Whew, finally. I thought expatinjapan would never get to the sound section. Whilst it is true this review stretches longer than my usual reviews, I have found that I have much to say about this DAP.
I have enjoyed it immensely and it has become my current daily commuting Dap, not just because it is next in line for a Head pie review but because I am genuinely enjoying it, both for its sound and the UI.
I have 329 hours on the 3.5mm single end jack, 182 hours on the 2.5mm balanced jack.
Seven battery discharges on the 3.5mm jack, and seven battery discharges on the 2.5mm jack.
When using the Opus#1 Dap I used a wide variety of music, mainly I listened more on shuffle mode so I would not stick to my familiar tracks and so get a few surprises along the way. Occasionally of course I did listen to my favorite albums of course.
The sound of the Opus#1 has changed through the several firmware updates that I applied in the time I have had the Opus#1 in my possession. Though not large drastic changes, I found they tightened it up in areas like the lower bass, more airy in the top end and helped it move more towards a flat response rather than a colored sound.
I myself prefer the Daps/players to be more on the reference/flat side and let my earphones do the coloring.
I used FLAC of various sizes, mainly CD 16/44 but also tried more Hi-resolution tracks.
Some of the earphones I used when demo`ing and reviewing the Opus#1 were:
Campfire Audio Andromeda, Jupiter(balanced out) and Nova, Jomo 6R, Advanced AcousticWerkes W300U, Shozy Zero, ATH-CK10, ATH-ESW11 headphones, Paiaudio MR3 and PR1, MEZE Classic 99 headphones, Echobox Finder X1...
The last Firmware I was using was 1.11.02.
Opus#1 is a number one in my books.
The sound is clear, flat and reference style with little or no coloring.
Lows/mids/highs are all presented well with great coherency.
Excellent instrument separation, width and height within the sound stage.
There are some steps one has to go through to get the EQ working, there is some info on head-fi but as I don`t use EQ I admittedly have not looked into this much. I believe you have to wait 6 seconds for it to kick in - maybe.
(There was an update today that may have fixed this-I haven`t uploaded yet).
I could not detect hiss as such, even with my sensitive IEMs, whilst not possessing a completely black background it gets very close.
The single end is 2 ohms, the balanced jack is 1 ohm. I did find subtle differences, and also used the Centrance Hifi-M8 and its impedance switches to double check my findings.
1 ohm or less is optimum for multi driver IEMs and I hope both jacks are <1 ohms for Opus#2.
To get the most out of the Opus#1 the user would definitely need to own a decent mid fi and up pair of earphones. I found the sub $400 earphones to yield less listening pleasure than the $700 plus. Not to be a Captain Obvious but thats how it plays out.
Battery life is around 9-10 hours. The rest mode is excellent in that it does not drain the battery.
I have enjoyed every day with the Opus#1 and look forward to many more.
I jumped out of the Dap game quite a while ago and stayed with the Apple/portable Dac/amp combos as the earlier Daps were very large and had UI problems etc, then they got a bit smaller yet when I read the forum threads, problems with UI, build issues and firmwares (that seemed to completely change the device etc) were still continuing.
It is only of late that I have decided to step out of my shell and try many of these new generation daps that seem to be getting the basics right, and one of these is the Opus#1.
Neutral, linear, a touch of musical warmth at times, often analytical, flat, natural.
Opus#1, I like it.