SOUNDAWARE AMC D2 Network Audio Player
SOUNDAWARE AMC D2 Network Audio Player
We have been testing this unit extensively and can state without doubt that once correctly optimised in the right system AMC D2 offers end game performance!
Interested? I have one set up in store on demonstration!
What is Soundaware AMC D2?
D2 is a reference music server based on the AMC platform with the idea that the ideal output mode for multi platform audio streaming services is ASIO/WASAPI, and supports the full version windows based highly optimised high-definition music apps and offline music software.
What is the AMC platform?
In the digital audio era, there are a variety of signal source products to choose from on the market, which can be roughly divided into Linux system, windows X86 system and Android system in terms of system architecture. Among them, the Linux system is relatively poor in ecology and the APP application is immature. Common online music APPs use third-party solutions or certifications, and their scalability and functions are locked. Re-authentication is required when the APP is upgraded. Therefore, it is almost impossible to use a network music player of Linux system to support all music platforms. In addition, the development of the digital broadcasting function using the Linux system is completed by Hi-Fi manufacturers independently. There is a big gap between their software R&D strength and APP manufacturers, resulting in controversy in terms of compatibility and ease of use.
The Android system has really reached the pinnacle in the product of portable players, local high-definition, and online general-definition, indeed also meet most of the needs of portable enthusiasts. But it's a little less than ideal for reference-level desktop systems. The performance, interface and local storage capacity of ARM+Android are difficult to meet the needs of large-capacity offline music users, such as tens of TB of music scanning, classification and management, large-capacity music download and local storage, support for built-in large-capacity hard drives and experience, etc. In addition, many online music apps on the Android side do not support high-definition native output or there are still ecological problems of SRC, and the lack of the large-screen PAD version of the APP is a criticism that the Android system cannot be used for desktop devices.
As far as the current demand is concerned, the above two solutions are slightly inferior to the Windows X86 system. Windows has native, exclusive, dynamic sampling rate drivers such as ASIO and WASAPI twenty years ago, and its entire audio application ecosystem is very rich and more flexible in use. In addition, it serves for desktop computers, and it is suitable for home use regardless of interface, storage, and function. In terms of hardware, the construction of low-power CPU/GPU and peripheral circuits and components has high-end applications developed and launched by powerful brands and manufacturers, providing a solid foundation for enthusiast-grade PC Hi-Fi.
To make the PC as the audio output center, it only needs to achieve a "small" goal, that is, to greatly reduce the noise of the PC output (USB and network) interface, but this is a small requirement, but the real realization involves the PC hardware system The purification technology of electrical noise in all links from power supply to board and interface. Because the hardware structure of PC, including power supply, motherboard, CPU, GPU, memory and various boards, are all sources of noise, in order to get as close as possible to this "small" target, some great gods have used PC Hi-Fi to play To the extreme that individuals can achieve, including: GAME flagship motherboard with luxurious high-current materials; fanless custom cooling system and chassis; luxurious full linear power supply; even turn off the audio-independent function of BIOS, or use a super-lite LTSC system and many more. Under the high cost of money and time, the sound effect has indeed been significantly improved compared to ordinary PCs, but it is still far from the ideal state.
What are the features of D2 in terms of function and performance?
The newly released AMC D2 is an obvious upgrade compared to the first-generation product. Whether it is processor performance or functional expansion, it is more in line with the current user habits. The key is that the price is more affordable, and it is expected to become a large-scale popular model of this series.
Other performance-related accessories include 8GB of DDR4 memory integrated on the motherboard, which is not expandable and replaceable, the benefit of doing so is lower EMI. As well as the imported 512G SSD with M.2 interface, it effectively guarantees the stable operation of the system and software.
D1 standard 200W luxury fully shielded linear power supply
In the evaluation of D1, this patented linear power supply of Xiansheng is its biggest highlight, and it has been extended to D2 with its excellent performance. The toroidal transformer is made of all-steel, fully shielded, fully potted, and has a thick white rubber pad at the bottom, which can effectively reduce the low-frequency vibration of the transformer, as well as the low-frequency noise and the radiation effect of the transformer in the low-frequency region, so that it has ultra-low noise and EMI. It has nearly 10 times the rated headroom and nearly 100 times the transient headroom in the normal music playback state, meeting the demanding Hi-Fi requirements.
Built-in two sets of independent PA1 patented noise removal system
The PA1 reference version and D2 are two products released in the same period. The size and appearance are almost the same. When I first received the two products, I thought they were a set match. In fact, the D2 has built-in two independent PA1 systems. There is no need to manually switch the output like the normal full-function version of the PA1 when using it. The power supply of the two sets of PA1 regenerative modules is rectified by a single channel of high current above 7.5V 4A, glass diodes with low noise and excellent music performance. Low internal resistance high-performance polymer for filtering and energy storage, so that D2 has large transient current and low noise output.
However, it should be noted that there is still a significant gap in noise reduction performance between the built-in PA1 linear regulator version of D2 and the super capacitor reference version of PA1, which is mainly reflected in the power supply part. Fortunately, the PA1 noise reduction circuit of D2 has reserved a 5V power supply port, which is convenient for users to connect more advanced line power. Of course, if the strength allows, adding a super capacitor reference version of the PA1 can be done in one step.
All-metal compact body + fanless cooling
D2 continues the all-metal body + fanless design of D1, and only has cooling holes on both sides to shield external interference and reduce internal circuit noise while ensuring heat dissipation. The heat dissipation of the CPU is attached to the bottom plate of the fuselage through a CNC customized heat spreader. At the same time, high-performance thermal grease with a lifespan close to solid state is used, so that the internal temperature is very close to that of the outer casing.
As mentioned above, the D2 is much smaller in size than the D1, mainly because it saves the space for 4 large-capacity linearized SATA 3.5-inch hard disk storage positions and the 200W linear power supply that powers it. Although there is no built-in hard disk storage space, users who often play local music do not have to worry about it. The rear panel of the Xiangsheng D2 has 4 USB 3.0 ports, which can definitely meet the needs of external hard disk users. However, the author still recommends that audiophiles with a lot of local music use a home NAS as much as possible, which not only makes music management more convenient, but also enables simultaneous calls on multiple devices and across regions to achieve true "portable Hi-Fi".
The latest V2.X system
The operating system used by Xiangsheng D2 is the latest version V2.X which has been deeply optimized. From driver, NT kernel to system construction, the built-in APP is optimized and streamlined for specific motherboard CPU platforms, with better usability and lighter weight. , more concise features. How simplified is it? The official original words: "Many common software such as office or games on the PC cannot be used normally on the D2, and can only meet the mainstream APPs of audio and video." It can be said that it is optimized to the extreme for Hi-Fi.
Lower price than DIY with the same configuration
In the inherent concept of most people, the cost of assembling a computer by yourself is much lower than that of a brand-name computer launched by the manufacturer. But Xiangsheng has made the price of the D2 at the Pratt & Whitney level this time, and the current price is less than 12,000. The manufacturer has also calculated an account for everyone. If an ordinary enthusiast builds a PC Hi-Fi according to the D2 configuration plus a linear power supply and PA1, the cost is also about 15,000 yuan, and the adaptation in each link, Key factors such as circuit noise reduction and system optimization are far from reaching the level of D2.
This audition is in a small room of 30 square meters in the experience center of the home appliance forum. The sound D2 is used as a digital turntable, and the USB transmits the signal to the Opera Reference DSD 1.1 decoding. The Crown Prince's Bookshelf Box. It happens that the super capacitor reference version PA1 is also in hand, and by the way, it is connected in series between D2 and the decoder to compare and feel.
Everything is ready, and the trial listening session of Xiansheng D2 is officially opened. The album "The Tokyo Gala Concert" that I first listened to was the first live performance of Mutter and the Saito Orchestra led by Seiji Ozawa at the Suntory Concert Hall in Tokyo on the 120th anniversary of the establishment of DG Records. The last of these, Saint-Saëns for solo violin by Mutter: Introduction and Capriccio Rondo in A minor, was appreciated by fans of classical music. As a classic piece of Saint-Saëns, it interprets a more unique artistic conception under the interpretation of Mutter. The USB cable connected to the decoder is connected to the noise reduction USB interface of the Xiangsheng D2. The excellent noise reduction performance makes the background of the whole solo extremely clean, and there is no trace of noise. Compared with other digital broadcasts before This piece has more high-frequency overtones and a better texture, which makes the introduction part melancholy and desolate without losing the beautiful and gorgeous atmosphere to the extreme. The ups and downs of the melody in the rondo make the music elastic and dynamic. I believe it is inseparable from this. WASAPI exclusive advantages and 24bit/96kHz mastering-level high-quality music files.
In addition, when enjoying the Tchaikovsky: Three-Act Opera Symphony performed by the Saito Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa, the 22000uf first-class imported high-performance discharge capacitor that powers the main board played a big role. The energy storage allows the complete transmission of large dynamic music signals. With Berlin's top-level pre- and post-stage system, even a small-sized bookshelf box like Prince Dani can feel a more shocking sense of stage presence. After connecting the reference version of PA1 before decoding, the overall sense of hearing has an audible improvement, and the key musicality is better. It should be the most suitable evaluation for adding the reference version of the PA1.
Just recently, the experience center of the Home Appliance Forum arrived at a pair of active speakers with decoding function, Jinlang A5M. Also as a first-line brand in the domestic audio industry, Jinlang A5M has inherited the flagship model of special silicide diaphragm pneumatic tweeter and many other leading acoustics The technology has been well-received since its listing for half a year, and it is one of the most worthy active speakers in the price range of 10,000 yuan. For enthusiasts who are looking for a minimalist Hi-Fi system with a small room area, the combination of Xiangsheng D2 and Jinlang A5M can be described as a match made in heaven.
The Jinlang A5M has very high resolution and sound density, and can clearly reproduce the subtle changes of the sound source, and the firmness and control of the mid-low frequency is quite good. The advantage of Xiangsheng D2 compared to other digital turntables is that it has built-in USB regeneration noise reduction patent technology and components, circuits and systems specially designed for Hi-Fi audio optimization. In the actual sense of hearing, the music details and dynamics presented by this system far exceed the author's previous understanding of the 20,000 yuan fever audio system.
When I was listening to the album "Drum·Master", I happened to have a physical CD at hand, and suddenly I had an idea to compare with traditional CD players. Although the Studer 727 CD player I used was quite old, it was in normal working condition. As a professional equipment, the quality is also first-class. Use coaxial connection with Jinlang A5M. The result of the comparison is that the high-bit rate digital audio files played by Xiangsheng D2 have better sound transparency, density and details, the positioning of the instruments is also more accurate, and the edges are more clearly portrayed. The three-band transition of the CD player is more natural, and the moistness and musicality are slightly better. Of course, Xiangsheng D2 can surpass the CD player's sense of hearing in some aspects, and its musicality is not bad. It is already a leader in the field of digital turntables. Although the price of this Jinlang active speaker system is much lower than that of the Dani passive speakers above, the sound of Berlin pre and post stage with high-end decoding system, but after listening to it, you will find that the sound of Xiangsheng D2 is very neutral. , almost no sound coloration, the final sound style completely depends on the tone of the device itself.
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