Review: Dethonray DTR1 Prelude


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 smartphone and touch screen 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.

The approach with the DTR1 reminds me of the Lotoo Paw Gold. And although the Paw Gold has advantages like an advanced PMEQ, the DTR1 is just as fast as the Paw Gold in terms of operation, with very responsive direction buttons and a mighty fast database search. The UI is quite simple indeed, but the functionality is perfect without any flaws.

The settings allow you to play around with screen time, brightness, CUE, Gain Switch, Filter Switch, Auto Shutdown and Wake-up Mode. I liked the gain setting which supports 3 different options including a “middle gain”. This way you can set the gain according to your IEMs and headphones precisely. I also liked the Wake-Up Mode, which is a setting to wake up the screen by pressing any of the buttons.

At first some bugs were present in the OS, but Dethonray kept giving firmware updates to solve them all. The latest version (3.10), which was claimed as the “Final Version”, solves all of the problems and the DTR1 users can now expect a smooth operation. Some of the solved bugs were non-linear volume adjustment, volume jump with gain switching and a “pop” sound during changing songs.

Dethonray DTR1

I particularly liked their update policy as they kept listening to the users who actually use the DAP and updated it accordingly. In fact, the “Middle Gain” setting was actually added for earbud users who demanded a little more power than low gain.

Overall if you like to have a fancy UI with several EQ settings and etc., this is not the player for you. If you’re a purist however, you can perfectly rely on the DTR1’s OS.

User Experience

Of course, this is not a modern day DAP. It’s small, rectangle and supports one Micro SD card to stock your tunes on. Yet, I really liked this goal-oriented design approach from Dethonray. Everything works smoothly in a very small package. Nowadays we have large and heavy players with big screens, but the DTR1 is very compact, light and very easy to grip. Overall the operation has been very pleasing to me so far and I think it’s the same for the other users.

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 a 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”. As I mentioned above, you need to use the supplied charger only, and there’s no other option. The connection is micro-HDMI, which is very rare to see. The reason behind this choice lies in the DTR1’s unique circuit design. To save space, the actual charger holds the charging circuit of the DAP instead of the DAP itself.

Dethonray DTR1

The Micro HDMI interface allows to transfer the current & voltage information to the dual density batteries inside. So with this design choice, the adapter is absolutely necessary. Maybe some aftermarket adapters may be available in the future, but for now the users are stuck with the custom-made charger.

The device has a single MicroSD port without any internal storage. You can use MicroSD cards up to 2TB in ExFat format. However, when you want to upgrade the software, the only option is a FAT32 card. So while using the DTR1, you will heavily rely on your MicroSD cards. Because of this, it would’ve been nice to have an SD Card adapter of some sorts in the package.

The battery life is fairly good with up to 10 hours in the specs. Real life experience would be around 6-7h in my opinion, an although I haven’t done any specific battery tests, I can honestly say that this is not the best DAP in terms of battery life. The circuit design relies on a high and clean power at all times. I also found out that the charging takes quite some time to get a full charge.

As a small note; the volume gradually increases and decreases when you play/pause the song, which is a nice touch to protect your hearing.

The review continues on PAGE 3 by clicking here using the page numbers below


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 the same. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level with audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes him over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews is the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favourite Jazz recordings.

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