Firstly I would like to the The Bit for offering me a discount on the Opus #1 in exchange for a review, I did not receive this sample for free. I always try to write honest reviews.
This DAP has had well over 50hrs of use, no differences were noted.
Opus #1 > Normal output > InEarz IE-P350 / AAW W300 / T5p 2nd Generation and more
Opus #1 > Balanced out > InEarz IE-P350 / AAW W300
Opus #1 > Optical out > Matrix Quattro II > Feliks Audio Espressivo > Fostex TH-500rp
Comprehensive list can be found on the product page
Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
The Opus #1 has very sleek packaging, a matte black outer sleeve with Opus #1 Ver 1.0 in silver on the front, with technical specifications listed on the back. Take this sleeve off and again you have a matte black box, which separates and you are greeted by the Opus #1 held in a foam intray. Underneath this you will find the manual, a screen protector and the USB cable. I really like the understated packaging, no frills just a nice quality box that isn’t unnecessary and looks great, along with keeping the product safe during shipping.
The Build quality is very nice, The Bit were kind enough to send a genuine leather case with mine. The body is ABS plastic, but this does not detract from the feel of the device. The front has a nice touch screen, the back is glass too. On the sides you have volume buttons along with FF/Pause/REV buttons. All the buttons feel of good quality, you have a standard Micro USB connector on the bottom for charging and file transfer, and on the top you have a 3.5mm headphone out socket which doubles up as the optical out, a 2.5mm Balanced output (A&K Pinout) and the On/Off button. No issues with the build quality at all.
Accessory wise you get a screen protector which I installed straight away, and you also get a micro USB cable. That’s it for accessories, the leather case is an optional extra I think, and is well worth purchasing as the finish and fit are excellent, and it does not hinder using the DAP at all.
Features and UI:
This DAP is designed for music playback only, which I think is great. It has no unnecessary features, just a stripped back music player. This DAP supports 2 x MicroSD, so you can get up to 400gb of external storage, along with a 32gb internal memory, that is a lot of music so I really like the fact it supports that much memory.
The optical output is very handy if you want to hook it up to your home listening system, the balanced output is slightly more powerful than the regular headphone output, and also has lower crosstalk, another great feature as it uses the same pinout as A&K players so there are plenty of compatible cables out there.
The hardware buttons are great for navigating when the player is in your pocket, the screen resolution is great and the screen is also responsive to touches. Viewing angles are not a problem, but you may need higher brightness levels when using it in bright sunlight.
Battery life is rated at 8-10 hours, and there is no fast charge option. For me this is not a problem, I easily get a couple of days usage on my usual commute and this would only be a problem if you are planning to go away for a few days without a charger (very rare scenario in today’s world).
The UI is great, it is based on Android but you wouldn’t notice. It is stripped back to the bare minimum, with just music related options. You have Songs/Albums/Artists/Genres and Folders to find your music. Updating the library only takes a couple of minutes, in the quick settings you have brightness, balanced out, EQ and Sleep.
If you dig deeper you can change the L/R balance, user EQ, Languge, Auto Display off, Set Sleep time and all the system info/update/initialize.
No wifi, or apps, which I appreciate, The Bit have done what people want, a pure music player that is easy to navigate yet has some great features, and great spec, I have not found the Opus #1 to be slow ever, it is responsive and easy to get around, there is however a very small delay when pressing play/pause sometimes.
I used this with multiple headphones, I have had a few DAP’s to try to replace my iPod Classic, and this is the best one so far, and has replaced my aging iPod Classic.
The Opus #1 first off has plenty of power, it can drive sensitive IEM’s with no hiss or background noise, to bigger full size headphones with ease. I was listening between 50-70 on the volume level with my CIEM’s and also the T5p 2nd Generation, and the volume goes up to 150.
Now on to the actual sound signature, to me it sounds flatter than most other DAP’s I’ve tested, the iPod Classic in comparison sounds lifeless and a little dull, it does not have the layering or detail retrieval this has, yet it was my day-to-day player for about 4 years.
The Opus #1 has a way of bringing out every detail in your music, in a very neutral way, there are no noticeable dips or peaks anywhere, or any added warmth. With players like the Lotto Paw5000 and Paw Gold, they are both excellent players, but both have a more lush and warm sound signature, which is great when paired with the right headphones. But I prefer a more neutral sound, it works better with my gear, and it’s also better to match the headphones to the source in my opinion.
The Hidizs AP100 was a very good player too, but the UI was not very intuitive, and I just found it lacking on the whole. The same with the Fiio X3 (1st gen) I used it for a while, but limited storage and not the best UI made it not quite good enough.
The Opus #1 sounds very clean and precise, I don’t feel like the player is the weak link anymore as it has enough resolution to outdo what most headphones can portray. I don’t need to carry 2 devices to get the level of fidelity this player has, I never feel the need to carry a separate DAC/amp with this, and it works very well with some headphones that sounded a little dull out of my iPod Classic.
Some might find the Opus #1 to sound a little clinical and analytical, but to my ears, it is not harsh in its portrayal of detail, it just has it all there where it should be. It is also not thin, what it will do is show you the true sound of your headphones of choice.
The overall sound is very well balanced, open and detailed, the soundstage is wide, there is no hiss and overall a superb sounding player if you want neutral and detailed sound.
Conclusion: Well in terms of audio quality, this punches above its price point, it can compete with higher priced players, and also deliver the detail from many good desktop systems. The firmware gets updated quite quickly, so I can see this being a killer player once it is fully stable (very stable already, only a few improvements to be made). UI is very good, storage is excellent and it has the high quality sound and also file format support you would expect from a player like this. I see good things in the future for The Bit, and look forward to seeing what they have in store.
Sound Perfection Rating: 8/10 (A great player, at a great price, just need a few minor firmware updates)