The higher you climb up the price scale, the more your have to pay for each successive performance increase. A £20 pair of headphones can sound miles better than a £10 pair, but it'd be much tougher to judge between £110 and £120 sets, wouldn't it? The Hisoundaudio Studio-V "audiophile" media player demands a certain appreciation of this principle. It's a flash MP3 player that will set you back almost £300. But is it worth it over a £100 model?
Hisoundaudio's Studio-V makes an imposing entrance. It comes delivered in a leather-bound box, complete with the kind of hinge you'd find in the casing of a £5k diamond necklace. We're off to a classy start.
The player itself is only an eighth the size of this box - the rest must be taken up with all that pomp and circumstance. Thankfully, the sense of quality and ceremony doesn't fall apart when you get hold of the player. The body is made of thick brushed metal. The front buttons are metal too, while the back has a mirrored finish.
The brushed metal finish will likely soon get scratched and tarnished with careless use, especially as it is painted black rather than showing the bare metal. However, it's one of the sturdiest media players we've ever come across. Muscle-bound as we aren't, we couldn't get the Studio-V to flex even a fraction of an inch.
Quality materials aside, the design of this player is extremely simple. It's a metal matchbox, with edges that are each bevelled rather than curved. They're not sharp but they are severe. Throw this media player at someone in anger and you can expect an ABH charge.
The Hisoundaudio Studio-V comes with 4GB or 8GB of internal memory built-in, which can be accessed like a standard USB pen drive when plugged into a computer using the miniUSB slot on its bottom. Next to the miniUSB is the microSD slot, letting you boost memory by up to 16GB.
Both sides of this miniature metal fag packet are blank, while the top is home to the 3.5mm headphone jack and 3.5mm audio input. Yes, you read that right folks. The Studio-V doesn't feature a second audio out, but an audio in. That shows you how much confidence Hisoundaudio has in the built-in DAC and headphone amp. Of course, if you want to output sound to some speakers, you can simply use the headphone jack.