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Network music player


Manufacturer: PIXEL MAGIC SYSTEMS Ltd.
Price (in Poland): 19 900 PLN

Contact: Pixel Magic Systems Ltd. | Unit 603-605
IC Development Centre | No. 6 Science Park West
Hong Kong Science Park | Hong Kong


Provided for test by: MOJE AUDIO

In 2013, Lumïn came out of nowhere and forced its way into the market of audio file players. Their first player was called simply Lumïn and it immediately challenged the existing competition. This time we got the latest player of this company, model T2, for a review, that belongs to the next generation of Lumïn's products.

e've almost forgotten that, but when at the beginning of 2013, PIXEL MAGIC SYSTEMS Ltd. launched its first audio player, simply named Lumïn, the world of high-end PC audio belonged almost exclusively to Linn and Naim, while a few other manufacturers only tried to achieve anything in this area. All other systems were based on PC's dressed one way or another.

Based in Hong Kong, Lumïn today is one of the most important manufacturers of audio players, despite the fact that other companies specializing in this type of products have grown along the way. It offers a wide range of products, both complete players such as: X1, S1, A1, T2 and D2, files transports: U1 and U1 Mini, integrated systems such as the M1, L1 server, and even a digital amplifier: AMP. Its hallmark, however, is still a characteristic chassis with a shape that surprised so much the audio world when we saw, for the first time, the original Lumïn.

| T2

T2 is a device used to play audio files. This category of devices is called using various names, depending on whether the designers have a background in computer, or audio industry. These names include: "streamer", "bridge", "repeater", "media player", etc. Lumïn calls them: "network music players", emphasizing that playing music over a network is their primary job. This is important because the new T2 differs from its predecessor, the T1, in several essential areas.

T1 vs T2 | The first difference can be spotted immediately: the chassis now has the shape known from the top models of this manufacturer, i.e. its front is curved. The T1 had a classic, cheaper chassis with a flat front. The second thing you can also easily spot is the fact that the T2 has a switched-mode power supply integrated inside player's chassis while the T1 had an external (linear) power supply. While the change of chassis involved some additional costs for the new model, using a different power supply should have generated some savings - we should shortly find out how it affected the performance...

Another difference concerns available connections. The T2 features no HDMI audio output anymore - apparently it was not so popular, and instead of two USB INPUTS for external USB drives and pendrives there is one USB OUTPUT that allows user to send a digital signal to external digital-to-analog converter. The T1 features only one output, the BNC, but it's limited to PCM signal up to 192 kHz and 24 bits and DSD (DSD64) over the DoP protocol.

A digital heart | It would be highly insufficient for the T2. The new model features the latest streaming platform, which is what the number „2” in the name indicates. It has been developed for the flagship player, the X1. The new „streamer” is able to play and decode (and when needed to send via USB output) a PCM signal up to 384 kHz and 32 bits, and DSD up to DSD512 (22,6 MHz).

There is also a MQA decoder, useful for decoding high resolution files from streaming services. The T2 supports such services as: Tidal (including Master), Spotify Connect, Qobuz (including Qobuz Sublime), TuneIn Internet radio and is compatible with Roon. Files from local storage can be played only using network protocol, which requires a cable connection with a router and NAS. Digital signal can be upsampled to any value, in both PCM and DSD format, as well as downsampled, if we want to send a digital signal to an older DAC or sound card..

Analogue stage | The T2 features two Sabre ES9028PRO digital-to-analog converters from ESS Technology. Each of them consists of eight converters, that if necessary can be connected in parallel to to deliver signal to two balanced analog outputs. Lumïn is even more sophisticated, because it combines these eight channels into one, mono. This results in a significant reduction of distortion. The Accuphase has been using a similar solution for years. It's called MCS + (Multiple Circuit Summing).

The player features both unbalanced (RCA) and balanced (XLR) analogue outputs. Using Lumïn application, one can change the output voltage - from the classic 2V for RCA and 4V for XLR we can switch to - respectively - 3 and 6V. This may come handy when you connect the player directly to the power amplifier, for example the AMP offered by Lumïn. Using the menu, one can decide whether the output is adjustable or delivers fixed signal; the device sports a digital volume control.

Operation | The T2 player is quite versatile and it supports any currently used consumer audio file format. I wish there was a USB port allowing me to play music from pendrives - I have quite a few of those with Master WAV and Master DSD files. Lack of it might not be convenient but from the technical point of view it's a good move. The player features s small display on the front with a blue filter, that allows you to read all the information you need. However, it is not too big and already from 2 meters it is difficult to read anything from it. One can adjust display's brightness in the menu.

The only way to control the device is using the Lumïn App. It is quite user-friendly and I got used to it quite quickly. I have to say, however, that the Moon's app seems to be an even better one - it is mainly about the placement of buttons and access to files, mainly streaming services. But, as I say, Lumïn's is pretty good too.

I think that it would be a good idea in the future to add some small remote with just z few buttons, such as: power on/off, next track, pause – just basic commands that now require using an app.

The Lumïn T2 was placed on the center shelf of the Finite Elemente Pagode Edition rack and was powered using the Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version cable. As a source of the signal for my system it sent it to the Ayon Audio Spheris III (140,000 PLN) preamplifier and the Soulution 710 power amplifier (currently not produced, 135,000 PLN ) and Harbeth M40.1 speakers (also not produced anymore) that were placed on Acoustic Revive Custom Stand stands (a set - 80,000 PLN). It was connected with router using an Acoustic Revive Ethernet cable.

I compared it with the Lumïn T1 and the Simaudio Moon 390 (preamplifier/streamer). My reference sources were the Ayon Audio CD-35 High Fidelity Edition (80 000 PLN) and Kuzma R turntable with 4Point9 tonearm (45 000 PLN) with MC Etsuro Urushi Bordeaux cartridge (32 000 PLN).

Lumïn in "High Fidelity”
  • TEST: Lumïn D2 | network music player
  • TEST: Lumïn M1 | network music player/amplifier
  • TEST: Lumïn S1 | network music player
  • TEST: Lumïn | network music player

  • Recordings used for the test (a selec- tion)

    | Tidal
    • Fish Emade Tworzywo, Dwa ognie, Warner Music Poland/Tidal, FLAC 16/44,1, SP (2019)
    • Gary Clark Jr., This Land (Single Version), Warner Bros./Tidal, MQA 24/96, SP (2019)
    • Joni Mitchell, Blue, A&M Studios/Tidal, MQA Studio 24/192 (1971/2013)
    • KINGDM, Your Love, Tidal, MQA 24/44,1, SP (2018)
    • Mike Posner, A Real Good Kid, Island Records/Tidal, MQA 24/44,1 (2019)
    • Voces8 , Enchanted Isle, Decca Records/Tidal, MQA 24/96 (2019)
    | Pliki
    • 2xHD. DSD, USB Flash, Master DSD64/DSD128
    • 2xHD. PCM, USB Flash, Master WAV 24/192
    • FIM Super Sounds! I, First Impression Music FIM DXD 066 USB, Promo USB Flash, FLAC 24/176
    • Krzysztof Komeda Quintet,, Kattorna w: Krzysztof Komeda Quintet, Astigmatic, Polskie Nagrania „Muza”/Warner Music Poland 4648860, Master WAV 24/88,2 (1965/2016);
    • QOPE, Nocturnal, Trptk TTK 0024, Master Flash USB 24/384 (2018);

    I perfectly remember the first Lumïn player. There are several reasons for that: it was then one of the best, and perhaps even the best audio files player I heard. It sounded differently from other devices of this type and additionally it supported playback of DSD files. All these elements combined resulted in me truly enjoying a performance of audio files player for the very first time (outside recording studio). It was not as good as the best CD and SACD players, but it was a step in the right direction.

    It was then followed by more players, marked with the number '1'. When developing less expensive products the team tried to preserve the general character of the sound proposed with the original Lumïn, and to offer more affordable products they rather sacrificed some resolution, selectivity and definition. These modifications were not that difficult to accept and in the context of the lower price it was hard to complain about them.

    Released in 1971, Joni Mitchell's Blue album is one of the masterpieces of folk music. Lumïn beautifully presented the artist's warm vocal, with a rolled-off upper range, as well as the distinct, "steel" acoustic guitar; on Tidal, the album is available in MQA 24/192 files.

    I could still hear the characteristic, unmistakable sonic features that all Lumïn players present. Everything changes, however, including Lumïn. The sound of the T2 player is significantly different from that of all other players earlier devices from this manufacturer. The sound is same as always and yet it is also different.

    This device delivers resolving and well-defined sound. Its range is well extended on both ends - I really did not expect such an impressive bass from a audio files player! It was not only really deep, powerful and dynamic, but also tuneful and energetic. I truly enjoyed listening to not only classical jazz albums, where the double bass always had its own character, that was changing from one album to the next, but also to new albums and singles from Tidal - KINGDM and Love, Gary Clark Jr. and This Land, as well as a very nice soundtrack for the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, that includes only electronic bass.

    The treble sounded equally well. You see, generally I prefer a warmer sound rather than cooler one, thicker than thiner, darker than brighter. And that's because it is how the music sounds like in the real world, hence when we hear something similar from our system, nothing in the sound bothers or surprises us, the only element that can do it is music. The problem with audio system is that it actually constitutes a "bottleneck" between music and us, it distorts and changes the signal. A designer must therefore choose between different sonic features, often equally important ones.

    The KINGDM Your Love single is a perfect example of intelligent, contemporary pop. On Tidal, the single is available in MQA 24 / 44.1 files. Listen to it for the bass!

    The Pixel Magic Systems engineers chose a set of features for Lumïn that characterize - in general - the DSD format, both from SACDs and from audio files of this type. The first generation of devices from this manufacturer sounded like that. With time, however, it turned out that DSD files offer much more than originally thought. We did not know that before, because we did not quite understand this technique, and the playback technology itself was quite simply - from today's point of view - even primitive.

    Today, the best SACD players and the best audio files players are doing the same thing, that the T2 does: they offer an open sound with proper momentum, and yet they have an inner depth,cells with information open wide at the right moments. It is no longer paper-thin, flat sound - as delivered by players that are focused on delivering highly detailed sound - neither warm, slightly mellow - like from players focused on timbre. Today, also with the T2, we are going towards a real, not a fancy, nor false analogue sound.

    It is a player that also presents a clear "line of conduct” when it comes to the spatial presentation of information. It favors the foreground, which is big, full, close to us. Behind it, it builds deep, large stage, but in a way "limited", i.e. with quite clear boundaries. The great clarity of this sound also contributes to this presentation. This is why the colors are so clear, but it is also why the space is so vivid and expressive at the same time.

    This Land (Single Version), a single by Gary Clark Jr., it is a brutally honest music statement about racism that he experienced growing up in the American South. But it is also a beautiful song with a high quality sound; available on Tidal in MQA 24/96 files.

    Although so far I have talked about both band's extremes, the midrange here plays the most important role - it's just not as warm and as unconditionally "friendly" as before. Recordings with a lot of compression, say a very good album titled A Real Good Kid by Mike Posner, when the vocal enters, get slightly sharp/harsh, which proves what was done with them. Fortunately, it does not translate into excessive brightness, but it is also different than with older players of this company and other players and transports such as, for example, Moon 390 and Ayon Audio NW-T DSD.


    The T2 is one of the best devices of this kind. It is resolving, delivers nice colors and beautiful space. Purity of the sound translates into a great sound stage and excellent band's extremes, which is something completely different from classical "file-based" sound. This is a big step forward compared to the T1 version, which I have been using for several years - this is by no means a small improvement. It is also extremely dynamic - it is a true surprise. The best CD and SACD players are able to go deeper into the natural tissue of a recording, to better present its "analog" nature. It does not diminish the T2's achievement though, as it's not as expensive as those players I'm talking about, and additionally it plays music in such a way, that one doesn't have to look for any other components or accessories to support it. It's simply very, very good!

    Well deserved RED Fingerprint.

    The T2 is a network audio player from Lumïn, a company with its headquarters in Hong Kong and production based in mainland China. Its housing is made of six aluminum elements with a thick, curved front. The device features four metal feet.

    Front and rear | The front was cut out on CNC machines from a single aluminum block. It looks great and it is very rigid - and in digital devices vibration damping is an important task. In the center a space for a display was cut out. It has been covered with a blue filter and it displays all the information, including word length (bits), sampling frequency (kHz / MHz) and what kind of file is currently played. There are no buttons or knobs.

    The rear panel is similar to the one featured in all products of this company, but it is actually a design "borrowed" from Linn players, which is a kind of tribute to that company. The point is that the rear panel is recessed into the chassis. It is closed from the top and sides, and open from the bottom. It is obviously an aesthetic choice, but to some extent it also affects the screening of all connectors placed there. Among them one finds gold-plated analogue RCA outputs from CMC and Rhodium-plated XLR ones, digital BNC and USB outputs, as well as an Ethernet port. There is also a power inlet with a mechanical switch.

    You will find there also a gold plated ground pin. It is an important element – first to use it were Japanese companies, today also ones from all over the world appreciate the role of additional grounding, or using separate grounding devices.

    Inside | The presence of the IEC socket on the rear panel of the player is one of the features that differentiates T2 from its predecessor - the power supply has been placed inside the player's chassis. This is a SMPS, that manufacturer describes as: "ultra-low noise universal power supply". It features two stages and its job is: "the best possible isolation of the device from the mains.”

    The electronic circuit was assembled on one large printed circuit board. It has two clearly separated sections – Audio files player and a D/A converter. The microprocessor is hidden under a small heat sink. Next to it there are several DSPs, for example the Altera Cyclone IV and XMOS. The player's software has been written by Pixel Magic Systems engineers and is constantly being further developed and improved. Using the Lumïn application users can keep the firmware up to date. The BNC digital output features an impedance matching transformer.

    The D/A converter's section features two Saber ES9028PRO chips from ESS Technology, one per channel, operating in monaural mode. There are also I/V converters and an output stage. They are based on OPA 1611A integrated circuits. Manufacturer used high quality components such as WIMA polypropylene capacitors and surface-mounted resistors. Outputs are switched on using reed switches - these are one of the best, most reliable switching elements on the market. Another company that uses them is the McIntosh.The signal is balanced all the way through the circuit. ■

    Technical specifications (according to manufacturer)

    Streaming protocol: UPnP AV
    Supported files formats:
    - DSD: DSF (DSD), DIFF (DSD), DoP (DSD)
    - PCM: FLAC, Apple Lossless (ALAC), WAV, AIFF
    - lossy: MP3, AAC (M4A container)
    Sampling frequency, word length:
    - PCM, 44,1 - 384 kHz, 16 - 32 bits, stereo
    - DSD, 2,8 MHz (DSD64) - 22,6 MHz (DSD512), 1 bit, stereo

    Digital outputs:
    - USB:
    DSD512 | PCM 44,1 - 384 kHz, 16 - 32 bits, stereo
    - BNC S/PDIF:
    - PCM 44,1 - 192 kHz, 16 - 24 bits
    - DSD (DoP, DSD over PCM) 2,8 MHz, 1 bit

    Digital input:
    Ethernet Network 1000Base-T
    Analogue outputs: 6/4 V XLR | 3/2 V RCA
    Dimensions (W x D x H): 350 x 345 x 60 mm
    Weight: 6 kg

    Polish distributor


    ul. Sudecka 152
    53-129 Wrocław | Polska


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