Questyle QP1r Digital Audio Player
With a wealth of global patented technology, Questyle Audio are a company dedicated to the design and manufacture of high quality audio products for use in the home and portable settings. The company, which has subsidiaries in China and the US, have dedicated large proportions of their research & development in perfecting high-end audio reproduction. More recently, via Australian distributor Audio Dynamics, their products are now available locally.
After setting themselves a goal to create a portable audio solution, Questyle have recruited all of their efforts and technical prowess to rethink the Hi-Fi listening experience. The result, just after three years, has culminated in the QP1r Digital Audio Player; a machine employing a twin-steering wheel design, pure class A capabilities, support of DSD128 and impressive build. As if that was not enough, the DAP runs with quiet operation while simultaneously being able to drive high-impedance headphones.
The QP1r retails for $1,599 which places it in competition with several other higher-end audio players including but not limited to Fiio's X7 ($945), Cowon’s P1 Plenue ($1399) and of course Astell&Kern's offerings. The DAP improves over its predecessor with the inclusion of higher grade resistor and capacitor components which propels it towards the higher levels of resolution and performance.
The Design & Build
Questyle have gone to far lengths with the design of their product and it certainly shows. Encased in a CNC-machined aluminum body, the QP1r sports a champagne-gold or space-grey anodised finish complete with Gorilla glass merged into the anterior and posterior of the device.
On the front, the QP1r supports a 43 by 39mm colour screen amidst an all-black finish. While not the largest of screens, Questyle have allowed users to enhance legibility by increasing the font size in their latest 1.0.6 firmware release. Further down, users are greeted with the navigation wheel inspired by a ‘spinning CD’ as CEO Jason Wang described it. Adjacent to this are 4 buttons on each corner of the navigation scrolling wheel which represent the home, return and left & right keys respectively. The tucked waist completes the surface of the DAP with a unique but stylish design flair.
On the top, Questyle have chosen to implement a luxurious and elegant volume control in the shape of a crown inspired by a high-end watch. Jason Wang says that this implementation was embarked upon for two reasons: the first for an aesthetic and timeless appeal and the second to define the QP1r as a precision instrument. A smart decision on their behalf to not only make their DAP distinctive in a market of metal blocks but also to add a touch of luxury. On the far right of the player rests a dipped line-out & optical output and on the far left, a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The bottom edge hosts the charging port sandwiched between two micro SDXC card slots. While the QP1r has a 32 GB on-board storage capacity, each micro SD card is capable of up to 128 GB storage boosting the device’s capacity to a total 288 GB. Finally, on the left edge of the player is the single power on and off button.
With regards to the weight, the Questyle measures in at a modest 218g. Now while this will not compromise portability at all it would have been nicer to have a slightly reduced dimension and mass to improve ease of use. Having said that, the weight of this product does make it incredibly sturdy and premium feeling to the touch.
The QP1r adopts a 2.35" 400 x 360 IPS colour screen which is embodied within the toughened glass structure. Together with the curvilinear metal and glass combination, the device truly stands out aesthetically.
In contrast to the Fiio X7’s larger and capacitive screen, the Questyle QP1r pays homage to the retro iPod design whereas the former towards the modern smartphone era. Both have their advantages but the X7 in my opinion has better practicalities from a large music collection standpoint. Nevertheless, the Questyle screen is fitting for the look and appeal that the company are going for.
A dual balanced-armature earphone called Rock-it Sounds R50 ignited my interest for all things audio. Since then, I have been enthralled with psycho-acoustic impressions ranging from gear such as IEMs to DAPs and eventually full-sized headphones.
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