Back-room deals. To go gooey with geek, the QP1R exploits a triple-clock scheme with an asynchronous FIFO buffer, a Cirrus Logic CS4398 dual-format DAC and three voltage-stabilized power stages with current-mode gain and low output impedance. On-the-go stamina are backed by a 3'300mAh Li-polymer battery. Depending on SPL and load, that wants to promise us up to 10 hours of aural hanky panky. Two swappable micro SD cards plus internal flash memory make for 288GB of max storage. That ought to cycle one's musical Kamasutra through all of its advanced hi-rez positions. It's decisively more athletic than the 160GB iPod limited to 16/44.1 files ever was.

450mA charging is by micro USB and may be engaged during listening. The Cupid One digests 24/192 PCM and double DSD files as WAV, FLAC, ALAC, APE, AIFF, ADPCM, LPCM, MP3, WMA, WMA Lossless, OGG, AAC, DFF and DS. Linking to the outside world of ear buds, headphones and stationary rigs are a 3.5mm headfi jack and a combo 3.5mm slash optical line-out. Both sit on top of the unit next to the ensconced rotary encoder that controls volume.

The 'R' version under review claims THD+N of 0.0006%, has a Z-out of 0.15Ω and 32GB of internal flash memory. With three different gain settings, Questyle mean to spread the joy from high-efficiency IEM to hard-of-hearing circumaural loads. Into 32Ω, this equates to 1.9Vrms/40mW, 1Vrms/31mW and 0.5Vrms/8.8mW respectively. At left is their table of recommended settings for a number of popular headphones. As you see, suggested can-do gamut is impressive. Whether this would track with desired loudness on certain tougher loads remained to be seen.

Which leaves the money monkey to shake his tree with glee. At €899, the Questyle falls out from between the $1'999 Lotoo PAW Gold on the very top; and something like a €119 FiiO X1 from the lowest-hanging fruits. It neither goes full-on ape nor ultimate budget saver. Referenced to an iPod Classic 160GB, it's easily twice what that went for last year to seem quite splurgy. However, it also does more than twice the sample rates with nearly twice the memory. If it sounds twice as good—how to measure that?—it would square the circle to impossible perfection.

Experienced audiophiles of course know that any such performance to penny, sound to shekel math never works out in such basic terms. Sheer fashionistas drawn to this deck on its champagne skin and sex appeal alone may not even entertain other notions. Of course to be drawn relies on exposure, preferably in person to squeeze the virtual flesh. Here any brand like Questyle, at least at this date, remain pretty obscure. They must be sought out at online stores or in high-street shops; well, those which support portafi in the first place. With the pictures having told their own story in so many words already, what remains is commentary on sonic joy; and GUI love or hate as perhaps the decisive aspect.

One mechanical item your reading must have ticked off already? No mini HHD to tick you off. Unlike the iPod's spinning heart that could stutter or stop when dropped or otherwise wear out with age, the QP1R uses solid-state memory as flash and micro SD cards. Nothing moves. Memory cards are swappable should your library exceed a pair. Plus, PC tech's unstoppable rule means, memory carriers double capacity each year or so, at first at premiums, then normalized when the next doubler hits. The rise of 256GB, 512GB and finally 1TB and 2TB cards seems only a question of time and money. At publication time, Amazon sold a 128GB Samsung micro SDXC card for a paltry $63.

Look closely at the deep recesses surrounding the USB port and line out. You'll then recall them with later commentary about certain consequences.

The Questyle takes two of those but early users report that the newer $200 SanDisk 200GB play fine as well. That's a whopping 432GB of year 2015 max capacity! Whether your music files store on a Mac, PC or external drive, a simple drag'n'drop transfers them to Questyle's USB device icon. Obviously your Cupid One must scan each time you add stuff to write a new table of contents or your latest additions remain invisible and unfindable. Ditto for borrowing a friend's card. Already this little paragraph showed why a premium portable player run off batteries may make for an unsuspectingly fine digital transport to output either analog; or digital into a full-size DAC of your choice. Most the arguments of "computers were never designed for pure audio to be bad noisy transports" fly right out the window. Put differently, portable players can be viewed as basic memory card readers to which are added a proper OS, display and search/access functionality. Imagine that in a dock with HDMI output.