After six weeks without the ability to play files stored on my NAS (Bridge II / DS Mk I combo went back for trade-in), today I placed an order for a iFi Zen streamer. It’s cheap and has good specs, although I don’t care for that funny angled face plate. Hopefully it will keep me going until the AirLens finally puts in an appearance.
The Zen Stream is a fine sounding streamer and light years ahead of the Bridge II. I’ve owned one for over a year with a LPS and it does everything I need it to do. Not really sure what you guys expect the “mystical” AirLens to bring to the table that the Zen Stream and other already available units offer. All of the problems it was supposed to correct for Mk I owners Ted has already fixed in the Mk II. With it’s size it’s pretty easy to get it out of sight if the looks really bother you especially if you are going to hardwire it.
Well…I, for one, don’t own the PSA DS MK II; and I would love to find a piece of kit that strikes a balance between cost and performance that outperforms the Bridge II Ethernet card in my DirecStream DAC.
And that’s why I said that is was designed for the input inequalities in the Mk I but the Red, the Neo Stream and several other pieces do the same thing for less money. If you believe that paying at least two and half times for the AirLens will really get you better sound than the Red then spend away and hope it doesn’t exhibit any of the "quirks’ of the other recently released digital products.
I don’t believe any such thing.
The AirLens is at best an unknown quantity of sorts at this time; and at worst, it’s too little, too late.
Time will tell…
I might have to look into the iFi Audio streamer you mentioned as well.
It’s interesting to hear that the Zen Stream sounds so good in your system. I’d like to compare it directly to the Bridge II, but of course I can’t do so anymore. I do have an LPS that should work with the Zen. Given that the AirLens will sell for five times the cost of the Zen, it should provide better sound quality; but only a side-by-side comparison will tell.
You should be able to find the Neo Stream at one of the places like Music Direct, Audio Advisor or Crutchfield that have up to 60 day return policies. Whether or not the Neo Stream and a good LPS will outperform the Red I wouldn’t know but there should be guys on Head-Fi that have compared the two by now.
Will also be interesting to see how Al’s comparisons turn out. Grimm into the Ethos vs Eversolo as streamer only into the Ethos vs Eversolo on its own as DAC and streamer.
Last time I was in Greenville I compared the Red vs the Aries G1 into the Spring 3 KTE for almost a month using the Tubulus Concentus USB cable. Though in the end the G1 was slightly better using it’s own software vs the Red using JPlay for IOS it was uncomfortably close with the current G1 costing four times the price of the Red.
Really looking forward to the newsletter this month with a feature on the AirLens. Hopefully it will answer many of questions that are coming out here…
Not sure what questions you are looking for to be answered. It’s a Conversdigital board in a box with a Switch Mode Power supply. All the spec’s for the board are readily available on the Conversdigital website. It is what it is nothing magical about it.
I really considered the IFi Stream for a long time based on it’s performance in sound quality. But I don’t want to pay for Roon just to listen to Qobuz. No word on Qobuz connect yet and it could be a ways off. Then the Eversolo came out with its great app and it was love at first sight. Haven’t heard any comparisons with the IFi yet for SQ but I’m hoping that it is, at least, competitive. Should be a improvement over my iPad via USB though. I’m hoping that it will be a good match with the MK II. Exciting days ahead for my system. It will be interesting to see how the Eversolo responds to isolation and power cord upgrades.
NeoStream does great SQ, enhanced a bit with iFi Power Elite
Able to use Qobuz or Tidal via Audirvāna or Roon running on computer and controlled either by computer or phone
Connection to NeoStream is direct over network (ether or Wi-Fi), ie not airplay
You don’t need Roon to listen to Qobuz on either of the iFi devices. You can use mConnect for a one time $5.99 fee or JPlay for IOS for $50 a year. JPlay is the better app but both do the job and no external gear or computers needed.
I have a question…
I’m currently running Roon Nucleus+ → ethernet → Uptone etherRegen flipped for optical out → Sonore opticalRendu → USB out to MK2. The eRegen and oRendu are powered by Farad Super 3s.
Would there be any sonic benefit by upgrading the opticalRendu to a Signature Rendu SE? This would take two boxes down to one (removing one Farad), but would the difference be enough to justify the price?
Hi, I was thinking it would be good for Paul to answer the question that has been put a couple of times; in essence, what makes the AirLens a compelling proposition at US$2,000 when there are other streamers with I2S and galvanically isolated outputs for considerably less.
It’s going to come in amongst some tough competition.
I’ll also be keen to understand how it meshes with the DS2, noting the AirLens is flagged as being capable of outputting DOP128 over coaxial but the specs for the DS2 for some reason say the DS2 is limited to DOP64 over the same (which would be odd for partner products)?
The question will be as it pertains to AirLens, with Red, Eversolo, neo stream, et al. (see any number of threads on this forum and others where folks are loving these under $1kish streamers that just seem to work out of the box generally without issue and without a growing pain period to fix bugs), “Is the lunch already eaten?”
Good question. I had the signature Rendu SE and did much comparison when I got the MKII.
I had a cheapo switch in the rack and media converter to optical into the Rendu. I bought a much better switch fed by that optical converter with LPS. The. I compared the Rendu and other streamers out of the switch. Could not tell a difference. The key is the optical isolation the the entire system. You can try this with cheaper really good streamers. Red and the A6 come to mind.
Also many here have had really good luck feeding the roon core directly to MKII vis USB. Maybe try that first maybe. Save tons of boxes.
I don’t expect PSA expects people to use the SPDIF coax much to connect the AirLens and a PSA DAC. I2S over HDMI up to the DSD256 of the MK2 is covered. With the money some folks in these forums spend on cables, the AirLens could save them money with its internal isolation of input and output stages with buffering and clocking (at least as described in PSA videos and posts). And the AirLens is probably guaranteed to make the I2S light go green on the MK2. Worth something not to see red.
This ^ looks interesting…if it had an Ethernet input, I would probably give it a try.
The DirectStream that doesn’t stream music…just firmware.
The DirectStream moniker alludes to DSD audio, not file streaming.