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HiFi Rose RS150B music server

HiFi Rose RS150B music server

High feature counts are not often to be found on audio equipment that wants to be taken seriously; less is more is a maxim that many brands have taken to heart because, in the analogue world at least, better sound should result if there are fewer switches in the signal path. It’s also convenient that fewer features means lower manufacturing costs. For many this ethos has continued in the digital world but Korean newcomer HiFi Rose clearly didn’t get the memo; the RS150B has so many features that it’s positively baffling for the old skool audio enthusiast. However, those looking for a one box solution to most of their home entertainment requirements will find a lot that appeals.

The massive 21:9 style screen that takes up the majority of the front of the RS150B is not just a display, it’s a touch screen that allows access to all of the features on this very slick media player. That’s a phrase I haven’t encountered for some time: there was a time when media players were very fashionable but the examples that existed were essentially computers attached to DACs and distinctly counter intuitive. The advent of app control has meant that such things are a lot more practical and capable today, this Rose is an Ultra HD 4K video and hi-res audio streamer, a fully featured DAC and a preamplifier. All you need is a power amplifier and some speakers and you’re all set.

The build is as good as you get from far less heavily equipped audio equipment at the price, the case is in milled aluminium and there is a genuine plethora of high quality sockets on the back. The only connection I can’t find is one for headphones, I did ask if it catered for Bluetooth types, but no, if you want this feature there’s a cheaper Rose that fits the bill. The DAC is no slouch either with connections of virtually all varieties including AES/EBU in/out, I2S (with adjustable settings to suit different DACs) and both in- and outputs on USB. The streamer can access music files via ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB, SD card or with its own server software from an SSD drive installed in its dark underbelly.

Specwise the DAC aims pretty high too. The B suffix in the name indicates that like many other brands Rose has had to switch from an Ashahi Kasei to an ESS Sabre chip that runs at up to 32-bits/384kHz and DSD512. It offers full MQA decoding and can stream from all the usual services with control by the Rose Connect app or Roon, and UPnP controllers too. For those who enjoy a proper handset there is a remote supplied, a Bluetooth one at that which means it doesn’t need to be pointed at the box. The latter foxed me for a while until I was informed that you have to fit the Bluetooth dongle that comes in the box for any BT functions to work, presumably the solidity of the enclosure makes this a necessity. There is no specific Wi-Fi antenna as the BT dongle also provides this function; I note that the specs state “A few types of Wi-Fi is (sic) not supported”.

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Tags: HIFI ROSE RS150B MUSIC SERVER

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