Questyle Audio HB2 hub for QP2R DAP

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Questyle Audio HB2
Questyle Audio HB2 hub for QP2R DAP

The Questyle QP2R (reviewed in Hi-Fi+issue 154) is one of our most valued DAPs (digital audio player) we’ve ever tested. It’s the real deal, covering virtually all the bases in terms of formats, has outstanding on-board DACs and amps, and makes extremely good sense as for the audiophile on the move. But, what if you want more? That’s when the HB2 hub kicks in. 

Before we go further, however, some personal back story is in order. The Editor and I are from more or less the same part of London and have largely lost those strong ‘Norf Lunduhn’ accents. Except when things get ‘proper naughty’, such as during the exchange between Alan Sircom and me about writing almost 1,500 words on a dock, which ended up sounding a bit Guy Richie. Fortunately, a rough translation will be provided:

“You ‘avin a bubble, saahn?” I asked, “I can do you a monkey on a dock, no Barney, but faw’teen ‘undred? Use yer loaf!”

Trans: “Are you making fun of me? I can write 500 words on a dock without difficulty, but 1,400 words might prove a stretch. You have lost your mind!” 

“Shut it!” He explained, “Untwist yer Alans, squire. Av a go, an’ you’ll knock aht another bag, early doors.”

Trans:“Keep Calm and Carry On, my friend. Try the QP2R/HB2 combination for yourself and you’ll find those extra 1,000 words very quickly.”

He was right. Because what is, intellectually speaking, a docking station for a high-end DAP can work as an extremely fine digital front-end for desktop and full-sized systems in its own right. Well, almost: in a full-sized system where the electronics might be half a room away from the listener, trying to navigate a music collection through the QP2R’s screen is going to be somewhatfrustrating, but used closer to eyes, the QP2R/HB2 makes a very cogent case for doing without any kind of computer, server, or disc-based source. And when that listening is done, you have an absolute top-notch portable audio source with all your music pre-loaded, ready and waiting. 

A quick recap of the QP2R is in order, of course. The black and gold or black and gunmetal player is Questyle Audio’s response to just criticism of its first DAP, the QP1R. It lost a micro SD port in the upgrade, but got more power (an all-discrete, fully balanced, pure Class A current mode amplifier that delivers both single-ended and balanced headphone outputs), more processing power (it uses an AKM AK4490 DAC chip), more formats (PCM files to 384kHz sampling rates  and up to 32-bit word depths; DSD files at DSD64, DSD128, or DSD256 resolution levels, with DSD64 performed natively), and much improved haptics (a far more responsive multi-controller navigational wheel). All wrapped in a CNC-milled chassis and hard-as-nails Gorilla Glass. In today’s everything-on-your-smartphone world, the Questyle is one of the few designs that truly makes a valid case for a standalone portable player, both in terms of outstanding build and extremely high performance. 

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