First Look Sunday: Dethonray DTR1 Prelude

Disclaimer: This is part of our new First Look Sunday series, where we give our first impressions of new gear in our review queue. WE got the unit via Glorious Sound in The Netherlands.

Old School

In an era of big touchscreens, slim bezels, streaming apps and so on, we sometimes see devices that are solely aimed to sound great. The Dethonray DTR1 is one of them and it takes things a step further in terms of raw functionality.

Back in the days we had the Tera Player which some people still happily use. Now we have the DTR1 with its exceptional sound quality with minimal features when compared to more popular and advanced DAPs.


This is a player you shouldn’t expect anything of, except for a tremendous sound. The designer of the DTR1 is Anson Tse, an engineer who thinks outside of the box to achieve high-fidelity. To do this, the DTR1 is designed from a different perspective.

Dethonray DTR1

Anson knows how to build a DAP and to make it sound great since he has lots of experience from his time at different audio companies. The DTR1 contains specific solutions for reducing the electrical noise to minimum levels. The design of this DAP completely separates the digital and analog sections with two independent batteries. That allows the cleanest power possible for sound processing. That is very critical to Anson and he thinks that the universal power solutions compromise the signal quality.


The player uses a classic Linux OS with a very simple UI. I personally didn’t face any problems with the OS as it is quite on point and easy to use. At first it may be difficult to adapt to the button layout in today’s world, but after some time it’s really easy to get used to. The good thing is that Anson listens to the community and brings firmware updates accordingly, for the best functionality and user experience.

Of course, this is not a modern day’s DAP. It’s small, lightweight, rectangle and supports one Micro SD card to play your tunes. Yet, I really liked this raw and goal-oriented design approach from Dethonray. Everything works perfectly and in a very small package.

Dethonray DTR1

There are some points that you should be aware of though. There’s no cable connection to your computer with the DTR1. The only option is to use your Micro SD card to put your songs on. So your PC must support an SD Card input. That is also the case for the firmware updates.

Another topic is “charging”. You need to use the supplied charger only, and there’s no other option for that either. The connection is micro-HDMI, which is very rare. Also I found the charging cable a little short.


When it comes to sound, I should get straight to the point. The Dethonray DTR1 is one of the best DAPs I’ve ever listened to in terms of pure sound quality. It doesn’t fool around and it can fight with the best DAPs available, even with its $549 retail price. The performance is simply phenomenal.

The bass is punchy with great control and texture. Mids are very transparent and resolving with a beautiful tonality. The treble is perfectly articulated and extended, without being harsh and aggressive. The player is overall very neutral and reference-oriented. And that is not even the whole story.

Dethonray DTR1

The greatest feature of the DTR1 in its sound, is the overall separation and stereo image in my opinion. The back ground is pitch black, and the instruments cry with incredible texture and transparency.

If you just need a portable player to merely play your high quality music files, than I don’t think there’s a better option than the DTR1. Sure, if you need some other features likes streaming in example, this is not an option. But oh boy… if it’s just playing files, the DTR1 is outstanding, a no-brainer if you ask me.

I will tell much more of the Dethonray DTR1 in its full review very soon. Stay tuned!

4.4/5 - (31 votes)

A keen audiophile and hobby photographer, Berkhan is after absolute perfection. Whether it is a full-frame camera or a custom in-ear, his standpoint persists. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level as audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews are the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favourite Jazz recordings.


  • Reply October 21, 2019


    Nice taster to your full review Beckham. Would you please offer some complementing IEM’s that I might consider. I play a wide array of music, but mainly classic rock and solo acoustic. Thanks 🙂

    • Reply October 22, 2019


      The full review is not far away. Make sure to check here and pass me a comment so I can give a more detailed answer for you.

  • Reply October 22, 2019


    Thanks Berkhan! Apologies for the incorrect spelling of your name in my original comment; missed the autocorrect edit!!! Could you please offer a selection of complementary IEM’s now, as I really need to buy in the next 2-weeks, as I am going travelling. I am looking up to £300, although that could be for new or ‘used’ pair.

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