Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Sonnet Pasithea, Soundaware D30Ref SD card transport & USB bridge; Preamp: icOn 4Pro S w. hi/lo-pass filter; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 mono, Enleum AMP-23R; Headamp: Kinki Studio; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Aurai Audio Lieutenant w. sound|kaos DSUB 15 on Carbide Audio footers, Audio Physic Codex, Cube Audio Nenuphar Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: Soundaware D100Pro SD transport clock-slaved to Denafrips Terminator +; DAC: Kinki Studio; Preamp/filter: icOn 4Pro + 4th-order/40Hz hi-low pass; Amplifier: Crayon CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers: sound|kaos Vox 3awf, Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headamp: COS Engineering H1; Headphones: Final D-8000; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 120
Upstairs headfi/speaker system: Source: smsl SD-9 transport; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Simon Audio; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail in EU (ex VAT): €4'500, add €900 for streaming module, €700 for phono stage
The glyph to the left of 'USB' indicates that the buffer is engaged.
Cosima Wagner was the daughter of Hungarian composer/pianist Franz Liszt and Franco-German romantic author Marie d'Agoult. After being married to conductor Hans von Bülow, she became the second wife of German composer Richard Wagner and with him founded the Bayreuth Festival to showcase his stage works.
After his death she devoted the rest of her life to promote Wagner's music and philosophy. Friedrich Nietzsche, a mutual friend of theirs, also was in love with her and not at all cosi cosa about it.
Of course the German verb wagen means to dare, venture and risk. Perhaps 'twas in the cards.
Against this musically significant backdrop, daring to revisit the COS D10 in now v2 guise is another affair of second weddings. After all, I reviewed the original in November 2020. I even awarded it. Where to go from there? To a virtual Bayreuth perhaps – though not to hear any fat lady sing.
Actually, v2 means not just a seasonal rerun. It means progress. "The major changes are a new sub 0.1ps jitter oscillator for the converter so by a full magnitude better; improved regulator and bypass capacitors for this oscillator; a lower-jtter TXCO also for the streaming module; and a new power transformer for the analog circuitry. That supports 110VAC all the way up to 240VAC so wastes less energy, creates less stress/heat with a more efficient iron core, thicker coils and a special winding topology to further lower emitted noise. We're playing music almost entirely via streaming in our office now. It was key then to further improve the sound for streaming in many ways. That includes a dedicated Ethernet switch powered by a linear power supply. But more on those bits later in the year." No rest for the wicked then; on the manufacturing and reviewing end of things.
Mind the buffer toggle. 'Off' defeats internal caching/reclocking for perfect lip sync. 'On' will sound better where 1-second latency is no issue.
The ever lower COSt of multiplication.
♦ Analog preamp with XLR/RCA inputs.
♦ Full-featured dual-differential 24/192 BurrBrown DAC.
♦ Headphone amp.
♦ Streamer with MQA.
♦ Phono stage.
With the latter two features on optional slide-in cards, the D10 v2 can configure as 3-in-1, 4-in-1 or even 5-in-1. Each added function eliminates an extra box and associated costs including more signal/power cables and shelf space. The more stacked we build/use our COS, the more we save. My own stack attack lacks phono and streaming so no comments on those.
Where I do stream cloud-based music, I do so via PC/Mac over external USB bridge into a 27" or 34" screen plus wired keyboard/mouse. WiFi disables yet Bandcamp, Qobuz, Spotify, Tidal and YouTube are all accessible via their browser windows. J.River on my Win10/64 workstation and Audirvana 3.5 on my music iMac are the software players. For that any DAC sans USB suffices since my USB bridges output reclocked coax, BNC, AES/EBU, even I²S over HDMI/RJ45.
So I have no use for streamers. And yes, that puts me in the extreme minority. I'm simply too set in that way to change spots now when our home's WiFi allergy is resolutely against headless streamers which rely on WiFi tablets or smartphones to operate. Everyone else can happily add COS' €900 streamer module and/or bolt on full phonofication for €700. What I'll report on is the D10 v2 as standard 3-in-1. If you're a full 5er, Christiaan Punter's v1 review has you very nicely covered already.
Five digital inputs on USB, AES/EBU, BNC, Toslink and I²S over HDMI [pin assignment above].
For more 4-in-1 commentary of v1, regular Warsaw contributor Dawid Grzyb has his own; including this photo with the streaming module but not phono stage installed. No matter how you mix up your own Cosmo—typical ingredients are citron vodka, cointreau, lime juice, cranberry juice and a lime wedge—it'll always come with a stylish full-metal remote control. To take the sonic measure in our digs, it'd play against a €5'900 Sonnet Pasithea downstairs, against a ~€6'000 Denafrips Terminator Plus upstairs. Whilst being most affordable of this bunch, it's the only one offering full headfi, analog inputs and a phono option. For that alone it's clearly more cos célèbre than also-run. Subjective build quality falls right between lightweight Dutch and heavyweight Chinese. Cosmetics are arguably the most distinctive, even include black and silver options. On specs alone, most competitors should find themselves quite accosted by the D10. With v2, an already good thing now promised to get even mo betta.
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