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SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server & mBPS-d2s Intelligent Battery Review Print E-mail
Friday, 26 September 2014
Article Index
SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server & mBPS-d2s Intelligent Battery Review
Set Up and Listening
Conclusion

I requested the Mini Server preset to DLNA output, where it remained during the entire review period, though users can log on to a web browser and change settings at anytime. I used the SOtM duo in my main system with Thiel CS2.4 speakers, an Audio Research VS55 amp, a Musical Fidelity m6si integrated amp, and the recently reviewed CLONES Audio 25p power amp. Since the Mini Server has no internal DAC, I fed its USB output via a DH Labs USB cable to both a Simaudio Neo 380D and iFI Micro iDSD DAC. Power and signal cabling consisted of Audio Art cables.

Set Up & Listening

I used the Mini Server for a week without the battery supply to see how the unit would perform on its own. Plugging in a Cat7 Ethernet cable into the back panel was the first step. I then had it communicate with MiniMServer, the excellent freeware server software running on my Mac Mini. It organizes and streams my 4TB music library, consisting everything from Redbook CD to my own DSD analog tape dubs.

SOtM mini server topYou will need a control point for the Mini Server; Jesus R. recommended Audionet for iOS and BubbleUPnP for Android. Both worked very well. The Audionet app is available in a free and premium version. There are others to choose from as well. Audionet on an iPad was my preferred set up.

After streaming a few albums, it seemed to me the SOtM mini server was very much a clean, open, and neutral sounding streamer. It easily bettered my long-time, cost effective favorite, the Squeezebox Touch. It was more transparent, smoother, and less veiled. In fact, the SOtM is the best streamer I have heard at the sub $1000 price point.

Robert Plant’s new album, Lullaby...And the Ceaseless Roar, while not as well recorded as his recent albums, is a musical tour de force. Plant mixes tribal rhythms, hints of electronica, dust bowl blues, and world music to create a dense, yet nuanced sound. Through the Simaudio DAC the music had tremendous power, with lots of contrast between the heavy guitars and the softer, melodic detours.

The Next Hundred Years, by the late, great Ted Hawkins, is an old favorite of mine. It’s one of the oldest CDs in my collection, and a very good recording. Hawkins' acoustic guitar and worldly voice sounded so very present, and maybe the best I have heard this album sound, across many years and systems. It also illustrates that good mastering can be heard regardless of digital resolution. The Mini Server really let me evaluate recordings accurately

The Santana III remaster was a great listen as streamed by the Mini Server. Carlos Santana and Neal Schon's guitars ripped through the speakers in all their psychedelic glory, and the Latin rhythms married with rock riffs induced many head bobbing moments. The Mini Server knows how to communicate the musical energy imprinted in those bits.



 

 
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