The Laminar Streamer is, upon first sight, surely a bold statement by LessLoss. How will it be received? For sure it raises eyebrows as a flagship piece of gear, but, ...seriously? A heavyweight SD card player, with no other function onboard, in the 21st century? Will it be relevant to the public? To the audio connoisseur? To the collector of fine art?
For sure it can be said that with this particular project, LessLoss is treading completely their own ground, with no regard whatsoever to what others have been providing the market with. And, if LessLoss seems so convinced with this project, the question is: for what reason? What fuels all this effort?
The Laminar Streamer definitely falls way out of line in terms of price point to everything affordable LessLoss have been making in the past. Whether LessLoss agrees or not, at this product's price they are clearly entering the high end market alongside luxury brands such as Lamborghini or Patek Philippe. These high quality, low quantity legendary manufacturers today do not have to think twice about generating name recognition. One thing they all have in common is that many decades of focussed dedication to quality and craftsmanship are a big reason these small companies are so celebrated today. This, even by people who could not even dream of actually owning one. Temporary name recognition can be achieved through a good marketing campaign. But lasting respect comes with proving oneself over time and remaining true to one's values through thick and thin.
In the typical watch industry, we see Miyota or ETA 2482 mechanisms with a branded housing slapped around it. In contrast, in the high end watch industry we see custom mechanisms. Instead of adopting the typical, such companies are pursuing their own, in-house made movements. Such dedication costs money and takes a lot of time to materialize. Likewise, consider the Laminar Streamer and its 1500 lines of custom code. Every time one goes back to basics and starts from scratch, the question is raised, why reinvent the bicycle? Obviously, the idea is that something new and better can result from each uniquely fundamental endeavor.
There is a huge gulf of difference between the noisy, rushed atmosphere of commercial competitiveness in a 21st century metropolis, and the small, quaint lemonade stand set up over in the shade by your suburb's local neighborhood across the street. But, really, in both instances nothing more than financial transaction is taking place. When between two activities we seek out only the common, we will see them for their sameness, and when we seek out the unique, we notice their differences. The actual function of playing a music file located on an SD Card is the same whether it is done on a mass produced PC or on the Laminar Streamer. But in terms of experiencing the sound quality resulting from each, one is at odds to find parallels. I would say it is even difficult to confess that the file is in both instances the same, and that both actions result in digital streams which are nothing but the exact same ones and zeros. But the whole world of computers, music servers, NAS streamers, IP protocol and USB interfacing simply pales in comparison to the pitch dark, calm and solitary world of the precision inner workings of the Laminar Streamer.
I am sure that among audiophiles, most laptop owners have had first hand experience with better sound by simply disengaging Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. (Free tweaks are the best ones, so make sure you try it.) Through correlation, now imagine that this is but one small step of the long journey towards the ultimate design implementation of the Laminar Streamer. It took the LessLoss team over six years of R&D to complete the Laminar Streamer. Their goal from the start was to create a solution which plays music in the most pure way possible and to unlock the treasures hidden within the deepest fathoms of digital files. The specs of the digital promise have long spoken of such depths. By numbers alone, they dwarf analogue. But why do we still often times much prefer analogue? The Laminar Streamer's mission, says Louis Motek, is to answer that question.
THE TWIN CORE OF SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE: TWO HALVES OF THE SAME BRAIN
The LessLoss Direct Drive OS was custom created only for operation within the special working confines of the purpose built Laminar Streamer motherboard. It is impervious to viral manipulation of any sort. Both the Laminar Streamer circuitry and the OS code go hand in hand. Direct Drive OS is not even recognized by Linux, Windows or MAC OS. This makes it completely safe from manipulation. Even if the most malignant viruses have infested an SD card, and it is inserted into the Laminar Streamer, the Laminar Streamer would continue operation "business as usual.” All the computer knows, is that it is some sort of executable file. But it cannot execute it:
This is all you get if you try to run it on any other computer system:
The Laminar Streamer's Direct Drive OS is made up of 1500 lines of custom code. Louis Motek was kind enough to provide us with this sneak peek into it:
Instead of a noisy, fast 4 GHz multi-functional processor as those found in today's office computers, LessLoss Direct Drive runs on a much quieter processor whose speed is directly tied to the audio sampling rate's clock. If the audio sampling rate called for on the following file on the SD card is different (say, the currently playing file is 44.1 kHz and the next one is 192 kHz), then within the first sample of the new file, the entire operating system instantly begins running off of the new audio clock. This is why it is called Direct Drive, because the operating system actually runs on the audio stream's clock and not off of its own separate clock, as it does in every office computer based audio server. This is no comfy slipping automatic transmission, folks, this is the fastest hard gear shift in all of computer audio!
The LessLoss Direct Drive OS can be updated in 3 seconds. You simply download a tiny file from the LessLoss website (or they email it to you, as the file size all of 82 kilobytes (oh, the good old days of code efficiency!), place it into the root directory of an SD card, insert the SD card into the Laminar Streamer, and power it on. Done. In 3 seconds.
Some have asked “What? No database functionality? No USB interfacing with my own music library on iTunes?"
Ripping CDs is a 100% lossless procedure. In other words, why spend audiophile dollars on what is at core but an office computer procedure? You don't get any more functionality out of it in terms of performance. All you'd get is a LessLoss logo on your computer screen when you look at the exact same meta-data you can already pair with your files using existing freeware…
Q: Can one connect the Laminar Streamer to a PC and play music from the NAS connected via Ethernet? There is an Ethernet port on the back of the Laminar Streamer, hence the question.
A: The very short answer is "no." The Ethernet inlet is there for connectivity to a future stand-alone remote control station. That station will house the receiver for the Remote Control. All of the electrical connections will go from the remote control station into the Laminar Streamer via an Ethernet cable, but beyond what you see as the outside of the Ethernet connection, all electrical signals are galvanically separated from the Laminar Streamer circuitry through optical de-coupling. This way, no noise can enter the Laminar Streamer from the outboard remote control circuitry. Thus the 'closed' solution is not compromised by the external Ethernet cable connection.
What makes the Laminar Streamer so unique and why it was created? As a concept, the Laminar Streamer is a fresh approach that will undoubtedly create some confusion because there is currently no such category in the marketplace.
Louis Motek writes:
“I suppose part of the confusion is that in naming the thing "Laminar Streamer" we used the term "streamer." "Streamer," or "Streaming," was already being used by the mass-computer industry to indicate playback of audio and video without the user's ability to save the content to their local devices. The user cannot own the content, as the entire file is never found on the local computer at once. The download process deletes segments of it while it is playing it back, thus making the user buy a subscription to the streaming service instead of actually owning the material.
Streaming services rely on Internet Protocol, and in order to use Internet Protocol, you need a computer with an IP address. Thus, you need an operating system which has internet connectivity. Once you have that, you still need some way to stream the data to a device which will ultimately provide the audio version of the stream for conversion into an analogue signal. What I am describing here is already available through the mass market. Take any currently produced laptop, notebook or even most handheld devices, and they already have all of that functionality built in. The problem is that they leave a lot to be desired in terms of audio performance.
That is where the Laminar Streamer comes in. It is conceptualized around ultimate audio performance as digital source. There is an entire niche industry built up around tweaking mass produced computers in order to upgrade them to sound better as audio sources. The more these computers are tweaked, the more one realizes that there are limitations when your aim is to create a music making 'hot rod' out of what is in fact the framework for a reliable, but electrically very noisy, multi-functional office computer. There are countless software and hardware issues which get in the way, but there are also many computer audio experts who have know-how and they supply the computer audio marketplace with many solutions of varying cost and levels of customization.
Then there are audio companies that make their own brand name streamers and music servers, who do not like to speak openly about the mass-produced computer modules, motherboards, and other connectivity parts that they use to make up their devices. They are based on multi-functional operating systems such as Linux, MAC OS, or Windows. Often times these companies' spend effort on alternative splash screens bearing their own designed graphics and other visual thrills, but in principle these devices are the same old office computers with the same mass-produced motherboards that the DIY community have long been discussing in forums and discussions.
What we found while we were engaged in tweaking computers for performance audio playback was that there was an incredibly long list of services which could be switched off or made to go to sleep upon which the audio got better. We realized after so many discoveries and trials that there seemed no end to how much better the sound could become. We soon ran into the roadblock of not being able to reduce the number of active clocks due to the architecture of what is in fact an office computer. There are too many unrelated functions and electronics aboard a typical motherboard for truly superb audio performance. They all create noise and through their high frequency complexity interact even through direct radio transmission. The super fast computer systems of today are all tailored towards robust error correction but not to delicate real-time action. And that is exactly what truly superb audio streaming calls for.
Not only that. Then there is the issue of inexplicable break-downs, clicks, pops, and other annoyances like viruses and unexplained failures which lead to constant re-installation, re-booting, or other hacks in order to guarantee stability. This is always nerve-wracking and the problems with computer audio compatibility never seem to end. When we look around at all our friends and colleagues, it seems just about everybody is living in the same stressful situation. Constantly plaguing the minds of our friends in fine audio are an unending barrage of compatibility issues, timing issues, stability issues and connectivity issues. People from pro studios, home recording studios, and private audiophiles knock on our door three or four times a week asking for advice about software, hardware, and compatibility issues. Drivers, latency settings, buffer settings, installation issues, and so forth are on everyone's mind and all they really want to do is to go back to the darned stereo after work, put something on, press Play, and revel in their favorite music being played back beautifully. This is undoubtedly part of the reason why many are reverting to vinyl these days.
I'm not saying there is nothing good about services which keep a profile on you, suggest music to you, help you discover new material you didn't know exists, or the ability to follow a single musician closer than ever before. All of that new technology is great for what it does well, and all of that just so happens to be related to its role as an office computer.
But we want playback which is done well, and we really mean it. And we know that the only way playback will be truly supreme and truly special is to completely separate it in all electromagnetic ways from that noisy world of office computers with many clocks, timing issues, compatibility issues, etc. Even the thought of so-called “priority settings” is a joke. For us there is only one priority, that should be obvious. Everything other than sound quality is subordinate.
We chose the SD Card as the most ubiquitous, quiet, efficient way to get music files from one "world" into the other. The realm of IP addresses, multi-function, multi-clocked computers and the realm of the Laminar Streamer's purpose built audiophile hardware and special Direct Drive OS are two concepts completely worlds apart. So when you say the name, say Laminar Streamer and not Laminar Streamer. :)”
The Laminar Streamer was designed from the ground up as the most simple operational device. There’s no complex menu diving, help files, or complicated interface. The only thing you’ll have to deal with is moving your .aif and .wav files to the SD card. From there on, Louis Motek’s vision of full relaxed state listening can kick in. You simply insert the SD card, choose the folder, press play and forget about the invasive world of information influence around you.
The Laminar accepts FAT32 formatted SD cards and in order to operate it needs a folder on the root directory, into which you place .wav or .aif files from your computer, simply by dragging and dropping. Once you place the SD card into the Laminar Streamer, the files will appear and will play by default in alphanumeric order.
All the files have to be in folders. Folders within folders will not be recognized by the LessLoss Direct Drive OS. Files on the ROOT directory will also not be recognized by the OS. You can have them sitting there, and they will simply not be seen and won't be played. You can have anything else you want anywhere on the SD card. The Laminar Streamer does not care and it will have no effect on it whatsoever.
The maximum SD card size known to be fully tested and supported is 32 GB. That's about 50 CDs worth of music.
The Streamer has no external On/Off Switch and was designed to be left on when not in use. For some reason, digital gear seems to have a much longer warm-up period than any other gear, and so this way the device is ready to serve at 100% performance level at all times.
If you press and hold down the star and press Stop once, the screen will no longer scroll. If you press and hold down the star and press Stop again, you will enter Laminar Mode and the display will disengage completely, leaving you and the operating system in the dark to enjoy totally pure music.
Do it again to engage the screen once again and return to normal playback mode.
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 one of the 1500 lines 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 may charge similar for their time as well-established surgeons. And time it costed dearly, what with 6 years of development.
6 years? When something is designed from the ground up, the circuitry and 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's goal was never to 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 brand's knowledge.
This unique Player arrived protected within the large, armored aluminum shipping crate with satin, shape molded protective innards, waking suggestions more of a luxurious precision mechanical machine than of your typical audio product of today.
The Laminar certainly doesn’t look like anything we've seen so far. A mixture of Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and UFO-like, 21st century futuristic design cues form an object that will instantly spark a discussion.
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, LessLoss expertise and experience showed 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 required in the design of the Laminar Streamer.
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 low jitter process which defines the circuitry of the Laminar Streamer. Many manufacturers with an ambitious project such as this 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, there is a magnetic separation so good that the circuitry, which is close above the transformer, does not even know the transformer is there. And due to the Panzerholz sandwich structure, there is absolutely no ringing of the metal parts, either.
After a few days of settling in, then delving another half a week into the depths of full Laminar Mode, the grand experiment has begun. During this time, I unexpectedly found I was on a sort of sabbatical from the world of commerce in audio. In this review I will try to explain what that feeling consisted of and how I came to find those words to explain it.
On the fourth day of experimentation I began my A/B comparison sessions. Replaying the exact same files from my computer brought very different feelings and conclusions. Through the computer, a nagging commercial experience was introduced and rushed back into my mind. The absence of the peaceful Laminar experience was felt dearly. The feeling of going on the Laminar Streamer's adventurous, expressive and intoxicating vacation was now... gone.
This possibly relates to the unique Direct Drive approach to jitter reduction that the Laminar is based on, as LessLoss makes it clear that they wrote every single line of the device's OS themselves. They did not base any of it on pre-existing Linux, MAC OS or Windows modules. When passionate audiophiles code, you know the results won't be merely mainstream and functional.
The difference when comparing my computer server/streamer to the LessLoss Laminar Streamer is not small by any means. When I first connected the Laminar Streamer to the MSB Select DAC II, the first thing I wrote down in my listening notes was “analog-like easiness, fuller and more vivid projection of the sound,” as well as “prolonged sense of the scale.”
But, let me dig deeper with what matters the most… The music!
Earlier, I covered the technical approach and the general design philosophy of the Laminar Streamer, yet I was still enjoying my “Laminar Streamer induced vacation” so I didn't yet go into the actual listening experience. Now let me tell you what I heard.
By simply grabbing and dropping .wav or .aiff audio files into the SD card, the journey begins. The Laminar supported all 44.1 kHz–192 kHz, 16/24 bit format files, and when the SD card was inserted, the boot time was less than a second. So, there were absolutely no configuration, buffering, synchronicity, latency, or compatibility issues. What a relief to just plug and play!
Superlative microvibration control through precision milled solid steel and Panzerholz construction.
There is 100% digital realm absolute phase polarity switching on-the-fly during playback.
There are lots of files in my archive and Louis deliberately didn’t include any of his own, in order to give me a taste for the ease and simplicity with which this device is operated. I simply formatted an SD card within Mac OS X disc utility. I chose the FAT32 format. Only took a few seconds. Then I created a few folders on the SD card and dragged and dropped my files over to the card. As always, it is advised to demount the card manually (in Finder) to prevent any read/write errors.
I dropped it into the the single SD slot atop the Laminar Streamer and my ”vacation” began.
I simply love Iztok Zupan’s - Klopotec recordings. He loves and remains true to capturing live sound, and even his 44 kHz / 16 bit recordings sound better then most high resolution files out there.
I was keen to hear what would be revealed with the Laminar in play. With a device of such calibre, one always has more than usual expectation, but as many of us witnessed throughout the years, not every high-end device carrying a prestigious price tag is actually worthy of it.
I took a direct hit from the LessLoss Laminar Streamer Direct Drive SD card player, but even after that hit, it continued to grow on me subtly. The difference might be of different scale on some other system, but the MSB Technology Select DAC brings an enormous resolution capability and it also acts upon the material being served.
My listening notes with Iztok Zupan’s recordings of piano led me to various interesting conclusions. Most noticeable was the clear revelation of reverberation aspects such as decay and delay. Also, small unaccented string plucks and all the little nuances that form a believable illusion of the reality of an event were presented with un-paralleled density and informational content. This is where it becomes most obvious that we are concerned here with the topmost echelon of ultra high-end audio reproduction. A convincing recreation of acoustical space and the instruments being played within this space is the most demanding challenge for both analog and digital front ends. In this regard, while analog comes with impressive mileage, the digital competition has now obviously gained headway to such an extent that, today, with the Laminar Streamer, it has little in common with state-of-the-art digital playback of only a few years ago.
This LessLoss Laminar Streamer / MSB Technology DAC combo performed in an amazing lockstep and inspiring dance, the result of which not only renewed my faith in digital, but also revealed a new reference point overall.
It is always cliche when a reviewer recycles phrases like: “I’m rediscovering my entire music collection again,” yet with the Laminar Streamer I have to admit that even with my many years of experience, I fell exactly into this mode and there is no other way to describe it.
The LessLoss Laminar Streamer Direct Drive SD card player operates at such a high level that it is difficult or impossible to assemble and balance a system which would reveal any of its own flaws. Once a great system is established, the incredible level of superbly stressless audio coming from the Laminar Streamer shows its great advantages.
“Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.” – Plato
It is impossible not to contemplate such a grand statement when one witnesses the music being revealed before you in something that results in no less than complete envelopment. You find yourself immersed in something which makes Plato's statement above most obvious and agreeable.
The ultimate goal of ultra high-end audio is simply this: to pursue perfection through constantly perfecting. As paradox as this might sound, for me the ultimate challenge is to challenge everything along the way. This endeavor may seem to some as a Sisyphean climb towards the peak of the hill. Still, it is worth the effort to travel the needed mileage and to explore everything that stands in the way of our progress. While pausing to consider our progress, however, we really should keep our raw, unaffected enthusiasm intact. When enthusiasm wanes, the spirit goes with it, as well as the sharp, focused mind. Every little experiment, comparison, and test adds to the development of our ultimate refinement as listeners. Honing the senses is after all an important and often times neglected part of wider education. In doing so, eventually we form a unique and self-efficient evaluating system that we hold dear to our person. But it is also crucial to learn to keep ourselves in constant self-check critically. Definitely, it is valuable and honorable to travel all those extra miles in search of the perfection of audio playback. At the end of the day this is what really defines the limits of any realm of ambition, even apart from the specifics of the realm of audio quality.
Let's be clear about one thing. The LessLoss Laminar Streamer is not for everyone and it's not designed to be for everyone :). This musical machine took over six years to reach this form through material investigation, programming, schematic modeling and countless testing. It approaches digital playback from very different angles than is the norm. Louis Motek's vision pushes the known horizon of uncompromising digital audio playback to a completely new plane. The Laminar defines this new plane like no other device.
This new plane is better described in an analogy of the Zen-like depths of meditation rather than in terms of hyper, turbo-charged fitness or horsepower. As with everything in life, we do make choices and these combined choices fundamentally make up not only our worldview, but also our capability to recognize, value, and assimilate anything sublime.
We often challenge ourselves within high end audio with the so-called quest for the ultimate, holy grail. The question is, how far are we willing to go, and do we really want to leave our comfort zone for something different and exceptional. In most cases people are bound to take the easiest route, even when it comes to aiming towards the achievement of ultimate high end audio reproduction. This means that they incorporate compromises as part of their planned journey.
The Laminar Streamer does something quite drastic to the world of digital experience. In a way, it follows the actions involved in the world of vinyl playback. Where earlier you had a physical store of records and distance between that store and your vinyl playback system, once you put on a record, you had the material on location, so the commercial aspect of the transaction was complete by the time you sat down to listen.
In today's streaming world of data, the very act of playing is tied intrinsically to the commercial aspect. You don't have to take your time, dedicate it to something, and then own it. You simply skip tracks or portions of tracks and in a way you remain continuously on the surface of things such as data rates, transmission protocol, credit card numbers, compatibility issues with legal worldwide sales regions, etc. Your playback becomes part of a big book keeping system where everything you do, while you are doing it, is logged and sent back to the service provider in the form of monetizable data.
In a very real way, the Laminar Streamer frees us and our machines from this sort of activity and allows us to fully engage in an emotionally charged state and completely personal process. The sabbatical (vacation) from commercial activity I alluded to before is the establishment of a private space where one can freely dedicate his own private time and senses for the pure enjoyment and experience of music. This reminds me of a concert going experience, or taking time to explore gourmet food. These moments are only ever special because we charge them with that special condition ourselves, often times by disengaging ourselves from our usual state of struggle within a commercial or careerist environment. That special rest we experience through the purposeful establishment of such conditions is exactly what I experienced in music through use of the Laminar Streamer. Just like a good vacation, it was a very special type of time spent, with special scheduling needed (insertion of SD card taken by hand from my computer) and with a deeper sensual and emotional participation. The result of this goes deeper and sticks with you longer.
However controversial this might sound, the Laminar Streamer actually pushes you to appreciate musicianship more, not only because of how well the device is made technically, but also through the very way you’re bound to operate it.
The 32GB SD card limit upon first consideration might appear as a handicap, but a lot of music can actually be stored with this amount of memory. On the other hand one can easily create one's own SD Card library of music, where the physical room that SD cards take up are only a small fraction of what records, CD’s, and Blue Ray Discs would usually take up. You can put about 50 CDs on a single 32GB SD card. And with today's prices of the medium, it is actually quite affordable to store beloved music in this secure format.
Price-wise, the Laminar Streamer SD card player occupies the same price category and one could say, the two are in very good company, each benefitting from strengths found in the other.
I’ve seen how several reviewers enjoy the constant change and swapping of gear. At times I still wonder how this enhances or subtracts from the notion of a reference point. I think constant change brings little steadiness and more questions being asked than answered. I believe that once experienced, a reviewer should have and keep the reference gear they recognize. Some do this, which is laudable.
With my recent investments into the reference setup, sadly, the Laminar is currently out of my own reach, but it continues to shake my inner core through the huge impact it has had on me, and this feeling remains with me and is not fading away.
As the years go by, we develop more subtle insight into music and we gain a deeper respect of the real luxury involved in ultra high-end audio. It's not about the exposition of expensive, luxurious toys (although don't ever say this to a marketer). The real luxury is the level of realism, drama and emotional impact that these products bring to our experience.
The LessLoss Laminar Streamer Direct Drive SD card player pushes the boundaries of this type of luxury further by no small margin. Once experienced, a whole new world opens up. In absence of iPad’s, Wi-Fi, IP based devices, internet streaming devices, etc., you simply melt into the music.
A very telling test, I've found, is to consider what happens when you remove the device after prolonged listening and return to your previously used devices.
This is where the sad part of having to say goodbye to the Laminar Streamer comes in. The Laminar Streamer “beamed” me into a different universe, where my digital audio rites were constitutionally changed not only by the mere ritual, but most importantly with the experience of stressless, direct, pure audio intake. I do not think it will happen any time again soon in the digital realm. That is how far ahead the Laminar is.
The LessLoss Laminar Streamer Direct Drive SD card player represents an early dawn of a new era and acts like a Time Machine that suspiciously changes the facet of time and space.
I’ve travelled far and deep into the digital audio universe, but never as far and as sublime as with the Laminar Streamer.
For what it accomplishes and embodies, I’m wholeheartedly giving the LessLoss Laminar Streamer Direct Drive SD card player Mono & Stereo's Upper Echelon Award. In addition, it takes a new place in the Uber Audio throne at Mono & Stereo.
In an era when even some of the ultra high end audio products feel and act like mass-produced product (just more expensive) Louis Motek both envisioned and materialized something utterly different and dangerously infective!
We’ll always have both a mainstream movement and a boutique, exotic movement, and I’m both thankful and happy to be trusted with trying out products as extreme and out-of-the-box as the LessLoss Laminar Streamer.
We don’t have countless hours and time on this planet, so let me end the review with a proper quote…
“Life is a journey. Time is a river. The door is ajar.” ― Jim Butcher, Dead Beat
Plays any .wav or .aif file from FAT32 formatted SD cards. About the size of a postage stamp, a Secure Digital High-Capacity (SDHC) card is a flash memory device that can hold up to 32 gigabytes (GB) of data. These cards are a form of removable memory that can be used with many different digital devices, including camcorders and computers.
In Laminar Mode: screen data, active position monitoring, and back-light are all disengaged. The sole active operation remains Direct Drive clock-to-data pairing. The Direct Drive OS runs off of the active precision audio clock.
Playback features include: Pure Laminar mode, phase reversal during playback, repeat track, repeat folder, repeat SD card, play track and stop, play folder and stop, play SD card and stop, random track, fast forward while playing, rewind while playing.
Optically decoupled expansion port for future remote control functionality without introducing any EM interference to the subtle audio streaming process. No onboard IR or Wi-Fi sensors.
— S/PDIF output on RCA;
— AES/EBU output on XLR;
— I2S output on 5-pin connector.
Micro vibration Control
Superlative micro vibration control through precision milled solid steel and Panzerholz construction.
Dimensions & Weight
423.2 × 400 × 160.5mm (16.66 × 15.75 × 6.32 inches), approx. 24 kg (53 lbs) without crate. (38.5 kg (85 lbs) with flight case).
44.1 kHz–192 kHz
Plays any standard sampling rate .wav or .aif files, from 44.1 kHz through 192 kHz.
Plays 16 or 24 bit depth .wav or .aif files at any standard sampling rate.
Instant SD Card Playback at State-of-the-art Performance
Instantly recognizes the SD card. Boot time is less than 0.2 seconds. Nothing to configure, ever. No buffering, synchronicity, latency, or compatibility issues, ever. Nor viruses. Just Plug-and-Play the perfect audiophile stream, and keep your pure audio experience off the noisy information grid.
Essential Information Display
Small screen displays folder names, file names, sampling rates, absolute phase polarity, playback mode, and time.
Screen functions include: text scroll animation stop and Pure Laminar mode (screen off).
Phase Polarity Switching
On-the-fly 100% digital realm absolute phase polarity switching during playback.
LessLoss Audio P.D.
LT 46005 Lithuania
Tel: +370 698 48706