Lumin A1 Network Music Player
The Absolute Sound 2014 Product of the Year Award Winner (High-End Music Server of the year)
Since its launch, news of LUMIN A1 has spread to all corners of the globe, with awards and reviews coming from the industry’s most respected websites and magazines. Computer Audiophile described LUMIN as “the network player by which all others should be judged” and 6moons’ Joël Chevassus described DSD through LUMIN as “the most exciting audio experience I’ve yet had”.
LUMIN A1 – The original LUMIN
- – One of the best-reviewed audio products of 2013/2014
- – Precision-machined from a solid block of aluminium
- – Wolfson WM8741 DAC chips, 1 chip per channel
- – External dual-toroidal power supply
The Case for an"Outdated DAC"
(Or, why you should buy the Lumin A1 before it’s gone)
We’re down to our last Lumin A1 streaming DAC, selling at a huge discount. This is one of our unsung killer deals, one that too many people will miss out on because of notions of buying only the “latest” digital equipment.
First, some background
The recently discontinued Lumin T1 (retail $4,200) and this A1 share the same electronics, but the A1 has a much higher end power supply and chassis. The T1 has just been replaced by the Lumin T2 (retail $4,500), but we have no news yet of an A2 (or even if there will be one) from Lumin.
The T2 is based on dual SABRE chips (the ES9028PRO for you DAC-chip nerds out there), while both the T1 and A1 are based on dual Wolfson WM8741 chips, and feature dual Lundahl LL7401 output transformers.
As a result of both chipset and implementation, the sound of the Lumin A1 has a lovely tube-fatness combined with great dynamics. The T2, by contrast, has a more “modern” sound. It’s fast, lean, and detailed (but without losing that atmospheric, spacious quality and musical flow that characterizes every Lumin).
We love the combination of that weight and texture with nimble leading edges. As expected, with the external power supply, there is no apparent graininess, and a very low noise floor.
But is it 704 kHz, 64-bit?
“Sure,” we hear you say. “I love the idea of a meaty DAC that’s also snappy and fast, but does it decode this morning’s digital formats?”
The A1 can process PCM up to 192 kHz, 24-bits, and DSD up to 2.8 MHz (DSD64). Do you have any DSD? Are you planning to get DSD? Then let’s leave DSD out of this, because anyone with a significant DSD collection already has the monster bitstreaming DAC they need. CDs, Tidal, Qobuz--they all use the PCM format, and that means even if the Lumin could process only Pulse Code Modulation, you would still have access to several lifetimes of music.
Currently, the highest resolution internet stream available is 192/24 from Qobuz, and the A1 is ready for that. The highest resolution download on HDtracks.com is 352/24--and features just 152 albums, versus over 12,000 for 96/24. (And only about 4,000 for 192/24.)
We're sure you’ve reliably heard the improvement of high-res over 44.1/16, especially in decay and air, but the improvement from 96 to 192 is, in our experience, very subtle--if noticeable at all.
More importantly, our relationship to music formats have changed a lot. Our realization is, the best format is the one you’re listening to. The most played digital file type in our digital specialist's home is actually 320 kbps MP3, because the Naim-special internet stream of Radio Paradise is on almost all the time. And when we sit down to listen with full attention, we find that a well-recorded album on Tidal (not even MQA) is so much more enjoyable than an over-compressed 192/24 album. If it was recorded badly, it’ll sound like crap in any format, even vinyl.
Listen to music, not formats
Back to the A1; do you like the idea of a digital source with a lot of meat on the bones? A DAC with the detail, dynamics (micro and macro), and scale of any high-end component, and the weight, texture and warm bloom of a good analog source? Why pass this up because it won’t play 152 albums in a super-high-res format whose benefit over other high-res formats is debatable?
Also, here are some features of the Lumin A1 that will not go obsolete in this lifetime:
- Fully balanced with high-end components. For great separation, low noise floor, extreme inner detail
- High-quality (Lundahl) output transformers. For a high bandwidth, dynamic sound, with lots of low-end control
- External dual-toroidal PSU. For low noise, superior dynamics, high bandwidth and linearity
- Single-billet aluminum chassis. For RFI-rejection and vibration isolation resulting in a DAC with a ton of air and spaciousness
The heavy chassis of the A1 is beautiful to hold and behold--a stand-out even in an industry obsessed with build quality. The brushed look of the Lumin silver finish is one of my favorites here at Upscale, and if you listen to music, not formats, you should not pass on this A1 deal!
- DSD Support: DSD64 2.8MHz, 1-bit
- HDMI Output:
- PCM 44.1kHz–192kHz, 16–24-bit
- DSD 2.8MHz, 1-bit
- 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
- Power Supply: External dual-toroidal
- Lumin (solid aluminium chassis): 350mm (W), 345mm (D), 60mm (H),
- Weight: 8kg
- Dual-toroidal PSU: 100mm (W), 295mm (D), 55mm (H)
- Weight: 2kg
All LUMIN Music Players include the following features:
- Streaming Protocol: UPnP AV protocol with audio streaming extension
- Gapless Playback
- On-Device Playlist
- Supported Audio File Formats: DSD Lossless: DSF (DSD), DIFF (DSD), DoP (DSD), PCM Lossless: FLAC, Apple Lossless (ALAC), WAV, AIFF, Compressed (lossy) Audio: MP3, AAC (in M4A container)
- Supported Audio Sample Rates, Bit Depths, Number of Channels:
- PCM: 44.1kHz – 384kHz, 16–32bit, Stereo
- DSD: 2.8MHz (5.6MHz on LUMIN S1), 1-bit, Stereo
- Upsampling rates & bit depths:
- DSD upsampling option for all files up to 96kHz
- Supported Control Devices: All models of Apple iPad (v2 or later). iOS 5.0 or later required. Full Retina Display support.
- App Features: High-resolution artwork. Artwork caching. AirPlay compatibility. Multiple-tag handling. ‘Composer’ tag support. Find & Filter. Tag browsing.
- Input: Ethernet Network 100Base-T, USB storage, flash drive, USB hard disk (Single-partition FAT32, NTFS and EXT2/3 only)
- Outputs:Analog Audio: XLR balanced, 4Vrms, pin 2 Hot, RCA unbalanced, 2Vrms
- Digital Audio: BNC SPDIF:
- PCM 44.1kHz-192kHz, 16-24bit
- DSD (DoP, DSD over PCM) 2.8MHz, 1bit
- HDMI: PCM 44.1kHz-192kHz, 16-24bit, DSD (Native or DoP) 2.8MHz, 1bit
- Finish: Raw brushed aluminium, Black anodized aluminium finish is available as a special order item.
- Firmware-upgradable for further features and enhancements