Loving my Sprout 100

TL;DR – Old half-deaf guy loves his little streaming stereo system anchored by the Sprout 100, wonders if the next feeding of the addiction should be a slightly more powerful amp or nice headphones…

Hey, everyone,

A few months ago I dipped my toes back into the audio waters, and got a Sprout 100, Bluesound Node 2i, and KEF LS50 Metas.

My initial impression was that I enjoyed the sound quite a bit, but a few songs, particularly some ‘classic rock’ tunes, were a bit ‘muffled’. I put it down to the system showing the quality of production of the song.

I played with using the Sprout’s DAC vs. the Node 2i’s, and they were pretty similar to my old half-deaf ears. Note that during my trial of Amazon HD Music, the optical input of the Sprout wouldn’t work, but I wound up settling on Tidal HiFi, which had no such problems.

I dropped a few bucks on an NRG-YA power cable and PowerQuest 3 for the Sprout and overall power, respectively. I even added an iFi AC purifier, for giggles. The sound seemed to improve noticeably, but that might’ve been wishful thinking.

After I did a little research, I decided to put a Chord Qutest between the Node 2i and the Sprout 100.

Now, I don’t know if it was just the Qutest or in combo with the system breaking in after a few weeks, but all of a sudden my reference tunes, and pretty much all songs of any production quality, sounded really wonderful!

I next got to thinking that while the LS50s have pretty impressive, tight bass response for their size, I wanted a little more foundation in the lower frequencies.

I got a REL T/7i and dialed it in, using the high-level connector cable, with that cable’s wires wrapped around the banana plugs going into the Sprout. I found it interesting that with all the debate about cables and multi-thousand dollar offerings in that area, the REL cable was a very simple, small-stranded affair.

Once it was set up, I was knocked out with how good everything sounded in my 13’ x 15’ room (system on a long wall). I found myself laughing while listening to tunes, because the details and quality was just so good.

I believe the Sprout 100 is showing itself to be quite a capable driver of the KEFs, at least to the volume levels I desire (I don’t need it to be ear-splitting, I only have one ear left to split).

The addiction continues, and now I like to look at reviews of headphones and also think about maybe adding on, say, a Stellar S300 or some other amplifier, as I’m happy with streaming only (using Tidal HIFI), and assume the Sprout 100 pre-amp is a nice minimal front-end to any amp I choose.

I’m honestly so happy with the sound right now, I’m not sure how I could find another power amp more enjoyable.

Comments welcome, but I just wanted to share.

Thanks to the PS Audio crew and community for all the great work and opinions.


What’s weird about audio is that we really can’t imagine how it can be better until we hear it. With images, we can tell when it is blurry or grainy. With audio we are much less able to spot deficiencies. Sometimes those issues are in the source; sometimes they are in the signal path. With each upgrade I make to my system, I experience a new level of amazement. I recently added a P12 Power Regenerator, and I was stunned how much of a difference it made to the whole system.

Beware! It can become an addiction. You start with those NRG-Ya cables, but then you read a post about Pangea or BAV-10 power cables. You try those out and maybe they’re better. It’s a constant path of improvement. Seriously, though, let your ears be your guide. The fun of this hobby is trying out new things and seeing what makes a difference in your system.

So glad you’re enjoying the Sprout! Welcome to the PS Audio family!

1 Like

Welcome Buck and thanks for posting! Really great to hear you’re enjoying the system. I know the LS50s do well with the Sprout100 so I can imagine the Metas are that much better!

Metas are indeed fantastic.

Congrats on the Sprout!! Happy Listening!