August 3, 2020

Gadget Generations

Tech Review of your favorite gadgets

Dethonray DTR1: Minimalistic UI, Purest Sound!

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Whenever one is introduced to the world of audiophilia, he comes in contact with various audiophile terms one of those many terms is DAP, which stands for digital audio players, The question is – why do you need a dap in the time of smartphones? Every now and then we have new daps coming in the market. The makers are heard boasting about the fancy UI, streaming capacity, high memory, and many other features. The DAC chips are evolving, the engineering is evolving and so is increasing the user demand. But amidst all these factors, the maker of Dethonray DTR1 chose just the sound quality as the major feature and boy did he succeed in touching the perfection.

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Dethonray DTR1 With Cover

Dethonray DTR1 needs no introduction. There is nothing to talk about this dap than the sound quality. When they say that fancy chipsets don’t make any sense unless there is a good implementation, they say it right. In the worlds of AKM 4499, the DTR1 can be said to implement an archaic chipset (AK 4490 EQ) but the implementation has kicked all those fancy daps out of the room. And there goes the answer to the million-dollar question – why should you buy this dap? DTR1 has exceptional sound quality, so great that you do not want anything else. Forget the slickness of the UI of fancy daps and the fast scrolling of the music folders there, the rawness in this dap is going to make you surrender.

So before we tell you more about this beautiful sounding piece of art, you can buy the device from Hifigo here.

Technical Specs:-

On paper the Dethonray DTR 1 has the following specs:

The AK4490EQ which is paired with a Class A amplification system, a micro-sd card slot that supports cards up to 2TB of storage, supports PCM up to 24-Bit/192kHz, DSD up to DSD64, has two output ports one 3.5mm headphone out and one 3.5mm line-out port. As I have mentioned earlier the specs might feel really outdated on paper but it is the implementation that matters and the DTR1 sound outstanding.

Build Quality:-

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Dethonray DTR1

The DTR1 has got a minimalistic design to itself, it just has a five-button setup on the front with a small screen, yes you have to operate your entire music library with the help of these five buttons and that might feel like a hard task, but thankfully the DTR1 supports multiple folder levels which makes it very easy to navigate through your music library. On the right side it has the micro-sd card slot along with the volume controls and power on/off switch, on the left side there is nothing just plain body and same on the top, on the lower end we have got the charging port, reset switch, and both of the output ports. On the backside, we have got a glossy black plain glass back with Dethonray logo branding at the lower part.

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Dethonray DTR1 Backside

Overall the build quality of Dethonray DTR1 has got a very good minimalistic design, it looks really simple and elegant, yet feels classy and premium. you can easily put it in your pocket and carry it with you with ease.

Screen Quality:-

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Minimalistic User Interface

Well, this is something I didn’t like about the Dethonray DTR1, it has got a good size display, but the issue is the display doesn’t has good contrast ratio and it will make someone blind in bright sunlight as one simply can’t see anything on it. This is the only drawback which I found during my entire time with the DTR1.

User Interface:-

The system software on the Dethonray DTR1 is based on the Linux operating system, it is very fluid and smooth even with large size memory cards the interface is smooth and lag-free. I have tested the device with a micro sd card of 400GB with around 5000 FLAC songs loaded on it and the device read through the database in seconds, I was really amazed by this lightning-fast read speed by the device.

Some might have a feeling that ranging through your library might be an issue with so many songs and just 5 physical buttons to navigate around. The DTR1 supports multiple levels of folders so you can easily make different album folders put them in different artist folders and can navigate through your entire library easily. Though I must say that this is not as easy as navigating in an Android-based player but it is no rocket science either.

Sound Quality:-

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DTR1 with DUNU DK-3001 Pro and Tin Hifi T4

The sound quality is the place where this simple looking device put many other fancy audio players to shame. It offers a brilliant natural sound output with natural imaging capabilities and provides a powerful sound output through its 3.5mm single-ended headphone output port. The output is completely noise-free. It provides a clean and dark background to my music, making the micro details shine out with glory. I am actually amazed by the output power of this single-ended output it puts my Hiby R6 to shame with its output power. There are many earbuds of mine which I didn’t like before with the Hiby but with DTR1 I have started to like them, it feels like they have got a new life with the DTR1.

The DTR1 offers three gain stages, Low gain, Medium gain, and High gain, and even on the High gain I was not hearing any noise floor on my music due to amplification.

One known issue here is that with Ultrasensitive IEM’s like the Campfire Audio Andromeda it might give you some hiss/background noise. So try pairing the combo with an iFi Match in the chain, it solved the issue for me when I paired them.

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Dethonray DTR1

The best part about DTR1’s sound quality is it doesn’t color the output in any way and reproduces it for you in its natural recorded state, here is frequency range wise sound explanation.

Lower End/Bass:

The DTR1 sound reproduction has a deep and punchy lower end, just strong enough for the users to like it. DTR1 has a nice detailed and very controlled bass. It’s certainly not bass heavy but just enough quantity. The bass might not be much in quantity but it surely has good quality, full-body texture to itself. It doesn’t overlap other frequencies, it is very well controlled.

Mids:

Mids are where DTR1 shines a lot. There is a beautiful resolution with a lot of details and clarity. Vocals, though slightly laid back, feels really amazing. There is a good separation between instruments and vocal. The vocals feel rich with details and carry a crisp clarity to them.

Highs/Treble:

The treble is little bright with DTR1 but there is no harshness, no piercing, no peakiness, and no sibilance whatsoever. It has a well extended, smooth and highly detailed treble. The instruments like Violin, Electric guitar doesn’t feel harsh or peaky at all even at higher volumes, they are controlled and settled very well.

Soundstage:

I would say soundstage is pretty wide and deep. There is enough air. The instrument separation and transparency is just outstanding. The resolution in the different frequencies is very well maintained which adds to the overall soundstage.

Pairing with Multiple IEM’s

DTR1 with Campfire Andromeda:-

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DTR1 with CA Andromeda

The Campfire Andromeda is an ultra-sensitive pair of IEM’s. They are very capable yet they might show signs of hiss and noise with players with powerful sound output, so getting noise here was expected already so, I used an iFi match in the chain which provided me a detailed sound output with no hiss, and I swear to god, this becomes such a deadly combination. Ahh, the greatness of the Andromeda and the power of the DTR1 and those mids and highs and the controlled bass. I cannot get out of this stack for a very time.

DTR1 with DUNU DK-3001 Pro:-

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DTR1 with DUNU DK3001 Pro

Dunu 3001pro is a very very balanced pair of IEM’s. Frankly, what this pair delivers is nothing less than greatness and with DTR1 it is a great pairing again. It has a dynamic driver which produces a great bass response with the DTR1. Lush and very natural mids and very well extended treble response is what I found on the 3001pro. Overall, a very enjoyable pairing.

DTR1 with Meze Rai Penta:-

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DTR 1 with Meze Rai Penta

I was lucky enough to audition the great Rai Penta with DTR1, thanks to one of my friends. The Penta-DTR1 is a match made in heaven. Penta is a great IEM. To me, DTR1 being very little warm goes well with Penta which sounds a bit dark and not exactly neutral. DTR1’s powerful output makes Penta shine a lot. That bass !!! Penta becomes a different beast with DTR1. Such lovely mids, very well extended treble and a very good balanced sound is what the Penta delivers. Though Penta has a narrower soundstage than Andromeda, nevertheless it is an easy pairing with DTR1. The Penta sounded better on DTR1 than on Cayin N6ii.

Final Verdict:-

The Dethonray DTR1 has a simple, elegant built, holds enough juice to power any of your IEM’s or Earbuds, or even some of your headphones too without the need for an external amplifier as the internal Class A amplification circuit provides a powerful and clean sound output. It really puts some fancy DAP’s around its price range and above to shame with its brilliant and natural tuning, though I personally think that the screen could’ve been improved, I couldn’t see anything on it outdoors. Though it makes up for that with its sound clarity. You can buy this wonderful DAP at a price of around 550$ from Hifigo.com here.

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Scores:-
  • 9.5/10
    Build - 9.5/10
  • 7/10
    Screen - 7/10
  • 9/10
    User Interface - 9/10
  • 10/10
    Sound - 10/10
  • 9.5/10
    Output - 9.5/10
9/10