Review: The Bit Audio Opus#1 – Mouth Korea

Disclaimer: I purchased the The Bit Audio Opus#1 at a significant discount for the purposes of this review. This DAP goes for 650$ to 750$ USD. You can find out all about it here: High Definition & High-Resolution Audio Player.

Relevant links:

Review: Cowon Plenue D
Review: Astell&Kern AK380
Review: Astell&Kern AK Jr
Review: Mojo-Kai Balanced Mojo
RMAA: Mojo-Kai
RMAA: Onkyo DP-X1
RMAA: Astell&Kern AK380
RMAA: Mojo-Kai
RMAA: Astell&Kern AK Jr
RMAA: Cowon Plenue D

Not sound

The Bit’s competition employ sculptors whose wicked chisels crack edges to angles both photographically impressive and arterially naive. (One doesn’t just sit down with a naked iBasso DX80 or an Astell&Kern AK Jr in your pocket without letting run your other precious commodity.) The cases they make exist for your protection as much as they do to reduce the number of scratches your player catalogues.

The Bit Audio’s Opus#1 (thanks to being such a mouthful, hereinafter referred to as Oppy) was probably designed by tender, new Millenial hire, who, exhausted from an hour of coffee-plied orientation, Googled the word ‘design’. Whilst cooling down from lunch – and sensitively crying through the final episode of Battlestar Galactica – that Millenial alt-tabbed from his next research project: ‘how to 3D CAD’, and into a trendy CAD application to chop off the perpendicular edges of a rectangle. He then begged for a nap and dreamed of his next pay rise.

Opus1 - top-1

Born was the octagonal Bible we call Opus#1. (And fired was the Millenial but not before suing his employer for hurt feelings).

Uninspiring and lazy that design is. Incoherent it is not. Top-mounted power button. Flush outputs. Dedicated volume and navigation buttons. Its top volume goes to an easily sussed 150, not 160 (DP-X1), 75 (AK Jr), or 16 (iPhone 4). Brilliant.

And, despite being hidden by a hatch harder to open than a manhole cover, it’s got dual micro SD cards. Awesome. Awesomer is Oppy’s responsive touch UI and clear menu (including a fool-proof software balanced line out switch). Scrobbling ticks like a CD player, but with speed. Swipe left or right for shortcuts between artist, album, song, genre, and folder. Menus are easy to travel, but ugly. Short cutting up and down long lists is interminable thanks to the tiny, Windows 3.11 scroll bar you are somehow supposed to thumb up or down. If you have the fingers of a person older than five, you’ll need three tries at a minimum to grab it. Which, thanks to Oppy being able to handle a gazillion GB’s, is as annoying as this video. Even packing just its internal memory with an eclectic mix of lossy and lossless albums, scrolling back to the top from the bottom of a list (and vice versa) is frustrating.

Whatever. Oppy tackles gapless as well as anything not Apple I’ve used. I’ve encountered a few lossy AAC albums which hesitate between tracks, but most do not. Lossless gapless albums transition fluidly.

Unlike the Plenue D, Oppy won’t debar a trip to the mains. Its battery doesn’t drain overnight in a desk drawer, but you will have to top it up between charges. Music lovers on listening diets should expect to charge it every two days or so. Heavy listeners will have to charge it every day.

Expect less than 7-8 hours on a single charge. Depending on the degree to which you’ve been able to wrangle the law to treat you as an invalid, Oppy’s battery may even eke out a Millenial’s emotionally charged but utterly vacuous day of work.

I forgot to mention that as part of his probation, the above Millenial would-be designer diagrammed sensitive button cut outs, which The Bit kept. These barely rise out of the chassis. They return neither discriminatory haptic feedback, nor do they sit in wide-berth niches. And they’re not spaced well. If your fingers are anywhere near normally sized, you’ll end up pressing volume up and volume down at the same time. Ditto navigation.

Also, I should mention that Oppy is a composit thing. It’s light, and it doesn’t hurt the hands, but it is composit. At least it is easy to use, the same which cannot be said of the Venturecraft Valoq (another expensive player carved from composit). But composit looks and feels cheap. I’m sure it is cheap. But even Cowon managed a frame mostly of metal in the Plenue D. I’m disappointed.

Another cheap and disappointing thing is Oppy’s ridiculous screen, whose back light is uneven, whose viewing angles are laughably acute and whose tendency to wash out colours is ever-present. It is a bad screen. It is the screen of a 200$ device. Slaving such a simple navigation system onto such a POS screen is a crying shame.

Opus1 - SD card-1

What I’m not disappointed in is USB transfer speed, which zings! by the AK Jr and a number of DAPs. Yes, Mac users must use Android File Transfer, but it pops up automatically, and, assuming you’re good with folders, drags and drops without too much fuss. Library updates, too, are automatic and damn fast.

Sound and more after the jump:

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Review: The Bit Audio Opus#1 – Mouth Korea
4.2 (83%) 20 votes

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

20 Comments

  • Reply May 10, 2016

    someone in South Korea

    Mouth Korea? hope it is typo.

    • Reply May 10, 2016

      Barun Chanda

      I think it is intentional, he might be implying Millenial generation player from South Korea.

    • Reply May 10, 2016

      ohm image

      Not a typo, just not a clever enough title.

      The Bit Audio Opus#1 is a long title: a mouthful if you will. Take off ‘ful’ and make it mouth. Mouth rhymes with South. Born is Mouth Korea.

  • Reply May 10, 2016

    Barun Chanda

    Very strong opinions there Nathan. At $680 they are not cheap, but they certainly don’t look the part, reminds me of my old Aiwa Cassette Walkman. AK is also looking at the potential of the sub $1000 DAP market now, since companies like Questyle and Onkyo are doing so well.

    • Reply May 10, 2016

      ohm image

      A bit torn. The screen and the composit body are cheap. But the UI really works well and the sound is quite nice. I’d like to see the same sound/performance in something sleeker with a sleeker UI. And maybe a bit less hiss. Otherwise, impressive.

  • Reply May 11, 2016

    Jeffrey Marimat

    hope the Aune M2S can be also featured and reviewed in this website.

  • Reply May 11, 2016

    Michael Amouyal

    Hey Nathan,

    How do the MS ak100 and 120 perform and sound versus these latest players ie. AK, Onkyo, Pioneer and Opus?

    Cheers

  • Reply May 11, 2016

    L

    Testing 1-1

  • Reply May 11, 2016

    Headfonia_L.

    This is a test on 11/05 13.11

  • Reply May 11, 2016

    Headfonia_L.

    Test 11/05 13.37

  • Reply May 11, 2016

    dalethorn

    Several problems are occuring. 1) Many comments between 2 days ago and L’s 2 test comments have disappeared. 2) The comments displays have changed their appearance and performance several times in the past few days.

  • Reply May 11, 2016

    Headfonia_L.

    This is a test for Dale’s email notifications May 11 8.07PM

  • Reply May 12, 2016

    ohm image

    What happened to all the comments?

    • Reply May 12, 2016

      dalethorn

      I think there are some missing for the 2 days I noted. But no way to know as yet.

  • Reply May 17, 2016

    Michael Amouyal

    I will repeat my deleted comment / question then : how do the MSAK100 / MSAK120 fare versus newer DAPs like this one and the other big boys?

    • Reply May 17, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      I haven’t deleted anything, we lost 2 days of comments because of a Disqus problem. Sorry

    • Reply May 19, 2016

      ohm image

      This one is warmer sounding in some ways than the MS-AK100 and not quite as mid-wide. Also, more noise in the headphone output. But as far as stock audiophile players go (despite the hiss), this is one of the best, if not the best for the price and up. Practically it outperforms the DP-X1 under load, so it is unnecessary to use an amp whilst driving balanced earphones.

  • Reply January 26, 2017

    Michell

    Thank you Nathan for the review , so my question is does this DAP competes with the big boys from A&K , Hifiman ,cowon , fiio (just the x7 of course) and lotto ?

    is that a high end sound (quality , separation , layering , imaging) for 399 $ ?

    another question is am i better getting this and use it with a mid fi headphones like Sennheiser hd 598 SE … or should i get a DAP like fiio x3 II and updates my headphone to somthing like HD 600 or 700

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