I was looking at Sonore last week, even placed an order that lasted less than 24 hours.
It started with a 200 Neo, that needed a power supply (box 2), then a usb reclocker (box 3, sharing power from box 2), then a mega-switch (box 4) and another power supply (box 5). Even with a 30% discount it came out at the same price as an Innuos Pulsar, that does everything in one box, with three power supplies, a premium reclocker and the InnuOs operating system and Sense app, that I prefer to Roon. At full retail, Sonore is a lot more expensive and really a Roon device. I have Roon lifetime, but don’t want to use it in my main system.
Jason Kennedy, editor of The Ear, has reviewed both (a 3-box Sonore system, without the mega-switch), so I asked him. He said:
I was also looking at AirLens, but there is a weird thing in the manual about sound quality being dependent on using a high-quality (presumably expensive) and very short cable. Paul kindly responded on that point, but it concerns me, plus the cable may have to be 2 to 3 times longer than advised. If the manual is correct, a cheap long cable will impact sound quality.
Paul is in the I2S camp and I’m in the usb camp. He has a prejudicial loathing of usb for obvious and understandable reasons, but plenty of manufacturers have achieved superb results with usb, many preferring it as their Mk2 DAC input.
So a Pulsar will be here tomorrow (it went from England to Scotland yesterday, now back to England). If it’s not great I can always return it, I’m hoping that won’t happen. My Lumin is also being collected tomorrow.
The big deal is that there are no PS Audio dealers here who will do a remotely sensible trade-in. My Lumin has been listed for sale for a few weeks without a single enquiry. I would rather use the Lumin as a streamer than it sit here in a box. Sonore and Innuos are both distributed by the same big dealer and they do great trade-ins.
The distributor told me that the Sonore switch, which costs almost as much as the streamer and reclocker combined, makes a big difference to Sonore. That may be sales talk, but it makes you think why you have to have 5 boxes to do one job. And what is Sonore, when you can use the 200 Neo on its own with the supplied wall wart power unit, or spend 4 times as much on a load of boxes to optimise it.
The distributor told me they had tried to get Sonore to simplify the product with more in one box, but it hasn’t happened.