The first-class sound quality - Hi-Fi News Editor's Choice

S10 Review - Hi-Fi News

The first in a new breed of ‘computer transports’, WideaLab’s Aurender S10 employs a Linux-based OS and solid-state storage to render your music collection via digital outs Review: John Bamford Lab: Paul Miller

Similar improvements could be heard when listening to the uptempo fusion of ‘The Ghost of Mayfield Lodge’ by Brand X from Masques [Charisma VJCP-68785]. Again, you would be impressed by the openness of this jazz-rock track from the late ’70s, the individual contributions from Percy Jones on bass guitar, Chuck Bürgi on drums and John Goodsall on guitar remaining distinctly clear despite the recording coming from an era where excessive multi-tracking was beginning to wreak havoc on audio fidelity. Served up (no pun intended) from the Aurender S10, however, the increased focus and clarity was nothing short of startling. Leading edges appeared more sharply defined than when played from CD, the instruments beautifully separated in their different sections. The detailing of Morris Pert’s percussive elements really sparkled and sounded tremendously lifelike – as if the piece had been recorded in high resolution only last week. It was as if the Chord DAC was now being allowed to reach its full potential, lending stark realism to the sound of instruments and voices. Adele’s middle-of-the-road ballad ‘Make You Feel My Love’, from 19 [XL Recordings XLCD 313], might highlight the singer’s ‘Queen of Boring’ mantle, but it’s a reasonably good recording for a modern pop album. Prior to the introduction of the string accompaniment later in the song, the solo piano and voice sound fresh and immediate in the image, if a little cold and stark. Via the Aurender the piano sounded bolder and wider in tonal range, while Adele’s voice positively leapt out into the listening room! If I was startled by the clarity and dynamics of the Aurender when listening to 16-bit/44.1kHz rips of compact discs, I was in for a feast of delights when playing back hi-res material that I’d loaded onto the S10 from my laptop via my home network. I was spellbound by the ‘Hopak’ from Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa played by the Minnesota Orchestra under Eiji Oue [24/176.4 recording from Reference Recordings HR-71]. I don’t believe my system has ever sounded this good. 

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