I learnt that the moment the 2.16 ultra comes on line, its operating system on the stock 1TB SSD copies itself to a partition of the 32GB RAM. It's why Jord recommends parking music files on the extra SSD so separate from the OS root drive. I learnt that the 24 cores of his processor dedicate to very specific tasks. That keeps thread activity in each to the barest minimum. Unlike Roon which constantly scans music in the background—easily confirmed by switching from Euphony to Roon whilst observing the CPU utilization window—Euphony knows where all the latest music-file additions sit once we execute the 'update library' command. This eliminates all background chatter threads during playback. Listening to a track, album or playlist loads them into the RAM's second partition. Once buffering is complete, a popup tells you how much RAM remains. The oven-controlled crystal oscillators take 48 hours to reach thermal equilibrium. After that they're constant. They only go off-line if one pulls the plug. Otherwise the small EU-stipulated standby voltage when the frontal switch goes faint purple keeps the clocks heated while the rest of the hardware falls asleep. The machine is built for 24/7 action so Jord never puts his personal unit in standby. It stays a barely visible white all the time. He dimmed his back lighting this much because prior brighter versions had his clients complain about retina burn in the dark.

Mouse over for loupe function.

If you're familiar with iTunes as the pater familias of music library GUIs, you'll be right at home with Euphony. It contains all the same functions and commands. One simply must learn where some of them hide by left/right-click mouse command or beneath a small icon. Qobuz and Tidal access from within Euphony via personal credentials, YouTube integration is purely for audio not video. Album covers display in one of four sizes. There are 11 different navigation parameters in ascending/descending order. Another window gives access to all meta data should one wish to edit them. When caching a new album or playlist, one can just add it to RAM or simultaneously delete a previously buffered cache. That minimizes RAM content. It's the nth variation on Jord's overriding design credo. The best sound comes from lightening all loads to the max. In human terms, it's the "don't think about it, just do it" approach. Mentalizing stalls, complexifies and delays. It muddles up doing which could be far more spontaneous, direct, powerful and situation-appropriate were it not censored, rehearsed and otherwise influenced by first thinking about it all. Typically thinking is just noise the same way electronic noise compromises the recorded signal which does the music.

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As dedicated playback software, the Euphony OS by HDinfo and their Stylus player customized under license for Pink Faun are one and the same. Updating the player when prompted by a popup can't ever cause incompatibility issues as may happen when Windows or Mac OS updates compromise player software like JRiver or Audirvana whose creators must quickly write fixes and you install their latest version. Jord already had the 4.0 Stylus beta of Euphony's next update. That will add a direct-access button to the main library window so one needn't navigate a few menu layers to switch outputs; a bit-perfect button to automatically configure all player settings accordingly; a cover-art sizer button so one needn't click on an empty field to access the function; and some other conveniences. I asked for an output meter option to show recorded dynamic range of any playing track. He promised to put it on the list for his next chat with the Audiokernel crew. The current remote button already gives Jord direct access to your 2.16 ultra without launching TeamViewer. In the log window you can write out whatever operational issue you wish him to check on or fix. Streaming for dummies, perfected. Now I set a 50-track playlist on random mode plus endless repeat then shut down the iMac to let this Faun pink out. The next morning I checked in over headphones. It still played. After very many years of PCfi, hearing streaming music without iMac was admittedly weird. Without it as my access point, I obviously had no control. To pause, change tracks or do anything else, I had to bite into the Apple again. That was easy as pie. Just launch Firefox and enter /pinkfaun.local. I was getting the hang of this. Definitely no hung jury on that score. The judge did note that the 2.16 ultra had a small mechanical buzz but it was too low in level to be heard from the seat. When I still had Jord on Zoom, I asked what his best-to-worst sequence of digital transmission protocols is: "I²S, AES/EBU, BNC, coax, USB". That mirrors my sentiments precisely. I also learnt that his I²S card for Cees Ruijtenberg's Pasithea DAC outputs at 3.3V so a bit lower than AES/EBU's 5V.

I dislike missing album covers. Those factored with folders of playlists and those containing multiple albums by the same artist. I used Jord's convenient image adder to upload covers I'd downloaded from Google then saved to the desktop. 600×600 pixels were a still allowed size. Et voilà, the beginnings of a small music library for reviewing. The next day I added more. For missing album art, Jord's 'from web' feature retrieved about 90%. For that I only had to rewrite meta data back to the originals like removing Ambient: from the name Al Gromer Khan. I've added meta data for genre, instrument or geography so albums in iTunes sequence in full library view exactly how I want them to. The rewrite now didn't permanently change the meta data associated with an album folder. It just allowed Euphony's search engine to retrieve the covers. Those it couldn't retrieve because the music was too obscure I added again manually.

Everything worked as advertised. The OCXO clocks were hitting their 48-hour stride. Critical listening, an oxymoron like having critical sex, would be next. So will be screen-adaptive mode whereby Euphony takes up your display monitor's full width. It's coming with Jord's next update. With a big monitor or even TV, that'll be impressive. In the current scheme, page view limits to 96 covers. Anything above that shows on a subsequent page and so forth. I'd like an option to put everything on one endlessly scrolling page so we needn't guess or remember which page contains a particular album. Already that changes as we store ever more music. As a devout iTunes user well past its official sell-by date—don't fix what ain't broke—I'm used to its navigation logic. One page that shows the entire library is a hard habit to shake. That too is in the new beta already. So is the ability to mark 'favorite' songs within an album folder so one recognizes them at a glance. When one has 5'000+ albums, that's a useful shortcut.