The once-present Apple iPod has disappeared in the sinking, the iconic MP3 player has long been replaced by smartphones. Almost at least, because after all, the iPod touch is still sold and also he has something like direct descendants in the form of high-quality audio players that specialize in music enjoyment. The should allow the entry into higher spheres of the (hi-res) sound, without costing a fortune.
How to evaluate a hi-res player, without opening the barrel with the “Listen-that-ever” discussion? Since this question is discussed extensively in countless forums, we are content with a short version here: Yes, one can perceive differences between MP3 and high-resolution FLAC, even if these are only nuances.
With the Pioneer XDP-02U you can detect and enjoy such subtleties – but first, you must be able to overlook the case. When unpacking and switching mixed namely pure horror with joyous nostalgia: This thick design and a tiny touch screen with 320 × 240 pixels resolution – where does Pioneer still get such components? The workmanship is neat, but the design could be smooth dating back to 2012, just like this LG entry-level phone:
The price -sensitive iPod touch (6th gen, 128 GB) looks much more modern than the brand new XDP-02U. The outdated retro look continues with the user interface of the Pioneer player, everything looks a bit dusty and reacts much slower than a current Android smartphone. One might think that the Japanese hi-fi specialists had forgotten in the development of the XDP-02U that it must be – at least in appearance – with current technology measure. Luckily there are the inner values.
Sonically occupied the Pioneer XDP-02U namely the top of all mobile playback devices – at least here in Germany, where otherwise romp especially smartphones. In the audiophile world, you can easily find music players for three times the price (eg from Astell & Kern), but we will not go there this time. We want to know what you get in the iPod price range. The answer to this is varied, we summarize in a nutshell: fascinating detail, noticeable warmth, bubbling timbres, immersive spatiality, and gripping dynamics. With the Pioneer XDP-02U, you are the iPod touch (6th Gen) a ton ahead and enjoy greater flexibility in terms of playable formats. In addition, the memory is expandable and the device can be used as easily as an external hard drive.
The combination of twin ESS Saber ES9018C2M DACs and two high-performance amplifiers delivers what the manufacturer promises and transports the listener to the dimension of perfect music reproduction. A pleasure beyond compare.
Pioneer XDP-02U in the test: Our conclusion
The Pioneer XDP-02U is an outwardly outdated music player, but fortunately, is fully convinced in its main task: It plays songs in the best possible quality, no matter what genre they come from. The benefits of a smartphone with a jack or a Lightning-to-jack adapter may not be immediately noticeable to any listener, because it takes a little time and rest. However, anyone who has listened to the Pioneer XDP-02U with Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”, Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” or Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” will be able to confirm that the cozy goosebumps are guaranteed gets involved.
Pioneer XDP-02U: Our recommendation for use
To unlock the potential of the Pioneer XDP-02U, four requirements must be satisfied:
- Outer peace: You need a quiet room, without humming, hissing or squealing. If you pick up the XDP-02U in a rumbling subway to hear top-quality music, you will not notice any difference to ordinary MP3 players.
- Inner peace: no appointments, no stress, no distraction. Those who are well-rested and balanced will have the best chance of a wonderful music experience.
- The best possible recording: We bought a few songs from Qobuz and HDtracks from the jazz, classical and pop sectors. This is not absolutely necessary, because even good wave files or even MP3s provide listening pleasure, the main thing is the recording itself is good. Because despite all the fine technology, the Pioneer XDP-02U can not conjure. A bad reception does not make him suddenly good.
- The best possible headphone: We used a Beyerdynamic T90 and for our test, the XDP-02U was able to flaunt its capabilities properly.
Good to know
- Battery: With up to 15 hours okay, but no endurance miracle. Charging is via micro-USB. There were deductions in the rating because the player also unused unloads the battery too fast.
- With the app “Pioneer DuoRemote”, the smartphone can take control of the Bluetooth-coupled Pioneer XDP-02U. We did not find this feature useful.
- WLAN: Only the 2.4 GHz band is supported (IEEE 802.11).
Audio Player Pioneer XDP-02U - Review
The Pioneer XDP-02U is an outwardly outdated music player, but fortunately, is fully convinced in its main task: It plays songs in the best possible quality, no matter what genre they come from. The benefits of a smartphone with a jack or a Lightning-to-jack adapter may not be immediately noticeable to any listener, because it takes a little time and rest. However, anyone who has listened to the Pioneer XDP-02U with Miles Davis "Kind of Blue", Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" or Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" will be able to confirm that the cozy goosebumps are guaranteed gets involved.
- Fabulous sound: The Pioneer XDP-02U blooms in conjunction with good headphones and good source material. However, an iPod touch (6.Gen) sits tight in his neck - the lead is tiny and imperceptible to some people.
- Flexibility: A variety of supported formats, microSD expandable storage and even Bluetooth and Wi-Fi - that's part of a well-equipped audio player. The Pioneer XDP-02U can support MQA, native DSD 5.6MHz playback, DSD-IFF, FLAC / ALAC / WAV / AIFF up to 192kHz / 32-bit, MP3 and AAC.
- Right hardware buttons for volume, forward/backward and pause/play: This feels like it used to and gives the enjoyment of music a little touch, which is missing in smartphones.
- Case design and display: The external appearance of the Pioneer XDP-02U looks hopelessly outdated. The chunky case is at least handy, but the low-vision and the low-contrast touch screen is a joke in 2018.
- Operation: Who is used to a brisk smartphone, wonders about the sluggish touch surface of the Pioneer XDP-02U.
- Although the manufacturer promises that the player is designed to "drive headphones up to 600 ohms" - a little more power at the highest levels would not have hurt. The jack on the MacBook Pro (13 inches, 2014) can handle larger volumes, though it could damage your ears in this area.
Hardware & Display
Software & Operation
Connectivity & memory