Holiday Digital-Audio News Roundup from AudioStream

It’s that time of year when we’re not really paying attention to the digital-audio newscycle if we can help it – in case you forgot it’s the holiday season and everyone is supposed to be sharing family time, toasting old friends, and relaxing with loved ones.

If you’re an audiophile that may translate differently and you might be enjoying a hot toddy and listening to your favorite albums on the hi-fi after a day out digging through used record bins. Ignoring phone calls and holiday invitations as you turn your nose up at the weather outside and lose yourself in a DSD download or high-res music stream of avant-garde jazz.

Regardless of where you find yourself as the decade comes to an end, there’s some interesting news happening in digital audio over the Christmas holidays that you may have missed in an effort to unplug and live your life, so I’m here to be your eyes and ears while you chill. Here’s a round-up of some news I thought would be of interest. Enjoy.

TIDAL, Primephonic, Qobuz and Spotify all have been blowing their holiday horns this December with some pretty killer deals if you’ve not already taken the plunge into online music streaming services, these companies are offering a way to hear what the fuss is about at a greatly reduced cost from standard fares. Check out the $5-a-Month-for-Five-Months deal at TIDAL HERE. Primephonic is offering 50 per cent off for six months and then just $14.99-a-month after that, try it HERE. Qobuz has been touting their new $15-a-month all-inclusive pricing model for a few weeks now (along with one-month free trial), see it HERE. And Spotify is now giving new users three months of Premium for free HERE. No reason to stick to just your coveted CD rips or pricey downloads any longer.

Linn, recognizing demand from dealers who’ve seen growth in the high-performance multi-zone, network-music player, home and custom-installation market for wireless-centric music centres (I can confirm, several dealers I’ve spoken with said they are experiencing major growth in this area), is making a splash back in that market with their new Kustom DSM. Housed in an industrial, IT-friendly 1U chassis for rack mount, the Kustom DSM comes in two configurations: Two Stream/Four Zone ($3,725 USD) sending two audio streams to four separate zones, or: Four Stream/Eight Zone variant ($7,450 USD). Linn Managing Director, Gilad Tiefenbrun, said in a press release, “Linn entered the custom installation market 25 years ago with our ground-breaking Knekt multiroom system which set the benchmark for quality in distributed audio systems. 12 years ago, we started our journey in high resolution digital audio playback with Klimax DS. The result of continuous development in both these areas is Kustom DSM – our first one box, multi-zone DSM player which will deliver transformational musical experiences to every space in an installation…”

Linn says that the Kustom DSM is built with drivers for Crestron and Control4, so it has the capability to be “integrated seamlessly into any smart home automation system design.” Kustom DSM is a source-only product allowing consumers the option of adding their choice of amplification and speakers throughout the installation, or to integrate Linn into an existing architecture. “Each stream has a variety of analogue and digital inputs to enable the connection of local sources: HDMI ARC, TOSLINK, SPDIF and a pair of RCAs. Each zone has a pair of RCA outputs for connection to downstream components.”

NAD is set to debut a new Masters M33 BluOS Streaming DAC/Amplifier which will feature Purifi’s “Ultra-Quiet Amplification Technology” at CES 2020 in Las Vegas next January. The $4,999 USD ESS Sabre 32-bit capable DAC/200-Watt amp (seven-inch touchscreen!) has full MQA-decoding and Dirac Room Correction built-in along with AirPlay2 and aptX HD Bluetooth and support for TIDAL, Spotify, Qobuz, et al. and voice command via Alexa or Google. Future-fi in spades along with enough digital and analog handshake abilities as to make more boxes somewhat redundant (discrete MM/MC phono stage, discrete headphone amp). Look for more information on this product as it becomes available. In the meantime, check the lauded M10 HERE.

Everclear's picture

Waiting for AudioStream review of NAD M33 :-) .........

Anton's picture

I have a laptop and a Meridian Explorer 2 into my preamp.

What do I need to buy to get with it???

Rafe Arnott's picture
What you mean exactly? Could you be more specific?
funambulistic's picture

... I think he means to "get jiggy" with it!