I have a feeling 2017 will be the year when high-resolution portable music players, so exotic until recently, start to become almost mainstream. Continuing improvements in both headphones and music downloads mean that if you want to listen to really good quality tunes on the move, there is an ever-expanding range of players to do it with. This, from Pioneer, is rather special. It will play anything you throw at it, from old MP3s to 24-bit/384kHz FLAC, WAV and AIFF files, DSD formats and – a first in a music player – the nascent MQA technology, which is emerging as a way to package high-res files in a more efficient and better-sounding way.
The Android-based XDP-100R has something else to commend it too – the ability to host humungous storage space. It has an acceptable 32GB on-board but also boasts twin slots supporting microSD cards – for the price of two £80 cards you can get 400GB of music, among the most for any player. And if that’s not enough, the device also comes with the Tidal app for streaming yet more high-res music.