Well behaved transportable DAC and Amp solution
FLOW Review - Headfonics
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Aurender Flow and despite some design quirks and worries on the total cost of ownership to get at some of those USP’s I would heartily recommend it for those thinking of buying a well behaved transportable DAC and Amp solution. The codec resolution capability of the Flow is right in keeping with modern DAC trends with both PCM, DSD up to 128 as well as the usual plethora of lossy and lossless codecs from Mp3 to Flac and ALAC and Wav.
The whole “cable for this, cable for that” I could have done without and would have preferred to see some more dedicated ports such as coaxial and a dedicated line out rather than use a single port and fiddle with menu options. I am also not totally sold on the mSATA feature other than a small storage for bringing out to meets your favorite reference tracks for quick access from a laptop but otherwise this feature just raises the total cost of ownership unnecessarily and thankfully Aurender have made that an optional feature.
It is certainly a unique and well designed device though. The Flow waves might not be the most stackable but it looks a stylish companion to the digital desktop and possesses a more than capable LCD display and a very smooth pot. I would have preferred the pot to have skipped a few steps up to around -db as its starting point though but power wise there is no question the Flow can handle just about anything you connect it to and still sound pretty good. I wouldn’t call it completely portable though, more transportable than anything else. That battery life won’t get you as far as you might think especially if you hit that DSD option every 5 seconds and work the menu equally but as an office or stationary quiet moment device away from your main desk that Flow has it covered pretty well.
Sadly I don’t have a Hugo from Chord, not sure if I ever will but given the fact the Flow comes in a good bit cheaper might encourage high end rollers to pause and do an AB between both because by all accounts so far the Flow maybe a real and viable competitor.