Insider news. 20-watt toroidal power transformer for 5-watt power draw. Noise-filtered power inlet. 115/230V switch. 12 x 4'700µF smoothing capacitance. 4 x low-noise regulators. 0.025ps low-jitter 125MHz LVDS-differential oscillators. Network status LED on/off switch. Individually enabled/disabled ports to shut off the constant noisy link pulses of unused ports. 26x25x6cm aluminium-alloy casing. The COS product brief also advocates against external clocks because of transmission jitter, potential ground differential and the need for frequency synthesizers when most run at 10MHz. The physical layout of the S10 as a purely digital component also "presented challenges of +10Gbps signal in 36 differential pairs, transmission lines, impedance control and cross talk".

As do all smart manufacturers, COS took their novelties to local dealer systems for testing. Here we see one such setup to evaluate the switch and D10's fiber-optic option connected via dual-vein yellow leash.

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Two months later, "about the external fiber-optic streaming module, we decided to suspend it for now. As we found out, by tweaking and tuning our S10 circuit, we actually improved the sound of both the copper and optical ports. Fiber used to be far superior to copper. Now they're on par. Unless we can further improve the sound of fiber optics to have them clearly beat copper again, there's no reason to have another box." Since none of my gear is fitted with SFP connectors, the entire subject was academic. If I owned a Lumin meanwhile, I'd experiment between the S10's copper and fiber ports.

The S10 made its European debut in mid May in the below system. Given how these brands remain somewhat off the beaten track—three from Taiwan, one from Kiwi—many attendees probably missed them in the glam glut of ÜberFi which dominates this enormous event. But at least one photographer aimed his professionally long lens at the COS kit to perhaps make an appearance in a print or online show report. Someone was watching him do it and took a photo as proof. And in all fairness… listening at a show, in an open stand no less, tells us nothing on what a given component contributed. That's unless it's an active streaming speaker to be the only component. Exhibits like these are far more about show 'n' tell than listening to music. For many in the press in fact, they're primarily about talking. It's why Munich now has two dedicated trade days. With most of the chit chat out of the way, the public on Sat/Sun has a better chance to audition in peace; unless it too is more interested in talk.

With any S10 audition, we first look at the belly of the beast to dip switches. There's one for 115/230V likely already set correctly. There's a single switch to turn off the two LED which accompany each port; and eight more to disable unused ports. If we leave the light show on, all amber means 1'000Mbps incoming signal, amber/green 100Mbps. Flashing confirms active transmitting/receiving. Disabling unused ports cuts their constant handshaking attempts for less noise, more peace.

For my first peaceful date I decided on intimate headfi to really get to know the COS. So I put six copper ports to sleep as well as all of the LED. Only the Cen.Grand amplifier isn't in this frame because it lives one rack space over to the left. But you see all the rest of it. Remote volume over the COS DAC gave me in-seat control from the Ikea rocker to lean back and tune in. Time to imbibe some Karim Baggili compliments of his latest album, Ocho Manos.