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Thread: Lumin Review

  1. #1
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    Lumin Review

    Lumin – Audiophile Network Music Player Review – Less is more…
    By Michael Bovaird
    Audioshark.org



    Digital sucks. There, I said it. To be honest, I really don’t want to dislike my digital because it is so convenient, but vinyl has always sounded better in my system. Those close to me know I have been on a DAC merry-go-round for several years now. I have cycled through so many DAC’s that I’ve lost count and too embarrassed to say, but it is somewhere around 20. In that time, I have had the pleasure of owning or trying some wonderful sounding DAC’s, but in the end, they always drove me back to vinyl as my preferred source.

    To me, computer audio has always produced this “edge”, this hyper resolving presentation which often creates listener fatigue. Sonic characteristics which have always sent me running for my turntable.

    In addition, with computer audio you have the added frustration and expense of dealing with a Windows PC or Mac. As someone who works on a computer all day, the last thing I want to be bothered with in my listening room is virus scans, fighting adware, phishing attacks or worrying about the latest software update or new version of the operating systems. I just want to listen.



    I have never had a streamer in my system, but loved the idea of one box (or in the case of the Lumin – two) over a clunky and unattractive PC box, monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. But I persevered because here in America, “DAC’s and Mac’s” sound better than streamers…. or so we are told. In other parts of the world, they aren’t so sure. It is my opinion that most manufactures of audio products choose to manufacturer DAC’s, not because they sound better (but they will tell you they do sound better), but because it is much easier to build a DAC rather than a full-fledged streamer. With a DAC, all of the playback programming and processing resides with the PC or Mac. A DAC is still a DAC – fundamentally the same thing they were making years ago – but now with an added USB port. That being said, some of the streamers on the market are also half-baked with no gapless support, incompatibilities with some server/control points and a failure to play ALL file types. The Lumin handles all formats, supports gapless playback and is simply beautiful to look at, use and listen to.

    It is believed that USB is a superior connection to Ethernet because it lets the clock in the DAC do the monitoring and essentially manage the audio stream from the PC or Mac. It is believed that this provides better error management which if not handled properly can degrade performance.

    In my experience, this might be more theory than reality. I have not found any sonic degradation with the Linn or Lumin streamers or with my brief listening sessions with the Naim NDS/X and others. Quite the opposite in fact. In my personal experience and comparisons for this review, I found that there MIGHT be more of an effect on sound when your connection is: NAS→Ethernet→Computer→Software→USB→DAC rather than the simpler NAS→Ethernet→Streamer
    … regardless of who is watching the clock!

    The Lumin retails for $7200 USD (after an initial introductory price of $4000). Lumin explains that their introductory price was to generate interest and reward those early adopters. But this price point was not sustainable long term. After distributor and dealer margins and other associated costs (duty, shipping, etc.), you can see their point.

    My Lumin arrived in less than 2 days from Hong Kong. Prior to its arrival, I found Lumin’s technical support to be exceptionally good and very timely. They answered all my questions in a friendly manner and that allowed me to lay the foundation for the streamer connecting to my NAS.

    Earlier this year I reviewed the Marantz NA-11S1, a quasi-streamer/DAC. In my ongoing pursuit to banish the computer from my listening room, I had spent many days trying to stream DSD content via the Marantz’s Ethernet connection – only to come to the crushing conclusion that it could not be done. So, the computer stayed. I had become more intimate with my NAS than I had ever wanted to!

    These challenges with the Marantz definitely made setting up the Lumin easier. That being said, for new users who are not overly technically savvy, I would set aside a good day. Lumin has created a quick start guide, but it would be nice if included at least a clue to what is required on either the Synology or QNAP NAS side of things (Synology and QNAP are the two brands of NAS that Lumin recommends).



    Lumin The Company

    The Lumin network player is a product of passion by a company called Pixel Magic Systems Ltd., located in Hong Kong. The audiophiles at Lumin wanted a one box network music player that would play all formats – especially DSD and realized there wasn’t one on the market – so they built their own.

    Founded in 2003, Pixel Magic is a privately-held video technology equipment manufacturer for home theater and professional A/V markets. With offices in Hong Kong and San Jose, California, Pixel Magic has dealer/distributor networks for its own brand products in over 25 countries and ODM/OEM customers in Europe and USA.

    Pixel’s first audiophile product is no half-baked attempt either. Milled from a single block of aluminum, the Lumin player is comprised of the main network player and a separate power supply. Under the hood, the Lumin runs Linux combined with flash storage and RAM. The Lumin is also built around a powerful Field-programmable gate array. The combination of the stable operating system (Linux), flash storage and memory means your Lumin should always work without a hiccup. Skipping between DSD, 24/192 PCM, redbook, didn’t fluster the Lumin one bit. The Lumin was fast and always up to the task. The biggest bottleneck in my system was my old, early generation iPad. A request for a new iPad has been sent to Santa.

    The Lumin comes beautifully packaged and well protected for its long journey. Included is the stock power cord, umbilical cord for connecting the Lumin power supply to the network player and an Ethernet cable. For the better part of this review, I used all the included stock accessories. I later switched to the Shunyata Alpha Digital Power Cord and realized additional sonic benefits associated with that power cord which have been discussed on this forum in the past.

    The Lumin has an Ethernet connection (main connection), two Type A USB inputs for USB flash drives or an external drive – if the whole NAS/Ethernet thing isn’t your cup of tea. The Lumin sports XLR and RCA analog outputs. An HDMI and BNC connection for digital out (I will be testing the BNC connection with the EAR DACute 4 in the coming weeks). What you cannot do with the Lumin is connect a PC to it (Type B USB). But there are hundreds of traditional DAC’s on the market for that. The Lumin is a Network Music Player.



    Setup

    I accessed my Synology 1812+ NAS via my Mac browser and installed Java and MiniMserver for Synology (both free apps). Using the Synology DSM (DiskStation Manager) I was able to successfully install both apps. Once running on the NAS, you will need to install the Lumin iPad app, select your NAS via the Lumin apps settings and you are good to go. If you add new music to your library, you will need to stop/start MiniMServer. As of a couple of days ago, this can now be done via the web interface after also installing MiniMStreamer. You then only need to go to http://192.168.x.x:9790 to restart MiniMServer. Where “x.x” is the location of your NAS on your network. You will need to take your time and read through the instructions on the MiniMServer website. Simon has created a wonderful piece of software.

    The Lumin Sound

    I began my listening with Keb Mo, Keb Mo on DSD. The first thing I noticed with the Lumin as compared to the MA-1 was a slight increase in original tape hiss at the beginning of “Am I Wrong”. Was the Lumin getting me closer to the original recording? On the Lumin, the track had an added weight and warmth to it that by comparison sounded slightly thin on the MA-1. I listened carefully to the Lumin for a lack of details and definition (since this is what the MA-1 is known for), but never found it. All the details were still there with Lumin, but with a lot less digital edge.

    Next up was James Taylor Greatest Hits, 16/44.1 CD rip. Upscaling Carolina in My Mind to DSD produced a slightly more dimensional portrayal of the song than the similar 44.1 rendering. However, it also increased a noticeable “hiss” over the 44.1 version.

    I moved on to Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon (remastered CD). Listening to The Circle Game upsampled from 44.1 to DSD was slightly more hazy sounding and slightly veiled. In this case, I preferred the regular redbook rip sans upscaling.

    Up next was George Benson’s – Inspiration (A Tribute to Nat King Cole), 24/96 PCM, HDTracks. Listening to Just One of Those Things, the Lumin seemed to turn it up a notch. The sound became bigger, with an even greater sense of dynamics. Even though the Lumin is natively DSD compatible and sounds terrific with every format I threw at it, one of its greatest sonic strengths was high res PCM. Everything I fed it – 24/96 or 24/192 – sounded absolutely superb. This was truly its sweet spot. This is not to take anything away from its excellent ability to play DSD and redbook, but high res PCM just sounded exceptionally good. If you’re going to focus your energies on making one format sound absolutely the best, high res PCM is a good bet.

    Listening to the Lumin over the past few days, it became clear to me that nothing sticks out. Its sound is smooth and liquid. Nothing is hyped up or over magnified. The sound is full bodied with a greater dimensionality than most of the DAC’s that had graced my system in the past. But its even handedness and smooth sonic character did not correlate to a loss in detail. All the detail is still there. The soft pluck on the guitar. The shimmer of the high hat. The airy vocals of Alison Krauss.

    The Lumin just sounded more analog than any DAC I have owned. It achieves this by presenting the music as a whole rather than over amplified, hyper resolving and over highlighted individual parts. With some highly resolving digital DAC’s, they can almost have an effect like a trumpet player being too close to the microphone or the result we used to get in the past when someone cranked up the treble, a negative trait I have found with many DAC’s.

    The MA-1 is a fantastic DAC and the consistent favorite of our many big DAC shootouts at the Suncoast Audiophile Society. But when comparing the Lumin to my Meitner MA-1/CAPS 3.0, overall, the Lumin offered a fuller, meatier, smoother sound with a greater rounding of those annoying digital edges. It might be my imagination, but the Lumin also sounded like it had better PRAT than the MA-1. One of the niggly complaints I’ve always had about the MA-1 and the DAC2X was the delay when switching between DSD to PCM or even high res PCM to redbook. Not so with the Lumin. Switching between file formats was fast and operated without a hitch.

    Switching back and forth on the inputs of my preamp while the the MA-1 and Lumin played the same redbook, PCM and DSD files, I preferred the Lumin on every format I tested. Running a blind comparison for a friend of mine, he always selected the Lumin. One of the tracks he noticed quite a discrepancy was Andrea Bocelli’s Amapola from his Amore CD. On the MA-1, the opening vocals have a noticeable digital hash. On the Lumin, his voice during the opening is smooth and just floats in the air.

    Overall, when comparing Redbook rips on the MA-1 to the Lumin, it was close, but the Lumin won out in the end and there was no doubt to its abilities on high res and DSD.

    As mentioned earlier, on Redbook rips, the Lumin can upsample to DSD. On some tracks this added a much great weight and dimensionality to the recordings. It further softened some of the digital edge. You can switch back and forth on the fly for a real comparison. However, on other tracks, its affect wasn’t as beneficial and maybe even detrimental to the over sound quality.

    The upscaling of formats to DSD is one feature of the Lumin that rarely gets mentioned, but I found it to be a fun feature to play with. As a side note, switching quickly between native 44.1 and upscaled to DSD on the Lumin ipad settings produced a brief second of a barely audible soft noise at the beginning of the track (like air puffing).

    I was highly skeptical the upsampling would work or produce a very noticeable difference. But it did and it works. On most tracks I preferred the native 44.1. But on quite a few cd rips, upscaling produced a fuller bass and a warmer presentation and was my preferred default setting. My default was to leave things in their native setting.

    The Lumin iPad App

    One of the best features of the Lumin is the free iPad app which literally operates as your sole control point for the Lumin – including powering it on and off. The app allows the ability to scroll through tracks, artists, albums, genres and search. Creating and saving playlists is a snap. The app is very nice to use, intuitive and seems to be regularly upgraded by Pixel Magic where they are adding new features. As a side note, I have noticed on the Linn forum many of the Linn faithful using the Lumin app to control their Linn DS product and the good folks at Lumin are happy to support and answer questions about the Lumin app on the Linn forum.



    Complaints

    Accessing the back panel of the Lumin can be a little tricky due to the rather large aluminum overhang.

    I also wish NAS setup was a little easier – either through a graphical guide on the Lumin website or a setup file that you can download that automates the process (ok, I know, wishful thinking on this last part).

    Lastly, aesthetically, it would be nice if the color of light illuminating (no pun intended) from the power supply was the same color as the light on the Lumin. I know, I know….I’m grasping at straws here.



    Conclusion

    At the end of the day, the Lumin is the world’s first truly universal audiophile network player. In my system, it never missed a beat. Overall, it sounded less digital and more analog than any other DAC or streamer I have heard.

    Every streamer I have heard whether it be the Lumin, Linn, DCS, Bryston or Naim all sound more musical than DAC/PC equivalents. In my opinion, streamers do digital better. The Lumin and other streamers are also generally simpler to use, sustain and maintain than DAC/PC equivalent. What more could you want? If you want a different flavor, you can always add an external DAC and go digital out of the Lumin – but the DAC in the Lumin Network Player is exceptionally good.

    As they say, the truth was in the pudding. Rather than jumping around from track to track, artist to artist like I tend to do with digital due to listener fatigue, I found myself listening to an entire album and overall, listening to digital for hours on end.

    At $7200 MSRP, the Lumin has some stiff competition from the DAC & Mac crowd, but in my opinion it stands up to all comers. I spent many hours listening to the Lumin and every time found my toes tapping.

    I’ve played the saxophone for over 30 years and at the end of my listening sessions, I found the Lumin sounded more like music and less like computer! I so enjoyed my time with the Lumin, that I bought the review sample.

    My digital no longer sucks. The Lumin Network Audiophile Music Player is the best digital I’ve never heard. Highly recommended.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, TechDAS/AirForce Turntables, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
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  2. #2

    Re: Lumin Review

    Mike, what a great review!! So thorough, from setup to operations to SQ to comparisons. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this insightful review!


    Allen

    Speakers: Magico S7
    Amp: CH Precision A1
    Preamp: Trinity Preamp
    Phono: Trinity Phono
    TT: Kronos Sparta, Helena arm, Airtight PC-1
    Cables: Various: Nordost, Shunyata, Unity Audio, Ansuz



  3. #3
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Great review

    Thanks for taking the time to write it up.
    Jock

    If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.

    ---------

    House: Naim ND555/2PS, Naim 552, Naim 500, Studer A80/Doshi V3, Magico M2s, 2 Magico Q-Sub 15s, Lumina IC/SC, Shunyata Everest and Omega PCs.

    Workshop: Naim ND555/2 PS, VAC Master Pre, VAC Sig 200iQ, Avant Garde Duo Mezzo XD, 2 Magico Q-Sub 15s, Shunyata IC/SC, Shunyata Typhon QR/Triton V3/Sigma PCs.

  4. #4
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Job well done Mike! Looks like a great unit.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AX Mark II, Job INTegrated.

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  5. #5

    Re: Lumin Review

    Nicely done Mike.....
    Dealer / Manufacture Disclosure:

    Jeff Whitlock
    A/V Solutions / Unity Audio Design
    www.avsolutionsca.com

    ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

  6. #6
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Printing it out now to savour...
    NORMAN
    Custom PC with Memory Player Software Suite/ Modded Denon CD transport>Lampi GG1 (and sometimes PACIFIC) DHT tube Dac> Rowen 850W Isolating Transformer/ Rowen SS Preamp and PA1 monoblocs/Lampi Silk power cond. with Phase flipper> Heil AMT KITHARA & Syrinx in parallel hookup. Swiss cables (Reference line) for PC/interconnects and speaker cables. Goldmund Sweetcord PC. FTA Callisto unpowered USB cable. Basic analog: vintage Lenco L78 TT with Rowen mat, Denon MM cart, iFi iPhono2 with 15v Hynes SR3 LPSU. Synology 12 TB NAS. 2nd system:KenWin Bluetooth speaker 3rd system TBI Millemnium amp with Aulos speakers and SB Duo hookup.

  7. #7
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Wonderful job Mike. At 7k a simple setup hopefully will b feasible in the not too distant future. Although somewhat similar to the three other reviews I've read, I most enjoyed the ma-1 comparison as I am very familiar with that dac. I also really like that all the music was recordings I also am very familiar with. Any explanation to the hiss issues u were detecting? We're they artifact or created by this lumin or how it processes or up samples

    Nick
    Nick



    Main system :TAD CR1 speakers, Viola Labs Symphony amp,Pass XP-20 preamp., MSB Discrete DAC with twin power supplies and V2 Renderer module, Gigafoil V4 inline ethernet filter with uptone LPS-1 power supply with Ghent audio Gotham 2.1mm to 2.5mm cable and AG diamond ethernet cable, Sonicorbitor Roon Audiophile 6 TB network server-player , MG Audio Design Planus III jumpers & speaker cables, Zitron Cobra power cords, Shunyata Hydra AV, and acoustic zen absolute copper IC,. Room treatment ASC tower traps, Vicoustic absorber premium cinema wall and ceiling panels, and MSR acoustic trifusser side wall panel

  8. #8
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Great review Mike! I am glad you found your way into digital Nirvana
    Also good that you find like many others on this side of the pond that streaming from a NAS, even after some struggle with set-up, is comfortable as well as perfect for the sound. Now before you get used to it make sure that your network and digital collection has been set-up well and secure (back-up, UPS etcetera). If you like we could start another thread on that.
    My big question to you: how do high-res and DSD compare? This is a topic that is heating the emotions on several streaming forums in the world and it would be good to have your experienced and unbiased input on this listening on the same player.
    The review would be perfect if you compared to the Linn Akurate DS and Klimax DS of course....
    The conclusion in the second post here might make you interesting:
    Linn Klimax DS/1 vs Akurate DS/1 vs Majik DS vs Lumin - Side-by-Side Comparison

    Hans

    Bowers & Wilkins 805 D3 /alternatively JM Lab Point Source Aria 5 (self modified)/ 2x SVS 3000 SB, Audionet AMP (2x), dCS Bartók used as streamer / DAC / preamp, Pro-Ject RPM 9 with Speedbox S and Orthofon MC Vivo Blue, KEF LS50 Nocturne / Sunfire Atmos(kitchen). Patio: Bluesound Node 2i and Focal CMS50.
    RoonServer on Nucleus.

  9. #9
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Great review. A pleasure to read.

    One comment: there is no doubt in my mind that the Ethernet is a superior interface format. It is guaranteed to be bit perfect thanks to TCP/IP protocol and offers galvanic isolation, which prevents the computer grunge from entering the DAC/streamer.
    Adam

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  10. #10
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Excellent review Mike!
    _______________

    Mike

  11. #11
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by veindoc View Post
    Wonderful job Mike. At 7k a simple setup hopefully will b feasible in the not too distant future. Although somewhat similar to the three other reviews I've read, I most enjoyed the ma-1 comparison as I am very familiar with that dac. I also really like that all the music was recordings I also am very familiar with. Any explanation to the hiss issues u were detecting? We're they artifact or created by this lumin or how it processes or up samples

    Nick
    Lumin explained to me that the tape his COULD be caused by a slight incompatibility of the XLR connection from the Lumin to the Accuphase. They have not noticed any increase in tape hiss on their end when comparing against "cheap and expensive DACS".

    The increase is ever so slight and to be honest, I really do think we are just peeling back another layer into the original recording.

    That being said, I will continue to explore.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, TechDAS/AirForce Turntables, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

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  12. #12
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Glareskin View Post
    Great review Mike! I am glad you found your way into digital Nirvana
    Also good that you find like many others on this side of the pond that streaming from a NAS, even after some struggle with set-up, is comfortable as well as perfect for the sound. Now before you get used to it make sure that your network and digital collection has been set-up well and secure (back-up, UPS etcetera). If you like we could start another thread on that.
    My big question to you: how do high-res and DSD compare? This is a topic that is heating the emotions on several streaming forums in the world and it would be good to have your experienced and unbiased input on this listening on the same player.
    The review would be perfect if you compared to the Linn Akurate DS and Klimax DS of course....
    The conclusion in the second post here might make you interesting:
    Linn Klimax DS/1 vs Akurate DS/1 vs Majik DS vs Lumin - Side-by-Side Comparison

    I read through this several times. He's obviously a Linn fan and for good reason. That being said, going by memory (which is about as reliable as a broken watch), I would venture to say the Lumin sonically most resembles the Akurate DS with a slight dynamic edge to the Lumin.

    From memory, the Klimax had a slightly higher resolution than the Akurate.

    Overall, I find highly resolving streamers and DACS in some systems to be a good thing - for example if your speakers and associated gear and cabling is more on the dark or veiled side. In other systems, not so much. Finding the right source balance is key.

    That being said, the Linn's inability to handle DSD files without some sort of prior lengthy conversion by Korg (or another program) to PCM, would render a large portion of my digital music files unplayable. I have hundreds and hundreds of SACD's converted to DSD. While doing the review, I thought to myself "I can't go down the non-DSD streamer route, I have too many DSD files I listen to on a regular basis." If you don't give two hoots about DSD, then definitely do some comparisons between the Lumin and the Linn (or others). Both are excellent.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, TechDAS/AirForce Turntables, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
    Phone: 941-932-0282
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suncoast-Au...1105178279194/

  13. #13
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    I read through this several times. He's obviously a Linn fan and for good reason.
    Yeah, but as you could read they had a panel who judged by sonic performance, and so did the panel in the other panel I have forwarded you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    That being said, the Linn's inability to handle DSD files without some sort of prior lengthy conversion by Korg (or another program) to PCM, would render a large portion of my digital music files unplayable. I have hundreds and hundreds of SACD's converted to DSD. While doing the review, I thought to myself "I can't go down the non-DSD streamer route, I have too many DSD files I listen to on a regular basis." If you don't give two hoots about DSD, then definitely do some comparisons between the Lumin and the Linn (or others). Both are excellent.
    Fair enough. But can you elaborate on the comparison between DSD and PCM high-res on the Lumin? Do you have titles in both formats?
    That would be cool!
    Hans

    Bowers & Wilkins 805 D3 /alternatively JM Lab Point Source Aria 5 (self modified)/ 2x SVS 3000 SB, Audionet AMP (2x), dCS Bartók used as streamer / DAC / preamp, Pro-Ject RPM 9 with Speedbox S and Orthofon MC Vivo Blue, KEF LS50 Nocturne / Sunfire Atmos(kitchen). Patio: Bluesound Node 2i and Focal CMS50.
    RoonServer on Nucleus.

  14. #14
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Glareskin View Post
    Yeah, but as you could read they had a panel who judged by sonic performance, and so did the panel in the other panel I have forwarded you.


    Fair enough. But can you elaborate on the comparison between DSD and PCM high-res on the Lumin? Do you have titles in both formats?
    That would be cool!
    True, but at the end of the day, the Linn DS doesn't handle DSD.

    As for DSD vs PCM, I am going to take a look today to see if I have any of the same titles on 24/96 or 24/192 and DSD. I can tell you that on the Lumin, native DSD vs DSD converted to PCM FLAC sounds better - much better - in native DSD.
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Mike, Thanks for the well written review. I'm really glad that you're enjoying your digital now. I know that your DSD files are very important for you,and I'm glad you found a streamer that allows you to listen to them.

    Hans brings up some very valid points, there have been numerous comparisons between the Lumin and the Linn family of streamers. The Linn DS's have pretty much won all the comparisons.

    I would suggest that you make the comparison yourself, in your own system. I think I know what will happen.

    I know, I know........it doesn't do DSD ! But for most of us, thats not a big deal.
    Last edited by MDP; December 23, 2013 at 11:25 AM.
    Mark

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    Re: Lumin Review

    I totally agree. For many, DSD "ain't no big deal". I get it. At this price point, it would come down to Akurate vs Lumin. For me, the Lumin does it all. For others, I would encourage them to compare and decide what works best in their system. I've greatly enjoyed the Linn Akurate DS at your home many times and like with the Lumin, never became agitated and wanted to switch to vinyl. I haven't spun a record since the Lumin arrived. GASP!

    I really wanted to compare the Lumin with the Linn and thanks to the generosity of you and Jock, I still may. Sadly, Linn (the company) never responded to me (directly) or my dealer's request for a demo unit - for over 6 months. DSD or not, that didn't impress me.

    Lumin will be attending CES. Does anyone know if Linn will be there?
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    Re: Lumin Review

    One more point about the Lumin I would like to add. I'm not sure how they do it, but they maintain volume levels very well regardless of format. I found the Meitner a good 5-8db lower for DSD vs Redbook or High Res. The Lumin seems much more consistent in volume across the board.
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Wow nice Mike!!! I try to wrap my brain around this digital thing and what all the initials and numbers are for. I just can't do it, but it was a very enjoyable read and very well written and as thorough as can be.
    I hope to read some more of these great reviews of all that new gear in the future.
    Thank you
    Steve

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    Re: Lumin Review

    The Lumin seems to be one heck of a product. It's new companies like this that will push computer digital/streamers to new heights. I think that the digital engineers are just now truly understanding the effects of EMI, RFI, ABC, XYZ and whatever else there is and how it affects the sound and how to get rid of it.

    If enough new material comes out in DSD then eventually all the manufacturers will play it. I really think that this will be a non-issue in the coming years.
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by the professor View Post
    The Lumin seems to be one heck of a product. It's new companies like this that will push computer digital/streamers to new heights. I think that the digital engineers are just now truly understanding the effects of EMI, RFI, ABC, XYZ and whatever else there is and how it affects the sound and how to get rid of it.

    If enough new material comes out in DSD then eventually all the manufacturers will play it. I really think that this will be a non-issue in the coming years.
    Good post Jock !
    Mark

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    Re: Lumin Review

    Awesome review to read. One thing is for sure - the Lumin seems like a heck of a unit.
    Sean

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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Elberoth View Post
    Great review. A pleasure to read.

    One comment: there is no doubt in my mind that the Ethernet is a superior interface format. It is guaranteed to be bit perfect thanks to TCP/IP protocol and offers galvanic isolation, which prevents the computer grunge from entering the DAC/streamer.

    I heard that the GISO GB improves things significantly for Ethernet connections:

    ACOUSENCE recordings & records
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Great write up Mike. Sounds like a keeper.

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    Re: Lumin Review

    Very nice, thorough review Mike. I'm glad it turned out to be everything you wanted in digital.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    I haven't spun a record since the Lumin arrived.
    I'm curious about what happens once the Kronos arrives.
    Doug



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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by dlb2 View Post

    I'm curious about what happens once the Kronos arrives.
    A battle royal!
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Mike,

    1. Great read; thx for taking the time to share.
    2. Did you mention the DACs used in the Lumin?
    3. I bet your speakers have lot to do with the sound quality at the end. ...And the quality music recordings of course.
    4. A little steep (dispendieux) right now, but it augurs very well for the near future, and for everyone.
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Thanks Bob. They are Wolfson DAC's. Same as in the Linn I believe.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

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    Re: Lumin Review

    Wolfson; cool, smooth DACs generally. ...Makes digital music more pleasurable to listen to, less edgy.
    ~ Bob ~
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthStar View Post
    Wolfson; cool, smooth DACs generally. ...Makes digital music more pleasurable to listen to, less edgy.
    I totally agree!
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    A battle royal!

    Yeah, right.

    When Optimus Prime's TT arrives it will take the lustre off the Lumin, at least for a while. Hehehehe
    NORMAN
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Thanks Bob. They are Wolfson DAC's. Same as in the Linn I believe.
    WM8742? If so, the same as in my spinner and would explain why they handle DSD as that chip has 4 filter setting for DSD and 5 for PCM, including a minimum Phase apodizing filter.
    NORMAN
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by wisnon View Post
    WM8742? If so, the same as in my spinner and would explain why they handle DSD as that chip has 4 filter setting for DSD and 5 for PCM, including a minimum Phase apodizing filter.

    Would love to know with certitude which DAC model number, and how many of them exactly; channels on a single chip, or chips.
    ...In the Lumin digital music server.
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    I really wanted to compare the Lumin with the Linn and thanks to the generosity of you and Jock, I still may. Sadly, Linn (the company) never responded to me (directly) or my dealer's request for a demo unit - for over 6 months. DSD or not, that didn't impress me.
    Lumin will be attending CES. Does anyone know if Linn will be there?
    Yeah Mike you are right. That sort of attitude doesn't win me as a customer either. As you know I have tried to reach out to Linn and explained your situation. Through the Linn forum I have pm-ed a designer called Murrays. So far no response... Now I am trying through a well respected guy on the forum who is probably a lot closer to the Linn folks. All together this is really lousy situation and I fully understand you are happy with the Lumin and don't care about the Linn situation.
    Enjoy your Lumin!
    Hans

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    Re: Lumin Review

    The product is one thing. The people behind that product is a stronger thing. It makes or breaks that product.
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    Re: Lumin Review

    I agree Bob. I can't speak to the folks at Linn, but they've been doing it a long long time and I'm sure they are great. I can tell you the folks at Lumin are passionate audiophiles. I wish I could share some things they've told me and pictures they've showed me in confidence, but let's just say, they are really passionate about audio and want the Lumin to be the most musically sounding digital source you've ever heard.....because they want it to be that way for their own use.
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthStar View Post
    The product is one thing. The people behind that product is a stronger thing. It makes or breaks that product.
    Bob, the company responds very well to it's customers. The dealer network in North America is in flux right now. My Linn experience has been fabulous, I am offered downloadable updates as they become available. Any questions or emails are answered. And the Linn forum is also very good.
    Mark

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    Re: Lumin Review

    I have a Linn audio dealer near by, so I do understand their business here in North America, Canada; on Vancouver Island, Victoria.

    I was simply responding to Mike's post in regards to his personal experience in what he said.

    * It is very nice to have a good long standing reputation like Linn, and you still have to maintain it in all aspects of operation, distribution, accessibility, technical support, products to reviewers...
    Nobody ever sit on his laureats without feeding them methodically and 'innovatively' in the now. In particular when it's a competitive business.
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Linn does seem to be responsive to their dealers. But as WE all know in this era of commerce, that's only half of it. I hope that they get it together. North America would be a bad market to loose.
    Jock

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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthStar View Post
    Would love to know with certitude which DAC model number, and how many of them exactly; channels on a single chip, or chips.
    ...In the Lumin digital music server.
    Analog Output Stage:

    Wolfson WM8741 DAC chips, 1 chip per channel
    Fully balanced layout with high quality components
    Output connectors coupled with dual LUNDAHL LL7401 output transformers
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

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  40. #40
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Analog Output Stage:

    Wolfson WM8741 DAC chips, 1 chip per channel
    Fully balanced layout with high quality components
    Output connectors coupled with dual LUNDAHL LL7401 output transformers
    Ha! The WM8741 DAC; the same DACs used in the Pioneer Elite SC-09* flagship (2008 model) AV receiver ($7,000 US MSRP).
    - That receiver weighs 70.5 pounds.
    ...The very best Wolfson Microelectronics DAC (top-of-the-line) at the time, and I guess still now (along with the WM8742).
    - Those are high performance Stereo DACs. And the Lumin is using two DACs per channel (two Stereo chips) in dual differential mode, for optimum fully balanced output operation.
    { http://www.wolfsonmicro.com/products/dacs/WM8741 }

    * It's a very smooth DAC that was used in combination with Class D ICE powered amplification. ...Made perfect sense.

    Arcam is another high-end audio company who favors Wolfson DACs as well.
    ~ Bob ~
    "And it Stoned me to my Soul" Van Morrison
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  41. #41

    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    I agree Bob. I can't speak to the folks at Linn, but they've been doing it a long long time and I'm sure they are great. I can tell you the folks at Lumin are passionate audiophiles. I wish I could share some things they've told me and pictures they've showed me in confidence, but let's just say, they are really passionate about audio and want the Lumin to be the most musically sounding digital source you've ever heard.....because they want it to be that way for their own use.
    These guys sound like people I want to do business with...

    Did you invite them to the forum, Mike?


    Allen

    Speakers: Magico S7
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  42. #42
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by socfan12 View Post
    These guys sound like people I want to do business with...

    Did you invite them to the forum, Mike?
    Oh yes. They are busy preparing for CES.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

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  43. #43
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quick update: the very slight tape hiss was caused by having the Lumin app volume at 100. At 99, it's dead silent. I will notify Lumin of my findings.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, TechDAS/AirForce Turntables, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

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  44. #44

    Re: Lumin Review

    Great news, Mike.
    Sean

    Lumin T2
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  45. #45
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Quick update: the very slight tape hiss was caused by having the Lumin app volume at 100. At 99, it's dead silent. I will notify Lumin of my findings.
    Mike, do you use variable volume control on the app? For pure audiophiles that is like cursing in church!
    OK I'll admit it, I do it as well Because it is so darn practical on the Lumin app. Now on the Linn Akurate I'll have to bring back the maximum volume to 80% when using variable volume control. I even brought mine back to 78% as I think only until that point I feel I keep the purity of the sound.
    Oh if the Audionet people would know that I am not solely using their fantastic app with volume control on the DNP...

    Anyhow probably for the Lumin you'll have a similar setting where you can disable the internal volume control and thus have the pure signal to the amp. Here is how it looks on the Linn Konfig program:
    Hans

    Bowers & Wilkins 805 D3 /alternatively JM Lab Point Source Aria 5 (self modified)/ 2x SVS 3000 SB, Audionet AMP (2x), dCS Bartók used as streamer / DAC / preamp, Pro-Ject RPM 9 with Speedbox S and Orthofon MC Vivo Blue, KEF LS50 Nocturne / Sunfire Atmos(kitchen). Patio: Bluesound Node 2i and Focal CMS50.
    RoonServer on Nucleus.

  46. #46
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    Re: Lumin Review

    I don't use the variable volume control. The Lumin best practices guide suggests leaving it at 100%. I emailed Lumin and my contact emailed right back. They are aware of the problem now and are fixing it. They said right after Christmas a firmware update will be coming that fixes it. Bravo!

    It's really not a big deal. I'm picking at the littlest thing. I'm sure not many people are listening with their ear next to the tweeter!
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

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  47. #47
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    . I have hundreds and hundreds of SACD's converted to DSD. While doing the review, I thought to myself "I can't go down the non-DSD streamer route, I have too many DSD files I listen to on a regular basis." If you don't give two hoots about DSD, then definitely do some comparisons between the Lumin and the Linn (or others). Both are excellent.
    Mike, pardon my ignorance, but how did you convert SACDs? I am only aware of the ps3 trick to copy sacd.
    Main Speakers: Revel Salon 2
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  48. #48
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    Re: Lumin Review

    That's it Jeff - and it's not for the faint of heart.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, TechDAS/AirForce Turntables, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

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  49. #49
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Unless you have a massive SACD collection, DSD downloads from http://store.acousticsounds.com/c/372/DSD_Download

    would be a lot easier!
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, TechDAS/AirForce Turntables, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
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  50. #50
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    Re: Lumin Review

    Ok. Just checking. Was hoping there was some easier way.
    Main Speakers: Revel Salon 2
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    Power cables: Shunyata Venom3 on amp, preamp, CDP, BDP
    Power Conditioners: Furman Elite-15pfi, Furman Elite-15-dmi
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