Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref as USB bridge/SD transport
Preamplifier: Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, COS Engineering D1, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar [on loan]; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V, VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL 3000; Zu Event; KingRex uArt double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: Vita $1'599 – $2'999 depending on storage capacity; Pulse $999; Wave $1'499
Going native. It's a theme explored in sundry Westerns. White settlers are abducted by Indians. They subsequently embrace the tribal tongue, dress, customs and culture so completely that later opportunities to rejoin the white man's world are refused. Now going native is short-hand for an incapacity or unwillingness to return to one's prior circumstance. American soldiers defying Army regs to marry Vietnamese or Japanese women; mutiny-on-the-Bounty types settling in Fiji; Gauguin in Tahiti… going native has always meant immersion in a new way of life. It meant reinventing oneself from the ground up to really change.
I first heard of Chinese firm Nativ in 2016. At the time their now CEO Michael Li was poised for corporate takeoff with a crowd-funding campaign which funded with 315% beyond its ask on June 7th, 2016, having raised $352'846. I expressed interest but our policies demanded that they be in formal production already. Next I heard of Nativ was when Kamal Bekkari of Crux Audio (US distributor for SOtM) had picked them up.
Was I interested in a writeup?
With its shrunken Sooloos form factor and 11.6" tablet-style touch display, up to 4TB of SSD storage and open platform, it had loudly rung my bells a year ago. It's a very different proposition to SOtM's sMS-200ultra. The SOtm should appeal primarily to network-savvy computer types.
Nativ's Vita player, Wave DAC, Pulse linear power supply and Disc CD ripper pursue those who instead of mostly streaming Tidal, Spotify & Co. still prefer to own music as locally hosted files; who might have large CD collections to still rip, tag and import. These folks want streamlined integration, not muck about with plugins and root directories.
Going nativ means leaving that world behind.
Their world is more for Bang & Olufsen types who want turn-key ease of use, lifestyle design and advanced tech in a minimalist package.
Hence Nativ's Vita, Wave, Pulse and Disc may be displayed in Walnut or Oak desk stands, stacked in a combo stand or hung on the wall.
They've been fully optimized to work as a team right out of the box.
Thus the external power supply runs both the player and DAC/headfi amp. The USB-powered CD ripper will automatically tag, import and artwork your discs as .wav, .flac or MP3/320mbps.A future firmware update will even include CD playback.
Backup to external discs and syncing your library are one-click commands.
MinimServer will stream an iTunes library from Mac to Vita. With Roon installed on the Vita, a smartphone or tablet becomes its Roon remote.
For those allergic to WiFi, there's the included IR remote.
For embedded album art to show, it must be a jpg file no bigger than 15MB. 700x700px sizing is ideal for Vita's 630×630 play-screen mode as shown above.
UPnP software with indexing/search may be from Twonky, Minim, Logitech, TVersity or Windows Media Center. With Vita's SMB Caching, newly added music gets auto indexed by time stamping recent additions. This avoids having to rescan an entire library. And the open-source platform means that developers can contribute new apps and functionality indefinitely.
Network connectivity is either wired Gigabit or dual-band 802.11ac wireless. There's Bluetooth aptX, Apple Airplay, Spotify Connect and Google Cast. For more wired inputs, there's coaxial S/PDIF and one pair of analog RCA inputs. Digital outputs are as shown.
Because the companion DAC's engine are two TI/Burr-Brown DSD1792A, a user may run PCM as PCM or resample PCM–>DSD256 via Sharc DSP on the fly.
The fully balanced volume control is analog. Both standard and upgraded power supplies support 100-250V for global compatibility. Included power cords feature the correct plugs for a customer's country.
For metadata, the Vita supports Unicode to correctly display all languages including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Greek and Cyrillic characters. Under display settings are options for auto brightness, manual brightness, a display sleep timer and a motion sensor which turns on the display upon approach.
To conveniently enlarge the display, Vita can output to a tell-a-vision via HDMI or Google Cast wireless. Now one may browse the onboard music library on a big screen's automatically mirrored display or watch YouTube videos.
A virtual keyboard facilitates basic and advanced search parameters including by file type [OGG, AAC, MP3, ALAC, AIFF, FLAC, WAV, DXD, DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, MQA], sample rate, bit depth, song, artist, album, genre, composer, conductor, orchestra, performer, instrument and publisher/label.
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