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