Hot: The BDP-1 is touted as the first high-resolution player for digital audio files, and clearly, much thought has gone into its design to ensure it is not beset with the same issues as PC-based systems are – the Linux OS is a good start. There are only USB inputs, into which you can plug a flash drive or hard disk drive loaded with a wide range of compatible digital audio files. Fundamentally very much simpler to set up than a NAS-based system. No streaming onboard – the Ethernet connection is only for control via an i-device (although a remote is an option). Compatible with the FLAC, WAV and AIFF, capable of sending out sample rates of 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192kHz, of between 16- and 24-bit word lengths. Digital content output at native sample rates and bit depth, so the conversion process is up to the partnering DAC. Crisp and clear reproduction, and quiet, insidiously imposing its musicality on the listener, even as it reveals a wealth of detail in the tracks. Spacious and inherently neutral sound, and providing great insight into the recording. With 24/96 recordings, way ahead of any sort of competition at the price, even if it might not be quite there yet from the analogue lover’s perspective.
Cold: Needs an outboard DAC, and it’s no point sticking a cheap one at the end of such a fastidiously designed unit, so the cost adds up.
Encore: The purist approach has paid off here, and the BDP-1 is impressively presented from most angles – plus, there’s not much to worry about upgrading, since you can work your way up the outboard DAC chain. Does more for the cause of digital audio files than most PC-based system are capable of.
Specs: Inputs: 4x USB 2.0 / Outputs: SPDIF (BNC), AES/EBU (XLR) / Control: Ethernet (RJ-45), RS-232 (DB9) / Audio Format: AIFF, FLAC, WAV, MP3, M4A, OGG / Playback via USB flash drives and USB hard disk drives / Multiple control options (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android OS, and PC) / User upgradable firmware / Requires external DAC / RS-232 serial data port for remote control via Crestron, AMX or similar control systems / Dimensions: W (17 or 19) x D-11 x H-2 3/4 inches, 5.44 kg / Finish: Silver