Guest Review: Pioneer XDP-100R DAP

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. (} 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:

Player Specs:

Machined Aluminum Body-Very Sleek and Lightweight-Premium Appearance

4.7” Touchscreen

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…



4/5 - (36 votes)


  • Reply May 30, 2016


    You got a little mistake in the disclaimer. It’s Pioneer not Sony.

  • Reply May 30, 2016


    Thx Tronco!

  • Reply May 30, 2016


    THE Michael Brewer? Amazing.

    • Reply June 2, 2016


      Yes The

  • Reply May 31, 2016

    Barun C

    Pretty straight forward but nice piece. There is no accounting for taste, when it comes to any thing in existence, but for some reason I can’t get over the fact that majority of people in personal headphone audio are in someway, somehow listening to Diana Krall. Nothing against Diana Krall though.

    • Reply May 31, 2016


      she does come back all the time. I’m not the biggest fan though. I prefer Melody Gardot, Anna Ternheim and Lisa Ekdahl

      • Reply May 31, 2016

        Barun C

        That’s great. Some new names. I like to listen to female vocals now and then like Lene Lovich, Tina Turner, Esperanza Spalding, Essra Mohawk, Thana Harris etc. but am more into instrumentals.

        Just as a recommendation, headphone enthusiasts who are open to listen to any type of music, try Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima by Krzysztof Penderecki, Rain Tree by Toru Takemitsu and The Adventures of Greggery Peccary by Frank Zappa. If you haven’t heard any of these artists, your are going to experience something new.

    • Reply May 31, 2016


      Friends recommended Krall to me for years – I couldn’t stand to listen to her CDs. Then I found a 2004(?) DVD “Live in Paris” and enjoyed it a lot. After that, I eventually picked up 3 or 4 more tracks from CDs – but that’s all.

  • Reply June 2, 2016


    As I said in the review, “Enjoy Your Music” whatever you believe is enjoyable. Classical, Jazz, Rock, Folk, etc… I personally love it all.

  • Reply August 1, 2018

    opera support number

    Cool gadget. I liked the review and liked the way of representing it. The Pioneer XDP-100R DAP is a nice device and the way it drives the boom box is great.

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