The tracks "Happy Face" and "Una Rosa Blanco" offer the stomping rhythms so characteristic of Maalouf's musical foundation. The love for his daughter Lily, the subject of his 2011 "Will be a Woman Soon" number, was touching in its simplicity. Over the DS-10, we found the sound quite rich in tonality. His special trumpet with extra fourth valve allows him to easily shift between the intervals of Western and Arabic scales. Here we would have liked to access AKM's digital filter settings, especially minimum and linear phase. We are perhaps spoiled for choice with our Sound Galleries SGM and Mytek Brooklyn Bridge.

In our assessment of the Italian 4-in-1, we did not use its headphone option as we are not into that sort of listening.

We prefer open room sound. In combination with the DS-10, we also used our Music First Passive Magnetic preamplifier. That put the Italian in pure DAC mode to bypass its own attenuator. Here we used our Ncore 1200-based mono amps. An alternate test ran the DS-10's built-in attenuator directly into those. Yet another setup had our 6wpc Audio Note Meishu valve machine in either integrated mode or with its own active linestage bypassed. Loudspeakers of choice were our Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega with additional BAT super tweeters.

Living with the DS-10 while commanding our musical appetites via MConnect was easy, convenient and straightforward. One night we found ourselves playing just Americana, a genre we hardly touch but which now had us stumble upon Dutch artist Danny Vera and his remarkable Pressure Makes Diamonds 1 & 2 album.

This is pure feel-good swing and a good start for further adventures into the genre. We played some of it wireless and some wired and couldn't tell the difference. It's when we introduced the Pink Faun LAN Isolator to the wired connection that we preferred it due to the increased focal depth and airiness.

As Gold Note point out in their documentation, one of the 4-in-1 functions is preamplitude. This works into headfi and speaker amps. Being analog, the preamp has no negative influence on sound quality even under steep attenuation unlike digital which then bit strips. In the DS-10, the volume taper and channel tracking proved such that even very powerful amplifiers like our class D monos could be finely controlled without fear of speaker damage or loss of sound quality at low levels.