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Glen Wagenknecht
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: Audio Space CDP 8A CD Player
Luxman Brid CD Player modified by Audio Upgrades into a tube-less, zero oversampling machine with volume control
Preamplifier: Audio Space Reference 2S
Amplifier:Bel Canto 200.4
AV Receiver: Pioneer Elite SC-25
Main Speakers: Apogee Duetta Signature, Paradigm Servo 15 subwoofer
AudioSpace AS-3/5A
Stands: Charisma Audio Function Stands   Target Stands
AV Speakers: JohnBlue M3s
AV Subwoofer: Paradigm PW-2200
Desktop Audio Speakers: Swans M200 MkIII
Desktop DAC/Pre Headphone Amp: DA&T U-2
Cables: Audio Art SE cable loom, JPS Labs Ultraconductor 2 speaker cables, Signal Cable Silver Reference interconnects and speaker cables, digital optical and coax cable.
Resonance Control: Solid Tech, EquaRack Footers, Weizhi Precision Gold Glory footers, Boston Audio TuneBlock2 footers, Audio Exklusiv Silent Plugs, Audio Exklusiv d.C.d. Base and d.C.d. Footers, Superspikes, and Black Diamond
Powerline conditioning: Exact Power EP15A, Noise Destroyer power filtration
Accessories: TrueHarmonix Black Magic CD Mat   Herbie’s Super Black Hole CD Mat
Main Room size: 12' x 17'
Home Theatre: 10.5’ x 16.5’
Review components retail: $2.499 for 2TB server, $199  for I²S cable 0.5m

Wyred4Sound is no longer a newcomer to the audio biz. Their approach of extreme fidelity product minus the extreme price tag has been highly successful and garnered universal critical praise. Their amplifiers offer unheard of amounts of refined high-wattage Class D power. Their preamp merits comparison at the highest levels. Their integrateds approach the best attributes of their separates. Their two DACs have seen so much positive press that even the designers must be blushing. What next? For Wyred its evolution into a full product lineup required that one more frontier be conquered. A source.

In this day and age that’s a challenge. Do you pursue the CD market in its twilight years or the niche market of SACD? Wyred4Sound decided instead to take a daring leap into the future. They already had extensive experience modifying digital sources to add to their other electronic expertise and the time seemed ideal to try their hand at rethinking the music server: smaller, better, faster and more user friendly. Why a music server? Times have changed and so have the storage media. They have moved away from physical media on the consumer but less so entrenched audiophile front. For most of the modern world the 1998 introduction of Rio's MP3 player and its watershed court victory against the RIAA changed the course of audio history and the future of music storage as we currently know it. Portable music devices are now the norm and make no mistake, they are music servers. But if the success story of portable digital storage has been fundamentally a linear evolution of improved capacity and software, the journey of the audiophile home music server has been a frustrating one of alternate possibilities and multiple divergent futures with advantages and disadvantages and none with sufficient lightning-rod status to capture the collective attention of the audiophile community.

The basics have always been there as a hard drive feeding data to a DAC. What could be simpler? A standard home computer, NAS storage system or MAC Mini should be logical candidates and in fact variations on these solutions have proven viable for many. But while a computer can be made to act as an audio source, it was never specifically designed to do so. In the universe of computer technology, audio is a minor secondary consideration. That creates limitations which require additional hardware and software to remedy. A dedicated computer storage device that reverses those traditional priorities and puts audio first is still a rarity and the component approach has only attracted the attention of a handful of designers. Think Mr. Neal Van Berg of Sound Science Music Vault and Mr. Jesus R. of Sonore who has championed the VortexBox software, brainchild of one Andrew Gillis. The Wyred team now enters that small circle.

Wyred has chosen to pursue the route of creating a digital transport with internal ripping for legacy CD preservation. No DAC. Why a transport instead of a single-box player? DAC technology has catapulted into realms of performance that eclipse anything previous, making it the current digital superstar but also a moving target. By separating the two elements, the designer of the server can concentrate on the purity of incoming and outgoing digital signal and make the product considerably more future proof. This is also good news for those who already own a good DAC or want to keep their options open for next-gen components. There are other advantages. It allows smaller form without sacrificing capacity, plus the internal ripping capability supports the CD crowd who lose nothing in the changeover and gain organized storage. The network ability opens up the new vista of popular and audiophile-based file catalogues at all current resolution levels high and low.

These are strong technical merits but they have not cemented universal popularity for the concept up to now. So what has changed? A watershed mark. One single product has revolutionized the computer world in its short existence, the iPad. It has put a level of convenience and sophistication in the hands of consumers and allowed audio designers the advantage of painless integration at the download of an app. Wyred has recognized that fact and made their Music Server compatible with a number of different popular apps for tablets or smartphones. This choice gives the audiophile an elegant wireless remote with a slick current-generation visual interface and lets Wyred concentrate on the digits. Yes you do have to own one of these devices but their proliferation means that most of you already do. That newfound ease of integration has the potential to transform high audiophile concept into popular consumer product.

The Wyred4Sound Music Server comes in two models distinguished by 1TB/2/B storage and the I-squared-S bus on the latter. Both are extremely compact measuring 8"x 8"x 3.5" and weighing 6.5 pounds. These are attractive fanless boxes that shed their computer origins to adopt the look and feel of an audio component. Sculpted black side wings surround brushed metal to complement and extend the aesthetic of Wyred’s established product line, adding a little more curvature and dimension and contributing to a decidedly less utilitarian appearance.

The front panel is functionally Spartan featuring a subtle CD ripping slot and a power on/off switch whose ring glows green in standby and blue when fully on. The Wyred is designed to be kept in standby when not in use to maximize hard drive life. A tiny hole marked eject is located above the CD ripper and provided as a failsafe eject feature. The rear panel is where the action lies. Wyred has chosen to incorporate internal solutions for its output connectivity via a custom interface making  available options unusually generous. It has coax and optical outs as well as USB 2 i/o ports (although USB output to DAC is limited to Linux compatibility). There is a LAN input to facilitate network communication and two 12V power inputs for which Wyred supplies the high current supply cable and adaptor. The VGA and DVI-D video outputs as well as the line outputs are holdovers from the original motherboard and not employed here. The 2TB version adds an I²S output identical to PS Audio’s HDMI-repurposed approach which Wyred claims to be jitter free. This is not a video output and cannot be used as such.