Pioneer launches XDP-100R the first MQA hi-res audio player

pioneer xdp100rLast week I attended the UK launch of Pioneer’s new digital audio player (DAP), the XDP-100R. The new hi-res music machine also has bragging rights to being one of the first products compatible with Meridian’s MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology.

A small band of audio journalists were gathered at Gibson’s Brand HQ in London, just off Oxford Street, to get up close and personal with the Pioneer XDP-100R.

Not only does Pioneer’s high-resolution player look good, it has a pretty special spec sheet too.

The XDP-100R is Pioneer’s first portable hi-res player and launches following an initial announcement back in September and comes packing MQA support.

PIONEER XDP-100R LAUNCHMaster Quality Authenticated is a music technology from Meridian which promises to package studio quality master files so they take up less space for hi-res streaming and downloads using, what they term as, audio origami. This means that however the final master recording left the studio when the artist, producer and engineers were all happy with it – if you have the hard/software MQA decoder – that’s exactly what you’ll hear.

Saying that though, we will have to wait for a firmware update early next year for the players to get all the necessary smarts.

pioneer xdp100r front and backThe XDP-100R is an Android Lollipop-powered touchscreen device, with a 4.7-inch Full HD display.

Tidal, Spotify, Onkyo Music and Qobuz comes pre-loaded to get you on the Hi-Fi trip straight away. But, being Android, Apple Music and BBC iPlayer Radio and much more are up for grabs from the Google Play store. There’s even a folder of ‘Useful Apps’ which links to Deezer, and various Onkyo and Pioneer remote control apps.

Format support is extensive and includes everything from low-res MP3s all the way up to DSD and 24-bit/384kHz FLAC/WAV files.

Pioneer hi-res audioYou can use Pioneer’s own X-DAP Link app to transfer any other music files stored on a computer or just drag and drop your way through your FLAC collection.

Internal storage is a bit of a sorry 32GB, but this can be increased monstrously thanks to two microSD memory card slots (which can support up to 200GB each) – so you could potentially be rocking up to 432GB worth of tunes! Take that iPod Classic!

There’s aptX Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support, and connectivity includes a micro USB output and 3.5mm auxiliary and headphone ports. I refuse to mention the speaker as, well, it really shouldn’t be on a player like this if I am honest.

Pioneer claims that the player features a high-grade DAC and specially selected internal components to help reduce noise and improve audio quality. There’s also built-in sound adjustment, such as 384kHz upsampling and realtime DSD conversion to 5.6MHz.

PIONEER XDP-100R INTERNAL DESIGNWe were shown how all the audio tech has been kept separate from all the other bits under the hood, with even the power being carefully routed.

The homescreen also has buttons for ‘Line Out’ and ‘Stand Alone’ – Line Out sets the volume to max so you can control it through an external amp, whereas Stand Alone turns off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and the LCD screen in order to cut off all electromagnetic signals besides what’s required for audio.

The Pioneer XDP-100R is available now in black or silver finishes for £500 and I have one so stay tuned for a review soon!