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  1. #1
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    Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    Greetings fellow sharks!

    A Bladelius ASK landed on my front door step this morning. It's one of these:

    Bladelius - ASK Integrated

    It is now connected to only three things. My Shunyata Everest. My Magico M3 speakers. And my network router. A power cable. A pair of speaker cables. And a network cable. That is all.

    What was connected to my M3's as of an hour ago was a seven box Esoteric Grandioso stack, Halcro reference monoblocks, a plethora of ridiculously expensive cables too many to count, and heavens knows what else. That whole shooting match weighs in at over 300kg and is worth about $300K.

    The diminutive Bladelius ASK weighs in at a meager 20kg and is worth about $20K (with the optional DAC module). The weight of it is less than half the weight of the YG rack alone that carries all my other aforementioned electronics.

    I eventually worked out how to configure the Bladelius ASK as a Spotify Connect device and now I'm streaming my favorites list on Spotify using an iPhone 6 as the controller. The sound and the simplicity of it is compelling. Actually, it's incredible. You couldn't want for anything more in the audiophile experience. And there is the dilemma. How can this single box possibly compete with the flagship Esoteric at >10 times the price? I'm here to tell you it's close. It's so close I'm in no rush to switch back to the main system. And it's not even their flagship integrated amp.

    If you're in the market for a single box that does it all the Bladelius ASK should be on your radar. It's off the price vs performance Richter scale and gets my highest recommendation.

    Screen Shot 2023-09-08 at 18.21.57.png
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  2. #2
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    Very interesting! Have heard the brand in passing but haven't paid much attention.
    Just took a look at their website. Are they Swedish? They don't mention an address.

    There is a lot to be said IMO on simplifying the chain. I tried the JOB INT integrated several years ago and it was a complete revelation. These new integrateds with digital inputs are like Swiss Army Knives offering a ton of flexibility. Given the huge savings in box count and dollars it does cause one to pause and consider.


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  3. #3
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    Yep, Swedish. Build quality of the unit is very good and the aesthetics are pleasing, but the volume knob looks a bit unconventional. The remote control is plastic rubbish, lucky I only use it for volume control. The ASK owners manual is very basic and scant on detail. Packaging is quite good with the wooden crate. The simplicity of it is bliss. My A system needs seven power cables to power the boxes that perform the same function as ASK. Plus all the interconnects. The flagship integrated Bladelius Oden Mk2 will debut next month. I tell you what, I reckon Oden Mk2 + Magico S3 will probably slay anything twice the price. ASK has a cheap Raspberry Pi module running the network audio side. I can't imagine how good it might sound if Bladelius put a tricked up Lumin U2 module in there instead.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  4. #4
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    I really like the "simple approach" as you've described here, Brodric. I've had a very similar experience when moving from my previous set-up to the Lumin P1 + an integrated amp.

    Similar to yours, it only requires a minimum of cables and such: 1 pair of ICs, two PCs, 1 optical cable, and a set of speaker cables.

    Nice this is: it always works and sounds fab.

  5. #5
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    After seven hours of listening last night I remained very impressed by the sound. But at the end of that the case of the ASK integrated was too hot to touch, which is a worry. My Halcro monoblocks have slightly higher power output rating than ASK integrated, but its heatsinks are about 10+ times the size and get barely warm to the touch.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  6. #6
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    I've dialed down the Class A bias on ASK from high to low. The chassis temperature has gone from too hot to touch, to comfortably warm to touch. I'm going to keep it there, especially with summer just around the corner.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  7. #7
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    Why this change in your system, or just an experiment?
    Moon 700i V2, YG Acoustics Hailey, Aurender N10, dCS Rossini, Oppo BDP103D (audiopraise board), Ansuz Mainz 8 D2

  8. #8
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    I bought Magico A3 and Bladelius ASK as a simple system for my mum. But she didn't want it so I kept it.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  9. #9
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    The dilemma I'm facing is this Bladelius ASK sounds better than the Estoteric Grandioso stack. Despite having a vast CD collection and a Grandioso transport to spin them in most of my music listening is Spotify. I had been using a Playstation 3 as my Spotify source for the Esoteric up until a month ago when Spotify support on PS3 ended. I keep coming back to this ASK because it sounds better and it's simple. Power cable, network cable and speaker cables. That's it. One button turns it on and 30 seconds later you're underway. Simplicity is bliss. What this is telling me is I need a better Spotify source for my Esoteric. Or just be content with this ASK. It really is very impressive as a single box option.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  10. #10
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    Your esoteric set should be beating the ASK easily, can only imagine there are bottlenecks in your system.

    I know that my Moon 700i is the "weakest" link in my system, but with optimizing the front end, power supply and internet stuff I am pretty sure I have maximized the SQ in my room.
    Moon 700i V2, YG Acoustics Hailey, Aurender N10, dCS Rossini, Oppo BDP103D (audiopraise board), Ansuz Mainz 8 D2

  11. #11
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    I'm waiting for Esoteric to release a new network transport to replace N-03T. The bottleneck was the Playstation PS3 source I was using with the Esoteric, but which I can't use any more because Spotify is no longer supported. Hence why I'm now listening to Spotify on ASK.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  12. #12
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    What is the Spotify music resolution you are receiving? Is it possible that Spotify is (also) the bottleneck?

  13. #13
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    Spotify Premium resolution. On the ASK Spotify can sound as good as spinning a disc in my Grandioso transport.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  14. #14
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by brodricj View Post
    Spotify Premium resolution. On the ASK Spotify can sound as good as spinning a disc in my Grandioso transport.
    I think Spotify Premium resolution, at least in the US, is currently the equivalent of MP3 (320Kbps) vs 1411 Kbps for standard CD.

  15. #15
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    320 here also. And it sounds fantastic. No need for CD transport.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  16. #16
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    I have heard others say that Spotify Premium sounds surprisingly good relative to higher resolution streaming services. I am 100% CD/SACD via an Esoteric K-01XD (not the equal of a current Grandioso stack), so my only comparative streaming experience is with a friend's Esoteric K-01XS player receiving Qobuz via an Innuos ZENith Mk3/PhoenixUSB. The difference to my ears between playing even a moderate quality classical CD on his player vs. streaming it at CD rate was immediately apparent - in favor of playing the local physical CD (both cases using the K-01XS's DAC). The difference was less pronounced playing a locally stored CD from the Innuos, but still favored playing the physical CD. My friend's USB network may not be the equal of more optimized networks from other forum members, but this is the only data point I have. As usual, YMMV.

  17. #17
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    Instead of waiting around to see what Esoteric is or isn't going to do with Lumin's streaming technology in the future why not just buy a U2 now and be done.
    Main - JVC QL-Y7/Denon DL-301 Mk II, Gold Note PH-10, Jays CDT3 Mk3 , Auralic Aries G1, Holo May KTE, Supratek Cabernet, Kinki Studio EX-B7 monoblocks, Verity Audio Otello, (2) Rythmik F12SE, Audio Envy IC, SC & PC's, Triode Wire Lab PC's, Inakustik USB and I2S, PS Audio Stellar P3, PI Audio Uberbuss, Timbernation rack

    Family Room - Oppo UDP-203, Auralic Aries, Aqua La Voce S3, Kinki Studio EX-M1+, Nola KO, (2) Rythmik F-12G, Wireworld SC & IC's, Neotech PC's, SurgeX SA-1810

    Greenville, SC- Jays CDT2 Mk 3, Auralic Aries G1, Holo Spring 3 KTE, Supratek Chardonnay, Odyssey Audio Kismet Reference, Rosso Fiorentino Volterra 2, (2) RSL Speedwoofers, iFi Audio Power Station, Wireworld IC's, Inakustik USB and I2s, Triode Wire Lab SC, Triode Wire Lab PC's, Furutech NCF Clear Line, Timbernation rack.

  18. #18
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Instead of waiting around to see what Esoteric is or isn't going to do with Lumin's streaming technology in the future why not just buy a U2 now and be done.
    I've asked Bladelius if they can add a feature to the next software release to enable/disable the power amplifier section. With the power amp disabled I can use ASK as a network transport (Spotify Connect device) using the Loop Out RCA connected to my Grandioso C1X. In the meantime I can still use ASK as a network transport but the power amp at idle without speakers connected still generates heat even in low bias mode.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  19. #19
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    Here we go, ASK configured as a network transport. Sort of. Except it's an RCA analog output to the C1X instead of a digital output to the D1X. Aesthetically ASK sits nicely with the Esoteric gear.

    Screen Shot 2023-10-24 at 23.13.13.png
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  20. #20
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    I can't yet say I prefer one configuration over the other. It's more complicated than a single change to the system. ASK is not powered from Shunyata Everest in this configuration, it's powered from a PixiR BAC3000 isolation transformer. The RCA jacks on the back of ASK are too close together for my good cables to fit (the cable barrels are too wide for both to connect in the narrow space between the jacks). So I've had to use a $2 RCA video cable to make one of the connections. But I do like the convenience of not having to swap speaker cables any more.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  21. #21
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    An interesting observation with ASK. The network/DAC module is powered on whenever the main switch is on. Its output is on the RCA Loop Out even with the unit in standby. So you can stream Spotify (or whatever else) with the unit in standby mode. And it sounds even better in this minimalist operating mode.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  22. #22
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    Hi brodricj,

    I’m a big Fan of Bladelius Devices and have the Integrated Oden Valhalla limited Edition which is an amazing Amp. Thinking about switching to the new Ask Power and Pre Combo, but not sure. Oden has more dynamics and Power, but Ask is maybe more musical. Anyways: how do do you like your Ask in the meantime? And how is it compared to your Esoteric Gear ?

  23. #23
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    ASK is better than the Esoteric. A single box that does everything, and at a fraction of the price. But it does have issues connecting to Spotify that can't be resolved. It relies on a Spotify plugin that Bladeiius has no control over.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  24. #24
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    brodric

    If the AKS sounds better to you then why don't you just buy a "reasonable" streamer like a U2 Mini or Aries G1.1 then sell off the Esoteric gear and replenish the coffers. Even something as cheap as the WiiM Pro or the Eversolo DMP-A6 will do the job with Spotify Connect in the ASK's DAC.
    Main - JVC QL-Y7/Denon DL-301 Mk II, Gold Note PH-10, Jays CDT3 Mk3 , Auralic Aries G1, Holo May KTE, Supratek Cabernet, Kinki Studio EX-B7 monoblocks, Verity Audio Otello, (2) Rythmik F12SE, Audio Envy IC, SC & PC's, Triode Wire Lab PC's, Inakustik USB and I2S, PS Audio Stellar P3, PI Audio Uberbuss, Timbernation rack

    Family Room - Oppo UDP-203, Auralic Aries, Aqua La Voce S3, Kinki Studio EX-M1+, Nola KO, (2) Rythmik F-12G, Wireworld SC & IC's, Neotech PC's, SurgeX SA-1810

    Greenville, SC- Jays CDT2 Mk 3, Auralic Aries G1, Holo Spring 3 KTE, Supratek Chardonnay, Odyssey Audio Kismet Reference, Rosso Fiorentino Volterra 2, (2) RSL Speedwoofers, iFi Audio Power Station, Wireworld IC's, Inakustik USB and I2s, Triode Wire Lab SC, Triode Wire Lab PC's, Furutech NCF Clear Line, Timbernation rack.

  25. #25
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    It's not really a question of sounding better, but as a package I like what the Bladelius brings to the party through its simplicity. It sounds great. The Class A in high bias mode sounds wonderful with Magico. I operate it in low bias just so that it runs cooler but it still sounds fantastic. One button turns it on, one power cable, one network cable, and a pair of speaker cables. And it sits on a single shelf. Unlike the Esoteric which occupies a lot of space, and requires thousands of dollars worth of various cables to connect it together. Each cable introduces another variable, and exposes a weak link. Audiophile snobbery against single box integrated amplifiers is a thing of the past. I'm salivating at the prospect of an Esoteric Grandioso F1X integrated. Owning one of those would be good reason to pension off everything else. Until then both the Esoteric and Bladelius stay. But I really do wish Spotify would fix its plugin to work properly on the Raspberry Pi platform.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  26. #26
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    If that's your current thinking then just get one of the cheap but well reviewed Wiim devices starting at $100 from Amazon and bypass the streamer function of the Bladelius. If you go in another direction in the future just put the tiny Wiim in a closet as a backup. All of them seem to be small enough to hide out of sight especially the round one for $100. Serves the same function your PS used to do.

    Amazon.com
    Main - JVC QL-Y7/Denon DL-301 Mk II, Gold Note PH-10, Jays CDT3 Mk3 , Auralic Aries G1, Holo May KTE, Supratek Cabernet, Kinki Studio EX-B7 monoblocks, Verity Audio Otello, (2) Rythmik F12SE, Audio Envy IC, SC & PC's, Triode Wire Lab PC's, Inakustik USB and I2S, PS Audio Stellar P3, PI Audio Uberbuss, Timbernation rack

    Family Room - Oppo UDP-203, Auralic Aries, Aqua La Voce S3, Kinki Studio EX-M1+, Nola KO, (2) Rythmik F-12G, Wireworld SC & IC's, Neotech PC's, SurgeX SA-1810

    Greenville, SC- Jays CDT2 Mk 3, Auralic Aries G1, Holo Spring 3 KTE, Supratek Chardonnay, Odyssey Audio Kismet Reference, Rosso Fiorentino Volterra 2, (2) RSL Speedwoofers, iFi Audio Power Station, Wireworld IC's, Inakustik USB and I2s, Triode Wire Lab SC, Triode Wire Lab PC's, Furutech NCF Clear Line, Timbernation rack.

  27. #27
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    I'm now only using ASK as a Spotify renderer, using its LOOP OUT. This output is permanently on even if the unit is in standby. I still need a pre-amp and power amp. The problem with ASK is it doesn't work properly with Spotify, and the reason for that is buried in the Spotify plugin software which only Spotify has control over. If I were to buy another Spotify connect device I would have no use for the ASK. I'm hoping Esoteric will announce a replacement for the N-03T network transport soon and I will keep everything Esoteric. If I had my time all over again I would not have a big stack of separate components, I'd have an integrated amplifier. Esoteric Grandioso F1X is coming, Esoteroc F-01 is now available, Bladelius Oden Mk2 should be out soon. Any of those options is the way of the future.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  28. #28
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    I also have the Bladelius ASK. I love the simplicity as well and think it sounds superb. For the most part i use the Volumio- app with Spotify, Tidal and Qobuz integrated in the app. The Volumio user- interface could be better, but works well enough.

    This is my third Bladelius amplifier. I have previously owned the Bladelius Thor MKII and Bladelius Thor MkIII.

    Greetings from Norway

  29. #29
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    I've found a workaround for my Spotify playback issue on ASK. If you try to launch Spotify on ASK from the Spotify iOS app it will not reliably connect. If you launch Spotify from the Volumio web interface it does connect, and once connected it syncronizes with the iOS app and Spotify control from iOS device is normal from there.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  30. #30
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    For the most part i use the Volumio App on my phone or the Volumio web interface on my pc. I don`t seem to have the same problem with spotify connect. Both Tidal connect and Spotify connect works fine here.

  31. #31
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    Re: Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

    Volumio web interface works fine for me. It's the Spotify iOS app that I have difficulty with.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

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Bladelius ASK Integrated amplifier

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