Firstly I would like to thank Audio Opus for selecting me to review their latest player; I always try to write honest reviews. This player has had well over 50hrs of burn-in and has been my daily player for a while before reviewing, it has been tested with multiple headphones at home and at work.
You can purchase it here from MusicTeck
You can purchase it here from MusicTeck
Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
The Opus #3 comes in a similar box to its siblings, but in dark grey this time. The outer grey sleeve has the model number on the front, and tech specs on the back, once this is removed you are greeted by a blue box made of hard cardboard. Lift the top cover off and you are greeted by the Opus #3 held tightly in a velvet intray, underneath you will find the included accessories. The packaging has a very premium feel to it, and also serves its purpose of protecting the player during shipping. My leather case came in a separate small grey box.
The Opus #3 is well built like the rest of their players; it has an aluminium main body, which is CNC milled and expertly finished, and a plastic backplate. Now I have seen people say the plastic makes it feel cheap, but here is my opinion, the plastic used is very good quality, the texture is great and also Bluetooth connectivity is very good, where an all metal chassis could affect this. All the sockets and ports are tight with no play in them, however the volume wheel does have some play in it. It does not affect functionality, but it is something I have always disliked in the A&K players (The Opus #2 wheel has very little play).
Accessories included are a manual, USB cable, extra screen protector (one is factory fitted) and a very nice Dignis leather case. Everything you need to get going apart from a pair of headphones (which you have if buying this player).
Usability and Bugs:
First off the Opus #3 has the same UI as the other players in their range, it is a stripped back version of Android made for music playback. The main difference is the Opus #3 now supports streaming, but with limited 3rd party support. The UI of the main playback app is perfect; it has playlist support and is very intuitive and easy to use. You get the usual EQ settings, multiple gain settings, settings to change the DSP Processing (Auto, 16 or 32bit), balance settings and gapless on or off.
You can toggle Line-out to use with external amps, this is not a true line out and the gain settings affect the gain on the line-out, but at middle gain it is set at 2.1vrms, and the quality of the amp stage is excellent so the line-out quality is perfectly acceptable. The 3.5mm jack can also be used as an optical output. You get aprox 8-10hrs playback out of this player, which to me is not an issue.
This player has a touch screen which is good quality for a music player, with good viewing angles, and also has a couple of hardware buttons on the side for skipping tracks, and playing/pausing music, it can also be used as an external DAC/Amp via USB.
Now to some issues:
Firstly to install apps, you have to sideload them and install from the APK, which is awkward and brings another problem (To install, go to settings > streaming, then you click the little plus at the top, select the app you want o install, then install. You must press close after installing, and not open the app straight away).
I have found that because apps don’t automatically close when you go out of them back to the regular player, the player gets very hot due to processes running in the background.
To solve this you have to long press the app, and force close it, so not great.
The only other bug I have come across is that using a 3rd party app, Bluetooth output stopped. Again these are issues that will hopefully be fixed in firmware updates. And when using as a pure player, I have had no issues.
My opinions here are in comparison to the Opus #2 which is my reference point.
The Opus #3 sounds a little colder in comparison to the #2, it sounds a little leaner but has the perception of being more detailed upon first listen. I wouldn’t say it is harsh, or bright just very neutral, towards maybe a little cold/analytical. This works wonders with most headphones, and brings out a little added sparkle in some more boring headphones, yet it still somehow works well with slightly brighter headphones. I would have thought it would become piercing, but again these are not night and day differences.
The differences are small, but still there, the highs are very controlled and detailed without any harshness. This means that even though it has a tiny bit more presence up top compared to the #2, it is not a fatiguing listen.
It’s always hard comparing 2 players that are so similar, but they are both fantastic pieces of kit, the #2 still edges it out with overall refinement and effortless sound, but the #3 in some ways is more exciting and more likely to reveal unheard nuances upon first listen.
The Opus #3 has better attack and a drier sound, the Opus #2 is overall slightly more organic sounding.
Conclusion: Audio Opus have done it yet again, a very nice player at a very good price compared to some of the competition. It offers a very engaging sound that is balanced, detailed and works wonders with nearly all portable headphones, and some harder to drive ones too. It has plenty of features and with firmware being updated regularly the bugs will be fixed.
Sound Perfection Rating: 8.5/10 (Superb player at a good price, firmware needs a little work)