Lumin X1 Network Player Review

December 30, 2019 § Leave a comment

“Using this gorgeous art piece was an aesthetic and musical joy from initial power up ‘till review’s end. I’ve not seen a more beautiful high end component in my music room.

Equal to its visual beauty are the multi functions, ease of use, and, above all, the beautiful sound it enables. Yet, like all great components, the N51 doesn’t have a sound signature per se. What it does brilliantly and beautifully is prepare and amplify digital and vinyl signals so they always sound their very best. Many components desire plenty of refined power—no nonsense energy from which music can flow and energize the listener and the room. Hand in hand down a musical lane—two against the world. The MBL N51 worked perfectly with my components. It endowed each to their musical fullest. As such, I’ve never heard them sound better or as cohesively from an integrated source. I dare say, you could place the N51 in any components’ company and it would accept the musical challenges and surpass your expectations.”

Aurender W20 Music Server Review

November 23, 2019 § Leave a comment

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It is within one of these internal sections that the W20 houses Aurender’s unique battery power-supply configuration. The system is designed to keep delicate internal audio circuitry fed off-grid via three banks of LiFePO4 (LFP) batteries that switch between themselves to continuously supply stable power while the other banks concurrently recharge. This means the W20 is completely isolated from electrical ground noise, jitter and distortion that Aurender says can be incurred during conversion of AC to DC. The batteries are also configured as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to ensure all circuitry is protected from sudden power outages. Should one occur, the W20 will soft-shutdown automatically. Aurender utilizes a fanless Switching Mode Power Supply (SMPS) enclosed in a separate compartment to deliver power to non-audio components.”

Esoteric N-01 Network Player $21,000 Review

November 21, 2019 § Leave a comment

“Esoteric combines multiple 32-bit DAC chips and a 35-bit D/A processing algorithm to process the digital signal with full 35-bit resolution. With old school 16-bit chips falling back in fashion, I prefer the logic behind processing with extended bit depth and that Esoteric implements it to perfection here. There are multiple upsampling and filter settings, but as with my experience with dCS and a few other manufacturers, I saved myself hours of agonizing and second guessing, using it at the factory settings.

Maybe the factory guys are on to something, because that always seems like the best balance of overall musical priorities. Other settings may provide a slightly warmer tonal balance or something else, but it always ends up being the thing that you keep changing, relentlessly. I found bliss with the factory settings.”

LG’s V40 & Apple’s iPad as hi-res network streamers?

November 6, 2019 § Leave a comment

dCS • Rossini 2.0 Digital Playback System $24,000 Review

November 3, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“What this truthfulness emphatically does not mean, however, is that nothing stands out in Rossini 2.0’s intrinsic sound. It displays impressive speed, bass depth and power, midrange color and heft, and an inherently natural way with tone and transients. It’s more transparent, and less obtrusive, than any collection of digital electronics I’ve heard, other than the Vivaldi 2.0, that is. It’s just that, on the one hand, it revels in the fireworks of Keith Richards’ Main Offender [Virgin V2-86499] as readily as the gentle, lilting instruments lines of Thelonious Monk’s Plays Duke Ellington, so nailing it down to a base signature is difficult, if not impossible. Yet, the resolution is so high that discerning the differences between the JVC K2 remaster of the Monk album [Riverside RCD-201-2] and the earlier regular issue [Riverside OJCCD-024-2] is a cinch, with the remaster displaying meatier individual notes — a virtue with Monk’s playing — and a more up-front and vivid presentation.”

Aurender W20 Music Server $17,600 Review

October 26, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The focus on ‘silent running’ sees in-house, bespoke-tailored circuitry designed to further provide “clean, noise-free power” to the RFI-shielded, dedicated USB Audio Class 2.0 output, and continues on to the fully-isolated and damped HDD/ SSD. Both the 12TB storage hard-disk drive and 240GB solid-state, playback-caching drive are suspended on floating brackets to minimize vibrations within their own machined-aluminum drive enclosures which Aurender refers to as “Fort Knox.” According to the company “…If a selected song or album is already cached to the solid-state drive, the hard drive will remain asleep. This minimizes wear and tear on the hard drive. By caching songs to the solid-state drive for playback, electrical and acoustic noise resulting from spinning disks, moving heads and motors are also completely eliminated.” Cool. I should add that the Aurender platform invisibly integrates any music stored on external USB drives or NAS.


October 22, 2019 § Leave a comment

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