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Opus #2
p2
p3 Sound Quality
p4 Conclusion
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Grand Opus

 

 

The new Opus 2 portable digital audio player boasts a host of features - and is one of the best sounding on the market, says Noel Keywood.

 

The Opus 1 portable digital audio player (DAP) I reviewed in our August 2016 issue was solidly built, smooth in its sound, easy to use and  best of all costs a reasonable £499. The new Opus 2 by way of contrast costs £1250 or thereabouts, so this is a premium player. What could its Korean manufacturer TheBit possibly add that could justify such a price I wondered?

   Their website (www.audio-opus.com) soon made this clear. Where the Opus 1 uses a Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC chip, the Opus 2 uses the more expensive and prestigious ESS Sabre32 series 9018K2M (portable version). It also possesses wi-fi for easy firmware upgrade, and Bluetooth so music can be streamed wirelessly to the hi-fi  – providing it has a Bluetooth link of course. TheBit say it has Mastering Quality Sound (MQS), but this simply means hi-res ability, not to be confused with Meridian's MQA digital file authentication system.

   The Opus 2 is chunky and solid. Measuring 83mm wide (not 76mm as the website thinks), 125mm high and 18mm deep, it will not fit a shirt's top pocket; this player is for a strong trouser pocket, or a bag. On our scales it weighed 254gms and anything over 200gms I rate as heavy. The reason is an ESS 2018K2M chews current and needs a big battery, so to get 9 hours playing time a 4000mAh Li-polymer battery is fitted where 3000mAh is common. Add in a chunky machined alloy case and large TFT 4in touch display panel of 480x800 resolution and you end up with a sizeable player. It had a turn on time of 25 seconds.

   The Opus 2 has a protected, side mounted rotary volume control that is definitely a plus point: it can be twiddled in the pocket without looking. There are 150 discrete levels so resolution is good, and at maximum (150) the player delivers enough output from its 3.5mm headphone socket to drive headphones loud. This same socket also has an optical digital output hidden away inside, for which you need a small, cheap, plastic plug-in adaptor (available from Maplins) into which an optical Toslink cable can be inserted.

 

 

 

Press button controls for Play/Pause and Track Skip at left, with miscroSD card slot and microUSB socket at bottom.



 

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