I have long established a digital audio playback system based on an Ethernet network. I’m not down with a computer in my equipment rack, and have very little patience for all the pitfalls and variables. Instead I've tried everything from a Squeezebox Touch to a Simaudio MIND and everything in between.
SOtM is a Korea-based company churning out cutting edge digital products that have been causing quite a stir. Pro and user reviews alike praise SOtM -- which, incidentally, sands for Soul Of the Music -- for building products that offer a good value, are flexible in use, and built to last. They develop audiophile grade network servers, DACs, headphone amps, power supplies, and interesting accessories. Thanks to a healthy international distribution network, and an expanding global reach, I have had SOtM on my To Review list for some time. The company's US distributor, Simple Design, was kind enough to send review samples of the SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server and optional mBPS-d2s Intelligent Battery Power Supply.
Simple Design serves SOtM well, selling direct from their website and offering excellent support. But Simple Design is not just the importer or distribution partner. Proprietor Jesus R. is also a very talented designer, with his own line of products marketed under the Sonore moniker. Sonor is also responsible, in a joint venture with Vortexbox, for the Sonic Orbiter operating system the SOtM uses. Jesus R. told me, "We licensed the hardware (MB and USB flash drive with the operating system) along with the software (Sonic Orbiter) to SOtM. SOtM developed the unit as a final product."
The Mini Server is attractive, with high quality casework and an eye pleasing front silver faceplate. Around the back are 3 USB ports, an Ethernet jack, a power in jack, and a ground terminal. That is it. But this only hints at how user customizable and radically versatile the Mini Server really is.
The unit can be configured in the following modes:
- SqueezeLite Output Mode - This mode works with any Logitech Media Server (LMS) and compatible controllers.
- AirPlay Output Mode - This is an AirPlay emulator that utilizes streams sent to it from a compatible player.
- DLNA Output Mode - This mode utilizes streams from DLNA servers and controllers.
- MPD Output Mode - This mode is intended to work with a Vortexbox based music server (Sonore, SOtM, W4S, and Vortexbox) on the home network.
- HQ Player NAA - This mode is intended to work with Signalyst's HQ Player running on your computer. Digital signal processing is performed by the HQ Player application.