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At CES 2014, April Music smacked down the V2 gauntlet by driving from it Laurence Dickie's South African Vivid Audio Giya G3 at $40'000/pr sourced from a mobile device. Consider the very real opportunity to embarrass yourself in front of a global audience; and the serious financial commitment of exhibiting in Vegas in the first place. This either demonstrated relaxed confidence on Simon's part; or a real set of cast-iron stones. Either way one applauds such showmanship to make an important point: extreme integration needn't equate to sonic compromise!

Back on terra firma with more likely speakers, I'd at least start out with my desktop's Gallo Strada 2/TR3-D combo where usual amps are Wyred4Sound's mINT or Gato's DIA-250. As class D integrateds with DAC and remote, both are quite all-in-one-ish already. The mINT even adds headfi.
250ASX2: 125/250w into 8/4Ω, 130kHz bandwidth, 112dB dynamic range A-weighted
residual idle noise 80μV relative to full power into 4 Ω, 35m
Ω output impedance from 100 - 5'000Hz

Still, the V2 one-ups them with a tuner, CD player and digital iDevice port. Particularly the latter had my attention. I've worked my way through digital iPod docks from Cambridge Audio, Pure and Pro-Ject to run my three 160GB Classics in various setups. The fussy ESS silicon in the Burson Conductor and AURALiC Vega stutters with the iD100 even when the Vega's clock is set to the least critical 'coarse' mode. The i-20 doesn't bypass Apple's digital volume. As the busiest and thus most important iPod place, I run my favorite Pro-Ject Dock Box S on the desktop. Whilst petite, it still is one more component. It also takes up another power outlet. The Aura Note V2 would eliminate it from the equation. It'd free up space on and below my work desk. April Music. Spring cleaning. Yes!

Digitally tapped and loaded with ALAC/AIFF, an iPod is a quality battery-powered USB transport. Aura Neo, Groove, Vita and Vivid models in background. Industrial design by Kenneth Grange, circuit design by Simon Lee, manufacture by April Music.

Simon Lee: "PC streaming of course works at full 24/192 on Mac whilst Windows still gets a custom ASIO driver we'll have ready by May. For now you can already use ASIO4All. For USB stick playback, WAV files play up to 24/192, FLAC up to 24/96. This too will be updated via a firmware fix which we'll email out to be copied to a blank stick which runs an auto .exe file as soon as it's plugged in. Except for these two small items which we'll have sorted soon, the V2 already is my personal dream machine. I also added Bluetooth 2.1 for those who'll want that mode for a PC or Android phone. I like this function because it connects my smartphone to my TV whilst the sound goes to the V2 to make for a beautiful phone-based HD home theatre. And there is Youtube and so many more apps. The headphone output taps directly into the ICEpower module through a series resistor. The overall schematic of the V2 is active preamp stage --> volume IC --> power stage buffer --> ICEpower."

Simon Lee with Wilson Audio's Peter McGrath

"My goal was and is very clear and simple: make more people listen to better-sounding music. This will affect our children and all the people and eventually lower the center of gravity for a better world. Now our world is a crowded noisy mass with crap sound and fake effects. I want to make people feel the way we felt back in the 70s with vinyl. We've since lost that feeling of being there, the musical ambience. Even though we now have high resolution and huge power, it's no longer easy to feel the music in ourselves. I have thought about this for more than 30 years. And this is what I think the solution ought to be..."