AN UNAVOIDABLE JOURNEY…
Streaming is the Game…
Nowadays, streaming music and videos are becoming the norm…since buying physical media is getting more inconvenient and expensive. In addition, the online media is getting better and closer in quality to the physical media, and cheaper by the day. Just by paying the price (or lesser) of a physical media album, and one have access to the whole library of music of most genre (however, one do not get to own it…choice).
ENTER The NETWORK STREAMERS
During the LOCKDOWN caused by the PANDEMIC (COVID), I had a bit ot spare time and energy to play with my audio system. However, new music was not readily nor easily available. Therefore, an audiophile recommended me to try Network Streamer…at that time, I was hesitant as I thought my other (Music) Server is similar in function and feature with it. After learning that Network Streamer allows me to stream music (live) in both standard and high resolution (on and off line…depending) from music platform providers such as SPOTIFY, QUBUZ, TIDAL and more, at the price of a CD album (or less) per month per platform…I JUMPED IN!
I contacted the respective audio distributors to get some Network Streamers for review and comparison: ARCAM ST60 (AV DESIGNS SDN BHD), ZIDOO Z1000 PRO, NEO S and NEO ALPHA (CREATIVE AV SDN BHD), and HIFI ROSE RS150B (CENTRE CIRCLE AUDIO VISUAL).
ARCAM ST60 NETWORK STREAMER
Simply put it, the ARCAM ST60 is a Network Streamer/Digital to Analogue Converter (with 4 digital inputs) of good quality, features and performance. I doubt anyone can go wrong with this WHAT HIFI? Award Winner of 2022 that is able to stream from the popular music platforms such as Tidal, QOBUZ, Spotify, Napster, Deezer, etc, over (Google)Cast or Airplay2,…also it can handle UPnP sources. Last but not least, it is equipped with MQA and ROON (readied).
I connected the ARCAM through LAN (wired instead of WiFi, for better connection) and to my PILIUM DIVINE ARES Preamplifier, VITUS MP-M201 Mono Amplifiers and the GRYPHON AUDIO DESIGNS KODO Loudspeaker System. Most cables used were of SKOGRAND CABLES.
In term of sound quality, I would say that it was quiet,…bordering at a dark background. Therefore, details were easily presented even those that were soft and at the very depth of the soundstage.
Here, Aisyah vocal was defined, delineated and bordered against an almost dark background thus given an effect she was singing in a dark room…goosebumps!
There was clear spatial separation among instrumentation. The same could be said for each note and key played from start to the end…even in a BIG BANG presentation!
The soundscape of the soundstage was expansive and enveloping. Here, Ms. Padilla voice was not drown out, even as the soundscape grew larger and more enveloping toward the listening position…which was fourteen (14) feet from the loudspeakers!
The pace, rhythm and timings were spot on,…as I could see both my feet tapping following the music.
Explosive dynamism and power delivery (…enuf said)
To me, the ARCAM ST60’s audio performance spelled quality and easily recommended.