Hi-Res Sound Quality on the Go with Streaming and WIFI - Basic MP3 is history.... | December, 2019

While you may be perfectly happy with the quality of MP3, you would prefer it at the risk of staying behind. Sound engineers, hi-fi enthusiasts and musicians have long proposed the need for high resolution digital audio players. Over the years, there has been a tremendous improvement in the capturing of sound in digital form and playing it back for human use. But MP3 audio with its compression that cuts file sizes makes music less enjoyable. Therefore, high resolution audio digital players are the new normal given what we now know about audio quality.

10:

Astell & Kern High-Resolution Music Player AK380, 256GB

This Astell & Kern High Resolution Music Player AK380 is a digital gadget that works round-the-clock, supporting MP3, FLAC, WAV, ALAC, Ogg Vorbis, AIFF, ACC, APE, WMA, DSF and DFF to name a few. This Native DSD Playback is for DSD64 and DSD128 files of 2.8 and 5.6 MHz respectively. With over 384 GB total memory,...Read More

This Astell & Kern High Resolution Music Player AK380 is a digital gadget that works round-the-clock, supporting MP3, FLAC, WAV, ALAC, Ogg Vorbis, AIFF, ACC, APE, WMA, DSF and DFF to name a few. This Native DSD Playback is for DSD64 and DSD128 files of 2.8 and 5.6 MHz respectively. With over 384 GB total memory, it has 258GB internal flash memory with a microSD card for up to 128GB. It has a built-in Wi_Fi for streaming and downloading music from DLNA networked computers. It also has a 4 inch color touchscreen display and its aircraft grade aluminum body is lightweight, strong and substantial. For stellar performance, trust this awesome digital player.

Pros:

Built-in Wi-Fi for streaming as well as downloading music

Plays wide range of audio formats

Cons:

Short on power

Brand: Astell & Kern
Model#: #3PPF219C-CMMBN1
Weight: 2.2 Pounds
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9:

Astell & Kern AK Jr. Hi-Res Music Player 64GB

Astell & Kern AK Jr 64GB high resolution music player supports a wide range of audio formats from AAC to AIFF, DSF, DFF, FLAC and WAV. It also has a 2.1 inch WQVGA touchscreen and has an ultra slim and light 8.9mm aluminum body design. It also has a Single Wolfson WM8740 DAAC and 3.5 mm...Read More

Astell & Kern AK Jr 64GB high resolution music player supports a wide range of audio formats from AAC to AIFF, DSF, DFF, FLAC and WAV. It also has a 2.1 inch WQVGA touchscreen and has an ultra slim and light 8.9mm aluminum body design. It also has a Single Wolfson WM8740 DAAC and 3.5 mm single ended audio output. This amazing high definition audio player also has an LCD screen and a internal flash memory of 64GB with a MicroSD memory card slot of up to 200 GB. DSD 64 playback supported, this 1 bit 2.8MHz supportive player also has stereo through DoP namely DSD to PCM conversion.

Pros:

Wide range of audio supported formats

Ultra slim and light 8.9 mm sized aluminum body design

Cons:

Clunky user interface

Brand: Astell & Kern
Model#: #AK Jr
Weight: 3.5 ounces
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8:

Pioneer hi-res digital audio player XDP-300R

This Pioneer high resolution digital audio player XDP-300R offers a playback of a multitude of high quality audio files, high resolution playback with dual DAC and Amp set up and an independent audio circuit board. It also offers two types of balanced drives, large capacity storage and battery life. The XDP-300R supports current audio MP3 to...Read More

This Pioneer high resolution digital audio player XDP-300R offers a playback of a multitude of high quality audio files, high resolution playback with dual DAC and Amp set up and an independent audio circuit board. It also offers two types of balanced drives, large capacity storage and battery life. The XDP-300R supports current audio MP3 to FLAC, WAB, AIFF, MQA and other high resolution formats. It also offers a 2.5 mm balanced output and 3.5 mm headphone output. Audio outputs are possible via MicroUSB-B and OTG digital output. With complete separation between the CPU and circuit board, it has capacitors to send clean audio signals with a closed loop design.

Pros:

Large capacity storage and independent audio circuit board

High resolution playback with twin DAC and Amp Set up

Cons:

Does not have the power to drive high impedance headphones

Brand: Pioneer
Model#: XDP-300R(B)
Weight: 7 ounces
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7:

ONKYO Hi-Res Digital Audio Player DP-X1A

The ONKYO High resolution digital audio player DP-X1A is sound tuned for audio enthusiasts and music lovers. Its twin DACS and Amps offer balanced audio and it is known for its universal music support. Additionally, you can connect, cast and stream music and it even supports MQA. It is sound tuned for the discerning audiophile and...Read More

The ONKYO High resolution digital audio player DP-X1A is sound tuned for audio enthusiasts and music lovers. Its twin DACS and Amps offer balanced audio and it is known for its universal music support. Additionally, you can connect, cast and stream music and it even supports MQA. It is sound tuned for the discerning audiophile and delivers the best balance of practical durability and immersive sounds with the DPX1A. It also has an adaptable future focused set and twin SABRE DACs laid out with separate capacitors. Get tangible increase in headroom and precision when it comes to audio reproduction.

Pros:

Very fast user interface

Lightweight, compact and durable

Cons:

Google Docs, Spreadsheets etc enabled which have no value for music listener

Brand: ONKYO
Model#: DPX1A(B)
Weight: 7.2 ounces
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6:

FiiO X7 Mark II Smart Hi-Res Lossless Music Player 64GB

The Fiio X7 Mark II offers a new era for music players that are high definition and redesigned to the optimal levels of functionality. Shipped with the new AM3A amplifier module, and an all new design with single ended and balanced headphone outs, this digital player has an 8 channel ESS ES9028PRO DAC audio system. It...Read More

The Fiio X7 Mark II offers a new era for music players that are high definition and redesigned to the optimal levels of functionality. Shipped with the new AM3A amplifier module, and an all new design with single ended and balanced headphone outs, this digital player has an 8 channel ESS ES9028PRO DAC audio system. It even has three separate crystal isolators for sampling rates of different hertz and a dedicated oscillator. It also offers a 64GB built in flash storage and two micro SD slot cards supporting 256GB cards, this digital audio player helps you to carry your entire music library on the move.

Pros:

Modular amplifier design with single ended and balanced headphone output

Three separate crystal isolators for more accurate signal conversion

Cons:

Does not support WMA, WAV, APE, AIFF and many other formats

Brand: Fiio
Model#: Mark II
Weight: 7.5 ounces
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5:

HIFI WALKER H2 High Resolution Bluetooth Digital Audio Player Portable

This HIFI Walker H2 High Resolution Bluetooth Digital Audio Player offers portable, in depth detailed high resolution audio. It also supports distortion-free music with all high resolution film formats such as WMA and WAV apart from Native DSD using famous Texas Instrument DAC. The 2-way Bluetooth 4.0 supports high definition wireless audio in the form of...Read More

This HIFI Walker H2 High Resolution Bluetooth Digital Audio Player offers portable, in depth detailed high resolution audio. It also supports distortion-free music with all high resolution film formats such as WMA and WAV apart from Native DSD using famous Texas Instrument DAC. The 2-way Bluetooth 4.0 supports high definition wireless audio in the form of aptX technologies. It works as a sender delivering signals or a receiver to amplify music wirelessly. The MicroSD slot supports up to 256GB and USB OTG providing for amazing storage expansion. The system can handle up to 14,999 music files! Additionally, its high-grade zinc alloy chassis provides sturdy protection and excellent high resolution earphones.

Pros:

2 way Bluetooth 4.0

In-depth high resolution audio, distortion free HiFi

Cons:

H2 music player does not support FM

Brand: HIFI WALKER
Model#: H2
Weight: 5.4 ounces
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4:

Pioneer Bluetooth and WiFi High-Resolution Portable Digital Audio Player

The Pioneer Bluetooth and Wi-Fi High Resolution portable audio digital player is perfect for those looking for a audio device that is slicker than your average. The 11.2 DSD 384KHz/24bit MQA playback is a wonderful addition. This player offers Dual ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DAC and 9601K for balanced output. It also has 32GB internal memory with...Read More

The Pioneer Bluetooth and Wi-Fi High Resolution portable audio digital player is perfect for those looking for a audio device that is slicker than your average. The 11.2 DSD 384KHz/24bit MQA playback is a wonderful addition. This player offers Dual ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DAC and 9601K for balanced output. It also has 32GB internal memory with 200 GB of 2 MicroSD slots. Its Android OS offers play store accessibility and it comes with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well as aptX technologies. It’s better in every way than the average high resolution file format that delivers the ideal premium audio platform for quality playback.

Pros:

Dual ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DACs and 9601K amps for balanced output

11.2 DSD, 384Khz / 24-bit, MQA playback

Cons:

Model does not come with FM tuner

Brand: Pioneer
Model#: XDP-300R-B
Weight: 6.4 ounces
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3:

Sony NWZX100HNSM Hi-Res Walkman Digital Music Player with Noise Cancelation

Sony NWX100HNSM hi resolution Walkman and digital music player comes with digital noise cancelation and is compatible with a wide variety of file formats including WAV, FLAC, DSD, AIFF, WMA, MP3 and ALAC. It also has noise cancellation earbuds, a Bluetooth with LDAC hi-fidelity wireless music streaming. Additionally, the Walkman has the longest battery life. It...Read More

Sony NWX100HNSM hi resolution Walkman and digital music player comes with digital noise cancelation and is compatible with a wide variety of file formats including WAV, FLAC, DSD, AIFF, WMA, MP3 and ALAC. It also has noise cancellation earbuds, a Bluetooth with LDAC hi-fidelity wireless music streaming. Additionally, the Walkman has the longest battery life. It also offers up to 70 hours of music playback. The MicroSD memory card expansion offers additional storage, and a 24-bit 192 jKz high resolution audio. The clear vocals and perfect bass as well as high ranges are the result of its high-rigidity body. The high-purity lead free solder developed only for Sony products creates a balanced sound.

Pros:

128GB Hi Res portable with digital noise cancellation

Compatible with numerous file formats

Cons:

Glass protector needed because screen is plastic

Brand: Sony
Model#: NWZX100HNSM
Weight: 13 ounces
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2:

Sony NW-A35 16GB Walkman – Digital Music Player with Hi-Res Audio

The Sony NW-A35 16GB Walkman cum digital music player with high resolution audio has a clean, minimalist design. Apart from a sleek body, this digital audio player lives by the adage “less is more.” Its intuitive touchscreen ensures the best music with high resolution audio. High quality DSD playback and a S-Master HX digital amplifier offers...Read More

The Sony NW-A35 16GB Walkman cum digital music player with high resolution audio has a clean, minimalist design. Apart from a sleek body, this digital audio player lives by the adage “less is more.” Its intuitive touchscreen ensures the best music with high resolution audio. High quality DSD playback and a S-Master HX digital amplifier offers pure sound quality. The DSEE HX upscaling is what you need to ensure compressed filed don’t miss out on quality while the Bluetooth connectivity ensures quality streaming. This little beauty has a battery life of 45 hours! And if that’s not enough, it even has 16GB of storage with microSD slot for extra storage.

Pros:

Minimalist design

Long battery life

Cons:

DSD files are storage consuming

Brand: Sony
Model#: NW-A35/B
Weight: 7 ounces
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1:

Pioneer Portable High Resolution Digital Audio Player

This Pioneer high resolution digital audio player is portable, with an aluminum build for improved strength and durability. Removable bumpers ensure maximum ease of use and the 4.7 inch 1280 x 720 touchscreen is needed for navigating musical files correctly. This digital audio player comes with 32GB internal storage, two SD card slots for easy music...Read More

This Pioneer high resolution digital audio player is portable, with an aluminum build for improved strength and durability. Removable bumpers ensure maximum ease of use and the 4.7 inch 1280 x 720 touchscreen is needed for navigating musical files correctly. This digital audio player comes with 32GB internal storage, two SD card slots for easy music storage for extended periods of time and in-built wireless capabilities. This XDP-100R Hi-Res digital audio player is the perfect choice for those looking for a finely engineered device. Its high resolution file formats deliver the best studio quality whether you are listening to a recording or streaming music.

Pros:

Aluminum build fore extended durability with removable bumpers

Two SD card slots for extended file storage

Cons:

Battery is not user replaceable

Brand: Pioneer
Model#: XDP-100R-S
Weight: 0.8 ounces
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With all the new options available, what should I be prioritising?

High-resolution digital audio music players are gaining in value. Whether its FIIO, Sony or Astell & Kern,or Pono, having a high resolution player offers a big improvement over MP3 players. High resolution is better than digital music formats, downloading from sites like iTunes and Amazon and streaming services like Spotify and Tidal. Using compressed file formats with low bitrates improves audio quality by leaps and bounds. High resolution audio players are generally those with high sampling frequency and bit depth than CD-16 BIT. High resolution audio files use sampling frequency of 96KHz or 192 KHz at 24-bit mostly. You also need to watch out for the high resolution audio file formats such as FLAC, WAV and ALAC. The merits of formats depend on the compatibility with the particular player.

Benefits of High Resolution Digital Audio Player

A high resolution digital audio player offers audio that is near perfect in quality. It creates studio recordings or streams music in ways other devices just cannot. Additionally, a high resolution digital audio player has a more efficient bitrate which impacts the sound of the music or audio files. Moreover, these audio players offer high-resolution audio formats such as WAV, MQA, FLAC, WAV and ALAC to name just a few, apart from DSD and MP3 formats. Additionally, the audio player compresses the file without distorting the audio or compromising on the quality of the sound. It offers sleek designs and top brands like FIIO and Sony are even known for their DAC capabilities. High resolution digital audio players also offer wireless and bluetooth connectivity apart from large capacity storage.

Different Types of Codecs Used For High Resolution Digital Audio Player

High resolution audio does not mean just one format, it means many. Audio file formats can be packages using various codecs. These are the languages of the digital audio. The most popular CODECs include ALAC, AIFF, WAV, DSD and FLAC. The most popular lossless format, FLAC was introduced in 2001. This open format reduces the file size though. Apple’s lossless format is ALAC which is used when tracks need to be ripped losslessy. This is open source. AIFF offers large file sizes and less space efficiency than FLAC. WAV is a long standing lossless audio format too. It was created in partnership with IBM and Microsoft. The ultimate audiophile format is DSD. Created by Philips/Sony for their Super Audio CDs, these have sampling rates of 2.8/5.6 MHz which is 64-128 times the rate of CD. It works at 1 bit depth and captures every audio data. The downside? It eats up 5GB per hour to store 5.6 MHz DSD. MQA is Hi-Res eligible. Another codec is aptX HD which offers Bluetooth streaming supports to 20 bit 48 KHz data. So go ahead and enjoy the sweet sounds and music that just sounds the way it was intended to, using these amazing digital audio players.

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