November 30, 2022 § Leave a comment
As long as you steer clear of dirt-cheap garage rock and the like, though, there are remarkably few downsides to Audiolab Omnia ownership. Its rather rustic control interface aside (and we’re not including the blameless DTS app in that, you understand), keep both the price and the extensive functionality uppermost in your mind and it’s an almost startlingly accomplished piece of equipment. Its power output may not look anything special when written down – because it isn’t – but the Omnia is resolute and deep-breathing enough to deal with any loudspeakers that can realistically be considered appropriate partners.
If you want a fine-sounding and extensive system without the whole ‘extensive’ thing getting too badly out of hand, the Omnia is more than worthy of lining up in direct competition to the likes of Cambridge Audio’s fêted (and similarly priced) Evo 75. With the Omnia, Audiolab has faced facts, bitten bullets and emerged with its reputation enhanced.
November 15, 2022 § Leave a comment
you do need at least one radio station out there. I browsed a lot of tunes. After I had finished listening to Internet FM, I went Spotify on AppleTV, played Aja by Steely Dan, and had a similar ease-of-use/ease-of-sound experience as with the M2, but with lesser overall sound quality. The experience of the M2 objet d’audiophile being enjoyable, satisfying, and sonically rewarding made it hard not to both like and admire. I still have very fond, pre-pandemic memories of streaming jazz from my NAS, using an Ayre QX-5 Twenty with Roon, driving an Audio Note UK OTO Phono Signature with their AN-E / SEC Silver Signature loudspeakers with lots of upgrades and silver cables.
The closest I’ve come to that listening experience with my Brio and ELACs is using the Matrix Audio Element M2 with no Roon at all. It’s not quite as transparent, but it’s very satisfying and the sound is quite tasteful and discrete. I really have nothing bad to say except that I imagine M2s will be hard to get someday soon for very good reasons. I almost kept the review sample for myself but am moving, so.
November 6, 2022 § Leave a comment
, solid imaging, and above all musicality, with the power to drive any headphone (I performed all of my tests other than noise tests in low gain), as well as being a superior front end for a loudspeaker system, the fact that it also contains the necessary computer parts to complete the job and function as a full music server, eliminating the need for an external source while streamlining the data chain is just icing on the cake. It is one of a handful of headphone amplifiers that I would recommend for the Dan Clark Audio EXPANSE or the HIFIMAN HE6se for that matter, in fact, at this point, I would recommend it for use with the SUSVARA or ABYSS headphones unheard. And as mentioned above, the same applies to IEMs which makes the element X2 a rare puppy indeed
October 28, 2022 § Leave a comment
October 19, 2022 § Leave a comment
The Aries G1.1 maintains Auralic’s position as a serious competitor in the mid price streaming audio stakes, it isn’t inexpensive but will give the alternatives a very good run for their money. The Lightning DS control app alone raises it above the majority. The option of an SSD onboard is one that I would encourage prospective users to take up, it represents a significant saving on standalone drives of a similar quality and takes up no space either. Auralic have done a fine job with this latest addition to the range and anyone looking for a top notch streamer at a sensible price should give it a try.
October 16, 2022 § Leave a comment
As I conclude, let me address one important topic, the DAC. Since the U2 Mini is a transport only, any observations I make about it are inextricably linked to the DAC to which it is connected. As I said, the iFi Audio iDSD Micro I used with it is a great DAC, but I wish I had the chance to listen to the U2 Mini with the previously reviewed Canor DAC 2.10. What I can say, the U2 Mini/iDSD Micro pairing sounded amazing on my system!
Every recording I listened to had its unique and distinctive flavor. Based on this, I think the LUMIN U2 Mini would be a great pairing with any DAC within the marketplace. It is that great sounding. I told my dad about the U2 Mini when I started listening to it and he was envious. With the LUMIN U2 Mini music streamer, you can have your cake and eat it too!
October 7, 2022 § Leave a comment
Stumbling, perhaps, at the final hurdle, this slimline network player/DAC does so many things right in a technical sense, but somewhere along the way some soul is depleted from the music. That makes the Source II an excellent choice if you like your sound inoffensive and smooth, you have a pair of wayward loudspeakers in need of taming, or you want everything to sound like a hi-fi demonstration.
Hi-Fi News Verdict
There’s no denying the quality of design, build and engineering here, but the sound might possibly divide opinion. Those wanting plenty of snap and snarl from their favourite tracks may find the Source II’s politeness less appealing. However, if you prefer your music rich, refined and smooth, there’s much to like in the Source II’s precise presentation, whether from digital sources or analogue.