Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: PS Audio PWT; Dr. Feickert Blackbird MKII/DFA 1o5/Zu DL-103; Phasure XX-PC;
DAC: Phasure NOS1 DAC; PS Audio Direct Stream DAC [loaner]; Pink Faun DAC 2.32 [in for review]
Streaming sources: XXHighEnd; iTunes; Devialet AIR; La Rosita Beta; Qobuz Desktop,; Pink Faun AV Streamer [in for review];
Preamp/integrated/power: Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); dual Devialet D-Premier; Hypex Ncore 1200 based monoblocks; Trafomatic Kaivalya; Trafomatic Reference One; Trafomatic Reference Phono One; Music First Passive Magnetic; PTP Audio Blok20
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Arcadian Audio Pnoe; Podium Sound One; WLM Sub 12; Sounddeco Alpha F3; dual Zu Submission MKI; Soltanus Virtuoso ESL
Cables: complete loom of ASI LiveLine cables; full loom of Crystal Cable cables; full loom of Nanotec Golden Strada; Audiomica Pearl Consequence interconnect; Audiomica Pebble Consequence; full loom of Oyaide Tunami cables [in for review]
Power line conditioning: PS Audio Powerplant Premier; PS Audio Humbuster III; IsoTek Evo 3 Syncro; AudioMica Allbit Consequence
Equipment racks: Solid Tech and ASI amplifier and TT shelf
Indispensable accessories: Furutech DeMag; ClearAudio Double Matrix; Franc Audio Ceramic Disc Classic; Shakti Stones; Akiko Audio sticks; Kemp polarity checker
Online Music purveyors:, Tidal,,  
Room treatment: Acoustic System International resonators, sugar cubes, diffusers
Room size: ca. 14.50 x 7.50m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls, wooden flooring upstairs, ca 7 x 5m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls and concrete floor downstairs.
Price of review item:   AV Streamer €3’990, DAC 2.32 €3’890, extra DAC 2.32 power supply €1’890. Bridge PC extension board starts at €275, HDMI cable IL-1 I2S €795

Even for a hifi company, Pink Faun seems like a rather odd name. But, it’s definitely hard to forget. Which must be the point. One of us here used to work for an IT enterprise called Pink Elephant. That name not only stood out in the high-tech environment, it worked like a sobriquet and helped open doors to many customers. In the end of course, a name is just a name. Whatever stands behind it should do the real work. In the Elephant’s arena, it had been services. For Pink Faun, it is audio equipment. Based in central Holland, Pink Faun make their headquarters in an area which for Dutch flat-lined sensibilities is thought rather hilly and thus imbued with pretty steep descents on the road. These HQ are shared with the Triple M Audio Shop. Our three Dutch M&Ms stand for music, mind and emotion. Upon entering the premises, it is clear how the people behind both companies must think differently from your standard audio merchants. Right behind the front door sits a combined desk/workbench cluster. One of the seats is the niche of founder and Pink Faun designer Mattijs de Vries. Another seat is for the commercial man, Jord Groen. A third is for Clemens Huijding. Clemens is not only the co-owner but in charge also of designing their cables and loudspeakers.  

Mattijs goes a long way back in the annals of hifi history and is internationally known for his love of tubes. His previous company MachMat got absorbed in the current setup. Physical proof for all that history comes from their storage room. Neatly organized, here live over 50’000 tubes, making Triple M into one of the largest tube suppliers in Europe for new, NOS and used tubes. Of course all bottles are tested before they go on sale and a variety of tube testers are on hand. Where Mattijs designs all Pink Faun equipment, a special team in a separate room build it all piece by piece and by hand. And when we say equipment, we mean everything needed in an audio system: cables, speakers and electronics. It’s a one-stop shop. To support vertical integration for production and their repair department, they have a huge warehouse with a reportedly 5'000'000 parts. Two listening rooms complete a building where all available space is occupied by shelves stocked with sales items from Pink Faun and other manufacturers. That the company is successful even in these latter days is shown by the number of employees. There are at least 10 men and women on staff and their figure is growing. Triple M have a second show room in the North East of Belgium to accommodate Belgian and Luxembourgeois audio lovers. There are even plans to open something in Poland as well. What that will be, exactly, remains to be announced.

Another expansion that's matured already is a cooperation with Dutch pianist Jan Vayne. Vayne does not merely play the piano and church organ, he also designs audio applications for churches, schools, hospitals and more. These electronics and cables are OEM’d by Pink Faun and branded Vayneaudio. One of the more compelling applications is a combination of Hauptwerk virtual pipe organ software and a full set of Pink Faun-based amplification and speakers. But there’s more still. A virtual pipe organ is a software program which interfaces samples of recorded actual pipe organs from around the world to contain their authentic venue sound. That software runs on a computer whose output hits a DAC before it gets amplified. Computers are notoriously poor audio environments. There is high RF/EMI, the power supplies are unstable, interfaces dubious. In short, not the best combination to bring a virtual pipe organ to life.

The associated challenges coincided nicely with Pink Faun's R&D to have Mattijs design an I²S interface for a personal computer. This bridge as Mattijs calls it is a plug-in board built around the CMedia CM8888 multi-channel audio processor. This chip set is often seen in gaming computers but Mattijs learnt that with the right peripherals, it is very capable of outputting a high-quality music signal. So he feeds it from a separate power supply that is heavily stabilized. Another separate power supply is dedicated to a TXCO precision clock. These power supplies get their power not from the motherboard but from a separate feed off the main supply. Power coming from the PCI interface of the motherboard passes a set of filtering capacitors but is otherwise left unused to further stabilize the computer board’s local power supply.

The basic idea behind the bridge was to skip as many signal conversion stages as possible, hence the decision to use the I²S interface. A DAC chip’s input must be I²S compliant. With an S/PDIF or USB source, the signal must first be converted by the digital receiver chip. Skipping this conversion step renders the signal less prone to distortion and eliminates one source of jitter. To pipe the I²S signal from bridge to DAC, Mattijs chose HDMI. This format supports 19 conductors and the advised maximum length for an HDMI cable is 5 meters. Before the signal is spit out via the HDMI port, it gets buffered for even more stability. Depending on a customer’s needs, the Pink Faun bridge can be configured for 2-channel or multi-channel use. The CM8888 chip supports up to 14 outgoing channels of which the AV Streamer uses 8 to accommodate 7.1 by means of a special firmware version. Though the streamer is designed for audio and video, we only assessed the audio and more specifically the 2-channel capabilities (Mattijs uses his streamer at home with a Barco F35 projector).