Onkyo continues to maintain its place on the cutting edge of audio playback and performance.
The company is typically among the early adopters of adding goodies—like uncompressed Dolby/DTS formats, additional height channels, streaming ability—to its A/V receivers, and has staked a bit of ground in the push toward high-resolution audio (HRA) already with its e-Onkyo music download store (though only available in Japan).
Toward that end, Onkyo recently released an app for the Apple iTunes store that’s bound to make HRA adopters happy in their efforts to capably play these beefier music files through more and more devices.
The Onkyo HF Player app is free and compatible with iPhone4S or later, iPod touch 5th generation or later, iPad2 or later and iPad mini, requiring Apple’s iOS 6 or later. The company worked with a team of musicians to create an app aimed at increasing the performance of those devices’ music playback, particularly through Onkyo’s own headphones (of course) but also through others as well as hi-fi systems.
The free app syncs with the device’s music library and its prowess centers around a phase-linear FIR equalizer that delivers 16,384 discrete bands of equalization with “zero loss in audio quality,” according to the company, and presumably better listening results for whatever genre of music you’re playing. In true Apple form, all you have to do is start swiping the app’s graphical EQ band to move the bass, treble and midrange curves to however you want to shape them. You can save your settings for different music and quickly load them when you want. There are also presets created from the artists who were involved, such as from Anthrax’s Scott Ian, The Meters’ Leo Nocentelli and Chris Traynor of Helmet and Bush.
Plus the app’s interface gives you album cover art, playback controls and the usual music selection organization (artist, album, song, etc) that you’re used to.
However, where Onkyo delved into the higher-quality playback from your iDevice comes with the app’s upgrade to the $9.99 HD Player Pack, which supports HRA music so you’re not stuck listening to compressed AAC and MP3 files.
The upgrade earns its keep by supporting FLAC, ALAC, DSD, WAV and AIFF playback of up to 24-bit/192kHz from your device, so that pristine, full-fidelity HRA music can pipe through your headphones or into your stereo system if you want to connect your iDevice as a DAC. The HD Player Pack offers selectable upsampling from 44.1kHz up to 192kHz, and bumps the phase-linear equalization to 20,000 bands of adjustment in 64-bit mode, the company says (the app will convert DSD formats to PCM before playback).
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.