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Dethonray Dtr1 Prelude high resolution player

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by jaykay1967, Jan 25, 2019.
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  1. Lunatic
    Now that the May 1st holiday is over I think I can finally post some of my impressions about the DTR1 since I received it over ten days ago. Thanks to Mimouille's intro I've been in touch with the developer to give some continuous feedback to the UI and some minor details about playback experience along the way. I have to say the developer has been extremely pleasant to deal with and has always been very responsive and proactive about improving the user experience.

    I mainly listen to classical music with a small dose of classical rock and jazz, so my belief has always been that if my audio equipment can faithfully and naturally reproduce the sound of acoustic instruments and the human voice, then it should be able to handle most other genres of music just fine. Having said that, I listen to music for enjoyment so I am not a huge fan of those pure "reference" or "studio monitor" type of sound as those can sound like distilled water which brings me no fun. :)

    My feedback of the DTR1 so far:

    1. Lively, engaging sound with good detail presentation yet it never sounds cold, analytic or harsh. It makes want to tap my fingers or smile while listening to some of my most familiar music tracks. Throw anything from piano solos to tenor arias to symphony orchestras to rock bands I'm always rewarded by the involving sound the DTR1 produces. Instrument timbre is superb, soundstage is full, etc. But for me the most important thing is that the sounds carries the emotion and feeling of the performance.

    2. Thanks to the specially designed power supplies the DTR1 is both very powerful and has very high signal to noise ratio. This little player can drive the Focal Utopia really well. It's not just loud enough, I mean I get all of the Utopia's goods, super accurate representation of instruments and full-bodied soundstage. I also tried the HiFiMAN HE1000V2 and the MrSpeakers Ether C Flow with the DTR1. HE1000V2 sounds quite decent although the volume level is already at around 70-75% in high gain mode. AKG's K872 also pairs quite well with the DTR1. The only pairing that's less than satisfactory for me is my Fostex TH900 (original version) which sounds a little thin and lack of weight in the bass region. Of the IEMs that I have, I've had great results with both the Light Harmonic Stella and the Dunu DK4001. Both perform really well within low gain mode and without any hiss. I can't wait to pair the DTR1 with some higher-end IEMs like the LH Oscar XXI in the near future... I also briefly tried the 3.5mm line-out and it worked well, nothing special there.

    3. The firmware: UI is very responsive and fluid. The most impressive part is that the DTR1 scans and indexes my nearly-full 400GB microSD card within ten seconds and never had any issues with the file system. As a classical music lover one of the most important features in a DAP for me is gapless playback and that's one of the areas that I had some discussions with the developer while he promptly experimented with different settings before settling on one version that's I can say nails gapless nearly 100%. The firmware is quite mature and bug-free now and we can expect a few new additions like browsing by album or artist. I am also hopeful that some kind of SACD ISO support will come at a certain stage...

    4. Build quality: Impeccable for the price range. Physical buttons are tactile and responsive. No complaints here. Screen works well indoors but is almost useless in outdoor conditions.

    5. Battery power: I haven't drained it totally yet but I think we're not far from the 10-hour claimed playback time. The special design in the power supplies means the DTR1 needs a proprietary power adapter with a micro HDMI connector. It cannot be charged via USB. I'll have to pack one more thing when I am traveling which is less than ideal. But after talking with the developer I believe the specially designed power supplies contribute a lot to the sounds and the power of this small DAP that we should learn to live with this minor nuisance.

    So far the DTR1 is a very pleasant surprise from a new brand that definitely has the passion and dedication to great sound and user experience. Given the price range I think we have a winner here, especially in today's market where US$2K+ seems to be an entry barrier for "decent" high fidelity DAPs. The DTR1 belongs to that first tier of portable audio gear. Highly recommended.


    IMG_20190421_114222.jpg IMG_20190421_225732.jpg IMG_20190421_230325.jpg IMG_20190422_102441.jpg IMG_20190423_102902.jpg IMG_20190504_180311.jpg
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
    golov17, F700, daorenmi and 9 others like this.
  2. noknok23
    Anyone willing to open it and show us the internals? (I want to see that dual battery design)
  3. terry1109
    Welcome to the dtr1 family
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  4. deniska80
    Which expensive daps(you have listened to) this one outperforms in terms of sq?
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  5. Lunatic
    I am not jumping into "A is better than B" or "A outperforms B" types of conclusions easily. It's much more complicated than that so if you're looking for a simple answer I can't help you.

    I own the following DAPs right now: HiFiMAN R2R2000, Cowon Plenue L, Lotoo PAW Gold (original version), all of them cost much more than the DTR1, some several times more. If we're only comparing single-ended outputs (DTR1 and LPG only support SE) the DTR1 is certainly the most powerful while sounding musical and involving. The LPG has high power too but it sounds a bit cold to my taste. Neither the R2R2000 or the Plenue L can drive the Focal Utopia to my satisfaction like the DTR1 can in SE output while the Plenue L's 4.4mm balanced output does drive the Utopia quite alright. With well recorded music the R2R2000 can have that no-veil, raw sound that brings me closer to the performance than any of the players I have, thanks to the two PCM1704UK R2R DAC chips it has. But it's also less forgiving and a little too unflattering if you play less well recorded music especially those that are on the bright side. For me the DTR1 is more suitable for daily use as a portable DAP also because its firmware is miles ahead of that of the R2R2000 when it comes to local playback. I love the sound of the R2R2000 with good recordings but I use it mostly as a portable DAC connected to my MacBook Pro these days. The Plenue L is more neutral and more revealing but it's a bit less lively and involving compared with the DTR1. It's the best of the bunch when playing native DSD files though.

    So there you have it. :)

    ChrisLN, F700, noplsestar and 3 others like this.
  6. IryxBRO
    Hmmm. Having a different opinion. To me it sounds colder and crispier than anything of: Hidizs AP100, AP200, AP60Pro, AP80, Sonata DH1000, Serenade iDSD, Shanling M0, Xduoo X3, X3II, HiBY R6Pro, Sony NW-WM1Z and many other DAC&AMPs that I own.... that is why I've mentioned that it has a unique sound signature... Which FW are you running now?
    deniska80 likes this.
  7. denis1976
    I think that for the price the QLS QA361 is a way better option
  8. deniska80
    Have you listened to both daps?
  9. IryxBRO
    I'd do A/B analysis to several DAPs and DACs in a couple of days. Have A/B switch which I use for this...

    daorenmi likes this.
  10. denis1976
    No only to QLS361, I am saying this based in spec, but I eard and had the lotoo paw gold in the past and the qls is more powerful and the SQ is on line with it, just to give you an idea
  11. gazzington
    Qls a decent dap?
  12. denis1976
    QLS in pure musical experience without many things to distract is simply awesome,neutral, and extremely powerfull
  13. Mimouille
    My opinion is aligned with lunatic, definitely not cool or bright.
    Lunatic likes this.
  14. Mimouille
    Your contribution is baseless and useless. You come here to say a DAP you have never heard is not as good as a DAP you like, based on specs. How ridiculous.
    buonassi, specKtre, F700 and 4 others like this.
  15. terry1109
    Saying things based on spec is extremely foolish, have you ever heard of dtr1?
    You kept saying how good the qls 361 but haven't heard of the dtr1, how can this comparison be right and just?
    F700, RuFrost and daorenmi like this.
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