In the 1960s, when Japanese electronics were starting to garner serious attention, my dad bought an Eagle brand multimeter. There was much mirth when he read out the section of the manual explaining the obvious fact that a leather carrycase came with it: “Fancy bag will be accompanied.”
My first thought upon opening this superlative high-definition music player from Japanese brand Onkyo was that it urgently needed a fancy bag to be accompanied. The DP-X1 is a thing of some beauty and ergonomic good sense (love that thumbwheel volume control). On the other hand, it’s big, fairly sharp-edged and difficult – even with my big hands – to hold. And the fancy bag costs extra.
Even at £599, the DP-X1 is an affordable HD music player, especially since it has comprehensive format coverage, dual DACs and Sabre amps, balanced output, etc. What you don’t get is a lot of storage – just 32Gb – or great battery life. So for long-haul travel, you’ll need an external battery pack and some 200Gb MicroSDXC cards. That done, you’ll have a player to give Astell & Kern’s £3,000 AK380 a run for its money.