Soul Of the Music. This South Korean company offers a stunning array of products for the digital audio enthusiast but getting model names case correct is a real challenge. Thankfully SOtM’s representative May Park was on hand to talk me through some of the newest additions to their range.
SOtM are perhaps best known for their audiophile-centric USB audio cards. The tX-USBexp card (US$300) is the latest iteration in this line – the first that can receive power over the PCI Express socket or via an external source e.g. SOtM’s own mBPs-d2s battery pack (US$450).
It’s the tX-USBexp card that can be found in SOtM’s new SMS 1000 SQ music server. A bare bones version (US$3000) ships with a 32GB SSD that holds the Linux/VortexBox operating system. Owners are actively encouraged to host their music on a LAN-connected NAS drive. Sales Manager May Park says that an internal HDD adds an unhealthy blast of electrical noise to the circuit and thus compromises sound quality. However, if you simply must internalise your music storage, SOtM can fit a 2TB HDD for an additional US$100 or a 4TB HDD for an extra US$170.
Already got a server? The sMs-100 streamer is a natty little box. A single Ethernet input connects it to your home network. Any one of the three USB outputs connects to your DAC to which it dispatches digital audio streams up to 24bit/384kHz PCM and DSD.
Once setup, the sMs-100 can receive data streams over Airplay or DLNA. That the SOtM streamer also runs Squeezelite makes it more interesting. It will automatically appear as a playback device in LMS and so behaves as a faux Squeezebox. Volume attenuation, should you need it, is exacted in the digital domain. Again, there’s the option of powering the sMs-100 via an external PSU PSU.
However, what will bake many a reader’s noodle is SOtM’s forthcoming iSO-CAT.6 Ethernet filter, designed to strip out the electrical noise that can travel along network cables. Currently in prototype stage, the retail version slated to arrive in February will look slightly different to that on show in SOtM’s room at the Venetian Hotel. The price? “In the region of US$300”, says Park.
Further information: SOtM
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