Weighty argument: a review of the player, QLS QA360

Actually — ingratitude on my part and blatant injustice — call review thus directly pointing out the weight of the studied object… If it is what is important! Yes, dimensions is strictly the first thing that catches the eye. However, the audio player is an audio Player: it must “throw” at all in the eyes and ears. And QLS QA360 had great influence on my pleasure centers (the ones that are in the brain) through the ears. He managed it thanks to the excellent technical solution (which is not surprising, since the QLS is an experienced player in the market), support for all formats, and the joy of many audiophiles and hardware support for one-bit DSD format. As well as convenient control, and good (despite weight and dimensions) design in conjunction with build quality. Now everything more.

The editors thank the online store Era in Ear for providing for the review of the player

“A brick weighs one kilo and a half-brick”A collection of problems

Actually — ingratitude on my part and blatant injustice — call review thus directly pointing out the weight of the studied object… If it is what is important! Yes, dimensions is strictly the first thing that catches the eye. However, the audio player is an audio Player: it must “throw” at all in the eyes and ears. And QLS QA-360 had great influence on my pleasure centers (the ones that are in the brain) through the ears.

He managed it thanks to the excellent technical solution (which is not surprising, since the QLS is an experienced player in the market), support for all formats, and the joy of many audiophiles and hardware support for one-bit DSD format. As well as convenient control, and good (despite weight and dimensions) design in conjunction with build quality. Now everything more.
What is it?

Depends on your point of view:

Position with a brief definition — this is a portable player, Hi-Fi and part digital transport, “affordable Hi-End” with support for DSD, released into the world experienced manufacturer of high quality audio devices, the company is QLS-HiFi.
From the point of view of someone deeply in the subject — senseless and merciless waste of money. At the time of the review, the player was worth 11 825 hryvnias. It is about 600 American dollars.
From the point of view of a novice audiophile, this is a dream. Often deeply unrealistic. For the reason specified in the paragraph above.
From the point of view of a hardened audiophile — “could be” with a good sound for a reasonable (Yes, dear readers from point number two!) money. Just need to weigh the pros and cons.
From the point of view of street grifters — irrationally expensive traumatic weapon.
From the point of view of technical characteristics — here’s a table:

Specifications QLS QA-360

Frequency range
0 Hz – 20 kHz

The ratio signal/noise
>116 dB

Output power
490 mW @ 16Ω, 245 mW @ 32Ω, 55 mW @ 300Ω

Output impedance
<0.075 Ω

DAC
Cirus Logic CS4398

Low-pass filter
AD8620

Supported formats

• WAV : 16/24-bit, 44.1~192 kHz.

• AIFF : 16/24-bit, 44.1~192 kHz.

• FLAC : 16/24-bit, 44.1 kHz~48 kHz, compression level 0~8.

• APE : 16 bit, 44.1 kHz, compression level fast and normal.

• ALAC : 16 bit, 44.1 kHz

• MP3 : 16 bit, 44.1/48 kHz, 96k bps~320k bps

CBR/VBR/ABR encoding.

• DSD : DSD64 1bit, Stereo—DIFF、DSF、SACD ISO.

Support CUE
Yes, ANSI / UNICODE / UTF-8

Battery
lithium polymer, 3120 mAh

Memory
Internal: no, memory card support

Dimensions and weight
117х72х27 mm, 260 grams

Screen
color, 320×240 pixels

…And with my — learn below.

Kit

In the box is the player, USB cord for recharging from PC, charger, card reader, memory card 16 GB, protective film, cloth to wipe and paper.

And silicone back case in the photo above — a player in it. It is convenient, and does not interfere with push buttons.
Appearance and screen

If you are not confused extra inches (especially since they’re here), you will most likely agree that a good player himself. Sturdy aluminum body, in our case — matte black, in other cases — silver. Four small screws at the corners on the front panel — solid, rough, harmonious. Unisex design, so to speak.

The build is just great. It makes one once again wonder at the incredible development of the Chinese industry, until well done. All the main control buttons, except volume, placed on the front panel under the screen. The buttons are small, tight, but not so much that it was for someone older than five years problem.

Traffic volume, as well as two two-position switch (the first switch on or off the player, the second protects the device from accidental actuation of the buttons) settled on the right side, and a slot for memory cards SD full format is located on the diametrically opposite side.

The upper end sheltered a connector to connect the infrared receiver of the remote control.

All the rest of the nest was at the bottom. Is the headphone output, linear and digital outputs and as round as the other inhabitants of the end connector for charging.

It is sad that the player doesn’t have microUSB. This would allow to directly load the music player with any cord, came to hand, and use it as DAC. In order to vary this drawback, the manufacturer has kindly put in a box with the QA card reader 360, through which the memory card gets music. Yes, internal memory for music from player no. Colour screen, but, unlike most players, read in the sun. Another small plus.

Ergonomics and menu

Often severe kirpichnye hi-end players sin as a harsh and kirpichnoy ergonomics. Fortunately, progress spares no one: QLS QA-360 “is not the same” in the rosy sense of the phrase. It differs significantly from their counterparts of three or five years old. Is different because now you don’t need to Wade through the thicket of mysteries souls and thoughts of the Eastern brethren on the planet in numerous and, sometimes, vain attempt to defeat the unknown logic. This was certainly a peculiar charm. Now, having dealt with the player, you just deal with the player, and not take the feat, after which some more days will feel easy fatigue and the taste of victory… In the device with the victorious logic of the five navigation buttons (without quirks), and a menu button (with the letter “M” on it) and reset button/track selection (Backspace). It really is that easy.

The menu is completely text, is two-and-a-half of the screen. The points are moved down and up, and their values adjust with the buttons “left” and “right”. Setting the usual for this class of devices. On the first screen manage playback and sound. Here you can enable playback without stops (working properly), choose a filter mode or DSD. On the second and third screens are mainly technical settings — screen brightness, color, style, time of cutoff and so on. Information about the track also text, cover art is not supported.

Perhaps someone they will be missed, but the lack of images and the extra menu items is good for speed menu and player in General. Subfolders second and more levels are not supported, note that when record albums on the memory card of the player. By the way, the player allows you to delete tracks without using a computer, to do this, hold the “back” button. To operate the player conveniently, including going blind. And with one hand.

Circuit design

QLS is a serious player in the market. The company did not waste your time on trifles, and have created an interesting engineering solution, not trying too reduce the cost of construction. In particular, the player got a decent Cirus Logic CS4398 DAC, volume control the sound level PGA2311 (with a dynamic range of 120 dB) and low frequency filters precision amplifier AD8620. The player is built on two separate circuit boards with separate power numbers and analog, and the amplifier is based on transistors and microchips OPA.
What is DSD and how it is linked with this player?

DSD is one-bit audio format. It uses a coding density-modulation. Those who are for the understanding of the previous suggestions, you need to Google, just explain what benefits it gives to the listener. So, DSD involves the interference resistance, easy processing and switching, excellent frequency and phase characteristics. In a word, gives a clean smooth sound without impurities.

Now DSD has received some popularity, and it is supported by many portable players, for example, the FiiO X5 and the second incarnation of the FiiO X3. But if QLS QA-360 loses it immediately, the other players convert it to PCM and pass to the DAC. In addition to listening to very high quality recording, this allows you to use QA360 as a transport, that is, to pass the DSD signal via digital output to external DAC.
Sound

I think that the most striking difference of operatic vocals from pop — scope. And this player is a real Opera singer. Not the power itself, but the volume of the sound struck me the most. The volume without distortion, so one-piece with a very extensive stage (more than the players primary and secondary level, but maybe slightly more narrow than the “full” Hi-End), going wild (going wild with a caveat: after applying Hi-Fi players of initial level) detail does not destroy the sound picture: the player is very musical, and operates with no sounds but music.

Of course, listening to it, you can easily distinguish each instrument in the orchestra (if you want to listen to symphonic music) and can easily determine where the musician sits. The scene is so precise that it’s easy to imagine yourself in the Philharmonic hall with his eyes closed. At times it seemed to me that the music player too when I listened to the recording to Flac or WAV with some headphones (Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO). MIDs sounded so beautiful that I even began to suspect them for minor podkrkonosi. However, with other headphones (e.g. Sony MDR-7520), the effect disappeared, although the musicianship is still high.

Low frequencies, in my opinion, a very correct, detailed, exactly what they thought record companies. Although, I suppose, for those who prefer an emphasis on bass, or just used to the more assertive and energetic flow, will need time to reconfigure their ears to a more “correct” sound.

With the great sound and “natural” low frequency timpani or double basses, and electronics with various special effects. High frequency is great, a lot of them, but they don’t beat on the ears, although sometimes I heard a small confusion.

When playing DSD in DIRECT mode DSD = ON the device played smoothly, neutrally, without signature, but also on a different level.

In one word, emotional, but the right sound. Based on the foregoing, we can safely say that this is a player-universal. Electronics of any complexity, jazz, Symphony and chamber classical, experimental music, rock of any weight — all of this QA-360 cope with a Bang.

Of course, the shortcomings of bad recordings you will hear clearly, but I think these players suggests careful attention to the records.

To compare the sound with competitors that I had to use long enough — difficult, but possible to try. So, Hidizs ‘ AP100 close to the player for music, but it has less scene, less a few parts and the sound is not so clear, though equally solid. FiiO X5 sounds a bit warmer and energetic, while the QLS — more neutral and more musical. At the same time, the X5 has a more powerful headphone output and USB.
The battery life

Actually QLS QA-360 was in my test not very long, but it seemed to me that it worked from one charge about 9 hours when playing WAV.
The bottom line

I think if you read to this line, you have forgotten about the “brick” QLS QA-360, so it’s not really important.

Forgot about her and I: musical, transparent, detailed sound took its toll, and Kirpichnogo was easy to put up. And in General, see the introduction to the review. There is written everything I wanted to say “the bottom line”.

Good features QLS QA-360:

very high quality for its price range universal sound;
support for DSD;
convenient menu;

Not the most good features of the QLS QA-360:

the lack of internal memory and a USB connector;
will delay any pocket.