Best Portable Hi-Res Audio Players

Best Portable Hi-Res Audio Players are great for audiophiles, and people who appreciate the details in sound. And mostly people who can tell the difference in sound quality, between a regular MP3 and a lossless audio format.

But, they may not be suitable for everyone, because they are usually quite expensive than regular music players, and if you don’t care about the difference a $25 music player would do.

Audiophiles appreciate the listening experience when using a Hi-Res audio player, because they enjoy every level of sonic detail. When the singer takes a breath between phrases, the guitarist’s fingers squeak lightly as they travel up the fretboard, and the drummer coaxes a delicate, shimmering rhythm from his ride cymbal. (source)

That’s what’s unique about High Resolution audio players from an audiophile perspective.

There’s no way of knowing how a product will perform just by looking at it. So, before you purchase a high resolution audio player, I lay before you this checklist, to help you determine easily most wanted features for a better pick.

  • To play lossless formats
  • Beautiful and stylish design
  • Maintain a good size, dimensions and weight
  • Responsive control buttons
  • Smooth and friendly UI (user interface)
  • Good battery life
  • Durable
  • Affordable

If you can identify the above issues, you will find our top 10 best portable Hi-Res audio players worth your time. Also, you should know that we, unlike some other respected well known websites, we have included different price range of those Hi-Res audio players, starting as little as $50. What we did basically is focusing on 60-70% of the reviewed Hi-Res music players to be under $200 mark.

We reviewed each portable audio player, highlighting their design, weight, portability, build quality, friendliness of the user interface, ease of use, durability, battery life and price.

Once you single out your favorite portable Hi-Res audio player from the table below, click “review” to read the in-depth review of it.

Best Hi-Res Audio Players Comparison

PictureModelBatteryRatingStorage SupportedWeightPrice
Hi-Res Audio Player - FiiO X5 2nd GenerationFiiO X5 2nd Gen10 hours4.8/52x 128GB micro SD card165g$300
Review
Best Hi-Res Audio Player - Cowon Plenue DCowon Plenue D100 hours4.7/532GB (IM)+ micro SD card94g$240
Review
Best Hi-Res Audio Player - iBasso DX90iBasso DX9013 hours4.7/52x 1TB micro SD card178g$400
Review
Hi-Res Audio Player - Sony Walkman NWZ A17Sony Walkman NWZ A1750 hours4.6/564GB + 128GB micro SD card 66g$300
Review
Hi-Res Audio Player - xDuoo X3xDuoo X310 hours4.5/52x 128GB micro SD card100g$110
Review
Hi-Res Audio Player - Sony Walkman NW-A25Sony Walkman NW-A2550 hours4.5/516GB IM + 128GB micro SD card66g$200
Review
Hi-Res Audio Player - FiiO X3 Second GenerationFiiO X3 Second Generation10 hours4.4/5128GB micro SD Card140g$170
Review
Hi-Res Audio Player - FiiO X1FiiO X112 hours4.2/5128GB micro SD card106g$100
Review
Hi-Res Audio Player - AGPtEK IMP HiFiAGPtEK IMP HiFi20 hours4.0/516GB IM+ 64GB micro SD card 77g$70
Review
Hi-Res Audio Player - xDuoo X2xDuoo X210 hours3.8/532GB micro SD card50g$50
Review

*IM: Internal Memory

High Resolution Audio File Formats

High Resolution Audio is any format beyond the 16-bit/44.1kHz (CD standard). The higher the bit depth, clearer the sound will be. They are usually found in (APE, FLAC, ALAC, OGG, DSD… etc.) formats.

FLAC files usually comes in 24-bit/96kHz or 24-bit/192kHz and they are the most famous high resolution audio format. The highest sound quality audio is found on DSD 2.8MHz and DSD 5.6MHz format.

To understand better the cycle of high resolution audio, the picture below explains the change in sound quality when playing audio by different formats and audio players.

What is High Resolution Audio

(Source)

From the above picture we could clearly notice that when we convert an audio file, it loses some lossless. For example, when we used a high resolution audio player to play 24-bit audio, we couldn’t tell much different from the original audio recorded. But when we played a 16-bit audio (Standard CD Quality) the difference is obvious, and it is more obvious when we played the MP3 audio using an MP3 player.

What is High Resolution Audio?

Anyone who has ripped a CD to an MP3 file and compare the difference, will know  that the music loses something in the process, a liveliness and realism that makes it much more enjoyable to listen to.

Music producers and artists have long been aware of this, so they capture their recordings at the highest quality possible. (source)

Hi-Res Audio Players Reviews

#1 FiiO X5 Second Generation

Best Hi-Res Audio Players - FiiO X5 2nd GenerationWhen we talk about Hi-Res Portable Audio Players, we have to mention FiiO, because it’s one of the best brands that have been committed to producing quality hardware.

FiiO X5 2nd gen is the improved version of the successful FiiO X5, it is 12% smaller, 15% lighter, it has a new UI (User Interface) along with some overall changes in design and hardware.

Design and Build Quality

The FiiO X5 2ND Gen comes with an aluminum alloy shell that covers pretty much the whole audio player’s body.

The display is 2.4″ with an HD IPS screen, clocked at 400×360 pixels, which is really nice to have, considering the amount of money you are investing in, and it comes with a screen protector, and additional two in the box, to prevent the display from scratching.

Also, it comes with 3 covers skins (USA Flag, Wood Grain and Carbon Fiber), to have maximum protection and cool looks.

The unit weighs 165g (5.82 Oz) which is okay, compared to all the components it stores inside, from PCM1792A DAC decoding chip, to the dual OPA1652 Texas Instruments chips, which are used for dynamic performing to filter the low-pass and voltage amplification, without forgetting the dual silicon crystal oscillators that supplies the most precise timing.

Finally, to attain sufficient driving current for highly dynamic musical performance, and good bass power, the headphone output stage employs dual BUF634U chips for current buffering, which is 67% improved versus the original model.

Setting up the player is a breeze; you simply make sure the battery is charged, insert the Micro SD card, format it in the device and load music.

Control Buttons and Navigation

Most used buttons on the FiiO X5 2nd gen are located on the face of the device.

In the center there is a large clickable wheel to navigate through songs and menus, at the top left side there is a menu button and on the left there is a back button. At the bottom we have two buttons for next/fast forward and for previous/rewind.

At the bottom of the unit we have dual Micro SD card slots, which can support up to 128GB each, and in the middle we have a Micro USB connector for charging and data transferring.

At the top we have two 3.5mm ports, one is for the headphones, and the other is for line out/ coaxial output.

This audio player has the power button on the left side, with an LED light, and the volume buttons up and down. And there is nothing on the right side.

UI Experience

The UI of FiiO X5 2nd gen is pretty much similar to X3, but looks slightly different, with a couple of flaws every now and then. And FiiO’s firmware updates made it much better than the 1st firmware it came with. After all, it’s about sound quality

This music player has four playing modes: sequential, shuffle, loop single and loop all.

One thing I noticed is when adding a new collection of songs to the player, it will take some time to scan the SD cards and include them in the player’s list of songs. Sometimes up to 30 minutes and more, depending on how large is your music library.

But, What I like most, is the new Deep Sleep Feature: When you leave FiiO X5 unattended, the player will enter into a deep sleep mode rather than powering off, which will benefit us in saving more battery, and bringing the player back with a push of the power

Sound Quality

First, let’s clarify that the earbuds won’t do this high resolution music player any justice.

To judge and fairly test this high resolution music player, you’ll have to pair them with good headphones. When you do, you’ll be able to enjoy your Hi-Res music collection

The sound stage of FiiO X5 2ND Gen is much broader and clearer, and what makes the FiiO X5 at the top is being a gapless music player, a feature you can’t find even in some of the priced Hi-Res audio players.

I read one comment about this user who says that he was able to hear new details in 30 years old recordings, and the distinct instrument separation. It’s an amazing feature to be able to listen to songs fading out rather than ending.

Battery

FiiO X5 2nd gen comes with 3300 mAh, which converts to about 10 hours of playtime, and it has a battery indicator showing the percentage of the battery left.

When we use the recommended charging method (DC5V 2A Adapter) it will take 3-4 hours to fully charge this Hi-Res audio player. But if we used a computer USB port, it will take approximately 8 hours.

Features and Specifications

  • Audio Formats Supported: DSD, APE, AIFF, FLAC, WAV, WMA Lossless, Apple Lossless, MP2, MP3, AAC, ALAC, WMA, OGG…
  • 4″ Display screen, 262,144 color HD IPS screen with 400×360 pixels
  • Screen saver
  • Standard 3.5mm Port
  • 4 Play mode
  • Gapless playback
  • Library management
  • 10-Band equalizer (±6dB)
  • 10 Hours battery life (3300 mAh)
  • 5 Different built-in themes

PROS

  • Fast boot-up
  • Great quality components
  • Not expensive compared to other Hi-Res audio players

CONS

  • if you press play on a song that uses a different decoder than the last song played, you might notice a slow respond time (up to 3 seconds stop)
  • Massive collections can be a pain to scroll from A to Z
  • You need to purchase a silicone 3.5mm dust plug, to prevent accidentally connecting to the line out which could damage your headphones.

CONCLUSION

To Sum up, If you’re willing to invest in the best high resolution audio player that has great sound quality and a lot of useful features, and you appreciate “gapless” feature in a music player, then FiiO X5 is your best bet.

IN THE BOX

– FiiO X5 2ND Gen Portable High Resolution Music Player
– Silicone case
– 2x Additional Screen Protector
– 1m High Current Micro USB Data/ Charging Cable
– 3.5mm coaxial S/PIDF Adapter
– 3x Bodywork Stickers (USA Flag, Wood Grain and Carbon Fiber)
– Warranty Card
– Quick Start Guide
– User Manual

For full features, specifications and current price visit the seller’s page on Amazon


#2 Cowon Plenue D Review

Best Hi-Res Audio Player - Cowon Plenue DThe Plenue D from Cowon is a high resolution audio player, including a professional-quality DAC that is capable of 24-bit, 192 kHz playback of lossless audio files, and it’s a good fit for Hi-Fi lovers or anyone looking for portable mastering-quality sound reproduction.

Design and Build Quality

The Plenue D has anodized aluminum body supplies sophistication and strength with a proper ratio from an isometric view for a minimalistic design of best percentages.

The 2.8″ capacitive-touch LCD features a wide seeing angle display screen for decreased color distortions and crisp, clear image quality, along with offering a user-friendly UI with two interchangeable player skins, top quality album art, and multi-favorites and quick-search performance.

The Plenue D provides 32GB of on-board memory and as much as 128GB of growth via the micro SD card slot to increase versatility in storage alternatives, you should know, that it is tested with 128 Micro SDXC card formatted with FAT32 format and it runs great.

Physical buttons for power on/off , volume, playback, and browsing populate the enclosure making sure an easy to use design with the capability to operate from within a pocket.

User Interface and Quick Browsing

The physical music playback buttons blend together with the Plenue D’s UI for convenient and simple control of all music playbacks, offering a contextual use environment, in addition, 2 skins are provided so that users can establish the music playback screen to their taste.

This music player comes with multi-favorite function permits users to put their preferred music on numerous playlists, permitting the development of playlists of varying tastes. In addition, the search function makes it possible for fast access to the preferred tune.

Performance

The Plenue D is geared up with a top quality, 24-bit/192 kHz stereo DAC designed to deliver exceptional sound efficiency consisting of 123 dB of SNR, 0.004% THD+N, and -105 dB of stereo crosstalk.

With this high resolution audio player comes the greatest quality music of a range of categories from the ideal reproduction of 24bit/192kHz lossless and uncompressed formats such as FLAC, ALAC, APE, WAV, and MP3.

The JetEffect 5 offers sophisticated noise correction and compensation controls with an incorporated 5-band EQ, BBE+ sound-harmonic control, Mach3Bass, 3D Surround, MP boost, and reverb algorithms.

JetEffect 5

JetEffect 5 and BBE+ combine to correct sound distortions and phasing issues brought on by either the physical restrictions of a receiver or the listening environment and reproduce sound closest to the original studio recording.

In addition, users can create their own optimum noise, according to their individual preferences by using BBE+ and EQ filters

5-Band EQ Filter: Advanced settings to change the frequency and width of each band

BBE: High-definition effects to hone noise

Mach3Bass: Bass booster to boost very low-end bass

3D Surround: Three-dimensional noise for an enhanced sense of space

MP Enhance: A feature for making up lost sound segments

Reverb: A reverb effect for improved realism

Gapless Playback

The gapless playback feature flawlessly plays the next track to provide listeners with the feeling of a live performance as planned in the original structure

Battery

The Plenue D can deliver as much as 100 hours of constant playback for MP3 files and 51 hours for high-resolution lossless files through its power-saving circuitry and battery.

PROS

  • 100 degree of volume
  • Small size
  • Long battery life

CONS

  • It doesn’t have the ultimate sound quality
  • SD cards must be formatted 32FAT
  • Square edges can be uncomfortable
  • Simple UI (I’m not quite sure if it’s a PRO or CON)

CONCLUSION

Having a high resolution audio player like the Plenue D is a dream come true for music lovers mainly because of the output quality plus the storage memory on the device.

IN THE BOX

  • Cowon Plenue D High Resolution Audio Player
  • LCD Protective Film
  • Leather case
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Quick Guide
  • Warranty Card

For full features, specifications and current price visit the seller’s page on Amazon


#3 iBasso DX90 Review

Best Hi-Res Audio Player - iBasso DX90The DX90 portable Hi-Res audio player from iBasso is a high efficiency digital audio gamer that delivers mastering quality noise with assistance for approximately 24-bit 192 kHz resolution.

Design and Build Quality

iBasso DX90 portable Hi-Res audio player provides a 2.4″ IPS capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels and bonded by OCA.

The top panel has three physical buttons (Previous, Play/Pause, and Next) for transport control. There are 256 steps of smooth digital volume control and 3 gain settings for setting comfortable volume levels.

The system provides support for M3U playlists and includes 8GB of on-board flash storage; expandable with SDXC and SDHC Micro SD cards.

The consisted of burn-in cable television helps the player reaches its complete potential by forming the capacitors and stabilizing the electronic components used.

User Interface

The user interface and battery life, nevertheless, are elements which might definitely be surpassed to offer a more premium general experience.

Fluidity and consistency need to be employed here to validate the iBasso’s $399 cost and provide a more modern-type approach to the Operating System. In spite of this, navigation is still extremely user-friendly due to the work of a touch screen which a lot of it users feel is superior to the scroll wheel of the FiiO X5 Second Generation.

Performance

The built-in 10V voltage swing earphone amp powers the 1/8″/ 3.5 mm headphone output and different line output, while a digital mini-coaxial output is offered connecting to your Hi-Fi system.

The gamer includes double ES9018K2M 24-bit DACs and deals with a range of supported formats, consisting of APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, OGG, MP3, and DSD.

In general, the iBasso DX90 is a supreme competitor in the Mid-Fi portable player sector. What’s more is that the DAP is reasonably expensive compared to the other Astern & Kern audio players. Thus, a sound with high quality can be attained on the go with extra bucks for the extra miles.

Battery

The DX90 uses a 2100 mAh battery like the one used by Samsung S3 (i9003). It offers up to 8 hours of playback, and it takes 3 hours to charge when using AC adapter and 5-6 hours when using a PC USB port.

Considering that this Hi-Res audio player is about $400, they battery could have been at least 30 hours, I dislike the fact that it delivers only 8 hours, even my iPod Shuffle 4th generation after three years of use can perform better.

Features and Specifications

  • Up to 14 hours of play time
  • User replaceable battery (compatible with Samsung S3)
  • Support for M3U playlist
  • Supported Audio Formats: APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, OGG, MP3, DSF
  • 3-setting gain switch
  • Support SDXC and SDHC MicroSD card, up to 2TB
  • 8GB onboard flash
  • 256-steps digital volume control
  • Three physical buttons (Rewind, Play/Pauses, Forward) on the top panel
  • 5mm headphone output, and line out
  • Up to 24-bit/192 kHz mini coaxial output
  • 4″ IPS screen(320×240) with capacitive touch screen, bonded by OCA
  • Built-in 10V voltage swing headphone amp
  • Dual ES9018K2M DAC chips
  • Bit perfect, support up to 24-bit/192 kHz

PROS

  • Powerful Hi-Res sound
  • Fluent UI

CONS

  • Poor battery life
  • Some user don’t like the font size (kind of retro)
  • It’s a bit bulky

CONCLUSION

Taking all things into consideration, the iBasso accomplishes what it set out to do and despite the minor imperfections (battery), it can be declared as an excellent product in their currently wonderful line-up.

IN THE BOX

  • iBasso DX90 Hi-Res Audio Player
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Burn-in Cable
  • Coaxial Cable
  • Screen Protector
  • Carrying pouch

For full features, specifications and current price visit the seller’s page on Amazon


#4 Sony Walkman NWZ A17SLV Review

Best Hi-Res Audio Player - Sony Walkman NWZ A17Listen to High-Resolution audio on the go with the NWZ A17SLV Walkman Hi-Res Digital Music player from Sony.

Design and Build Quality

This music player can store 64GB of Hi-Res WAV, AIFF, ALAC, and FLAC files in addition to other file formats, and its storage can be expanded to 192GB via the micro SDXC slot.

The NWZ A17SLV is geared up with Bluetooth, enabling you to stream the player’s music to Bluetooth-enabled headphones or audio systems. It can display images and videos on its 2.2″ TFT display screen.

This Walkman’s S-Master HX digital amplifier is developed to faithfully reproduce a wide-frequency audio, and the Digital Sound Enhancement Engine up-scales lower-bit rate files to near Hi-Res quality.

Loading music onto the Walkman is as easy as dragging and dropping from iTunes or other media management software application and the player can organize your music by beats per minute, letting you choose music that matches your state of mind.

The NWZ A17SLV Hi-Res audio player features a die-cast aluminum frame and lead-free solder for efficient sound shipment.

Bluetooth with NFC

Connect your player to Bluetooth streaming devices like headsets and stereos and delight in streaming tracks from your Walkman, no wires needed. NFC technology makes coupling with an enabled device as simple as touching them together. Walkman supports the SBC and aptX Bluetooth audio codecs.

State of Mind Music

This Walkman features SensMe tone analysis software application, which allows you to keep your music in tune with your state of mind. The software automatically groups your music into channels based upon beats-per-minute (BPM) so you can select the ideal music for the minute.

Digital Amplification

The Walkman’s S-Master HX digital amplifier is developed to consistently replicate wide-frequency audio, boosting the sonic spectrum.

Digital Noise Enhancement Engine

DSEE HX is created to offer natural noise with a spacious feel by revitalizing the audio signal and restoring the high-frequency sounds stripped by the audio compression process.

Engineered for Hi-Res Audio

The Walkman’s low-impedance motherboard enhances signal integrity while the low-resistance battery connection supplies more effective transfer of present for a more precisely replicated noise. Second, it can accurately expand audio signal bit-depth in real-time to near hi-resolution sound quality.

High Resolution Audio Formats

The NWZ A17 Hi-Res audio players supports native playback of digital music files including high resolution approximately 192 kHz/ 24-bit.

Supported formats include the following:

AIFF, ALAC, HE-AAC, AAC, L-PCM, FLAC, WMA, MP3

Audio Features include

  • SensMe Channels
  • Repeat 1 Song
  • Shuffle and Repeat
  • Shuffle
  • Repeat
  • Normal

Audio Modes include

  • DPC
  • Dynamic Normalizer
  • VPT
  • 5-band EQ
  • DSEE HX
  • ClearAudio+

Video Formats include

  • WMV9: 6 Mbps bit rate, 30 fps frame rate, 720 x 480 max
  • MPEG4: 6 Mbps bit rate, 30 fps frame rate, 720 x 480 max
  • AVCHD: 10 Mbps bit rate, 30 fps frame rate, 720 x 480 max

Also, the NWZ A17 allows you to make use of the FM radio which features 30 programmable spaces/spots that you can save all your favorite stations.

Battery

The player takes about 4 hours to fully charge. When you play MP3 files this Hi-Res music player is capable of providing up to 50 hours of playback, but, if you’re deciding to make it as FLAC player it will deliver an average 30 hours of playback.

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Compact size and lightweight
  • Great performer when paired with Bluetooth Headphones or Speakers

CONS

  • While it’s great to forwarding 5 min audio file, it can be challenging to do that with long audio files.
  • Requires Sony’s MediaGo software (included)
  • Playlist creation cumbersome and restricted to memory location

CONCLUSION

The Sony NWZ A17SLV is considerably less expensive than Sony NW ZX2 their top line model which costs $1200, and it’s their lowest priced Hi-Res audio player today, and the NWZ A20 model is about $100 more than the A17, and there isn’t much competition to a Hi-Res audio player at this price range.

IN THE BOX

  • Sony NWZ A17SLV Hi-Res Audio Player
  • USB Cable
  • Quick Start Guide

For full features, specifications and current price visit the seller’s page on Amazon


#5 xDuoo X3 Review

Best Hi-Res Audio Player - Xduoo X3xDuoo is a company known for a range of portable audio merchandise. I’ve noticed portable dac/amps, standalone desktop amps and really a wide variety of audio merchandise from them floating on the internet.

The Chinese primarily based firm appears to thrive on offering worth for income. It was only about eight months ago we saw their earlier MP3 player launch known as xDuoo X2, the matchbox size player won many hearts and popularity on Head-Fi forums. Fast forward to these days we’re greeted by their newer (bigger brother) xDuoo X3 audiophile player.

Design and Build Quality

The entire casing of xDuoo X3 is produced from the metal back to front, the only plastic pieces located on the unit are the buttons and screen cover. The whole player weighs 100 grams with a length of about 10cm and 1cm thick. It’s fairly light, straightforward to deal with 1 hand and the entire casing could manage a drop or two, there’s something about holding xDuoo X3 which makes you feel like its a strong item, one which isn’t going to fall apart in a hurry. Individuals often describe xDuoo X3 as the ‘TV remote control’ look alike.

When moving around the player you have the dual micro SD card slots running down the appropriate-hand side, above these your volume buttons, on the opposite side you have a lock switch which is very handy for utilizing the player on the go or in your pocket. A lot of new players these days have a button press sequence for locking their players nonetheless, most of it’s customers truly like the strong button on the outer casing which simply locks xDuoo X3 with a quick ‘flick’.

Performance

The newer xDuoo X3 portable Hi-Res music player requires everything the prior model had then ups the ante, from utilizing a properly-recognized Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC Chip, packing dual micro SD card slots for a total 256gb storage, 24-bit assistance and competent user interface, xDuoo push the boundaries what’s on offer you in between the $100 – $150 price tag variety in transportable audio players.

I’ve observed quite a couple of budget players release in my time right here, though none really as fitted out as xDuoo’s X3 for the asking price tag.

It should be noted when your xDuoo X3 arrives, it has a security screen protector already applied. This isn’t a real screen protector merely something applied throughout the manufacturing process to shield the 1.3-inch display receiving scratched.

Sometimes people turn into confused simply because their player looks like it arrived with the screen scratched, however, you simply want to peel this off prior to applying the supplied (and genuine) screen protector.

Features and Specifications

  • Line out Output level: 1.5Vrms
  • Output power: 250mW (32Ω load)
  • Card support: maximum support two 128G TF / Micro SD Cards
  • Amplifier chip: one per channel rail-to-rail high-efficiency amplifier chip
  • DAC chip: Cirrus Logic CS4398
  • Weight: 100g
  • Volume: 105.5 * 45 * 14mm
  • Charging time: <2H
  • Battery Life time:> 10H
  • Adapter Headphone Impedance: 8Ω ~ 300Ω
  • SNR: 110dB
  • Distortion: 0.001% (1KHz)
  • Gain: + 6dB
  • Frequency response: 20Hz ~ 20KHz (± 0.5dB)
  • Operating System: LINUX
  • Processor: the king is smart chip JZ4760B
  • Power: 1500MAH 3.7V lithium polymer battery.

Supported music formats include: WMA, MP3, AAC, ALAC, OGG, WAV, FLAC, APE, DSD, APPLE Lossless, CUE.

The more you look at xDuoo X3’s packaging and contents it’s possible that you can maintain asking oneself how, how they managed to release the player so inexpensive. It arrives in a laminated cardboard box with the outer sleeve well-labeled containing information about the specifications like all the file format support details and description on what xDuoo were aiming to accomplish with their solution.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Fluent UI (very basic one)

CONS

  • No sound controls (Equalizer or bass-treble adjustments)
  • Lack of navigation (you can’t play songs by one particular artist or genre)
  • When you disconnect the music player, and you have large library, it will take approximately 5-10 mins to scan the files.
  • Not that good of battery life

CONCLUSION

If 8-10 hours of battery life is not a priority to you in budget Hi-Res audio player, you will find xDuoo X3 worth the money spent, it costs slightly above $100, with simple UI and no lag when skipping songs, and a better sound-stage and non-fatigue sound signature.

IN THE BOX

  • xDuoo X3 Hi-Res Music Player
  • Micro USB Cable
  • 2x Screen Protectors
  • User Manual
  • Warranty Card

For full features, specifications and current price visit the seller’s page on Amazon


#6 Sony Walkman NW-A25 Review

Best Hi-Res Audio Player - Sony Walkman NW-A25Not everyone wishes to utilize a phone for media playback, therefore the Apple iPod still gets purchasers, however, what if you’re after High-Res audio? Sony’s take on the sector might be something worth examining into, with the business’s investment in High-Resolution Audio, supplying a brand-new era of Walkman products.

Forget about the tape deck from ages earlier, because the new Walkman is about digital media plain and basic, with a screen, physical controls, and even support for more memory. Is this the iPod for people who desire more than what the iPod needs to provide?

Design and Build Quality

The Sony NW-A25 High Resolution Walkman weighs 68g – 2.4Oz, it’s usually referred as the world’s smallest and lightest Hi-Res Audio player, it comes with 2.2” TFT QVGA display (320 x 240 Pixels) with white LED backlight.

It has USB 2.0 certified for charging and information transfers, and is likewise Bluetooth 3.0 compatible and above, with A2DP and LDAC compliance for use with wireless headsets.

The Sony NW-A25 has an internal storage capability of 16GB (expandable by means of micro SD card – approximately 128GB) and supports high-resolution audio formats of as much as 24-bit/192kHz resolution.

Formats supported by the player consist of MP3, WAV, AIFF, WMA, AAC, HE-AAC, FLAC, and Apple Lossless.

With the launch of the NW-A25 in late quarter of 2015, Sony is on a high-resolution spree, having likewise just recently launched the SRS-X99 high-end speaker for $678.48. The business likewise launched a handful of audio products at the recent CES event.

Performance

Sony’s own Operation System used in NW-A25 Walkman might seems a bit funny to people who are used to Touch Screen based OS, because with NW-A25 you’ll have to scroll using a button, and press one to play music.
In general, the UI experience is not quite up to date, but, it’s quite smooth and straight forward.

It does not feature bundled headphones, but permits a frequency response ranging from 20-40,000 Hz when used with separate headsets. The gadget also features certain up-scaling and encoding innovations meant to enhance sound quality, such as DSEE-HX and ClearAudio+, which deal with the NW-A25’s S-Master HX digital amplifier.

Digital Noise Cancelation

It significantly likewise has a digital sound cancelling system, supporting particular environments such as buses, trains, aircrafts and offices. This is a helpful addition, as the gadget can be utilized to turn normal earphones into noise-cancelling ones, and will represent serious value to possible purchasers.

Battery

The table provided below displays approximate hours of playtime, both when Noise Cancelation is ON and OFF, the real use might differ based on sound volume and on display navigation.

FormatsNoise Cancelation is ONNoise Cancelatin is OFF
MP3 128kbps43 hours50 Hours
AAC 256kbps41 hours48 Hours
FLAC 96kHz/24bit35 Hours40 Hours
FLAC 192kHz/24bit27 Hours30 Hours

In general, the battery life delivers approximately 30 hours when used with High-Resolution audio formats and approximately 50 hours when listening to compressed audio formats.

PROS

  • Smooth and Easy to adapt to UI
  • Lightweight
  • Good Battery Life
  • Good sound quality

CONS

  • The device is tall
  • No WiFi, which means no streaming services
  • No search available for individual songs (only through scrolling)

CONCLUSION

The Sony NW-A25 is one of the smallest and lightweight Hi-Res audio players. It provides high quality sound, smooth navigation, reliable performance. If you favor a basic Hi-Res music player with basic Hi-Res sound quality, you might want to try this out, but if you are an Audiophile that wants the “ultimate sound quality” there are better options.

IN THE BOX

  • Sony NW-A25 High Resolution Walkman
  • USB Cable
  • Startup Guide
  • Instruction Manual

For full features, specifications and current price visit the seller’s page on Amazon


#7 FiiO X3 Second Generation Review

Best Hi-Res Audio Player - FiiO X3 Second GenerationThe X3 Second Generation from FiiO is a portable high resolution audio player and USB-DAC for audio enthusiasts. It hits the best, specs, build quality, cost, features and performance.

Design and Build Quality

FiiO X3 2nd generation weighs 135g, it has an aluminum alloy shell, with an all metal chassis and high reflectance fine-grain face-plate brining fit and finish to another level.

It comes in three different colors; Gold, Black and Titanium. It has 2.0” 262K TFT display clocked at 320×240 pixels.

In the front of the device, there is a big scrolling wheel to navigate through songs and playlists, it’s very similar to the one on iPod’s classic, there is a separate back button and menu button, and just below the navigation wheel, there is next/forward and previous/rewind buttons.

From the left side there is a power on/off button, and volume keys. From the right side there is one Micro SD card slot, which can support up to 128GB.

At the top side of the player there is the basic 3.5 mm headphone output and a separate line out/digital (coaxial) out by means of 3.5 mm, and at the bottom we have a USB 2.0 port, which is used to connect the device and sync music, and also to charge the device.

In general, the buttons are labeled and you hear the sound of the click when you press them, they are responsive.

Performance

The user interface (UI) offers six unique themes, while the traditional scroll wheel and 2.0″ TFT display screen offer simple navigation, which supports searching and playback via folders, tunes, albums, artists, genres, favorites, and playlists. The 10-band graphic EQ and the 120-step digital volume control permit customized noise and levels.

The device includes an audiophile grade architecture and premium components efficient in playing files as much as 24-bit/192 kHz in a variety of formats including native DSD, WAV, WMA, ALAC, FLAC, APE, AIFF, and more.

The X3-II utilizes a Cirrus Reasoning CS4398 DAC coupled to a carefully tuned low-pass filter offering exceptionally low sound and phase distortion. Furthermore, the tantalum capacitors in the analog circuit provide very little internal resistance for the very best uncolored noise. Dual crystal oscillators make sure the most affordable jitter and highest precision playback of music at any sample rate, removing conversion artifacts.

The X3II has no on-board memory, but uses a micro SD card slot supporting up to 128 GB. The 2600 mAh Li-polymer battery offers approximately 11 hours of playback under regular conditions.

Song Playback

You can play music either by All Tunes or by Album, Artist, Genres, Favorites and Playlists. Also, the playing modes available are Sequential, Shuffle, Loop Single and Loop All.

Playing songs on FiiO X3 Hi-Res music player is smooth experience, as FiiO always tries to improve their firmware and make it available for users to download, it supports browsing and playback via folders and you can resume your last position where you left off after powering off.

Library Management: FiiO X3 second generation supports and handles favorites and playlists on the player, also, you can delete favorites, playlists, songs and folders on player and it supports batch removal as well.

Hibernation: Player can automatically enter hibernation for immediate wake-up/ playback with minimal battery drain.

Screen Saver: Custom specified screen timeout time.

CUE Sheet Supported: Supports splitting songs by HINT sheets and skipping though tracks within cue sheet.

Features and Specifications

  • 6 Different integrated styles
  • Supported playback: ingrained/ external/ folder-based album art, lyrics and ID3 display
  • Gapless playback supported
  • 120 steps digital potentiometer volume control
  • Power supply security control over analog circuit.
  • Switchable between low and high gain.
  • Equalizer: 10-band EQ (± 6 dB).
  • Adjustable max volume setting to protect hearing.
  • Balance: Max predisposition 5 dB L/R (0.5 dB increments).
  • On/ Off Transients: Output relay avoids on/ off transients.
  • Headset Detection: Playback stops on earphone disconnection.
  • Playtime: Over 11 hours (32 ohms; normal volume with display off).
  • Firmware upgrade through micro SD card (formatted in FAT32 via the X3).

Battery

FiiO X3 second generation comes with 2600 mAh built-in rechargeable battery, it deliver about 11 hours of playtime, depending on the volume, the file played and the Earbuds used.

Now, this Hi-Res music player takes about 3 hours to fully charge. When charging FiiO X3, you will see a red light indicator that indicates charging status, and once it’s fully charged, a green light will pop up replacing the red.

FiiO recommends users to use the DC5V 2A power adapter to charge the music player, as the time might differ and certainly will last longer if you charge the device via a PC USB port.

PROS

  • Fantastic Sound
  • Plays High Resolution files
  • Good Build Quality
  • Reasonable Price

CONS

  • No internal Memory
  • No Bluetooth
  • I wish there was a faster search functionality

CONCLUSION

Owning a high resolution audio player with chassis made from aluminum alloy which features a high reflectance fine-grain faceplate makes the FiiO X3 2nd Generation music player a device built with both style and quality.

IN THE BOX

  • FiiO X3 second generation Hi-Res music player
  • Transparent clear case
  • Black silicone case
  • 2x screen protectors (1 applied in-factory)
  • 3’/ 1m high-current micro-USB data/charging cable
  • 1/8″/ 3.5 mm coaxial S/PDIF adapter
  • Quick reference sheet
  • Quick start guide
  • Warranty card
  • Bodywork sticker labels (USA flag, wood grain, and carbon fiber)

For full features, specifications and current price visit the seller’s page on Amazon


#8 FiiO X1 Review

Best Hi-Res Audio Player - FiiO X1Since FiiO X1 is very similar in terms of design to the FiiO X5 and X3 2ND generation, we’re not going to go in details about the design, instead, we’re going to highlight its performance by reviewing the chips it uses and how they stand out.

Performance

The FiiO X1 Portable High Resolution Lossless Music Player is a pocket-sized audio player with an integrated Texas Instruments PCM5142 DAC chip and an Intersil ISL28291 chip.

The player supports five lossless audio formats consisting of APE, FLAC, ALAC, WMA and WAV. The player has a micro SD card slot that supports up to 128GB of memory growth.

The player is likewise geared up with a 2″ TFT color screen with adjustable brightness, and the integrated Texas Instruments PCM5142 goes beyond the incorporated DAC chips on mobile phones which can be used as dedicated DAC, in addition to the devoted Intersil’s ISL28291 amplifier buffer

Line Output

The X1 supports driving headphones directly and a line output, changing in between the 2 by means of a menu selection. Using the line output you can broaden the X1 by bundling it with dedicated headset amplifiers

Supports Lossless Audio Formats

The X1 supports lossless audio formats APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, ALAC at approximately 192kHz/24-bit of master tape quality resolution – as well as MP3, AAC, OGG VORBIS

Light-weight and Compact

The X1 is made from light-weight yet long lasting aluminum alloys. It’s smaller than a bar of soap and weighs simply 3.7 oz. so it’s easily portable

Intuitive Interface

The user interface is custom-made designed for high resolution DAPs on a complete color display available in gold, silver, pink, orange, blue, and green styles.

But, the original firmware has some bugs, some of the famous bugs are; the songs are limited to 5800 songs, and sometimes the player will lag when skipping or navigating through songs, this is why it is preferable to divide your collection in folders no higher than 1000 songs per folder.

In general the UI flows smoothly, especially after the last firmware update released on 18-9-2015 which fixed the limits of songs that was before 5800 songs, and added multiple languages in addition to the gapless feature which is now accurate and more functional.

Traditional Design

The X1 has a timeless scroll wheel and X key group design, with an OS customized around the scroll wheel. You can browse and play songs and add them by batch to a favorites list. A shortcuts button brings puts instant control of your music library right within your reaches

Supported Music Formats

  • AAC format supported for compressed Apple audio files
  • WMA format supports 96kHz/24-bit audio, which is the greatest lossless format
  • WAV format supports 192kHz/24-bit audio
  • ALAC (Apple Lossless) format supports 192kHz/24-bit audio
  • FLAC format supports 192kHz/24-bit audio for all compression levels 1 from 8
  • APE format supports 192kHz/24-bit audio maximum and 96kHz/24-bit normal and high levels
  • Other audio formats supported consist of OGG, MP3 and MP2

Extra Features and Specifications

  • Port detection automatically stops music playback on headset disconnect
  • MOS change in conjunction with high-fidelity ISL54405 switch removes on/off pop noises
  • Channel balance setting is adjustable in 10 actions from center to left-biased or right-biased
  • Definable maximum volume limit to safeguard versus hearing damage from extreme volume
  • Specify pre-programmed power-on volume, or memorize volume from before power-off
  • Automatic power cutoff to safeguard from DC output and anomalies at the headphone/line out port
  • Supports delete present track
  • Digital volume control with 100 steps of volume
  • Supports Gapless playback
  • Supports screen of lyrics and ID3 metadata
  • Supports album art display screen
  • Immediately splits audio file into numerous tracks defined by attached HINT sheet, and supports selecting tunes within CUE sheets and fast forwarding, rewinding, and avoiding tracks within HINT sheets
  • Adjustable screen brightness
  • Supports user-defined screen timeout intervals.
  • Sleep timer shuts off the player after a user-defined time period.
  • Library management: Supports deleting tunes from the player, defining user’s Favorites playlist, batch choices.
  • Resume modes: supports resuming playback after power off from last played tune or last position on last played tune.
  • Supported play modes: shuffle, in order, loop single song, loop all.
  • Supports playing through all music saved, playing by folders, albums, artists, categories, and playing from user’s chosen Favorites.
  • High speed USB 2.0 data transfer.
  • Expandable storage: supports micro SD cards (TF cards) up to 128GB.
  • Firmware upgrades are supported through Micro SD card (TF card).

Battery

The built-in rechargeable 1700mAh 3.7 V Lithium-polymer battery lasts up to 11 hours on a single charge, and it takes about three hours to fully charge.

CONCLUSION

The battery of FiiO X1 compared to most of the reviewed High Resolution Music players, is quite poor, but, since the sound quality is very good and the price is just under $100, it’s very tempting, especially to someone who wants to enter the Hi-Fi level, and doesn’t want to go over a budget.

This is why FiiO X1 would make the perfect kind of entry to those Hi-Res music players big brands and models, and for the user to taste and feel the difference in sound quality, and sees if he’s ready for more.

PROS

  • Good build quality
  • Good sound quality
  • Great value for the money

CONS

  • Each time you add a new collection of songs, the player would scan through the entire library which takes a good amount of time, especially for those who has really big collections.
  • The original UI has some bugs: until fixed later by a firmware upgrade 2.0

IN THE BOX

  • FiiO X1 Hi-Res audio player
  • 1m high-current micro-USB data/charging cable
  • Transparent clear case
  • 2x screen protectors (1 applied in-factory)
  • User manual
  • Warranty card
  • Bodywork sticker labels (USA flag, wood grain, and carbon fiber)

For full features, specifications and current price visit the seller’s page on Amazon


#9 AGPtEK IMP HiFi Review

Best Hi-Res Audio Player - AGPtEK IMP HiFiAGPtEK is becoming more and more famous name in the MP3 players world, with IMP HiFi 16GB MP3 player, AGPtEK is trying to enter the HiFi arena, by making a competitive and a good sound quality MP3 player that can compete with iPods and low to middle HiFi entry level MP3 players

Design and Build Quality

The construction of AGPtEK IMP HiFi is well executed, it is small in size weighing 79g,  it has aluminum alloy casing, except for the 1.3” OLED touch-screen, it is good in displaying tracks info, but, not that terrific for resolution, however, this is an entry level HiFi music player. So it’s all about the playback.

The MP3 player has slightly rounded edges, with power on/off button at the top, the control buttons are frontal, volume rockers are on the right side, and headphones port at the bottom next to the Micro SD card slot and Micro USB charging port.

The touch screen is extremely responsive therefore; most users have had no software concerns whatsoever.

The only nit-pick users complain about is the rounded edges being a bit sharp, that might be solved with a case though. So far no one has made any.

The internal memory is 16GB, allowing you to load approximately 3000 songs, also it supports as much as 64 GB Micro SD Card, and it’s limited to 4000 Songs! To avoid incompatibility, it is advised to use AGPtEK Memory Cards.

The main menu consists of 3 icons: Music, Settings and Now Playing, one thing to keep on mind though, that this MP3 player does not have FM Radio.

Performance and UI

The interface is quite uncomplicated, it’s actually small, light-weight and made from plastic. On the bottom, there’s a 3.5 mm head jack, the on/off switch and after that the micro USB port for charging. On the side of the device, there’s a micro SD slot for expanding storage.

Designed with volume buttons makes it extremely hassle-free for you to adjust the volume; this AGPtEK player can drive 32ohm earphones to quite high levels of volume.

Press and hold the power button to switch off the player, it will keep in mind the last track you were paying attention to when you turn it back on (extremely beneficial to listen to audiobooks).

Basic features

  • Hi-Fi class high resolution digital audio player.
  • Created with volume buttons and lock button.
  • Very beneficial to pay attention to audiobooks.
  • This AGPtek player can drive 32ohm earphones to rather high levels of volume.

Support several music formats: FLAC OGG APE AAC-LC WAV MP3 WMA.

This player will remember where you got up to and begin with their next time, which is extremely helpful to pay attention to audiobooks.

The UI is extremely instinctive and can be quickly learned without making use of the manual, which remarkably is printed in easily understood English, unlike lots of Chinese item handbooks.

Resolution is specified to be up to 24bit, 48 KBps. File transfer is via drag and drop or one can preload the SD card using a card-reader.

Overall, it has an extremely nice SQ with 5 available presets plus one custom pre-programmed. Each of the 5 presets are subtle, however stress a different part of the audio frequency band. This permits one to match an individual SQ choice to phones with various sound characteristics.

The sound quality of IMP HiFi is great, when compared to relatively inexpensive MP3 players, and what makes it appreciate-able is the Amazon rating: at the time of this review it got 4.2 out 5 in US and 4.6 out of 5 in the UK, which means it’s really good, noting that people there, rate delivery condition and timing.

Battery

AGPtEK tested the battery on MP3 file with 192kps bit rate, while the volume is set to 15 and the MP3 player is locked (black screen) and the battery was about 20 hours. However, they acknowledge that the battery timing will be shorter when playing high quality music.

In general, the battery life of IMP HiFi must be between 15 and 20 hours depending on file bit rate and volume level.

Features and Specifications

  • 3” OLED display
  • 16GB of internal memory
  • Expandable Memory up to 64GB
  • Supports MP3, WAV, WMA, APE, FLAC, AAC, and OGG
  • High strength/ Shocking and crushing resistance
  • Dedicated Power on/off button
  • Memorizing where it left off
  • Lock feature
  • 20 hours battery life

PROS

  • Compact size
  • Good for audiobooks
  • Good battery life
  • Inexpensive

CONS

  • Sharp corners
  • The display might be small for some users

CONCLUSION

In summary, if one is looking for a little, inexpensive but well-crafted DAP with above typical storage capability, instinctive UI and really nice sound, the AGPtEK IMP HiFi should find its place on your short-list.

IN THE BOX

  • AGPtEK IMP HiFi 16GB MP3 Player
  • Micro USB Cable
  • User’s manual

For full features, specifications and current price visit the seller’s page on Amazon


#10 xDuoo X2 Review

Best Hi-Res Audio Player - Xduoo X2The xDuoo X2 is an entry level Hi-Res portable music player especially for low budget music fans. With wise size, lightweight, style outlook, it can be brought conveniently when you are at home, on company, on travel or in anywhere.

Design, Build Quality and Performance

The xDuoo X2 utilizes aluminum alloy shell and overall weight is just 50g, has advantages of lightness and wise size. With HD OLED screen, which preserve battery.

It supports main popular lossless audio formats, as we’ll mention below in Specifications, However, this player has no internal memory, and the only option for the memory is through the TF/Micro SD card option, which supports up to 32GB.

At first, it triggers a doubtful smile, however actually xDuoo X2 looks quite odd, especially compared with other Chinese equivalents. All-metal casing with rear cover offers it a sensation of a costly gadget, and good construct quality additional emphasizes this. In the upgraded version even got rid from unpleasant rattling buttons, ports the impression from the first variation.

While browsing consumer’s reviews about this audio/MP3 player, I found that the main complains were about the mirror screen, it’s quite hard to see track’s info outdoors, especially if it is a sunny day, and some people even talked about how easily it can be scratched.

Acknowledging with the issues mentioned above, and knowing that it costs just under $50, actually it make up for it, especially with the sound quality it produces, I don’t think it would be exaggeration if I said that the xDuoo X2 is the best quality MP3 player under $50.

Features and Specifications

  • Aluminum body
  • Dimensions: 70.6 mm × 40.6 mm × 12.5 mm
  • Weight: 50g
  • Processor: AK2117
  • Amplifier: LMH6634
  • Output power: 250 mW @ 32Ω
  • Frequency variety: 20 Hz – 20 KHz
  • Overall harmonic distortion + sound: 0.005%.
  • The ratio signal/noise ratio: 107 dB.
  • Suggested load impedance: 8Ω– 300Ω.
  • Power supply: integrated Li-polymer battery 2.4 V.
  • Supported formats: WAV, APE, FLAC, MP3, WMA
  • Equalizer
  • 10 hours battery life

PROS

  • Beautiful minimalist chassis
  • Great sound quality
  • Clear tones
  • Very inexpensive

CONS

  • No internal memory
  • Mirror screen makes it hard to read track’s info in bright day and gets scratched easily

CONCLUSION

XDuoo X2 is a fantastic player for those who are simply starting their method the world of quality audio and/or restricted monetary. If you currently have a player of a greater class, xDuoo can be a “2nd option” for those celebrations when worn with a terrific gadget will not work. Obviously, to the more severe models by the noise of the X2 does not hold, however it makes up for it’s size, design, time and, of course, cost.

IN THE BOX

  • xDuoo X2 digital audio player
  • USB cable
  • User manual

For full features, specifications and current price visit the seller’s page on Amazon