PROS: solid build, high res full body neutral sound sig, leather case, responsive touch screen, balanced output.
CONS: price, fw is still work in progress, single uSD (though w/128GB of internal storage).
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
When it comes to audio gear reviews, depending on my schedule I typically have a final write up ready within month or two after receiving a sample. Opus#2 turned out to be an exception. My initial impression was posted almost 4 months ago, and afterwards I continued to feature Opus#2 in all of my reviews as a pair up source or in comparison to other DAPs. I still rank it high, among some of my favorite sources at the current moment, but I never got to a full review until now. This is very unlike me, but I have a reasonable explanation about this delay. Also, I would like to mention that I already covered in depth about theBit, a company behind Opus audio products, in my Opus#1 review, so there is no need to repeat it.
The delay was due to me waiting for the firmware update which suppose to unlock Opus#2 full Android potentials. I believe this feature is still in the works, thus I will update my review later when streaming becomes available. Another reason was due to its little brother (Opus#1) which is still an excellent value considering recent v2 fw update which puts both Opus DAPs on nearly the same level of functionality with an identical GUI, while at the same time widening the gap in pricing after the recent Opus#1 sale, though not sure if it’s temporary. When it comes to the latest DAPs, price is no longer an indicator of the product ranking. It’s not uncommon for people to accept the idea of diminishing returns where you might end up paying a noticeable premium to get the absolute best in sound and build quality. Of course, the “absolute best” is a subjective opinion based on a personal preference and willingness to pay for it.
I think based on the above reasons, Opus#1 got more attention while Opus#2 with its superior performance got lost in a shadow of its sibling. I hope my review of Opus#2 can bring back the attention this audio player deserves because I definitely consider it to be among the top performers in my current DAP review collection. Every day I still reach for it to use in headphone testing and evaluation or just for listening pleasure. So without further ado, let me share with you what I found after spending the last 4 months with Opus#2.
Arrived in a plain looking, but still elegant, all white box, the presentation of the packaging has a typical “smartphone” minimalistic appeal with a model name on the front and a detailed spec on the back. There is not even a hint how the product looks on the exterior of the box which builds the anticipation of what awaits you inside, especially considering quite an impressive spec.
With a top sleeve off and the cover lifted, you will find Opus#2 securely wedged inside of a foam cutout. You can’t help but notice a large touch screen display dominating the view, and at the same time a few design details which clearly put this DAP above a typical smartphone outline. With Opus#2 out, underneath you will find accessory boxes with a leather case and usb cable.
Overall, first impression out of the box was definitely positive, especially when I felt the heft of a solid aluminum construction in my hand.
Besides already applied screen protector and a quality micro-USB cable for charging and data transfer, the only other accessory I was looking forward to was a leather case. Looks like theBit guys decided to continue their collaboration with Dignis, and this time a premium genuine custom leather case was included as a standard accessory.
Even so all metal body of Opus#2 feels nice in your hand, the 252g of weight and larger than an average DAP footprint (124mm x 76mm x 18.3mm) would benefit greatly from grip enhancement which exactly what this leather case provides. In addition to improved and more secure grip, it also protects the surface from scratches when placing the dap on the table or glass top.
The dark navy leather case wraps Opus#2 tight with a solid back panel which has extra thickness to absorb the shock when placing the dap down. The top of the case is completely open, exposing both headphone ports and a power button. Left side is covered, including transport control buttons, though for my personal preference I wish there would be a cutout because sometimes I have to slide my finger across stamped button shapes to find the Play/Pause in the middle. From my experience of using other cases, exposed rather than covered playback control buttons are easier to feel for navigation.
Bottom of the case has a generous opening for mico-USB port which accommodates even bulky cable connectors. Also, the uSD port is covered by the case. The right side also has a generous cutout in the upper right corner to accommodate the analog volume knob and the guards on both sides of it. Once inside the case, Opus#2 is not easy to take out. To remove it, I usually push it out with an eraser side of the pencil through micro-USB port opening. That’s a good thing because you don’t want the case to be loose.
Overall, I really like this leather case and think it compliments Opus#2 very well without hiding the design details.
I already covered quite a few design details while talking about the leather case. The main focus of this DAP is a large 4” TFT touch screen display with IPS panel (great viewing angles) and a decent resolution of 480×800 pixels. Right now I can only judge graphics by looking at the GUI elements and music cover art, but that is enough to draw a conclusion about the quality of the display. Perhaps it’s not as high res as my smartphone, but it’s definitely on par or better in comparison to my other touch screen DAPs.
The display itself is centered in the middle of the front panel, surrounded by a raised bevel of the metal frame. This is a full metal design, and it feels very solid in my hand. A large display opening could add flex to the device, but I found no such issues with Opus#2. Furthermore, the look of a large display on the front can add a resemblance to a smartphone, while Opus#2 offers plenty of design details to make it stand out as a DAP. The analog volume knob on the right size surrounded by the guards above and below it is definitely a nice touch, though they obviously didn’t reinvent the “wheel” here.
What’s interesting about this volume knob is that it has a little bit of loose play, but if you brush against it or while putting it in your pocket, you don’t have to worry about the volume being bumped by accident. The wheel is not tight and easy to turn with a thumb, and the volume will not change until you hear a click. On the left side, opposite of volume pot, you have 3 hardware transport buttons with Play/Pause in the middle and Skip Next/Prev above and below it. The buttons are metal, round, with a good spacing in between for a finger not to press adjacent buttons by mistake, and with a nice tactile click action. These buttons are easy to feel with you finger, leading to my only gripe with a leather case covering them up.
Besides playback transport buttons (on the left) and volume knob (on the right), the sides have nice metal ridges that enhance the grip of the device if you choose to keep it naked, though I personally prefer a leather case which enhances the grip and adds more security. The bottom of the DAP has microSD slot which theBit specs to support up to 200GB, but I would be surprised if the latest 256GB won’t work (though I don’t have one with me to test it). MicroUSB port is right in the middle, and it can charge the internal 4000 mAh LiPo battery to full from empty using 5V charger in a little under 4hrs. With a mix of 320kbps mp3s and FLACs and some occasional DSDs thrown in the mix, on average I was able to get close to 9hrs of a playback time with wifi and BT off.
Obviously, the same microUSB port is used for data transfer from computer when configured in MTP media device connection mode, just like you would with your Android smartphone. The same port is used for your USB DAC connection (as an external USB sound card connected to your laptop/PC) or OTG USB DAC. I was successfully able to connect Opus#2 to my Galaxy Note 4 with OTG microUSB to microUSB cable to use Opus as an external USB DAC to my phone. Unfortunately, even after installation of provided Windows drivers, I didn’t have success with my Windows 7 laptop due to driver issues with my Windows, but I have read from a few other people who had success with their newer versions of Windows, and also no issues with MAC where drivers are not even required.
Top of the DAP has a metal power button in the upper right corner, nice tactile response as expected, and with a typical functionality of long press to turn power on/off and short press for screen on/off which also wakes Opus#2 up from a deep sleep power saving mode. Next to it you have 2.5mm TRRS balanced headphone port with a common A&K wiring. In the upper left corner, you have multi-function 3.5mm headphone port which not only serves as Single Ended TRS jack, but also has Optical output to drive s/pdif digital data into the external DAC/amp. Furthermore, 3.5mm port also turns into Line Out when selected from within DAP, and this is not just cranking the volume up to the max, but actually working as a clean Line Out output from the internal DAC to bypass the internal Amp for external sound processing. Unlike Opus#1, 2.5mm Balanced output here doesn’t need to be enabled, it’s always on in parallel with 3.5mm SE output.
I was definitely pleased with a design since lately I have been favoring touch screen navigation over clicking buttons or mechanical wheels, but overall Opus#2 doesn’t have the most compact footprint especially for those with smaller hands. For me personally, I usually hold it in my right hand with thumb controlling the volume knob while I touch swipe with left hand. For Opus#1 owners, Opus#2 is just a little bit wider and longer, and you will feel right at home going from one to the other, especially since after fw 2.0 update the Opus#1 GUI looks identical to Opus#2. The bottom line, this is a VERY solid design with a well laid out ports and external controls.