"For CD resolution files, USB/networking decks like the recently reviewed EUR6'000 LampizatOr SuperKomputer or EUR13'000 Lumin X1 do compete head-on with Jackie's disc spinner. To my ears, they simply don't outperform it. They just match it. Likewise for our resident iMac/Audirvana/D300Ref combo. It's only when one delves into authentic not retroactively upsampled hi-rez files of superior production values that headroom potential beyond 16/44.1 RedBook opens up. But pursuing a system around the notion of wanting to exploit this headroom regularly relies on one's musical tastes overlapping with the existing hi-rez catalogue. My tastes don't. For our thousands of RedBook albums which make up six nines of our library, USB audio remains first and foremost about convenience. Thousands of CDs no longer clutter up the living room. They store safely in the barn for backup. Convenience means unlimited playlist assembly, instant access to terabytes of tunes and the ability to download and purchase music that never made it to CD or was domestically stocked. Such files download at midnight on a Sunday from labels in Istanbul or Mumbai; or artist-direct through BandCamp.
Clearly convenience can coexist with sterling sonics. There's no good reason to not enjoy both despite what anachrophiles might preach. To them convenience and lifestyle are dirty words in eternal conflict with performance. But it's humbling to know that such anarchists would have a point buried deep in their rhetoric. Anyone spinning CDs on the Jay's Audio transport will enjoy sound every bit as advanced; do so for significantly less outlay; and with far less complexity and zero networking issues. Once I add tank-like build and Jackie's clever lift-out-and-swap scheme which elevates long-term ownership to the status of no-brainer, an award is the only outcome honest and fair. One must admit that's impressive implementation for the Philips CDM4 single-beam swing-arm transport last seen in commercial CD players from Philips and Marantz during the early 90s. It's like a class reunion 20 years later. Everyone's gotten older and fatter. Only the geek is still the geek, looking better than ever, trim, tan and happy. Did for him time stand still? Did he undergo secret stem-cell rejuvenation in Switzerland? It's puzzling to put it mildly; and rankles just a bit."
Reviewed By: 6moons Editor Srajan Ebaen