ONKYO [ hi-res sound source corresponding ] Digital Audio Player (32GB) DP-X1


New Head-Fier
Pros: Stunning Audio quality, powerful balanced output, versatile Android OS,Well built
Cons: None to speak of.
This is my first high end DAP. I've used it with my Beyer AK T1p, my T5p and ATH MSR7s. I usually play VBR AAC files circa 320kbps and 44/16 FLAC files
The build quality feels solid and the player is clearly made out of sturdy quality materials
It's easy to use for any smartphone owner and Android allows many apps including Tidal, Spotify, VLC and Youtube, all of which work great on my device, as well as the usual Facebook, Twitter, Chrome etc.
The stock player is simple and functional, it supports gapless playback and lossless files. Transferring files to the player is as easy as Windows drag and drop
The Single ended sound quality is superb for a portable music player and matches anything that Astell and Kern could do for under $3000 as it is clean, detailed and transparent, if lacking a little warmth. It also drives quality headphones loud volumes at high gain. Even equalisation doesn't seem to negatively affect the sound.
The Balanced and Active Ground control modes are incredible. They put to shame all other DAPs released concurrently. They open up the sound to an extent which even most standard-level portable dac/amps could not manage and give the sound a more natural tonality as well as further improving transparency and giving an extra "kick" to the bass and more smoothly resolving harmonics. The soundstage is as wide and dimensional as I could imagine. Apparently in Balanced it is easy to drive even 600 omhs headphones to uncomfortably high volumes, although I've yet to try this, given the low-gain performance i can well believe it.
Battery life is similar to the stated figures as well.
In conclusion, the DP-X1 represents incredible value for money, flexibility and quality in the personal audio market and is a must buy for hi-fidelity novices and audio experts alike.
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Matrix Petka

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Sound
Cons: Everything else.

Disclaimer: device I bought for my hard earned money, have no involvement with any producer/dealer.
Short about me: former DJ, now listening music for pleasure. Like old school musical output, active EQ for my most musical enjoiment.
Physical design 2/5
On photos or on the desk X1 looks interesting, but when you are holding it in your hands you will understand that designers have no idea how portable device should look or feel. Why sharp corners ready to cut fingers, even on control buttons? Further – even worse – SD cards compartments open – for dust and dirt, generating future problems. Or users have to clean their pockets before they are going to take their X1 with them? At least, for using X1 you have to prepare special semi-hard pocket – X1 sockets are so fragile, that requires not extra care – super extra care. They can brake or (the best variant!) loose connection with headphones easy. As I know even new, „improved“ batch still have problems with sockets loosing contact.
If you looking player to last on the go – skip reading this article and look for something else. X1 only for caring audiophiles with big forgiving heart.
Software 3/5
Again – Onkyo guys have no idea about portable. Just few comments:
1.Native player display not turning. At all – even manually.
2.APE files – not supported. ISO – not supported (Onkyo – you can ask support from IBasso – they already did it)
3.EQ – 12db only. Onkyo can advertise it as EQ with lowest equalization on the market. You need ask 3 years old girl to help you to set up your EQ, because with you grown up fingers you wil spend on it hours.
Free advice for Onkyo – magnification function would save you EQ.
But no, no chance for saving. EQ is working like filter – if you rise 5db 10kHz, it means that all frequencies are going down by 10dB.
Only solution – go for third party players like VLC and Foobar. They sound much better than Onkyo native too.
For those who are hoping for fixes and upgrades – by now (July 18, 2016), the last one was on April 19, 2016.
Wireless connectivity 3/5
Bluetooth – at first I thought that it is not working at all. Problem solved with third party app – Bluetooth pair. Software glitch? Range – about 6 m of interrupted space – fair enough.
Wi Fi – no problems occurred yet.
Sound 4/5
A lot of owners of X1 are ready to forgive all fails for that sweet sound. Everything good, except – fun. No fun at all. Crazy engineers of Onkyo decided to tune their player with software making it vailed, rounding all sharp edges, making emphasis on mids (Why? – Personal preferences of general manager?).
But even that was not able to kill X1. It was saved by Android, which allows you not only to use third party apps, but even root it and make it perfect. Gift for DIY geeks?
Anyway, I must admit that X1 can sound realy great, but only if you are ready to spend some time on making it better and use the most of it can give hardware inside.
By the way – do not believe in specification, claiming about possibility to use up to 600Ohm headphones. 300 – red mark for X1. Fail again, dear Onkyo.
Balanced output makes X1 really shine. Just one question – Onkyo already made new headphones and earphones – but none of them with balanced. Why? Departments miscommunication? Gift for custom cables makers?
Overall: 3/5
I am going to keep this player – maybe for sound, maybe – as collectors item to remind me – never buy the first try!
You clarified all the fear and thoughts I had initially. Thank you for saving me the money to not get one! I got a Cowon P1 instead and no regrets!
Matrix Petka
Matrix Petka
You have made good choice. More expensive, but, I hope, more flawless.
Ordered one, sent back without opening on a hunch. Bought AK300. Very happy


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Excellent clarity, transparency and soundstage
Cons: Tonal body lacks of micro energies variations, USB DAC is not featured
Sound signature in general: detailed, neutral, great clarity, super speedy, good control of layering and spaces rendering.

This was an import purchased unit from Japan as US release is not here yet. The design is beautiful, nice screen, snappy processing power


The operation system is android 5.1 which was the newest upon the announcement of the DP-x1 itself. I got the over the air upgrade on firmware out of the box, it was still 5.1 but with bugs fixed, and not sure what. I hope that Onkyo would keep up with the OTA upgrade on firmwares. Because as at this moment, I had quiet a handfuls of bugs from 3rd party apps, including Gonemad, Poweramp Alpha....etc.


Prior to receiving the unit, I actually was following the thread about it, and have seen couples of people reporting back as the socket TRRS 2.5mm for balanced connection got broken. This problem is known to happen with A&K players, thought not through head-fi forum, but it is presents, and people always rather A&K had gone with 3.5mm TRRS instead. Why ? The larger = the stronger. Upon receiving of the unit, I inspected closely, and it was my priority to examine and inspecting the socket as much as I could. Not much of attention needed, just 2 seconds out of the box and I immediately noticed the huge gap between the chassis and the 2.5mm TRRS socket. I could even look into the bottom of the socket through this gap. Looked closely and I realized that the ports on the frame itself are the same sizes and seem to be made for 3.5mm socket. However, Onkyo had 2.5mm TRRS installed inside of it. I thought, oh..wow...I don't think it would be a problem as long as I am careful enough. Surprisingly, I tried to plug TRRS into it, and the socket was very very tight the first time, then I tried to remove it, and it was also very hard to remove. I turned the player upside down and it was easier to plug/unplug the jack. It captured my full attentions. The first time I plug/unplug TRRS was too tight because it could have been the side to side play on the socket. I couldn't even listen to music without thinking about it and how soon, when it was going to break. It was an obvious inevitable to happen. Hopefully Onkyo will address the issue before global launch


The next problem that bugged me was the UI and the android system itself is not too friendly toward 3rd party program. I installed Poweramp alpha app, and 3 minutes into a track it started to act all maniac on me, the sound cut in and out, clipping one one channel, just like it was possessed. I uninstalled everything, and it still happened on the stock player. So I had to do a hard factory reset on it, and it is now working just fine and as intended with stock player. Some speculations were made that it is due from 3rd party developers need to be contacted about developing the correct drives to utilize the dual DAC ? I think Onkyo need to do it


So then I proceeded into listening sessions with my collections of 16/44.1 and 24/96 FLAC files with TRRS silver into th900 and AGC. The first thing first that captures my attentions would be how transparent the sound is, and with very tight+dense and splashy trebles, but the bass was with less density and in place it is more articulated and the thinner density of the bass leave out more room for this excellent and detailed trebles to be playing out. On top of that, there is the spaces for layering between instruments and expose a hugely expansive and immersive field of sound and soundstage. This field and soundstage is actually "spherical" and this is exactly what I like. 3rd dimensional is also very well played out. Vocal is very detailed with great resolutions , speed and transparency. However string instruments kind of fall short on it tonal body. I would have a hard time picking out which string instruments is which. I tried with different filters on Dp-X1 set up, but not really anything that tick my preferences.



Gain setting: this can be accessed by setting>>>sound&notification. There are 3 different options in setting>>sound and notification>>>lock range adjust. Then there is sound-signature preferences as digital filter setting ? Sharp/slow/short. Let's look at soundstage first. Lock range is being detailed as digital timing by Onkyo. Wider = more forgiving and more musical, then toward narrower = more controlled, tighter, better clarity and separation, but less musical

Soundstage: Soundstage is actually very good with the "spherical" feeling totally expansive and immersive. X, Y, Z are fully rendered with instruments fully energetic or rather being detailed and of very good definition. .

Soundscape: spherical like stated above and with excellent rendering of 3rd demension

Everything, sound wise are effected by digital filter and lock range adjustments slightly enough to alter the sound signature slightly toward individual preferences. However these are the general characteristic that apply almost always.

Bass: it is very speedy, tight, fast, deep, articulated well controlled. It is very very fast that clearly shown there is no emphasizes onto any part of the low spectrum itself, mid-bass is impactful, sub-bass gets very deep and impact with authority when being summoned. Yet, it tonal body is "clean!"

Mid: Digital filter affect it here more obvious. I prefer leaving it at "sharp". Onkyo states that (sharp = natural, Short = thicker mid, Slow = foward). Vocal is defined, with great resolutions, tight, and very airy, very realistic like I am listening to a live singer right in front of me. Mid is very very defined, great layering and of great clarity, very spacious, and exactly how it brought the sense of great depth and layering to the soundstage itself. Each instruments has it own space (and a wide space) that each Instruments can clearly voice itself up clearly. The best yet is the higher top-mid spectrum and the lower-treble spectrum. This is the transient region where most of modern pop, rock, EDM...etc has many satisfying trebles extension, tonal body, and of very very modern music....this region is always filled up with full of energies.

Trebles: lock range adjustments affects can be observed here. Due to the excellent bass and mid spectrum with the energetic lower-trebles region, trebles is fully extended, splashy, sparkling, great tonal body density, very airy. Brass such as hit-hat, cymbals of different sizes voice up their own tones with authority, and the satisfying splashy trebles. Folk who loves modern music especially in pop, rock, EDM, ballads will find it being very very addictive. I am being one of these, and I love it here !

Tonal body: tonal body is neither too thick nor thin. It is defined and fast enough that will leave the greatest sense of spaces, inner-fidelity or impact of each tone beats are of great resolution. However, it lacks the flows, the variations of energies. An example of a guitar string for example, a finger control on the string varies it tonal plays and express the emotions, it barely show itself here with DP-X1. Yes, it lacks of that

DP-X1 has excellent soundstage, spaces, layering, separations, and very very good splashy trebles with organic timbres (is not harsh). However due to the too controlled and speedy tonal body density, the DP-X1 can only bring about clarity, space, details, but not enough "emotion" of the tonal body. Coming from Zx2, I really liked the spacious and clarity, but I couldn't deal with the lack of emotions and expressions in my music, especially guitar, violin or string instruments in generals. I love and I prefer the flows, fluidity and the accuracy of the varied micro body energies within each string plays!


Regarding digital filter and lock range adjustments

I personally using TRRS with ACG and prefer

1/ Digital filter : Sharp. lock range: Narrow. This is the most neutral, precise, and the greatest sense of spaces accuracy and air..... Very precise on every tonal body textures, and strongly energetic with the "inner fidelity", the energies applied upon each instruments. The most powerful and critical for analyzing your music, and best for neutral and details folk

2/ Digital filter: Short. Lock range: wide. This is for the larger and more expansive and immersive, submersive soundstage, but still very precisely controlling the power. Better musical experiences, less control and loosen up the tonal body "inner energies" a little bit. This is for better musical and entertaining purposes...everyone :)

3/ Digital filter: Slow. Lock range: narrow. This is for the most energetic tonal and inner fidelity into mid spectrum. Every string plays, organ or piano hit, and even toward the lower-trebles energies as hand shake devices. All of these will sing and voice up strongly and energetic. This is fantastic for Mid-centric folk who loves every details and energies in the mid spectrum

You can always set it in the between. But try these above and observe for yourself. I am not sure how it would conclude for you, but that is for ACG and TRRS out.

Final conclusion: DP-X1 offer a level of transparency, clarity and soundstage in TRRS output that is not seen by other devices at this price range. It surpass ZX2 in this department by using TRRS on ZX2 as well. However, it lacks of the transient variations of tonal body energies that can only be offered by ZX2 in my experiences. So, if you ask which one is better ? They are both good, but in their own right. Ask yourself this question "Do I like spacious rendering, detailed, clarity and things in my music that I can clearly pick a part and count the number ? Or do I like a little blend of everything in harmony and while be able to feel the expressions and emotions of the composed track but in compromises of a little bit of those above?" Your answer will respectfully decides DP-X1 and or ZX2 in order.

Thanks for reading, please PM if any questions
$899 in the US
Great review. This tempting but Im holding out for the iBasso DX200.
Very nice review! This player, used with AKG712 headphones, the poweramp app instead of the included player and a little eq to give the very linear AKGs that extra punch is, yes, is: The best sound I have ever heard - and I heard most top notch DAPs, owned some, still own a Colorfly C4 -. but the ONKYO beats them all. I have finally arrived in "mobile Headphone Heaven"
There is only one thing: The missing cover/case. And you need one if you have a DP-X1 because of it's sharp edges. So I would be very happy if someone can tell the community where to buy covers for the ONKYO player. Thank U!