LUMIN T2 review


After my completion of the LUMIN X1 audiophile network player review, Angus Leung from LUMIN proposed, that it would be interesting to evaluate a more affordable LUMIN T2, that uses a lot of X1's technology advancement in a trickle-down product that comes at much more affordable price. As many of you readers also asked me to explore the more entry-level LUMIN products, we've set the schedule for the review and a few weeks later T2 arrived directly from the LUMIN headquarters. 

Aesthetically LUMIN T2 follows the zen-like aesthetic cues of the bigger brother and combines X1 technology to deliver the LUMIN T2 heralds the first redesign of the classic A1/T1 mainboards and chassis. This new approach combines solid CNC panel construction with X1 technology to hit the performance sweet spot.


While T2 is not milled from the solid aluminum block, it appears so, due to the massive one-piece front panel that reflects X1 design.  Modular chassis structure was designed from the ground up to deal with the resonances and micro-vibrations.


HIGHLIGHTS



  • New generation processor provides DSD512 and 384kHz playback
  • Dual ES9028PRO SABRE DACS
  • USB digital audio output
  • Precision 32-bit internal digital volume
  • Discreet clock system for precision timing
  • Low-noise switching power supply with dual stage regulator
  • PCM & DSD upsampling
  • MQA full decoding
  • Roon Ready, Spotify Connect, MQA, TIDAL, Qobuz, Airplay and TuneIn
  • New CNC panelled construction offers upgraded structural rigidity and shielding compared to the T1
  • The newly-designed thick cnc panels provide the high-end LUMIN family aesthetics

THE INNER HEART


T2 has a lot to offer and due to implementation of many of the advantages from the flagship X1. Here are a few of the highlights...

DUAL ES9028PRO DAC

  • Dual Mono operation
  • 32-bit precision digital volume control DSD512
  • PCM 384kHz

PRECISION ANALOGUE OUTPUT STAGE

  • Completely redesigned analogue buffer 
  • Includes X1 technology 
  • Ultra-low-noise and high dynamic range 
  • Audiograde output capacitor

LOW-NOISE SWITCHING POWER SUPPLY

  • Internal 100–240V 
  • AC auto-ranging 
  • Low-noise
  • Shielded power supply compartment for reduced interference with delicate electronics

DUAL-STAGE REGULATORS FOR ANALOGUE CIRCUITORY

  • Dual-stage power supply
  • Ultra-low-noise regulators
  • Seperate digital and analogue power supply

FULL PLAYBACK FEATURES

  • PCM 384khz
  • DSD512
  • DSD Upsampling / Downsampling MQA Decoding
  • Roon Ready, Spotify Connect, MQA, TIDAL, Qobuz, Airplay and TuneIn

OPERATIONAL


Once connected to the same ethernet network, the LUMIN T2 is fully subordinate to the iPad or Android tablet. The app is easy to navigate and it really shouldn't be problematic to use even to the novice digital audio user or someone that is not exactly computer savvy.


Seamless integration with Tidal, Qobuz or Spotify is unlocked with just providing the login name and password. All of the playlist (Tidal) are there to explore and enjoy.


Basic features are at the main settings window, but there are far more features for those who want to dig deeper like wide variety upsampling options, etc.

With T2 the tabled is considered as a remote control and this is the place where you control the inputs and volume.


As a streaming player, the T2 doesn't offer any storage. Music files can be seen through the various USB drives, but with the assistance of the UPnP/DLNA server.


Like with the rest of the line middle centered blue monochrome display offers all of the pieces of information. While font and graphics are on the smallish side, I've could still read out the need from a far distance.


On the back slightly hidden and protected are the inputs that includes RCA/balanced outputs, RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet Network (1000BASE-T), USB input (for a flash drive, USB hard disk single-partition FAT32, NTFS, and EXT2/3 only) and output (Native DSD512 support, PCM 44.1–384kHz, 16–32-bit, Stereo), BNC digital out connector, earth ground connector  and a pinhole with a reset button.


LUMIN X1 supports DS playback up to DSD512 22.6MHz (1-bit) and PCM playback up to 384kHz, 16–32-bit, Stereo. This should cover the present and upcoming digital audio needs for years to come. And yes, X1 also supports MQA...

The inputs/outputs count is almost similar to X1 less the optical Ethernet input. 

THE MUSIC


For sure one of the best things in my profession is using the music I love for the evaluation. In the era where millions of songs are available at the tip of the click, there is no need either to complaint about the lacking of music material and of qualitative reference listening material. You can choose your posing


It's a bit hard to use Santana's "Soul Sacrifice" Live At The Fillmore - 1968 as the reference song as it always drags me into its velocity. Anyhow :)...

Anyone that is well aware of the track will instantly know how well the system or particular component under the testing performs especially with the organ and Santana's guitar overlapping. Even with some top tier, DAC's two instruments are not evidently distinctive. On the contrary, T2 managed to separate them in a very vivid way, giving them enough space to create a relief depth.

Same goes for the congo drums. When the DAC is potent enough and the system is properly set the "Soul Sacrifice" percussions not only expands far outside the usual horizon. With T2 in action, they've stretched excitingly, way outside of the speakers than expected.

It's quite amazing how forte was Hammond B organ's presence and I was clearly taken by the sense of energy that LUMIN T2 can convey. This was further smoothly confirmed with the "Magic Bus" from The Who - Live At Leeds (25th Anniversary Edition). Those guitars really kept the similar high-octane energy impact as with the organ.

With a mediocre performing DAC, the Who experience is just so so, but with the equitable sonic power, the music hits you with full speed. The spirited dynamic success continues with St. Germain - Boulevard (The Complete Series). Oh, boy does "Deep in It" brings back a lot of memories from the '90s and the studio days. Deep underground house is certainly not a genre that everybody is fond of, yet some of the rare genre music material is not only soul binding but also great sounding.

Again a massive delivery of energy was expertly managed by the T2, but that's far from being the only stand out achievement. "Deep in It" vibraphone intermezzo bring in vibraphone with the formation of peculiar decays. LUMIN T2 the subtle delay tails simply dissipated in the endless black space, creating a spellbinding and linger effect of and endless leeway.

"Meister Petz" by The Peace Orchestra from the album Peace Orchestra brings more confirmation about T2's stand-out aural expanse. "Meister Petz" also calls for the much more heftier inner-heart to form the majestic lower frequency foundation. While not on the level of X1, the T2 conveyance of the bass region was nowhere near the usual. T2's bass emergence was solid, focused and without unwanted muddiness, that can sometimes take over the epicenter even with some far more expensive DACs.

While I'm sure that most of you know the Daft Punk for their past few chart-topping albums, I'm quite sure that not everybody is familiar with Homework, their debut album. There is something very prime about this record and especially "Rollin' & Scratchin'" cuts it for me.

The amount of rawness the DAC needs to provide this sonic roller coaster is not even funny. While many attributes can be argued and discuss to death, there is simply no drawback when it comes to "Rollin' & Scratchin'" vigorous smack. LUMIN T2 once more provided a non-expected amount of pure and unaltered energy with fast and snappy drum attacks. T2 has kept the music's stable and without drifting once the going got tough.

Replaying the Massive Attack's "Mezzanine" from the album Mezzanine can become a serious system killer. Despite not being a typical audiophile track "Mezzanine" has a lot to offer in terms of evaluation. Especially how well the utmost low foundation is set. T2's capacity or handling submarine-like depths was no slouch. On opposite. The lowest octave synth notes were feeling the space without constraints and with the non-expected impact. Especially in this price range!

On the very inverse pole of rawness, there are many challenges and norms to be met in order to form a level of performance that is worthy of high-end naming. I've explored a vast amount of reference tracks, but there is one record that was a true stand out and a clear example of LUMIN T2 ability to convey a subtle and ethereal universe was magnificent.

A proper rendition of the human voice alone is a complex endeavor. It gets much more sophisticated with the choir and multiple voices. "Ave Maria" sang by the Swedish Radio Choir under the baton of Eric Ericson from the album Treasures is a remarkable record that is over 40 years old. The immersive surroundings of the legendary Cirkus venue in Stockholm allow a spectacular horizontal and vertical expanse. LUMIN T2 provided a magnifying glass-like quality with the rendering of the voices' echoes that could instantly spread across my complete listening room. On top of it, the density of spectral shading allowed a stupendous sense of atmosphere. Rarely the believability factor is reached with this rendition of "Ave Maria", yet T2 provided sensual impact way outside of a dreamy languor.

CONCLUSION


I like the all-round logical handling and the refined minimalistic aura. It feels how LUMIN team takes time to deliver their products and in the world of fast-forwarding pacing. If products are not rushed into the market everybody benefits all-around.   

T2's monumental and refined minimalistic aesthetics are keeping the brand's design orientation that is instantly recognizable, modern and stylish. LUMIN has found a great continuous and eye-catching blueprint across the complete product line. The same goes for their sonic DNA, that keeps the most important attributes even with more affording products like T2.


T2 comes highly close to the X1 fast-paced nature, transparency and dynamic quality and that's quite an achievement for it's given price. T2 follows closely the LUMIN's sonic nucleus, translating into the unaltered and highly involving music reproduction across all of the music material. It was great to discover how albeit T2's open and transparent nature it was no stranger to the organic life-like warmness when needed. 


As with the X1 I've liked T2's DAC and music streamer features. LUMIN T2 audiophile music streamer embraces and blends best of the worlds in a very compact package. As with X1, I can imagine T2 being used in all three different ways; As standalone DAC, as music streamer (Roon endpoint) and as a standalone streamer/DAC. I have little doubts, that the last option is most tempting as it offers the most as all in one device.  


During the evaluation and when used as both DAC and streamer I've partnered T2 with MSB SELECT DAC II with Femto 33 clock, Totaldac d1-direct DAC, Aries Cerat Kassandra II Sig DAC and Aqua Acoustic Quality Formula xHD DAC.


As expected, there were no sonic changes in all combination, when used as a streamer (or with Roon) with the above mentioned DACs. LUMIN T2's effectiveness and flow were unchanged. 

The interactive ability of the component can be a trendy and pleasant form of flattery. Yet... When it comes down to the reality check not everything is always as advertised. 


LUMIN T2 is far from being such a product. Even within the very first hour of listening, I've could decipher the familiar qualities that have extended across all of the music genres. Easy lock and load with all kind of music is something that every DAC or music stream should be striving for and that is not always the case. 


We're living in the wicked era, where the changing and bending of the reality is becoming a daily affair. More and more people are hankering for the friction-less experience regardless of content being server. LUMIN T2 acts as an antidote to the shattered reality with its ability to reconstruct the music intimately close to the original.


Establishing such an act is far from ordinary easy tasking and this is one of the T2' prominent qualities worthy of all of the highlighting. 

LUMIN T2 follows the eminent path set by the X1 with a hefty amount of exceptional, beyond good aspects, escaping the T2's price tagging easily. LUMIN T2 streaming music player deserves the spotlight for what it represents. I'm happy to grant it the Mono and Stereo 2019 Best Buy Award!

And the LUMIN story continues. Today the LUMIN AMP has landed so do stay tuned...

Matej Isak

PRICE


- 4.500.00 EUR

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS


DSD SUPPORT: Up to DSD512 22.6MHz, 1-bit
PCM SUPPORT: Up to 384kHz, 16–32-bit, Stereo

ANALOG OUTPUT STAGE: 

Dual ESS SABRE32 ES9028Pro DAC chips
Fully balanced layout with high-quality components
Completely redesigned analogue buffer includes audiograde output capacitor and ultra-low-noise and high dynamic range
Discreet clock system for precision timing
Precision 32-bit internal digital volume

UPSAMPLING RATES & BIT DEPTHS: 

DSD128 upsampling option for all files
PCM 384kHz upsampling option for all files

DIGITAL OUTPUT STAGE:

USB: Native DSD512 support PCM 44.1–384kHz, 16–32-bit, Stereo
BNC SPDIF:
PCM 44.1kHz–192kHz, 16–24-bit
DSD (DoP, DSD over PCM) 2.8MHz, 1-bit

POWER SUPPLY:

Internal 100–240V AC auto-ranging
Low-noise
Shielded power supply compartment for reduced interference with delicate electronics

PHYSICAL

FINISH:

Black anodised brushed aluminium
Raw brushed aluminium

LUMIN (SOLID ALUMINIUM CHASSIS):

350mm (W), 345mm (D), 60mm (H), 6kg

STREAMING PROTOCOL:

UPnP AV protocol with audio streaming extension (OpenHome)
Roon Ready
Spotify Connect
Apple AirPlay
Gapless Playback
On-Device Playlist

APP FEATURES:

Native support for TIDAL, MQA, Qobuz and TuneIn Radio.
Tidal MQA icons to identify high-res music
Qobuz high-res icons to identify high-res music
Volume control
High-resolution artwork
Artwork caching
Search
Multiple tag handling
Composer tag support
Album-grouping in playlist
Automatic internet links to artists/album/songs
Saving and restoring of playlists (including Tidal and Quobuz)
SUPPORTED AUDIO FILE FORMATS:
DSD Lossless: DSF (DSD), DIFF (DSD), DoP (DSD)
PCM Lossless: FLAC, Apple Lossless (ALAC), WAV, AIFF
Compressed (lossy) Audio: MP3, AAC (in M4A container)
MQA

INPUT:

Ethernet RJ45 network 1000Base-T
USB storage, flash drive, USB hard disk (Single-partition FAT32, NTFS and EXT2/3 only)

ANALOGUE AUDIO OUTPUTS:

XLR balanced, 6Vrms, pin 2 Hot
RCA unbalanced, 3Vrms

SUPPORTED CONTROL DEVICES:

All models of Apple iPad (v2 or later). iOS 8.0 or later required. Full Retina Display support.
Android devices. Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or later required

OTHER:

Programme of Continuous Development – Firmware-upgradable for further features and enhancements

CONTACT


Pixel Magic Systems Ltd.
Unit 603-607
IC Development Centre
No. 6 Science Park West
Hong Kong Science Park
Hong Kong

email: info@luminmusic.com