From the Chrysalis it Emerges – A Review of the Opus#1S

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Many times when a player is tuned for warmth, it loses clarity, detail, and articulation, pairing best with a monitor which emphasizes those traits. In other words, put a warm DAP with a brighter headphone. The Opus#1S, however, is not so picky. Thanks to its adequate resolution and clarity, I found even very warm gear to play well with this device.

For example, the new Massdrop Exclusive FIBAE by Custom Art is a true warmth monster. Apocalyptic bass presence and calm, smooth treble takes the warmth factor to 11. Yet the FIBAE ME never forgets a singer must be heard and felt, thus achieving a remarkable balance where all things work together. The result is some kind of ultimate music, and Opus lends itself beautifully to that endeavor. You’ll also enjoy a healthy expanse of soundstage, thick, lush mids, and killer harmonic overtones.

Another bit of surprise synergy is the Periodic Audio Beryllium (Be, $299). This single Dynamic Driver IEM is awesomely natural, with subdued, silky highs, titanic, textured bass, and airy, detailed vocals. There’s something about this tuning that gives me goosebumps. It’s so right my body physically responds. I feared the Opus#1S may tip the balance, introducing a veil, and closing in the boundless soundstage. Thankfully, that’s not the case. In fact, I couldn’t be happier with the combo.

Noble Audio’s Kaiser Encore ($1,850, Review HERE) is a monitor I always expected to mesh nicely with the 1S. Due to its brighter nature, a fat, bass-heavy source does nothing but enrich Encore. And Opus held true to this pattern. You keep all of the transparency, resolution, and sick detail, and add just a touch extra smoothness and low-end heft. If you augment the chain with the plusSound Tri-Copper wire, you are treated to nothing less than perfection: slightly warm and velvety, mingling with gobs of clear and vibrant. This instantly became one of my favorite setups.

Shocking though you may find it, there is a far less expensive setup I enjoyed even more. The IMR Acoustics R1 (about $700 USD). With the copper filter, the R1 hits me in just such a way as to destabilize my passion for the hobby, causing me to flirt with notions of retirement, wherein just Pinky and this IEM live happily ever after, to the end. There’s phenomenal dynamics and clarity, sparkly, limitless treble, transparent mids, and unbelievable bass resolution… not to mention lethal impact. What’s more, the Opus#1S handles it all like a hero, hindering naught, though adding to the deliciousness.

One dreadfully dull day at the office, the AudioQuest NightOwl ($699.95, Review HERE) saved the day. Its chocolaty tones and wealth of detail were only amplified by the 1S. Opus had no issue conveying the chasmal soundstage and profound depth which characterizes the NightOwl experience. With a DAP like this, these headphones are like walking around with an acoustically rich concert hall on your head. So good it’s probably immoral.

Looking back over the review, I’ve said some pretty nice things about this player. That’s interesting, since I was not blown away by it. Nothing about this device screams “THE BEST” or “MOST AWESOME”, yet somehow it worms its way into your heart, insinuating itself with moments of serenity. I suspect much of it is thanks to how artfully Opus sculpts its relaxed, yet dramatically musical signature. It’s hard to find fault when the sound is both smooth as satin and clear as church bells. Both rich and articulate. Take also into account the immense output power, and you have one hell of a portable solution for anything you care to drive.

-~::Pinky_Powers::~-

The Opus#1S

  • 24BIT / 192KHZ HIGH RESOLUTION SOUND
  • CIRRUS LOGIC CS43198 X 2EA DUAL DAC
  • ARM CORTEX-A9 1.4GHZ, QUAD-CORE CPU DDR3 1GB
  • SNR 123DB, THD+N 0.0007%, CROSSTALK – 140DB, OUTPUT 3.1VMRS ( UNBALANCED )
  • SNR 125DB, THD+N 0.0005%, CROSSTALK – 142DB, OUTPUT 3.4VMRS ( BALANCED )
  • LOW-CLOCK-JITTER SENSITIVITY: 50PS(TYP)
  • 4INCH TFT WIDE TOUCH DISPLAY (480 X 800), IPS PANEL
  • WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, DSD, WMA,
  • MP3, OGG, APE(NORMAL, HIGH, FAST)
  • INTERNAL MEMORY 32GB
  • EXTERNAL MICRO SD CARD MEMORY 256GB X 2EA
  • ENHANCED ABS SOLID BODY AND TEMPERED GLASS
  • ULTRA POWER SAVING MODE

Comparison of audio spec with Opus#1

Model Opus#1S Opus#1
DAC Cirrus Logic CS43198 x 2 Cirrus Logic CS4398 x 2
Output Bal. 3.4Vrms
Unbal. 3.1Vrms
Bal. 2.3Vrms
Unbal. 2.1Vrms
SNR Bal.  125dB @1KHz
Unbal. 123dB @1KHz 
Bal. 115dB @1kHz
Unbal. 114dB @1kHz
Crosstalk Bal. 142dB @1KHz
Unbal. 140dB @1KHz
Bal. 135dB @1kHz
Unbal. 130dB @1kHz
THD+N Bal. 0.0005%@1KHz
Unbal . 0.0007% @1KHz
Bal. 0.0007% @ 1kHz
Unbal. 0.0007% @ 1kHz

 

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About Author

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Pinky,

    The # 1S would make a good pair with the meze 99 neo or maybe it gets too warm? And how does it compare to the Cayin I5?

    Regards,
    Juan Luis.

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