I was looking forward to this, especially after the reviews of the FiiO BTR5 and EarMen Sparrow. Everyone I spoke to kept saying I need to check out the Qudelix-5K, which might as well have been the second coming itself based on the hype generated in the portable audio solutions market. So I reached out to the company, did my cursory research, and came out impressed even before the product had arrived. The timing was great too, since Qudelix had only recently released an accessory set of earphones that work exclusively with the Qudelix-5K, and so here we are doing a two-fer. Thanks to Qudelix for arranging review samples to TechPowerUp!
At first glance, the Qudelix-5K may not look that different from other portable DAC/amps in the past. Recent ones, including the two we've already seen, have gone the more aesthetic route with a curved glass front and back over an aluminium sandwich. The Qudelix-5K skips all this in favor of a far more industrial approach, blocky as it may be. But see the thing that got me excited is that Qudelix is Sony's official LDAC technical partner, going as far as developing LDAC for the Qualcomm QCC512x series of SoCs to enable an excellent LDAC receiver experience, including for transmissions from pretty much all Android phones today. This gives Qudelix an edge over others already, and we set out with the goal to figure out just exactly how much that helps the Qudelix-5K in this review.