HiSound PDAA-1 review

With its deeply no-frills design, we'd expect the HiSound PDAA-1 to have a full and detailed sound, but as it is it's no audiophile's treat Tested at £100.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A fine idea but the HiSound should sound better to justify the no-frills styling


  • +

    Scale, detail and dynamics to sound

  • +

    good earphones

  • +

    robust build


  • -

    No extra features

  • -

    uninspiring screen/interface

  • -

    sound isn’t class-leading

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

The HiSound PDAA-1 aspires, to put it plainly, to be an audiophile's portable music player.

Eschewing extra features, colour screens, slick interfaces and slimline designs, the player aims to major on sound – and sound alone.

Nothing fancy
It's a no-nonsense block with minimal buttons that feels sturdy and looks smart enough but isn't particularly pocket-friendly.

The two-tone screen is small and basic, but navigating your 8GB HDD – loaded via simple drag and drop – is easy, even if its design is notably without finesse.

You can load FLAC, MP3, WAV and WMA files too. There's a huge battery life, claimed at over 100 hours, an SD card input and an FM radio.

A bit of hiss
The supplied earphones are decent and sonically there's good detail and insight, though a hint of hiss at times.

Foals' Total Life Forever is a tricky track to deal with and, although it gives it a good go, the HiSound does toughen up a little at the top end.

There is, though, plenty of excitement and only a little space and scale is missing. Bass lines lack a little oomph but they're agile and light on their feet.

It's a capable player but doesn't quite make it to the top of the audio tree: better sound, along with features, style and ease of use, is available elsewhere, leaving this product a little lost.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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