Fidata HFAS1-XS20U Music Server Review

October 25, 2021 Comments Off on Fidata HFAS1-XS20U Music Server Review

TheAtrium de Musicae de Madrid’s Tarentule-Tarantelle (aka The Tarantula) [Harmonia Mundi, HMA 190379], is a collection of tarantellas that take you right back to the 15th and 16th centuries on a veritable carousel ride of bells, violin, recorder, guitar, hurdy-gurdy, drums, lute, and harpsichord, to name but a few instruments. The harmonies and melodies on The Tarantula are complex, musically dense, and layered, and the XS20U’s superb tonal exactness and timbral definition kept this sonic palette of instrumental voices finely resolved and accurately reproduced. The Atrium’s director, Gregorio Paniagua, always infuses these recordings with a real sense of fun and frolic, and this playfulness shone through with the Fidata. On La Tarantella, you could hear the “vapor trail” from the castanets as they decayed softly into the background of the recording studio, right before the definitive flamenco handclap that ends the song. This quality of reproducing the decay of notes into space is a particularly noteworthy attribute of the XS20U that really enhances the spatial and three-dimensional quality of the presentation. 

The XS20U doesn’t just shine on longhair music, either. Bryan Ferry’s Boys and Girls [Warner Bros. EG 9 25082-1] sounds every bit as sophisticated as The Tarantula, but here it’s a blast from the past, a heavily multi-mic’d studio recording from the mid-80s. “Don’t Stop The Dance” is enthusiastically kicky and energetic, and with the XS20U’s ability to resolve fine detail and reveal all the voices and complex instrumental layers, it was all I could do to keep from getting up and dancing while Ferry’s sultry voice floated ephemerally above the driving background of synth, guitars, drums, and brasses.


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