LessLoss Laminar Streamer Direct Drive SD card player update


Louis Motek of LessLoss Audio replies to our question: "What makes the Laminar Streamer so unique and special?"

(A) The Laminar Streamer was not based on any prior existing core technology except the FAT32 file system that the SD card has to be formatted in. Everything else was custom built by LessLoss from the ground up, which includes every line of custom LessLoss Direct Drive audiophile OS. Not based at all on Linux, MAC OS, or Windows, this is a completely purpose built endeavor, and costed LessLoss a lot of programmer time. It may not come as a surprise that professional programmers who can do such a thing charge pretty much the same for their time as well-established surgeons. And time it costed dearly, what with 6 years of development. 

(B) Why 6 years? When you design from the ground up, your circuitry and your operating system go hand in hand. If you change a line of code, you need to change the length of a trace. If you change the layout of a trace, you will need to change a line of code. There are delicate timing issues which are changed whenever you change anything in a purpose built machine of extraordinary performance. To put this into perspective, most automobiles are developed much more quickly than in 6 years. Then they are mass produced. LessLoss will never mass produce the purpose-built Laminar Streamer. It is a sculpture which embodies a state-of-the-art concept, a philosophically based concept which challenges the very limits of what can possibly be achieved, using all of our knowledge. 

(C) The first Laminar Streamer we made already travelled at least 6 times (I have lost count, in fact) between Austria, Germany, and Lithuania, during developmental phases of its production. This is no easily milled aluminum and plastic case. It is not even MDF. Those materials are easy to form and the milling process goes quickly. However, our expertise and experience shows that aluminum and MDF are some of the worst sounding materials to use for audio purposes. Instead, the Laminar Streamer is made from 100% steel and german Panzerholz. Panzerholz is extremely dense and is actually bulletproof, due to its extremely good acoustic absorption characteristics. Steel is extremely hard to mill into the rounded, smooth forms we required in the design of the Laminar Streamer. There were issues with the lacquer cracking due to internal tensions which would change while the parts were in transit and when the Panzerholz encountered shifts in ambient temperature on the way. There were issues with the surfaces of the metal parts as well. All of these issues required several trips back and forth in order to be ironed out.

(D) What may appear to be just a cool design is actually purpose-built engineering. The ~1cm strip of metal you see around the edge of the device is actually a thick plate of steel which separates the transformer from the sensitive electro-magnetic world of low jitter process which defines the circuitry of the Laminar Streamer. Many manufacturers with an ambitious project such as this like to take the power supply out of their devices and make a second enclosure for them. Then they run into problems resulting from antenna effects because of their long power supply umbilicals connecting the two. With the thick steel plate, we have magnetic separation so good that the circuitry, which is close above the transformer, does not even know it is there. And due to the Panzerholz sandwich structure, there is absolutely no ringing of the metal parts, either. See our videos which show that mainstream gear (prices of about $5000-$15,000) need total rebuild of enclosure art in order to even come anywhere near the Laminar Streamer in terms of performance. The Laminar Streamer's enclosure is not upgradable. It is simply out of the question. 

(E) Our 6 years of effort are still not over. We now need to market the device. It has to be shipped to reviewers, it has to stay with reviewers for long periods of time, and it needs to be advertised. All of this adds up in cost. The higher the cost, the less one can expect sales. And so it goes. It is no different with a small car manufacturer such as Lamborghini or a small watch company. They go to great effort to make themselves known and all that has to somehow return in the end. That's just the way it goes. 

The Laminar Streamer represents the very pinnacle of what we can achieve with the very best of our knowledge. Surely it would be a shame not to attempt to go all out and do it? We certainly thought so.