Review: ATC HiFi HDA-DP20 DAP

Firstly I would like to thank ATC HiFi for this sample, it has had well over 100hrs of burn-in before reviewing.

Gear Used: HDA-DP20 > Grado SR60e / Inearz P350 / 64 Audio U6 / HiFiMan RE2000 and more

Tech Specs:

Packaging, Build quality and Accessories:
The DP20 comes in a neat little matte black and orange box, with specs and info on the back and the model number on the front. It is a two piece box that slides apart, inside you will find the DAP neatly held in place in a card tray. Underneath this is a small box with all the accessories in. It is a really nice looking and not overly bulky box and a pleasure to open.

The build quality is very solid, the DAP is all metal and feels very well built with no flaws to be seen. The outputs are all solid with no play; the volume pot is stepped and feels great. The scroll wheel and buttons are all easy to use and feel great; there are no issues with the build quality in my opinion. The edges of the metal surrounding the volume pot are a little sharp but nothing that I have personally had issues with.

Accessory wise you get a nice little fabric carry pouch, a cable to use the coaxial output on the bottom, a micro USB cable and lastly you get a 32GB Sandisk MicroSD card which is a great addition. It’s not a lot of memory but these days you buy a player and need to go and buy a memory card straight away usually, at least like this you can pretty much use it out of the box. Plenty of accessories and everything you need really.

Features and Ease of use:
The DP20 has quite a few nifty features and I will try and list the main ones.

You get a dedicated line-out on the bottom, that can also act as a coaxial output for use as a transport with an external DAC.

It has high and low gain, USB DAC function, gapless playback, EQ, adjustable max volume, playlist support and favourites.

The DP20 has a simple and easy to use interface; it supports folder view but also the categorised view with All songs, Artist, Album, Genre, My favourite and Recently played. There are 2 settings menus, one for playback one for general, in these you can toggle the gain, USB mode, Line-out or Coax out, sleep time, screen brightness and time off duration, and it also has a couple of different themes. There are plenty of options in the settings to customise the player to your liking.

The now playing screen has the album artwork, file name, duration and the screen is relatively sharp for its size however the text is quite small. Pressing the back button from the now playing screen takes you to the folder you are playing from.

If you press the options button whilst on the now playing screen you are presented with a few options: Gain, Order of play, Shuffle playback, Repeat modes, Add to favourites, Add to playlist and also Delete file. This is a really handy little menu when tracks are playing.

The only thing I don’t really like about the design is the headphone output is on the bottom, the opposite end of the volume control. This means adjusting volume whilst it is in your pocket is harder.

Battery life wise, you get roughly 8-10 hours out of the DP20, which is fairly average for DAPs at the moment.

The DP20 has a volume wheel on the top, recessed and covered by the DAPs case so it is not easy to accidentally change the volume when it is in your pocket. On the left side you have the power button which toggles the screen on/off too and also 2 playback buttons for skipping tracks. Just below these is the micro SD card slot, on the front you have a scroll wheel for menu navigation, and next to it 3 buttons. One is the play/pause button which is also the select button, a settings button and below that a back button. The layout is a little odd but once you have been using it for a couple of days it’ll come naturally.

The DP20 actually sounds really good, I have been listening to both the DP10 and DP20 and it is hard to pick which I prefer. The DP10 has a more reference sound that is highly detailed, it also has 2 micro SD cards and more output power, however the DP20 is nicer to use and has a slightly smoother and laid back sound. Compared to my reference player the Opus #2, the DP20 has a sort of lush and warm sound signature that is not harsh or fatiguing in any way.

The DP20 is very controlled sounding, and also slightly more refined than the DP10, having a more holographic and expansive sound. The lows are full bodied and articulate adding a little warmth to the sound. The mids don’t really stand out, they are just well detailed and smooth, the highs lack a tiny bit of bite over the DP10 and Opus #2 thus making it a very easy to listen to DAP. The separation, layering and soundstage are all very good on the DP20, creating a refined and holographic sound that is also resolving. The sound is very coherent and pleasing not allowing the warmth to sacrifice finer details in the music.

Conclusion: Again this is a tough segment of the market, with a lot of competition; the DP20 fits in quite nicely with minimal added extras. It focuses on being a music player, and in that sense it is excellent, it does not have Bluetooth or Wifi but what it does have is excellent build quality and great sound quality. If you want a no frills, dedicated player that offers a relaxed and smooth sound the DP20 is well worth looking in to. The added feature of being able to use it as a DAC is an added bonus. Now regarding value for money, yes there are players with more features for the price, but the sound of this is actually worth the price in my opinion, and the build quality really is superb.

Sound Perfection Rating: 8/10 (Smooth, refined and easy to use)