By now I have seen, bought, and owned quite a few Audiophile Devices, but every time I see another high-end device, it reminds me that even after seeing a lot of awesome devices, one can still be impressed.
Starting with the outer appearance, Opus #2 looks like a device taken from another dimension. It skillfully combines an elegant outline, with a glass plate in the back, smooth lines in the front, gentle yet precise slopes that raise the display, and a snazzy volume wheel, with four industrial-looking screws, one in each corner, giving #2 a unqiue appearance.
The display is an IPS panel with amazing viewing angles, great brightness, and vivid colors, providing both good outdoors usage and a nice touch for those who love to admire the album art of their favorite bands. The screen also has good resolution, looking quite sharp to my eyes.
The volume wheel is guarded by two metal wings that make sure you can’t damage it while using #2 in your pocket or in your backpack. The volume wheel is clicky, and you have a clear definition of how many volume steps you’re adding or subtracting from the tactile and audible click feedback. Although it has a little play between two clicks, it never turned by itself while in my pocket, and it seems that this design is one of the best there are. Opus #2 is also one of the few devices where you can change the volume while using its screen, without any other tricks. This means that if you want to adjust the volume by a large margin, you can do this with one simple swipe.
There are 3 playback control buttons on the left side, all of them round, spaced well enough from each other, and clicky, providing excellent blind control for Opus #2, even while it is dressed in its leather case.
The microUSB port can be found on the bottom, along with the mSD card tray, which supports up to 200 GB mSD cards officially, but which was proven to work flawlessly with 400GB mSD cards as well. You can find the 3.5 Headphone Out / Line Out on the top, along with the power button, and the 2.5mm Balanced Out.
When it comes to its usability, #2 sits comfortably in one hand, you can use and access everything if using it one-handed, including changing song, changing volume, and everything else. The metal ridges on the sides help a lot with its stability and with its grip, while the screen has a very good size for music control.
On the inside, the Dual ESS Dac Chips do a great job, and they take full advantage of their Dual DAC configuration, offering a configuration where each DAC processes each channel. The AMP is quite strong, and you have a fairly good voltage swing from both the SE and the BAL outputs, of about 2.3 and 2.5 Volts. The battery inside #2 is quite huge as well, rated at 4000mAh, being one of the largest batteries in a DAP to date. Charging it takes around four hours and its battery life can reach ten hours of usage at lower volumes and with lower screen brightness, or around eight-nine hours with max brightness, WiFi turned on, and with moderate screen activity. I’ve been using it far more at very high volumes, with the brightness maxed out, and it was still able to pull a good eight – nine hours on every charge, being a real champ when it comes to its battery.
The firmware is based on Android, and while it is a deeply customized version of Android, it still works out greatly, providing both an amazing level of sound, but also features like streaming. Tested with my typical usage patterns, the firmware works out quite nicely, the UI is quite intuitive, and Opus #2 has all the bells and whistles you can hope for, including gapless playback, Playlist support and even Streaming services support, although the last one might be a bit trickier to set up.
You have all the power of Android, but with TheBit’s Optimizations, leading to an excellent sonic representation, with a lot of power. To use another music app than the default one, you must sideload it, from Settings -> Streaming, but other than that, it seems to work flawlessly. One thing that should be noted is that while #2 uses the same jack for their LO and HO outputs, and while the LO option seems to set the volume at 100%, after a few experiments, it seems that the option actually activates a different circuit setup which makes the DAP a very good DAC to use for feeding your AMP.
All in all, the device looks and feels elegant, and with the beautiful leather case included, it really makes up for one of the best DAP devices there are.
As a few reviewers mentioned this before, describing the Sonic Signature of a DAP (Digital Audio Player) can be fairly complicated, as the ideal source should sound transparent and it should leave the coloring for the IEMs and Headphones. This being said, every single DAP out there will change the sound in some way with every headphone and IEM, some people naming this “Headphone – DAP Synergy”.
Opus #2 has a balanced signature, with a neutral sound, a full body, and a very nice, rounded, organic and natural tonality. The sound is always very nicely layered, the bass is always very quick and has great impact, while the transient response is excellent. Although it has a full body sound, Opus #2 also presents all detail with an excellent edge, providing a great example of a DAP that can be both full-sounding and extremely detailed at the same time, even without going into the territory of bright and analytical signatures.
Although #2 relies on an ESS DAC, the “ESS Glare” is clearly replaced by a sweet, smooth and organic signature.
The bottom end of #2 is a very agile and tasty one, with a lot of punch and deep bass when it is called for, along with an excellent speed and a good texture representation. Bass guitars feel deep, full bodied, and satisfying.
2 has a magical way of presenting the midrange with excellent detail, naturalness and richness leading to a very organic and tasty sound. The Guitars have excellent representation of their textures and musical notes, voices feel natural and tangible, and background instruments always feel vivid and well-presented. An excellent instrument separation coupled with a large soundstage lead to a very realistic experience that sends the listener on a trip through the music they are listening. The dynamics are also top notch, #2 having a good amount of dynamic range for those who want to hear the fine nuances in their music.
#2 has a very well-extended top end, reaching the highest registers with ease, and extending even beyond, but without being fatiguing or having any kind of glare, the treble being in line with the rest of the signature, organic, natural and well-detailed. Cymbal crashes last for the ideal amount of time, while trumpets bear a very good impression.
The soundstage of #2 extends very well in all directions, being excellent on both the SE and the Bal outputs. The instrument separation is also quite excellent, revealing background instruments and quieter instruments in a complex arrangement quite well. Even so, #2 is never analytical, being organic in its presentation, and revealing everything without separating things from each other.
The ADSR and PRaT (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release, and Pace Rhythm and Timing) characteristics of Opus #2 are very impressive, as it is extremely precise, but natural at the same time. Things have excellent dynamics and textures, each musical note being very well-defined. The resolving abilities of Opus #2 are worthy of a summit-fi DAP, as it provides a good introspection into the depth of every song it plays.
Opus #2 is quite portable, and although it is one of the larger DAPs I had, it still is smaller than my smartphone (Xiaomi Mi Max 2), and it is easy to hold and use with just one hand. The firmware is rock-stable and it is possible to use it for up to ten hours from one battery charge. Opus #2 can get warm, but not overly so, being possible to use it in both Summer and Winter with no issues. Since both audio output ports are on the top, I tend to place it bottom-first in my pocket or side-bag, so I usually pull it straight for usage. The volume wheel and the buttons can be used while it is in a pocket, and the whole GUI makes an excellent usage while on-the-go.
Although Opus #2 is designed as a summit-fi DAP with a lot of power and an amazing sound, it can do far more than that, being able to provide a Line-Out Signal to an external AMP, and even having Bluetooth and Wifi abilities.
All in all, Opus #2 provides usage in all my typical scenarios, being one of the best DAPs I used portably.
(Comparisons, Pairings, Value & Conclusion On The Final Page)