Onkyo and Pioneer Show High-Res Players

Onkyo and Pioneer, now corporately joined at the hip, both showed high-resolution digital audio players. They have similarities and differences.

What they have in common is the SABRE ESS9018CM DAC chip and ESS9601K amp chip. Both support various PCM formats at resolution of up to 32/192, DSD at 5.6 MHz, and hip new MQA, or Master Quality Authenticated, the audio origami that promises high-res quality at CD-quality streaming bandwidth.

The Onkyo PD-S10 ships in March for $499. However, Pioneer might tempt you with some step-up features.

The Pioneer XDP-2U sports both balanced and unbalanced headphone outputs as well as a line output. The balanced output handles headphones with impedances of 16-300 ohms while the balanced output is good for up to 600 ohms.

In addition to 16 GB of onboard memory, the player also has two microSD card slots, each of which supports new cards of up to 400 GB, so theoretically you might end up with 816 GB of storage. Wi-Fi operates at both 2.4 and 5 GHz for high-res streaming from the likes of Tidal and TuneIn. Dual clocks are provided for 44.1 and 48 kHz, the former ensuring accurate reproduction of CD rips. The XDP-2U is due out in March at $299.

Onkyo also showed two previously announced smart speakers. The VC-FLX1 ($250) uses Amazon's Alexa voice control platform and the G3 ($199) uses Google Assistant.