Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 3.01, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, COS Engineering D1 & H1, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi Formula, Fore Audio DAISy 1
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Wyred4Sound STP-SE MkII, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVC module), COS Engineering D1
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F5, F6, F7; Bakoon AMP-12R; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics One SE Up NC500MB monos; LinnenberG Audio Allegro monos
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed 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 components, Titan Audio Eros cords between wall and conditioners and on the amps
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands [on loan]
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 components retail in Europe: €7'450 w. 1TB SSD

Exodus. In Pharaonic Egypt, it happened to the Israelites under Moses. In 1947, it happened to Hindus and Muslims under the Mountbatten plan. The India/Pakistan partition displaced some 14'000'000 people. Today deals with a far more benign migration: that of files onto at least 1TB of solid-state storage built into the xo|one from Germany's X-odos brand. It's navigatable only with its proprietary iPad/iPhone app. It's fitted with the bare minimum of purist socketry. It lacks an internal DAC to require offboard conversion via AES/EBU, USB, coaxial S/PDIF or RJ45. It's available with up to 4TB of SSD music storage. Its OS lives on a separate hard disk. It packs a Teac or Panasonic drive for CD ripping. So category identification as 14kg worth of passively cooled 24-bit/192kHz ready server is dead obvious. And yes, CDs can be ripped offline but they'll store as "unknown album". Ripping in networked mode instead accesses the FreeDB and MusicBrainz data bases to add metadata and cover art where available. Then only the black, silver or "Accuphase" champagne finish is the question; and whether to spend €7'450 on 1TB or €2'000 more on 4TB of storage without moving parts.

Enter an early software programmer who during his student days moonlighted as IT administrator for his high school. Later he pursued formal microsystem tech. X-odos main man Christof Poschadel's goal for the xo|one was intuitive operation and perfectionist performance. The prototype for the commercial version was a DIY machine he built for himself at university. Growing interest from audio friends led to 2014's formation of X-odos. To keep it stupid simple, the deck's front merely kisses a power switch, back-lit 'X' and ripper slot. A Benutzerhandbuch gives further instructions. Here one expects an eventual English owner's manual. Should a client still have issues thereafter, Poschadel and the other two folks on the team offer bespoke remote support. That's their οδός - Greek for way. The additional 'X' simply marks the spot whence this journey starts. Check your map for Freiburg im Breisgau.

Behind Christof is a prototype Audio Physic CD ripper which their Manfred Diestertich demonstrated quite gleefully during Munich HighEnd 2017.

Given how all your local music will store here because the xo|one is really a computerized digital transport, access and navigation via its graphic user interface become part and parcel of the overall performance. For servers, convenience isn't a dirty word. It's job #1. Given Christof's coder background, one expects a fast glitch-free operating system behind an informative interface with numerous search parameters. Perennial server malcontents like moi who already is on his third iMac not boutique server add superior sonics to their wish list. After all, digital transports can make a difference. As always in this category, my question was how much. With the X-odos, one uses a Wifi tablet with rather smaller screen yet pays significantly more than our 3TB FusionDrive fully loaded 27" iMac with Retina display where PureMusic spins down the drive. For those commitments, I'd want demonstrably superior sonics. Of course many listeners do not tolerate so obvious a computer in their hifi den as a big iMac with keyboard and mouse. They want a disguised version operated from their iPhone. Voilà, the audiophile server. It looks like a regular component. It doesn't keep changing its operating system. It suffers no background computing threads unrelated to audio. It doesn't get viruses. It doesn't get hacked or crash. Even your granny could work it. It's set'n'forget. At least those are the breed's usual promises.