Lieven told me that no one uses iOS anymore. Piss off, Lieven.
I use iOS. So does Louis. So does Chase. And guess what, Lachlan does, too. I’ll have you know, I’m with Lachlan. (Fist bump, dude.)
I’m practical. I have stayed with iDevice primarily because there’s a baseline performance you can expect from them. They have pretty good outputs. Some of them perform as well as audiophile devices. Some even perform better than after-market DACs like the Shozy, and certainly so with sensitive earphones.
That is, until iPhone 6S noisegate. (Fist bump, Lachie.)
Loads of iDevice users love their music, and listen almost religiously through their iPhones, iPod Touch, iPods, iPads, and more. And while Apple tossed us the bones of search, lock-screen controls, support for 3rd-party audio hardware, and more, the music-listening experience has progressively become worse. Well, that was the line I wanted to drive prior to spending hours and hours with the two apps in this review.
Without giving away my conclusion, I’d like to point that deficiencies exist in the stock Music app.
1. hi-resolution files don’t play
2. iDevice isn’t compatible with open-standard file types (FLAC, OGG Vorbis) among other file types
3. stock iDevice apps are limited to playing back 24/48kHz files
4. Music app is getting more and more junked up
Two alternatives make a good showing, both accruing good reviews among audiophiles, and serving up a lot of utility for their respective prices. Both are Hi-Reso capable.
Hi wha??? Hi-Reso. (Hint: Rezo, not Lesso.) It’s an intolerable Jinglish bastardisation of the English term, high resolution. Evidently the concise abbreviation, Hi-Res wasn’t esoteric enough. Urban dictionary couldn’t do worse. In fact, reso is an accepted abbreviation for reservation. (Come to think of it, high reservation – I think I could find a use for that term.)
Whatever its history, we’re now stuck with Hi-Reso. Japanese companies make a bulk of hi-res DACs. Shit.
Today’s contenders are:
HF Player has been around since 2012. It goes for 11,99$ CDN; 6,99£; and on and on. It adds OGG Vorbis, FLAC, and DSD (2,8 and 5,6MHz) support to the iDevice’s bevy of supported file types.
Part of what initially sold HF Player was its built-in EQ. Onkyo threw in a bunch of preset headphone-specific EQs, as well as feature EQs made by famous musicians, all of which are meant to make your headphones sound better. It’s a pretty intuitive system, just not pretty. You drag your finger at a target frequency and pull or push it up or down. It’s like the EQ iRiver debuted in the AK100.
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