Questyle Audio, led by audio engineer Wang Fengshuo (Jason Wang in Anglicised form), is an innovative manufacturer of high-performance DSD‑capable DACs, preamps, power amps, a 5GHz wireless hi-fi system, and very high quality, portable high-res DAPs (Digital Audio Players). Unlike some of its competitors in these categories, however, Questyle is less about the blind pursuit of features and functions for their own sake and more about the pursuit of very serious sound quality. For this review, we chose Questyle’s recently released flagship QP1R portable digital audio player (£660, or $899), which packs a formidable amount of audio technology into an elegant package about the size of a typical smartphone.
The QP1R, offering self-evident quality of build, sports a tasteful, CNC-machined aluminium enclosure that is treated to an elegant bead-blasted matte finish and given either a Space Grey or Gold anodised finish. The front and back panels of the player are covered in durable and attractive Gorilla glass, with the front panel provides a 43 x 39mm full-colour display screen plus what Questyle terms a “twin steering wheel” control system that combines some aspects of the familiar Apple iPod control wheel system with a series of touch-sensitive panel surfaces that provide additional control options.
The top edge of the player provides a protected volume control knob (said to be patterned after the crown of a high-end wristwatch), plus two recessed jacks: a headphone output jack and a combined line out/optical jack. The right edge of the player presents a simple, pushbutton On/Off switch. Finally, the bottom edge of the player provides two recessed MicroSD memory card slots, plus a mobile universal Micro USB jack that is used for uploading music files and for charging the QP1R’s 3300-mAh lithium-polymer battery. The player comes standard with 32GB of memory and can accommodate up to two 200GB MicroSD cards for even more music storage capacity, and a Micro SD is also used for installing periodic firmware updates. All in all, the player exudes an elegant, purposeful vibe and conveys a substantial and pleasingly high-quality feel (but be forewarned: if you let your friends play with the QP1R, they may not want to give it back).
Readers familiar with Questyle’s full-size audio components will be pleased (and perhaps surprised) to find that many of the technologies employed in those bigger units have found their way into the compact QP1R. Specifically, the DAC section of the QP1R borrows certain elements such as the 3X clock design from the firm’s flagship CAS192D DAC. The QP1R uses Cirrus Logic’s top-shelf CS4398 DAC device to support native decoding of DSD64 and DSD128 files, as well as native decoding for PCM files at rates up to 24-bit/192kHz. Virtually every digital audio file format imaginable is supported, making the QP1R one very versatile portable digital audio player.