Disclaimer: Michael sent us his guest review of the Pioneer XDP-100R DAP. I haven’t have the pleasure of listening to this DAP myself. The minimalistic guest review hasn’t been edited in any way, this is Michael’s point of view of the Pioneer XDP-100R, not an official HFN view of this DAP.
After doing an extensive amount of research in my quest to find a DAP that fit my needs, I initially purchased the Fiio X7. While I admit it is a wonderful sounding Player, the OS leaves a lot to be desired. After two frustrating weeks I finally returned it. Too many bugs in the software. EDITOR’S EDIT: I love the X7’s UI and Michael admits he didn’t wait for any X7 FW updates. To me (Lieven) the X7 is extremely easy to use.
Enter the Pioneer 100-R. Search Complete!!
In preparation for writing this review I have spent the past several days intensely listening. Two days in I stopped my analysis and just sat back and marveled at what I was hearing. The 100-R is a dynamic, detailed and smooth sounding DAP.
Most of my listening is done with a pair of Hifiman HE-400s. I also use Beyerdynamics DT-880’s (250 ohm) and a pair of AKG 240 Studio. The 100R drives all three equally well, although the Beyers do benefit from extra amping. The 400s straight out of the player is easily driven and is my headphone of preference.
When I care to share, the Pioneer XDP-100R is routed through my vintage Adcom Power amp and preamp. GF-555-2, to KEF Q90 loudspeakers. Sounds tremendous!
With that said, the 100-R out of the box frankly did not impress. It seemed a bit understated with regards to it’s presentation. Nice, but I was looking for more.
I am a firm believer in “burn in”. I found this to be true with the 100R. After two weeks it’s sound vastly improved. Things began to open up. Now after a month of use the metamorphosis seems complete. The 100R now has a very distinct presentation. Large stage, vocals and instruments are precisely placed. Lots of air, nice depth and height. Clarity is superb. Vocals are lifelike be it male and or female.
The Pioneer Music App that comes with the player is very capable. Ten band EQ, digital filter, lock range adjust, upsampling mode and more…
The upsampling mode seems to work to a certain extent. In this mode whatever is playing is upsampled to 192khz. I have a few MP3’s that benefit from this mode so I generally leave it on. (Understand it is subjective, Results may vary)
At this point I must admit that I love to experiment. One reason I chose the 100R was for the Android OS. (Google Play Store) Before purchasing the 100R I was listening to music on a Note 3 phone. I found that apps such as Neutron, JetAudio Plus, and Hiby Music could make a phone sound acceptable. For you other “Mad Scientists “out there I highly recommend an alternative player. Neutron and JetAudio Plus are my go to players. To my ears they make a world of difference, and they both function perfectly with the 100R. Not so with the X7. Here’s the Thing, no matter to what extent I EXPERIMENT the 100R retains its overall character. A very transparent, detailed audio player. It’s a beautiful thing.
Being the graying, old, hippie photographer that I am, my musical tastes run the gamut. I have found in my concert work that I am most comfortable with what I know. (http://intothelightconcerts.ifp3.com} I apologize for the shameless plug. I still buy numerous CD’s, (Spotify?) (Tidal?) would rather have hard copies.
CD’s are ripped to FLAC or ALAC files and loaded on the 100R. Very simple on a Mac.
Drag and Drop with Android File Transfer. Off you go. I have purchased a few gems from HDTracks. Alexis Cole has a new release titled “Dazzling Blue” on Chesky Records. It’s a collection of Paul Simon covers. Worth the price of admission.
Listening to Diana Krall’s “I Don’t Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You” becomes an intimate experience. Her Sultry vocal is sublime. Sparse accompaniment of piano, guitar and bass set the mood. The track totally envelopes the listener.
I have refrained from discussing the technical aspects of the 100R for good reason. For me it’s about the music. Pure and Simple. Is the 100R a good sounding DAP? It”s an excellent sounding DAP!!! (IMO) Let your ears be the judge.
The Good Folks at Pioneer will be happy to provide all the numbers for you if you wish. Would I buy it again? Absolutely! I intend to buy the Onkyo DP-X1 when it becomes available. Dual Dacs and Amps. Should be an end game DAP for me.
Enjoy Your Music!!
Head-Fi thread here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/779839/pioneers-first-dap-the-xdp-100r-announced-in-ifa
Machined Aluminum Body-Very Sleek and Lightweight-Premium Appearance
3.5 Headphone Jack/Line Out
Volume Knob with 161step adjustments
Power Button, Next Track, Play/Pause, Previous Track
USB Port for charging and data transfer
32 gb. Internal storage
2 memory cards micro sdx.
Removable Bumpers top and bottom
Available in Black or Silver
Sabre ES9018 K2M DAC
Sabre 9601K Headphone Amp
Android 5.1.1 Os (slightly modified
MQA support-Meridian Audio- Future Update
Google Play Store
Tidal and Spotify
Pioneer Music App
Plays all Popular Formats:
DSD,Aiff, Flac,Alac, & more…