Easy to listen to and Easy to like
X100 Review - AudioStream
By Michael Lavorgna
After loading up nearly 1,000 albums, I went about playing. The first thing that struck me was the noise floor which sounded lower than I'm used to. There was a notable clarity to the music being played through the X100L that suggested an absence of self-noise. Violins rang out true, solo cello resounded from a believable and solid space, while its sounds trailed off into the quiet naturally. There was also a smooth naturalness to the music, an anti-digitalness if you will, making it easy to fall into my tunes.
If all of this sounds a lot like my review of the Aurender S10, it should because they do. Although it has been a while, I would give the S10 the upper hand in delivering even greater clarity and ease, getting out of the way of the music even more than the X100L. But compared to my MacBook Pro, the X100L took things in more of a natural and resolved direction. It was simply easier to fall into the music.
In terms of acoustic autopsy, the various aspects of the frequency range were all handled with the same natural ease. Bass was tight and tuneful, there was a nice amount of timbral richness, and upper frequencies remained sweet and clear, never etched. Again, the music made through the Aurender X100L was easy to listen to and easy to like. There was also plenty of resolution, something digital can do well, sometimes too well. One test for this balance I like to use is acoustic Delta blues. Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, etc. if a system can handle this subtle music without dissecting the life out of it, we're all good and the Aurender X100L delivering John Hurt's blues with all of its kind smooth delicacy in tact.
Big boisterous music was also well served and the Penderecki Violin and Horn Concertos in DSD from Channel Classics was gut wrenching, their huge dynamic swings swung convincingly. Boris' latest Noise was also big and chunky and delightful. Compared to my MacBook Pro, there was more drama, more distinction between soft and loud and a seemingly firmer grip on moment-to-moment musical events.