November
2019

Country of Origin

Italy

DS-10

Reviewer: Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Transports: PS Audio PWT; Dr. Feickert Blackbird MKII/DFA 1o5/Zu DL-103;
DAC: Mytek Brooklyn; T+A DAC8 [loaner]
Streaming sources: Devialet AIR; La Rosita Beta; Qobuz Desktop, Tidal Desktop; Sound Galleries SGM 2015 [loaner]; Mytek Brooklyn Bridge [in for review]'
Preamp/integrated/power: Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); dual Devialet D-Premier; PTP Audio Blok 20; Hypex Ncore 1200 based monoblocks; Trafomatic Kaivalya; Trafomatic Reference One; Trafomatic Reference Phono One; Music First Passive Magnetic
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Arcadian Audio Pnoe; Podium Sound One; WLM Sub 12; Sounddeco Alpha F3; dual Zu Submisson MKI; Soltanus Virtuoso ESL
Cables: complete loom of ASI LiveLine cables; full loom of Crystal Cable cables; full loom of Nanotec Golden Strada; Audiomica Pearl Consequence interconnect; Audiomica Pebble Consequence; Audiocadabra Ultimus3 Plus Dual-Headed Solid-Silver
Power line conditioning: PS Audio Powerplant Premier; PS Audio Humbuster III; IsoTek Evo 3 Syncro; AudioMica Allbit Consequence
Equipment racks: Solid Tech and ASI amplifier and TT shelf
Indispensable accessories: Furutech DeMag; ClearAudio Double Matrix; Franc Audio Ceramic Disc Classic; Shakti Stones; Kemp polarity checker; Akiko Audio Corelli,Costello and Phono Booster; Pink Faun LAN Isolator; Farad external power supply
Online Music purveyors: qobuz.com, tidal.com, bandcamp.com, amazon.co.uk 
Room treatment: Acoustic System International resonators, sugar cubes, diffusers
Room size:  ~14.50 x 7.50m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls, wooden flooring upstairs, ca 7 x 5m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls and concrete floor downstairs
Price of review item: €2'490

 

"The new 4 in 1: D/A converter, streamer, line preamplifier and headphone amplifier." That's how Italian audio house Gold Note announced their DS-10. With it, Gold Note join the growing ranks of companies which embrace the new streaming reality. That's part of the digital transformation going on in our time and age. Platform thinking is another descriptor for that revolution. Uber and Airbnb are two known platforms which completely changed how we experience transportation and accommodation. In retail, Amazon, Alibaba & Co. play their part. For musical playback, Spotify, Tidal and Qobuz hit the market with a double whammy. First they changed how we look at music as something to own that's embedded in physical containers like LP or CD. Second, streaming services eliminated ownership and replaced it with rent-to-access subscriptions. There's no need to hit a store and purchase a physical carrier. The content delivers to wherever you want. It's simply volatile content until you make a payment, download the music file and store it on your own hard drive.

In that cloud-based musical arena of 24/7 access to millions of music tracks, Tidal and Qobuz offer their content in a variety of data densities, from compressed lossy MP3 up to high-resolution .flac files. Each format appeals to its own customer base with pricing policies to match. For ca. €20-25/month as the average price of just one CD, music lovers now get to raid the virtual warehouses of their subscription providers from afar. Spotify even have a free tier.

Where MP3 is suitable for lightweight listening on mobile devices and for much of modern music, more demanding customers with one or more subscriptions to the higher-tier services crave matching playback hardware. Enter the DS-10 four-in-one. Gold Note asked what finish we wanted. We opted for the tasty gold which matches previously reviewed gear like their PH-10 phono stage with companion PSU-10 external power supply.