dtr1 more than those balance player and this product dtr1 has proven to me that balance doesn't mean superior performance. IMG_20190422_141849.jpg IMG_20190422_141822.jpg
      Cat Music likes this.
  2. justrest
    Knight Rider
    Written by justrest
    Published Jun 11, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Detail and resolution level, musical sound, average battery life, size, amp power, price performance ratio, fast and responsive UI
    Cons - No usb charge
    Before starting this review, I would like to share technical aspects and package details.

    This is the link where you can get the DTR1: https://penonaudio.com/dethonray-dtr1.html

    IMG_2129-1.jpg

    Specifications:

    Micro SD card supported

    Color: Black

    Format Supported: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF/DSF, OGG

    Sample Rate Supported: 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192 kHz

    Line-out & Earphone output

    Battery 10 hours

    Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 20kHz

    105db SNR

    0.008% THD

    Max Power Output: 1.7Vrms+R: 1.7Vrms+L (16Ω)

    Dimension: H100 W56 D16.4 (mm)

    IMG_2130-1.jpg

    Package Details:

    DTR1 Digital Music Player

    USB Cable

    Charger Cable

    IMG_2131-1.jpg

    Test Equipment:

    Fearless S6 Rui

    Nocturnal Atlantis

    Campfire Andromeda

    Astell & Kern AK120

    Lotoo Paw Gold

    IMG_2133-1.jpg

    Package & Design:

    DTR1 coming with black cartoon box and it has power charger and usb cable inside. There are no any other accessories like screen protector or case. Package contents are a bit disappointing but it has everything you need.

    DTR1 doesn’t look fancy like some other daps on the market, but it has cleaned and simple design and somewhat it feels nice quality in your hand. The unit dimension is 100mm x 56mm x 16mm which It is quite small and handy. You can carry it anywhere you wish. The screen quality is decent and nothing special to mention about. There are 5 physical buttons on the front side. Left and right buttons are mainly changing settings, folders. Up and down buttons are like forward and backward and the center bottom has mainly as select/enter function. Right side of the unit has up/down volume button with power button and micro sd card slot that supports up to 256GB. (I tried with 400gb micro sd card and it works without any issue) All the buttons are easy to access and very easy to manage. Rear side of the unit has glass and it looks gorgeous. Bottom side has line out, headphone output (3.5mm) and usb/power socket. DTR1 is a beautifully made device, and ergonomic body will be slid into your pocket.

    IMG_2134-1.jpg

    Techinical:

    DTR1 uses single AK4490EQ sound chip inside. I always find AKM chipsets more musical and warmer than the Sabre chipset, but of course it is all about tuning. Here are some details about chipset and amp circuit.

    DTR1 selects AK4490EQ for its reliability and specific sound performance, the chipset supports up to 32Bit/768K and switchable digital filters offering different auditory experience. AKM, since its first delta-sigma D/A converter (DAC) in 1989, strives for reproduction of the original sound. Such becomes the philosophy” Velvet Sound” aiming at providing an active space in the reproduction of sound just like a live performance.

    In pursuit of “Real Live Sound”, an important part along the signal path – LPF (Low pass filter) adopts two TI OPA1611 on each channel (L/R). Together with the AK4490 chipset the design illustrates a very lively, dynamic output. The amplification circuitry features a mature AD8397 implementation with low distortion, super loading capability not to mention slew rate of 53v/us and 69M bandwidth, further boosted with ±7V power supply. The ideal power supply breaks limitations in shaping sound, achieving powerful, clean sound with effortless extension.

    IMG_2136-1.jpg

    Power and Hiss:

    DTR1 looks small but it’s powerful as Hulk. This little device has some serious power inside and it drives my HD6XX very easily. Probably it is enough to drive all IEMs in the market and most headphones. With the high gain I’ve listened Andromeda with %10 volume which is quite louder to listen. High gain with HD6XX is enough to drive with %60 level. It’s really impressive for such a small unit.

    There is some hiss on the background and it is more audible with sensitive earphones like Andromeda, Zeus, or Solaris. But Dethonray minimizes the hiss level with the latest firmware. In case you still didn’t upgrade it, I would highly recommend to do it.

    IMG_2137-1.jpg

    Firmware - UI:

    DTR1 has quite fast and simple UI which reminds me Lotoo Paw Gold in that case. Both devices are focusing to usability and they don’t care about fancy animation or gorgeous looking display. When you press the power button it takes like 4-5 seconds to be ready. UI is quite responsive and fast. Micro Sd card's scanning time is also another great thing about the DTR1. It scans my 200gb card for a very short time. Overall, I quite impressed by the UI and it is better than most of music players that I have.

    Play screen shows all the details like; artist name, song, bit rate…etc


    IMG_2146-1.jpg

    Settings menu screen. There are language, play mode, backlight, brightness, cue settings.

    IMG_2147-1.jpg

    Gain selection, Filter, Auto shutdown, database upgrade and factory reset section.

    IMG_2148-1.jpg

    You can change your backlight time 10 to 60 seconds or always on.

    IMG_2149-1.jpg

    You can change your screen’s brightness.

    IMG_2150-1.jpg

    Low or High gain selection.

    IMG_2151-1.jpg

    IMG_2139-1.jpg

    Battery Life:

    Battery life depends very much on how the battery is used and there are many parameters for that like screen brightness, volume level, gain etc. Dethonray claims it'll last for 10 hours, and I got approximately the same battery life. This is pretty enough and I don’t have any complaint about it. I would like to criticize the battery adapter. I wish they had charge on USB because adapter is hard to carry with you if you need it.

    IMG_2140-1.jpg

    Sound:

    DTR1 sound is far better than its retail price. Period. I don’t want to exaggerate but it’s true. Its sound dynamic and engaging. The liveliness of the sound comes at the bottom to top of the audio spectrum. General sound is clean, natural but a little bit colored. DTR1 is a bit warm side, and playing a relatively thick note. Detail and resolution levels are pretty impressive. Actually, better than some of the expensive Daps on the market.

    The upper frequencies are spacious and distinct. It does not fall behind the lower and mid frequencies as a quantity. The presentation is very forgiving and it does not have a character that makes mistakes prominent in the music. It is not aggressive and uncontrolled; on the contrary it is highly balanced. The treble is slightly brighter but this brightness is not like peaky or sibilance point. The treble has a beautiful natural tonality and it is effortless. The treble is never too cold or lifeless and the resolution is also extremely successful. It is possible to hear all kinds of instruments. I can say that it helps to expand the soundstage because it puts the gap between the instruments pretty well. The notes are a little bolded and but it is not as like AK120 or another warmest DAP.

    One of the best parts of DTR1 is the mid frequencies. Although the mid presentation is not forward, the tone plays lightly colored, emotionally and naturally. The notes are a bit warm and bold which makes full bodied presentation. The harmony of the mids with the bass and treble are really great. There is no grain or veil in the mid frequencies. The upper mids are highly controlled and slightly thick, depending on the earphone/headphone. The vocals are slightly laid back and positioned in the middle of the stage, not from a wide area. The level of resolution and detail is certainly very successful. There is no distortion at high volumes.

    DTR1 has good weight and extension on the low frequencies and It is not bleeding or dominating the other frequencies, it is doing its job when it calls. If there is a bass in the music, it hits without exaggerating, not boomy way. Bass has nice decay and prat and it has nice amount of quantity. There is a natural rumble and articulated with smooth timbre. It never loses its control, but I liked authoritative bass response and I wish the bass had a little more in quantity, but as I said, you can always add some extra slam with the filters. Bass has nice detail and resolution overall.

    Soundstage is not the best I’ve heard but it is pretty wide and airy to listen. The best part of the soundstage of DTR1 is the separation and positioning of instruments in fast passages. Every instrument clearly selectable and I really impressed by layering and imagining in this respect. The layering of positioning provides a high level of distinction to the listener.

    IMG_2145-1.jpg

    Comparison:

    DTR1 vs AK120:

    Both DTR1 and AK120 sharing some similarities in terms of tonality and musicality but they are differing in some other way. AK120 is one of my favorite Astell & Kern players and after many years still loving this little device. Both players’ physical size and battery life are very similar. Ak120 is powerful enough to drive most IEM and it can drive some headphones but it can not match with DTR1 in this regard. DTR1 is crazy powerful DAP for its size. Sound wise, both are musical and they have lively and engaging sound. AK120 is darker and veiled and its upper frequencies are laid back. Overall presentation of the AK120 is smooth and dark. DTR1 is also musical and it is on the warmer side, but upper frequencies are more prominent and detailed. Far detailed actually. There is adequate space between instruments, so separation is much better on DTR1. Mid frequencies smoother and forward on AK120 and vocal sound is more in your face while DTR1 is slightly laid back and there are more rooms between instrument and vocal. AK120 has more quantity in bass department and more boomy than DTR1, but it is losing its control and sometimes it dominates other frequencies. On the DTR1 bass is more controlled and tighter with nice slam. Soundstage is wider and deeper on DTR1, bright trebles has some role on here. Overall, they are sharing musical and dynamic presentation but I can easily say that DTR1 is far better DAP than the AK120.

    DTR1 vs Lotoo Paw Gold:

    For my personal taste, LPG is one of the best players I’ve ever listened. It’s sound and build qualities are phenomenal. Opposite to some people, I really love its unique design and bulky structure. LPG size is bolder, bigger and heavier than the DTR1. Both daps’ firmware are amazingly fast and responsive. No lag, no wait, no issue. Battery life is also almost same like 10 hours. DTR1 is seriously powerful music player and it is almost powerful as like LPG. Sounds, DTR1 and LPG are very different animals. LPG has aggressive and prominent upper frequencies with more bright presentation while DTR1 is more controlled, slightly smooth and musical. LPG’s technical level is higher than DTR1, but musicality is better on DTR1. When I listened side by side, I found LPG’s tonality is a bit dry and dull. Don’t get me wrong I love LPG sound and still the one for me, but DTR1 is so delightful and detailed yet. Resolution and detail level are better on LPG as you expected but not so much. LPG is more capable device with its PMEQ equalizer and you can significantly change the sound. Overall, LPG is still better but it is 4 times expensive than the DTR1 and it is not better 4 times. Frankly, price and performance are amazing with DTR1, that’s for sure.

    IMG_2142-1.jpg

    Verdict:

    Well, Dethonray has greatly done of their first dap DTR1. Its sound performance is truly amazing and it is easily challenge to the more expensive dap on the market in terms of sound performance. Heavy duty amp power is great to have which you can listen your power-hungry IEM or headphones without any power issue. Fast and responsive UI is also great. If you want a high class, high performing player and small and almost powerful enough to drive anything on the market, go and buy it. I don't think any other dap can match with DTR1 in price and performance ratio. Hype deserved.
      Cat Music, ehjie, golov17 and 5 others like this.
  3. IryxBRO
    Dethonray DTR1 (Prelude) — new HiRes star
    Written by IryxBRO
    Published May 16, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - clarity, resolution, good sound balance, responsive and simple UI,
    Cons - use of irregular data & power port
    [​IMG]

    In contrary to highly saturated market of IEMs, new brand names in HiRes DAP segments appear much less often. A portion of excitement hits the first rows of most active audiophiles and either being carried further to the masses or subsides in silence. This mostly depends of the price to performance ratio, in which the second variable addresses the sound quality and user satisfaction in overall. Tough work for any company or person while making their first steps on this minefield. A person (or group of people) behind Dethonray (Prelude) DTR1 was brave enough to give it a try, supported by the years of experience of working for other well-known HiRes DAP brands. Therefore, this horse is not that dark after investigating its roots and the decision of a founder to start as well as a future cutomer to purchase become less adventorous.

    [​IMG]

    First impressions of DTR1 DAP have already been spotted on the net and those are positive. My idea was to spend at least a week of playing with this product, comparing it to the most popular DAP with the same price tag and to try it out with some good IEMs. The time has come to share my own impressions and opinion.

    [​IMG]

    Note: this unit was provided to me by PenonAudio in exchange for the honest opinion and review.

    Prelude DTR1 technical specifications:
    • Type: HiRes audio player
    • DAC: AK4490EQ
    • AMP: 2 x TI OPA161 (Left+Right channels)
    • Sample rates: 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192 kHz
    • Audio formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, APE (Normal, High, Fast), AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF/DSF, OGG
    • Frequency response range: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
    • SNR: 117dB
    • THD: 0.008%
    • Max. power output: L: 1.7Vrms + R: 1.7Vrms (16Ω)
    • OS: Linux + Ocelot GUI
    • Memory: MicroSD (exFAT), up to 2TB, handles > 100,000 songs
    • Audio outputs: 3.5mm Line-out + 3.5mm headphones
    • Connectivity: MicroHDMI (data + charging port)
    • Battery: 2cell, LiON, ±8.5V PSU, life 10 hours
    • Dimensions HxWxD: 100x56x16.4mm
    • Color: Black
    Most important features of this DAP:
    • Separate power for decoding and amplifying: DTR1 adapts dual high-density battery customized power system, designed for High-Fidelity while ensuring separation of digital and analog power to eliminate circuit noise from the source, alike an enhanced DAP + Amplifier system but with a minimal path and hard soldered joints with no compromises. The ±8.5V PSU remarkably improves efficiency of clean power supplied to the system, with noticeable qualities in transparency and background noise control without the need to excessively damping the output.
    • AMP + LPF: an important part along the signal path – LPF (Low pass filter) adopts two TI OPA1611 on each channel (L/R). Together with the AK4490 chipset the design illustrates a very lively, dynamic output. The amplification circuitry features a mature AD8397 implementation with low distortion, super loading capability not to mention slew rate of 53v/us and 69M bandwidth, further boosted with ±7V power supply.
    • EMI shielding: with the precision machining on aviation grade, light-weight aluminum alloy, DTR1 is shielded from EMI disturbance for a cleaner background during play. Precise structural designs with high reliability parts also a patented user interface are combined in pursuit of perfection in sound and optimization of both hardware and software within the design.
    • Custom LinuxOS and Ocelot GUI: DTR1 runs on a deeply-customized Linux OS audio sub-system which utilize a OSS sub-system 30% higher in efficiency than the ALSA audio sub-system. The customized and optimized decode engine ”Nature” synergize effectively with the Linux OS, decodes in optimal condition and reduces transmission delay. Patented ultra light weight GUI system ”Ocelot”, Customized GAI (Graphics Abstract Layer), GDI (Graphic Device Interface), IAL (Input Abstract Layer), SCM (System Control Module), Audio files indexing system – promises minimal MMI, high speed navigation and supporting up to indexing 160000 songs.
    Packaging, design and build quality:

    [​IMG]

    DTR1 comes in a matt black folding box with extra layer of cardboard cover. Neither of those two reveals any additional information about the product. The only design elements are white brand and product name prints at the center. Minimalistic approach in packaging design is usually a sign of highlighting the main product purpose instead of hiding the shortcomings behind colorful presentation… In either case, box does its job of securing the purchase during the transporation well. Came safe and undamaged.

    [​IMG]

    Box inner compartment is split into two layers. Top layer is a soft insert with the opening for DTR1 and bottom one is for keeping the rest of the accessories. Both DTR1 screen and bottom glass panel have a protective film layers preapplied but those are for the transporation purposes only.

    Box contents:
    • Dethonray Prelude DTR1 DAP
    • USB A -> MicroHDMI data cable
    • wall charger
    • DTR1 founder business card
    • user manual
    [​IMG]

    Pity that there was no permanent screen / back panel protectors or any type of case among the accessories. I feel that such beatiful device is too vulnerable to possible physical damage without any type of protection. Hopefully, Dethonray would release leather case soon. At least there are such rumorses travelling around the net.

    [​IMG]

    DTR1 case is made of CNC aluminum with the glass panel covering almost the entire space at the back. Design is very clean and strict but at the same time very attractive. Everything is matt black except for the polished beveled edges of the front cover and all physical control elements outlining their shape.

    [​IMG]

    Back glass panel and metallic brand logo underneath contribute a lot to the overall beauty of this device and also add some splendor.

    [​IMG]

    The use of aluminum and total weight of 146 grams creates the perception of holding durable and cold piece of technology at your hands. Despite that DTR1 doesn’t have a unibody construction, its top cover and base parts are aligned so perfect that it still feels as one solid block. Moreover, buttons don’t have any free play and don’t rattle at all which also adds to the overall feel.

    Control elements and user experience:

    Screen:


    [​IMG]

    Top part of the front panel is occupied with 2.32″ TFT screen. The type of the screen and its resolution numbers are not provided among other device specs but my guess would be IPS with something like 640×480 pixels. At least, the viewing angles are ok and thin diagonal lines on the screen don’t produce a so called «ladder effect» common for low resolution screens in combination with larger physical size. Screen edges are ~4.5mm, partially hidden by black screen outlines that visually merges with the shell when the screen is off. Screen doesn’t have a touch sensor layer, thus all user interaction happens with the help of numerous physical buttons. Which is great, I believe. Always preferred phyical controls over touch screens for easy blind operations.

    [​IMG]

    While in operation, DTR1 screen is doing its job very well. Size is totally enough for convenient interaction with this certain UI, fonts and other graphics are large enough to stay visible at all times. The main and the only concern is the maximum brightness level which is kind of low comparing to any other DAPs on my shelf and is not enough to fight the direct sunlight or even a very bright environment. Possible solution would be to introduce white color theme (or inverted colors) for Ocelot GUI and get away from dark interface. This suggestion has already been passed to the DTR1 designer.

    Physical controls:

    [​IMG]

    There are 5 buttons located at the front facing part and 3 buttons on the right side edge.

    Front buttons and functions:
    • Left:
      • Short press: Left (main player) / Back (in settings, now playing, playing options)
      • Long press: Seek back (during playback)
    • Right:
      • Short press: Right (main player screen) / Select (file browser, playing options)
      • Long press: Seek forward (during playback)
    • Up:
      • Short press: Next (main player, now playing, playing options) / Up (settings, file browser)
    • Down:
      • Sort press: Previous (main player, now playing, playing options) / Down (settings, file browser)
      • +Power in switch off state to enter FW update mode
    • Select
      • Short press: Select (main player, playing options, settings), Play/Pause (now playing)
      • Long press: Playing options (now playing)
    [​IMG]

    Right side edge:
    • Volume UP/DOWN
      • DOWN + POWER at device OFF = enter to FW update mode
    • Power ON/OFF
      • LONG PRESS TO SWITCH ON
      • LONG PRESS TO SWITCH OFF
    Looks kind of complicated but it takes only five minutes to get used to all button functions and their additional meanings. Moreover, all buttons have pretty tight move with apparent «click» when activated which means that blind operations are totally convenient and self activations are not easy to occur. Of course, those might become a problem when someone would be wearing tight jeans and carrying DTR1 in a pocket. A dedicated button lock function could’ve helped in this case if it existed. But my point is that such devices worth better destiny rather than ending up in a tight pocket without any extra case protection…

    Outputs and connectivity:

    [​IMG]

    Both 3.5mm audio outputs for headphones and LineOUT are located at the bottom edge. LineOUT is true — with volume locked to the appropriate level and no further possibility to control it. Both ports are very tight while receiving the corresponding jacks and both are single-ended.

    [​IMG]

    One more port on the bottom edge — microHDMI. Such a weird choice for data transfer and charging port can be explained the next way: since there are some extra requirements for the charging unit to supply a specific voltage to 2cell battery + the need of regular pins for sending and receiving data = more pins and power ratings necessary than available with microUSB connector. I would also take a guess that DTR1 designers didn’t want people to try to use their regular 5V USB power supplies with this DAP. It also means using less regular type of connector. Of course, from the stand point of a customer using one extra wall charger + data cable dedicated to this device only is a waste of space, time and place in mind to store this data. And this also means that you should take care of the accessories due to its uniqueness. Personally, I can live with that as long as it concerns such single function pure music device with long lasting battery…

    [​IMG]

    The only option when connecting to PC with the supplied cable is to transfer data between the connected devices. DTR1 would be recognized by Windows OS as external hard drive. Transfer speed is ~30Mbps and jumps a bit higher sometimes. No possibility to use DTR1 as USB DAC or to charge from PC USB.

    FW upgrade:

    Can’t think of any other brand that would be so fast and responsive when it comes to supplying changes in the newest FW builds. The same day I’ve provided my feedback about couple of misspellings I’ve got the latest build free of those minor problems. Moreover, I was told that additional suggetions would be considered and implemented in the next releases that would show up very soon. So, the latest build for the device now is v1.23. FW can be downloaded from the official website or requested through Dethonray FaceBook page.

    [​IMG]

    Upon receiveing — copy update.zip to the root of your SD card, press and hold DOWN + POWER buttons until FW upgrade screen appears. Just wait until upgrade is complete and DTR1 goes OFF. Switch it on again and you are done. The default language would be Chinese now but thanks to the logical and simple UI — it is easy to go to Settings->Language (second menu item) and select English. Information about current FW version is stored in System Information menu item.

    Device functionality:

    [​IMG]

    UI structure:
    • Main player screen:
      • Playing now screen (current track + navigation through tracks)
        • Long press Select to go to Play options
          • Play options:
            • Favourites
            • Play mode
              • Repeat all
              • Repeat one
              • Shuffle
            • CUE
              • allow or not
            • Delete
      • Library (list of all tracks in alphabetical order)
        • Press Right or Select to select track and move it to play now screen
      • Favorites (list of tracks added to favorites)
      • Browse (browse through folders with tracks)
      • Settings
        • System information
        • Language
        • Play Mode
          • Repeat all
          • Repeat one
          • Shuffle
        • Backlight
          • 10-60 seconds or stay ON
        • Brightness
        • CUE (allow it or not)
        • High/Low gain
          • High
          • Low
        • Filter
          • Sharp roll-off
          • Slow roll-off
          • Short delay sharp roll-off
          • Short delay slow roll-off
        • Auto shutdown
          • 10-60 minutes
          • always ON (disabled)
        • Database upgrade
        • Reset all settings
    Ocelot GUI over Linux OS in DTR1 feels very responsive and stable. Haven’t noticed any jitters, bugs or freezes while playing with it for a week. Boot time is fast but ends up with showing SD card availability warining and waiting until the track database would be rebuild. This happens at each boot with no option to avoid it. Fortunately, it takes only ~15 seconds to rescan all files and start playing. Developers claim that this it the fastest process among all recent DAPs no matter the amount of files on SD card and the only payback is indexing upon each power cycle. MicroSD card slot is located on the right edge and accepts cards up to 2TB. 400GB card was tested.

    [​IMG]

    No problems found with either function of settings in the menu. Functionality and GUI is simple but very convenient, mostly logical and very responsive. You wouldn’t be able to sort by different tags but you can also navigate through folders or list of files to reach the desired track faster. Adding it to the favorites would make this process even easier. If adding tracks to favorites is not an option and since there is no additional sorting by tags — the only way to organize tracks properly is to create the appropriate folders on SD card with limited amount of tracks to make the list in each one shorter instead of scrolling through thousands of tracks located in a single folder.

    [​IMG]

    Each track is provided with bit/KHz information on playing now screen, long names are cut if don’t fit the screen width. No scrolling for now. Album art is coming in the next FW release as promissed by the developers.

    Low/High gain option is working and what is the most important — doesn’t change the frequency response, only the output power. Low gain is mostly for sensitive and low impedance IEMs while High gain is for harder loads such as full-sized overheads. Be very careful switching to High gain with IEMs as the change in output power might damage it.

    [​IMG]

    DTR1 heats up very little even while decoding 24bit/192KHz and playing with 50Ω full-sized overheads at High gain setting. The only time it heats up a bit more is while taking a charge and especially when playing music simultaneously. Case reached about 34C at max which is absolutely no issue. Charging time is ~2H and full battery drain happens in ~10H of 24bit/96kHz playback with 32Ω IEMs.

    Sound quality:

    Tested with AudioTechnica ATH-M50, Tanchjim Oxygen, Magaosi K6, Earnine EN2J, Moondrop Kanas Pro, Anew U1, HIFI BOY OSV3…

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    Driving ability: most of the time the volume with IEMs of up to 32Ω was kept < than 50 at low gain setting. The only time I had to go to 80% first and than to switch to High gain and get back to <60% was with my 150Ω earbuds that require much more power to sound juicy. Therefore, I can assume that anything up to 150-200Ω should not be a problem for DTR1 DAP.

    Lows and midbass:

    Bass plays an important role in the sound presentation by DTR1. It does a perfect job on highlighting bass contours with fast decay and transitions. Bass has a decent weight here, even a bit emphasized but not shadowing other ranges. Lows are perfectly exposed, have extra clarity and seem to stand out a bit to the front. Extension and amount of textures are slightly limited in a favor of accuracy, speed and integrity of the perception. Such reproduction of lows is less regular but quite interesting and highly appealing. Midbass is perfect, neither too bright or too dark, natural, powerful, tight and engaging. Drums never get too harsh even in the tracks with some extra gain added to this part.

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    Mids and vocals:

    If you ever wanted a DAP with huge amount of details, clarity and resolution on voices and instruments in mid section — DTR1 is here to capture your mind. The first try overwhelmed with the feel of extra detalization of keen mids even with the reference dynamic IEMs. Pairing it with BA extends this perception even further. Outstanding resolution and bears the clarity of each single sound which leads to reconsidering the knowledge of the most favorite tracks. And this is not a joke — most of the DAPs on my shelf are more or less similar, tending to the reference side with neutral or warm tonality and moderate amount of details for the sake of melodious presentation. DTR1 acts completely different — it reveals maximum amount of details in a piercing impulse to convey emotions. It does carry thiner and colder sound along that even gets more prone to hisses but this is nothing compared to the new experience it gives. Absolutely impressed by the fresh approach of DTR1 towards mids, especially with neutral and mid-sensitive IEMs.

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    Treble:

    This is logical that if mids are impressing with exceptional resolution and clarity — treble would be even more capable of the same as the part of such perception on mids originate from the reproduction of treble. This is true — decent clarity, transparent and airy sound here. Treble is not overemphasized or piercing, it has the same weight with only a slight accent, sounds extended, accurate and balanced to other ranges. Some lack of gentleness is compensated by the amount of details and distinct exposition.

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    Soundstage:

    Another good outcome of excessive clarity and resolution is the extended depth of the perceived soundstage. Instrument separation and overall sound tranparency is so good and the location of each instrument is so evident that the stage gets the necessary and pleasing depth of field. Although, width is not that impressive as the lows don’t spread out much to side but rather kept collected.

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    Sound in overall:

    Dethonray Prelude DTR1 sound can be described as tedning to colder tonality, highly detailed, perfectly balanced between the ranges, trasparent, emotional and crisp. This makes DTR1 a best contender when it comes to HiRes tracks with lots of instruments and drive. Such genres as metal, hard rock and orchestra sound perfect which is kind of rare.

    Compared to HiBy R6Pro:

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    The main battle as for me is the choice between HiBy R6Pro and Dethonray DTR1 for a real audiophile the only respected function for whom is the ability to provide maximum sound quality. If the rest of the device functionality matters — HiBy R6Pro is the ultimate choice with its screen, connectivity, applications and so on. DTR1 has nothing to oppose to all of that. But when it comes to sound quality, DTR1 and R6Pro are quite different and present similarly interesting sound even for the same auditory. R6Pro sound is smooth and accurate with textured and extended lows, gentle treble and thick mids. DTR1 shows the same perfect exposure on lows but does it more contoured instead of textured. Its sound in overall is much more detailed, emotional and transparent. One is for calm genres, other is better for fast genres with lots of instruments.

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    Conclusion:

    DTR1, code name Prelude, is the first DAP by Dethonray designed for one main purpose — providing maximum sound quality for the audiophiles. Truthfully speaking, DTR1 is not only proving this statement but also became a total revelation for me. Whenever a new brand joins — it should have some hidden aces to beat the competitiors… DTR1 deviates much from the most of the recent DAPs securing their market demand by sound neutrality and brings quite unique signature with less standard approach. This is the first DAP than really shows what «HiRes» term is meant to be — higly detailed sound with huge resolving potential. It pronounces the difference between IEMs, headphones, earbuds and audio tracks or even the inconsistency of the recording process. In addition to such sound, everything is based on lightweight, fast and glitch-free firmware packed into stric, beautiful and durable externals. And no matter how much Tidal or other online services would be missed out — this DAP certainly goes to the collection of audiophile-grade sound.

    Dethonray Prelude DTR1 is available at PenonAudio store

    Dethonray Prelude DTR1 HeadFi thread
      Cat Music, Matpar, ehjie and 6 others like this.

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