Angel: The P1 is a DAC/pre with network functionality.
Devil: No, it's a network player.
Angel: Surely that's the same thing just satanically said backwards?
Devil: Go ahead. Connect your CD/SACD or SD card or iMac USB transport.

A few minutes pass.

Angel: All I get is 'Network Error'.
Devil: Told you. No network, no joy.
Angel: But I'm not running any data over the network. Why should I need to get my router involved?
Devil: It's the 21st century, bubba. With my cronies, Big Brother and I are winning the surveillance war on earth. Perhaps go back to plunking your celestial harps and consider yourself beat?

I did. Upstairs I couldn't use P1 with my SD card transport without running a mega-long network cable down the stairs to my office router on the opposite side of the house; or superimposing UHF data on our AC wiring. Not. As an angel, I was dumbfounded. Then the company's Li On confirmed my dumbness. A network player can't work without a network connection. At least theirs can't; yet. As to why, "I think there's no actual technical limitation for the forced LAN connection, only that our R&D is based around our proprietary streaming system. Maybe later we can remove that limitation with a firmware update?" For now I had to rewire my review process. I had to retrieve a TP Link network bridge plus extra CAT6 from the utility closet and focus on the downstairs system whose music iMac was already hardwired to the router. I'd run that leg into the bridge, then two short links out into the iMac and Lumin. If I couldn't find that small hardware after our last move, a trip to the local computer emporium would sort me out quick and cheap.

21st century. I'd remember that. And didn't devils have all the fun? "Hope you enjoy your time with Lumin P1, Srajan!" I'd found that card signed Alex Simon (head of design at Pixel Magic) inside the inner carton. I was intent to do just that. Reader Karunesh had his own take. "It reminds me of how tightly Apple control their infrastructure to enforce very particular customer behavior and guarantee the full user experience they want us to have. Perhaps Lumin's current app is so slick that they don't want us to go without and have a lesser experience?" That might hit this nail on its head. When I couldn't find the network bridge, I bought another 15m run of CAT7 cable from a local supplier.

The moment P1 saw our router through that, it played a Tidal track I'd not selected. In fact my work PC hadn't even launched Tidal. Once I booted up the music iMac to select P1 as UPnP destination in Audirvana, I played locally hosted files through two legs of generic CAT7/8 wiring so a total of 30m plus a high-speed router from our local IT provider in-between. Strangely enough, P1 displayed my .aiff files as .wav. I couldn't figure out how to change DAC inputs, only set volume. For now I couldn't bypass the router detour for music data. I couldn't play straight through our usual USB bridge's AES/EBU output into P1. Of course Lumin's target audience expects a tablet remote. They won't try to use P1 as a DAC/pre with bypassed network functionality. They won't find the enforced network connection strange. It's relevant only to the (very?) rare type listener who shuns WiFi, who doesn't stream off the cloud for serious listening—only on a work PC to discover new music to buy—and who plays only locally hosted/owned music. That gave the devils their due.

Infrared eye powers from a USB port. Meta data show when music not just control code runs over the network.

But riddle me this for our feathered friends in heaven. Why include an IR remote and analog input if being online is still compulsory? It sends a wrong message to retro-tech users like myself who assume they're catered to without router rigmarole because of the IR remote, analog inputs plus legacy digital S/PDIF and Toslink inputs. Then it takes no cynicism to think that over the network, Lumin practice surveillance of end user behavior. That violates folks who don't want their musical habits data mined; who don't want to rely on perhaps rural broadband access being operational just to listen to a vinyl record, CD, SD card or USB storage file. When the network goes down, it's network error. For a nearly €10K product also promoted as a DAC/preamp, I found that peculiar. So much for my after-the-fact angelic oppo research. Now it's time to bite the forced network bullet, go sonic and hopefully make up for it all; especially when P1's display said please play some music. Being asked so nicely, how could I not?