Lumin P1 Music Server/DAC Page 2

As well as network streaming, the P1 also offers Spotify Connect, Tidal (with full MQA decoding) and Qobuz, plus a comprehensive range of Internet radio stations. It's also Roon-ready, allowing playback to be controlled remotely by a Roon Core-based set-up.

sqnote Sparking Into Life
However you use it – as a DAC, preamp/player or Roon endpoint – the P1 delivers a sound able to grab the attention from the off, and hold the listener rapt across long listening sessions. With the driving rhythms of 'Bullet Train' from the remastered re-release of Sparks' Balls [BMGCAT550CD], the Lumin P1 lays down a solid bass and opens up the dense mix. Also, with the lush Toni Visconti mix of 'The Angels', with its ethereal backing vocals, the wide, deep soundstage the player allows adds enormously to the ambience of the track.

This combination of weight and clarity also serves well the psychedelic metal of Somali Yacht Club's 'Echo Of Direction', from The Space [Season Of Mist SOM 648D], allowing all the complexities of the recording – from gentle rock and multi-layered vocals all the way through to crashing guitars and thundering rhythm section – to be appreciated in their trippy magnificence. Switch to a different kind of 'dense', in the form of the 2009 recording of Dvořák's 9th Symphony, by the Youth Orchestra of the Americas under Jean-Pascal Hamelin [2xHD 2XHDFM1229; DSD256], and the Lumin P1 delivers a heroic sound with the final 'Allegro con fuoco', bringing out all the freshness of the playing of the youthful performers.

This same openness is also beneficial with the exuberance of French baritone Florian Sempey's Figaro? Si! recital of Rossini [Alpha 791D; 96kHz/24-bit], handling well the speed of the playing of the accompanying orchestra as well as the richness of the soloist's voice.


Busier on the back, the P1 offers analogue ins on XLR/RCAs with digital ins on coax, optical and AES/EBU [all 192kHz/24-bit; DoP64], USB-B and optical/wired Ethernet ports [384kHz/32-bit; DSD512]. Three HDMI ins/one out, an S/PDIF (BNC) out and USB-A output are joined by fixed/variable preamp outputs on XLR/RCAs

Sax Appeal
With one of my favourite test-tracks, the Espen Eriksen Trio's 'In The Mountains' – here from the live album of the same title with saxophonist Andy Sheppard [Rune Grammofon RCD2227, 96kHz/24-bit] – the P1 sounds fabulous with the sonorous drums of Andreas Bye and tight bass of Lars Tormod Jenset, above which Eriksen's piano and Sheppard's sax sing out, the latter wonderfully resonant and breathy.

And that glorious ability with instrumental timbre is also much in evidence with pianist Jan Gunnar Hoff's Steinway on his latest solo set, Home [2L 168; DXD], the level of detail in the often-reflective pieces here simply breathtaking. Combine the P1 with a suitably revealing system, and it's hard not to be captivated by the 'piano in the room' effect of this masterful recording, whether with the contemplative 'Magma' or the imaginative improvisations on 'Summertime' and 'Moon River', both of which are a very long way from the usual 'heard it all before' interpretations.

As I spent much of my time using the P1 as a player into my usual reference set-up, streaming music from my network storage, I didn't spend too long exploring the variable volume options on offer here, but perhaps the Leedh level adjustment does bring just a shade more detail when playing with low output settings, whether into a unity gain input on my preamp or straight through to the power amp. Mind you, the sound appeared even more convincing when the P1 was used purely as a player, running at fixed 'full power' output.


But while the differences observed when switching back and forth between the volume options were interesting, if subtle, they were minimal when compared to the benefits of adopting the fibre network connection for network music playback. Excellent though the Ethernet feed may be, switching to fibre just brings that extra snap into focus, and details 'pop' a little more, further increasing the ability of the P1 to enthral with music both new and familiar.

Sealing The Deal
Yes, the multifaceted Lumin P1 is undoubtedly expensive, and it would be easy to think of ways of getting network music playback at a fraction of its price, but the fact that it looks and sounds so striking, works so seamlessly with its control app, and has all the flexibility most could ever want, means it's an attractive buy. But above all, it's the addictive sound, from electropop to full orchestral force – and everything in between – that seals the deal.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
While you get a lot for your (serious) money here, it's worth considering whether you need all the functionality built into the Lumin P1, including DAC, preamp and ability to run a two-channel AV system. But the fact that it more than justifies its cost even when used purely as a network player into a conventional preamp or integrated makes this a fine buy for any high-end connected system.

Pixel Magic Systems Ltd
Hong Kong
Supplied by: Sound Design Distribution Ltd, Cardiff
0800 0096213