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Krakow Sonic Society | meeting #128


Streamer/network Player

Manufacturer: AYON AUDIO
Cena: 22 900 - 34 390 PLN


Provided for test by: NAUTILUS Dystrybucja


Images: KTS

Meeting #128

December 1, 2020

KRAKOW SONIC SOCIETY is an informal group of audiophiles and friends who meet every now and then to learn something new about audio products, music releases, music itself, and so on. The idea for KSS was born in 2005. It has already been the 128. KSS meeting.

HE ENTERTEINMENT INDUSTRY IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC found new spaces on the Internet. It is impossible to replace a direct contact between an artist and a viewer and the viewer with an artist, it is not possible to transfer the concert to the Internet in 100%, but in front of our eyes new channels of communication between the creators and the audience are being created, which will probably remain active also after we manage to get back to normal. It maybe new, maybe different, but still - normal.

However, it is not possible, at least for now, to covert the Krakow Sonic Society meetings to virtual ones. Its "to be or not to be" is a MEETING. You can, of course, try to work around it, as we did in MEETING #127, when the members of the KTS told about their newest passions and "findings", or in a MEETING #126 |PL|, during which we checked out the new active Ancient Audio loudspeakers, listening to them on our own separately in our systems. But let's be honest: these are half measures.

That's why we decided to take a radical and bold step, that is, a real face-to-face meeting. However, in order to reduce the risk to a minimum, we divided them between two "locations", based on the submissions of people willing to do this attempt - the meetings took place at TOMEK FOLTA's and at truly yours. This way we reduced the number of participants to a minimum, and at the same time took all precautions, including washing hands, wearing masks and gloves.


This time we wanted to take a closer look at the new version of the Ayon Audio streamer, the S-10 II. The device is a modular design, and in the highest version it is factory-equipped with a SSD drive with a capacity of 1 TB and JRiver BlackBox Server software. The choice of this application, as it reads in the company materials, was determined by the positive results of tests and listening tests conducted by Ayon's designers, headed by Gerhard Hirt.

⸤ Ayon Audio S-10 II with the CD-T transport on top of it

They were to show that JRiver is unrivaled in the case of music encoded in hi-res formats, which is especially noticeable in the form of aspects related to the spatial presentation of recordings. This disk uses an additional self-contained module supported by the new platform implemented in the Mk II version. The device control (application) is also new, the tube output circuits have been improved and the "heart" of the device, ie the PCM-DSD converter (DSD256), has been modified.

Spotkanie #1: AT TOMEK’S | The meeting at Tomek's place consisted of comparing the files played from the Ayon player to LPs played from the TRANSROTOR ALTO TMD turntable, CDs played from the AYON AUDIO CD-T CD transport and files played from the AURENDER X100L files transport; both transports were digitally connected to a digital-to-analog converter and preamplifier in one, the AYON AUDIO STRATOS:

• Ayon Audio S-10 II: 22 900 - 34 390 PLN,

• Aurender X100L: 17 000 PLN + Ayon STRATOS DAC SPECIAL: 42 900 PLN
Komplet: 59 900 PLN,
• Transrotor ALTO TMD: 37 900 PLN + ZYX ULTIMATE 100 cartridge: 5990 + Phasemation EA-350 phonostage: 16 900 PLN
The whole set in total: 60 790 PLN,

Spotkanie #2: AT WOJTEK’S | In turn, the meeting at my place consisted of comparing the Ayon player to CDs and SACDs played using the AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF EDITION and files played from the MYTEK BROOKLYN BRIDGE. Tomek's files were played from NUC, and in my system, they were played from a Synology NAS and also from a pendrive:

• Ayon Audio S-10 II: 22 900 - 34 390 PLN,

• Ayon Audio CD-35 HF EDITION: 90 000 PLN,
• Mytek BROOKLYN BRIDGE: 11 900 PLN.

| Meeting #1: AT TOMEK’S


1⸣ DAFT PUNK Random Access Memories

LP | American release 180 g, Columbia 88883716861
CD | Japanese release, Sony Records Int'l ‎SICP 3817
PLIK | FLAC 24 bits, 88,2 kHz

2⸣ DIRE STRAITS ‎Dire Straits

LP | re-issue on 180g 45RPM Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL 2-466
LP | second release UK Vertigo 9102 021
CD | Japanese release Platinum SHM-CD Vertigo/Universal Music Japan UICY-40008
PLIK | rip from Platinum SHM-CD on Aurender
PLIK | FLAC 24 bits, 88,2 kHz on Ayon S-10 II

LP | 180 g Whirlwind Recordings WR4747LP
CD | WMQ Records ‎5903111494322, Agora Muzyka 5903111494322
PLIK | WAV 16 bits, 44,1 kHz

LP | Gondwana Records ‎GONDLP037, 2 x 180 g
PLIK | Gondwana Records, WAV 24 bits, 96 kHz

TOMEK FOLTA ⸜ THE DEVICE WHICH SI THE REASON WE MEET TODAY is the Ayon Audio S-10 II player, which is also a server, preamplifier and DAC. The device is modular, so you can choose which functions you actually need at the moment. We are listening to the SIGNATURE version, it is to the top configuration. Such a modular design is a nice idea because you don't have to spend money on something you don't need.

It just so happens that this is the second unit of this device that I have at home. The problem was Ayon’s configuration at my place. We managed to get it up and running pretty quick, but after a day and a half, sitting where Rysiek is sitting now, i.e. in the middle, I found out that the whole stage was shifted to the right. One of the output tubes turned out to be malfunctioning.

We replaced it with a new one and in an exactly the same network environment configuration problems started. First, it didn't want to "find" itself in this network environment, and when it finally did, after a while I couldn’t "see" it in the Ayon app. Finally, everything was sorted out, but my conclusion is that it is not a user-friendly device. This is a problem of file players in general, especially from specialized, small companies.

1⸣ DAFT PUNK Random Access Memories

JULEK SOJA ⸜ Let me put it this way - I believe that the sound played from a file played using the S-10 II offered lowest quality. I can't hear the depth of the stage in it. I have doubts about the treble and bass, but in my opinion this is a problem of the DSD conversion. The number one sound in this comparison was for me the Aurender with the Ayon Stratos converter/preamplifier, followed closely by the vinyl. The CD was in the middle.

RYSIEK B. ⸜ At first I thought that the sound would be difficult to analyze with this album. The S-10 II player surprised me with its dynamics, energy and a kind of "efficiency" in playing, as if it was predisposed to this type of music. As I listened, my mind changed and I can finally say that the Aurender calmed down the sound and smoothed the edges of the sound spectrum. With CD and vinyl it was even a step better. With the LP, there is a climate, holography and warmth. Although it's not my music, I liked this version the most.

As for the PCM-DSD conversion - Tomek and I nodded, because after converting files to DSD the tonal scale improved, the differentiation of sounds improved, the music came to life and became more spacious - so it seems I don’t agree with Julek.

TOMEK FOLTA ⸜ I think that this device is still not broken-in enough and that after 100 hours of continues playing it would show us much more. As for me, there were no major differences in sound between Ayon players and the Aurender with the Ayon DAC. The accents were placed a bit differently, the Ayon in terms of the treble was much better, but in general - it sounded similar. I was surprised that the CD somehow didn't outperform the files. It was a little better, but not by much.

The winner for me is vinyl. I liked the ease with which it played such densely produced music as well as its calmness - I didn’t want it to stop playing. After returning to the Ayon S-10 II and playing with upsampling, each time it turned out that switching from PCM to DSD did the sound "good". I know what Julian meant, but in this type of music "pumping up" and relaxing is a good direction.

2⸣ DIRE STRAITS ‎Dire Straits

TOMEK FOLTA ⸜ I can see we agree - in our opinion, the vinyl from Mobile Fidelity, on two 180 g 45 rpm discs, blew the competition away. It offered a beautiful space, drive, rhythm - it was unbeatable. Now I also understood what Julian had said earlier - the Aurender with the Stratos offered a better depth than the Ayon S-10 II. The CD sounded a little better, but it was not a big change.

RYSIEK B. ⸜ I, as opposed to Tomek, liked the Ayon S-10 II from the beginning, which sounded surprisingly well. It played with a clean, transparent sound, dynamically diversified. This feature from the previous session occurred again, i.e. the lack of stage depth. You can hear everything, a lot and clean, but the music doesn't go deep. So the rating is high, but with a downside.

Aurender sounded grossly worse for me this time. The sound became one-dimensional, dull, lethargic and dispassionate, I would not like to listen to it at home. The SHM-CD Platinum brought the depth of space, but the overall sound was similar to Ayon. There was no big transition between the CD and the files played with the S-10 II. Well, as Tomek said, sound of the Mobile Fidelity remaster was a class of its own - I was speechless. It was probably the best sound I heard at Tomek’s.

JULEK SOJA ⸜ There is no doubt that vinyl sounded best. I have four versions of this album, but I can see I have to buy the latest one as well. This time the Ayon S-10 II sounded much better than in the previous listening session. Dynamics, clarity etc. - all very good. Still a shallow scene, but we've already talked about that. The Aurender sounded worse because it played a worse file. But I still think it's a good device. This time, switching from PCM to DSD made a smaller difference.


RYSIEK B. ⸜ Ayon is a device that consistently surprises me with the purity of the sound, the tonal spectrum - thanks to it, you can hear everything in the recording. It also has limitations, mainly no stage depth. It is a strong, large, pleasant sound. The Aurender lost in terms of the tonal scale in this comparison, kept the space shallow, so the S-10 II sounded much better in this comparison.

Interestingly, switching to the Compact Disc was a step down - we lost dynamics, emotions, there was no color. However, we gained in terms of space and the feeling of being present in the studio. The CD's advantages were complemented by what vinyl offered - vividness, musicality, calmness and friendliness.

JULEK SOJA ⸜ I agree that the S-10 II delivered the most dynamic, fastest, most punctual sound this time. This time I liked Aurender less. It was slower, less dynamic, less colorful. For the first time I heard a clear advantage on the CD side - the sound was denser. Well, and the vinyl was the best.

TOMEK FOLTA ⸜ I will say one thing in the counter, but first: the Ayon sounded better than the Aurender. I was surprised - and here comes the counter - how close these files are to the CD, how little difference there is between them. The vinyl sounded the best, but I expected something more, this album disappointed me a bit. I am unsatisfied that it did not sound as good as Dire Straits. In this case, converting to DSD bothered me, not helped.


TOMEK FOLTA ⸜ I will start because I have a head full of thoughts ... I really wanted the turntable not to win this evening at least once, but it did - in this case the turntable sounded much better than the file players. This pressing of the album is brilliant, with low noise, without glitches, and it sounded brilliant. Even though the disc was cut from the same WAV files that we listened to later.

In the digital version, the vocals were shown in a much worse way. The Aurender sounded darker and with cooler bass and a slightly better stage, but still I liked most aspects of the sound better with the Ayon. It's best if you combine them into one ...

RYSIEK B. ⸜ My opinion persists - the Ayon sounds very attractive, clean, with a large range of colors, it is simply impressive. In terms of details and when compared to vinyl, you can see more with it. The Aurender offers more “direct” sound, which we don't normally experience. It lacks an aura. But vinyl outperforms everything anyway…

JULEK SOJA ⸜ This time I don’t agree - I do not like this vinyl. In my opinion, this is not a good master, too "analog", too little treble, which makes it sound dull. Of the three sources, the Aurender was the only one to clearly build a vertical plane. Although the Ayon S-10 II sounded very well without conversion to DSD on. It is an impressive performance.

| Meeting #2: U WOJTKA



⸤ LEONARD COHEN Popular Problems
CD | Sony Music Labels SICP-4329
PLIK | FLAC 24 bity, 96 kHz

CD | ACT Music ACT 9458-2
PLIK | ACT Music, FLAC 24 bity, 88,2 kHz

⸤ DIANA KRALL Wallflower
SHM-CD | Verve/Universal Music LLC UCCV-9577
PLIK | Verve, FLAC 24 bity, 48 kHz

⸤ PINK FLOYD The Division Bell 20th. Anniversary De Luxe Box
CD | Parlophone 0825646293261
PLIK | Parlophone, FLAC 24 bity, 96 kHz

⸤ LED ZEPPELIN Led Zeppelin (I)
CD | Atlantic | Warner Music 8122796439
PLIK | Atlantic | Warner Music, FLAC 24 bity, 96 kHz


⸤ DEAD CAN DANCE Spiritchaser
SACD | 4AD/Beggars Japan WPCB-10078, „Audiophile Edition”
PLIK | rip z SACD, DSD64

CD | 2xHD 2HDFT-C1143/1167
PLIK | 2xHD, DSD512

⸤ DIRE STRAITS Brothers in Arms
SACD | Vertigo/Mobile Fidelity Labs UDSACD 2099
PLIK | rip z SACD

| PCM files vs Compact Disc

MARCIN ⸜ My first conclusion is that this comparison is not entirely correct - we are comparing the files player with the CD player, and we are not sure if it is the same material, whether there was any modification along the way, whether it was not copied between servers, etc. A my doubts are related to the fact that in each case the CD-35 HF Edition player sounded better. I know, of course, that it costs almost three times more than the S-10 II, but still...

With the CD, there was a much higher resolution, more details, better dynamics, space - and so in every track. However, in individual pieces these elements were placed differently, not all of these differences were distributed the same. The file player sounded very nice, really, but in direct comparison with the CD it sounded inferior. I suspect that it may also be the fault of the file and it is not so that it doesn't matter how the file got to us. Someone is watching over the CD production - making sure that it sounds one way not the other, there is just a full control over the product. And with files it is completely different.

WOJTEK PACUŁA ⸜ Did you like any of the files?

MARCIN ⸜ Maybe I didn’t make myself clear - I liked the files, it wasn't that the S-10 II sounded bad. Maybe only Diana Krall sounded a bit bland, but already Led Zeppelin sounded really nice from the files. Nevertheless, the CD versions sounded better every time - once it was 10%, in another case it was 15%, but always better. I don't want to say there was a huge gap between them, but it was like that every time.

WOJTEK PACUŁA ⸜ It’s true, the problem with files is their "anonymity". But that's the situation a file player user finds himself in - he doesn't know what file it really is, where it came from, who prepared it and so on. So he is in the same situation as we are - we reach for the available files and listen to them.

MARCIN ⸜ Exactly - it's not that every file, even in the same resolution and format, sounds the same. And that's the problem of all audio files buyers. When we buy a CD in a store and it sounds bad, it's almost certainly a production problem or the batch is badly made - but then you can buy a good one. And with the file - you never know.

BARTOSZ ⸜ I understand Marcin's objections, but it was possible to show common qualities for each file played using the player. Every time, apart from Krall and Rani, we played a CD and that sounded cool. Then we played the files and I had the feeling that there is a lot more life in them, that they are more dynamic, something good is happening there, mainly in the bass. I heard that on the Floyds, for example. But then we returned to the CD and I was able to see how flat the files sounded. The sound of this player is more „inflated”, but this is not the dynamics and depth of the CD ...

MARCIN ⸜ And that's where I'll cut in - at certain points I had to turn up the volume. When I did it for a CD, there was more of everything, while with the file it improved up to a point, and then there was chaos. You had to turn it down, as if crossing a certain point made it impossible to listen to. The sound did not deteriorate with the CD.

BARTOSZ ⸜ Yes, that's exactly what I wanted to say. In this comparison, I liked Diana Krall and Leonard Cohen the least. They sounded flat, and the sound was in the front - the vocals were huge in the files, but also flat, as if there was nothing behind them. On the CD, the nuance was much better.

MARCIN ⸜ On the CD, the vocals formed a whole with the rest of the instruments, and the file pushed them forward. It was very attractive to the ear, but that's not the point.

BARTOSZ ⸜ This is perhaps an indicator of the quality of the equipment. When I first listened to music with my Hugo TT Chord, I could play music very loud with it and there was no degradation in sound quality. And that's not the case with the files. Which can be confusing - we play a CD, it's great, and then the files enter and it's so attractive, big, strong, the vocal is palpable - it might seem like a better sound. But we go back to the CD and can hear what's going on.

I understand what you mean with the files and their origins, but I would like to say that the Ayon S-10 II files player sets some kind of "standard". This is a great piece of hardware, a really cool player. Which was obvious when we compared him to Mytek. Because we keep complaining like that, but first of all - we compare devices from a completely different price points, and secondly - the CD player is more expensive.

MARCIN ⸜ Exactly - comparing the Ayon to a much cheaper device (the tested version of the S-10 II costs PLN 34,390, Brooklyn Bridge - PLN 11,900 - ed.) you can see better what the Ayon files player can do. First of all - Mytek is a great proposition. I had it for a while and I liked it very much. It offers a resolving, really good sound.

But ... We criticized Ayon for presentation of the soundstage, but now you can hear that it is a problem of files, not the player - and the S-10 II is even better just by adding stereo imaging to the whole . Everything expanded, it was much wider and deeper. Ayon showed class. However, this did not change the fact that it pays for it with a kind of compression - you cannot exceed a certain volume level, because otherwise everything “falls apart”. Until this point, it builds everything beautifully. And it is simply a much better player than the Mytek. You can also see which direction its designers took and it makes sense in my opinion.

BARTOSZ ⸜ I also liked the Ayon. Also, like Marcin, I think that what we criticized when comparing the S-10 II to the CD-35 HF now goes the other way. We got a similar dynamics of the relationship, but in favor of the Ayon. It was more dynamic, there was a great soundstage - in this comparison, of course - until, while listening to the Floyds, I realized that the evaluation of this equipment is extremely subjective. A bit like color assessment. When we put two shades of the same color side by side, we immediately know that they are different. But separately, they appear to be identical.

We look at how the S-10 II sounds compared with the CD-35 HF and we can hear that it is a good device, but I would never buy it. But we put it next to a cheaper product and I have no doubts that "Ayon is the only choice" - it sells itself in such a comparison. He did everything better, I could hear its limitations, but with the right volume level it was clearly better, in everything.

I don't know if Marcin agrees with me, but the idea for the sound seems similar in both cases. It is dynamic, everything is presented quite close to us, etc.

MARCIN ⸜ The truth is, that when we listened to Mytek itself, it sounded very good. In my opinion, the players do not sound the same - the Mytek does not have such a large soundstage as the Ayon, but indeed - the sound in both cases is clear and precise. Ayon offered something different, but at a price. Probably, if we put the CD-35 HF against an analog tape, we would probably see its disadvantages, this is how it works.

WOJTEK PACUŁA ⸜ And isn't it the case that Mytek does everything it does really well? That there is nothing wrong with it, but also nothing "wows" you? This is an honest, good sound source, and the Ayon "turns it up" a bit - what do you think?

BARTOSZ ⸜ There is something in it - but I don't like it about Mytek. There is no word more boring than "honest." And compared to the Mytek Ayon has a "divine spark". It may be imperfect, but at least he has an idea, he is not afraid, he does it with his eyes open. As if he stood up and said, "that's who I am." The Ayon has something specific to it, new, fresh, bold. It offered a real fun. After all, that's why we spend money on audio for, right?

MARCIN ⸜ It's true what you say, but it's a double-edged sword. Mytek is mega-correct and what it does - it does well. Compared to Ayon it seems downright boring. But, it may happen that after some time you will find that the Ayon is simply „inflated”. The car styling gives us a hint - we still get new bodies, but in the end it turns out that the most popular one is still the WW Golf, which everyone likes :)

It's just that this is what it is all about - we point out such nuances, and someone who reads this and ponders can draw his own conclusions, we will not do it for anyone.

| DSD files vs SACD & Compact Disc

BARTOSZ ⸜ SACDs and CDs were absolutely unrivaled. The album of the day for me is the SACD version of the Dead Can Dance Spiritchaser. Incredible sound. It’s just that we've been listening for a few hours and I think we can already hear what this player (Ayon S-10 II - ed.) is doing - it's not just a random sound. It's about certain goal, it costs a certain amount of money, and it won't do better than more expensive devices. And it is very consistent in what it does.

This is a great sound and I am impressed with what can be achieved with audio files. Just because we criticize it doesn't mean it’s bad. It proves that some cool things can be done with files. Because I also liked the DSD files the most. The fact that we are in such a situation at all - I am talking about context - that we can criticize this player, i.e. we treat it seriously, on an equal footing with SACDs and CDs, is a huge privilege. This is the unbelievable level audio has reached.

To sum up - I would choose SACD, but I am even more impressed with the S-10 II file player than before. It offers a fun, intimate performance and does it with commitment. It is an outstanding player and we are unfair towards it - and it is worth the money.

The question is whether we should take into account the things related to its operation - that it does not always show the correct graphics, that it had a problem with connecting to the application, etc. In my opinion, both you and people with authority should pay more and more attention to it, because it has not changed for years and audiophile devices are lame in terms of handling.

MARCIN ⸜ Exactly - the more so that you can see that the improvement of the quality of device’s operation doesn’t cost as much as the improvement of the sound quality. And one more thing - I think that with each album the sound of these two Ayon players was getting closer to each other. As if the S-10 II gained over time. With Dire Straits the file player sounded very well, not much worse than the SACD disc. So you can see that the type of the file has a very big influence on what we hear. Here, with DSD files ripped directly from SACDs and sent directly from the publisher, you can hear that this is exactly what it is about.

BARTOSZ ⸜ So the question is - does it even make sense to buy a files player if we are not sure about the files themselves?

MARCIN ⸜ But this is not a problem with files, as the situation is similar now with LPs and even CDs. And buying makes sense, because it's all about listening to music.

WOJTEK PACUŁA ⸜ Summarizing this part, I would like to say that maybe we only lack one thing at the moment - the reliability of the audio files. Once upon a time, Neil Young had the idea and he offered files from his "master" tapes that carried a "tag" of their origin. This "tag" was decoded by the Pono file player in the form of a diode (something like a diode in HDCD players). The people from MQA followed the same path, and the files contains information about whether it was prepared with the artist and the producer present.

Maybe something like this is missing for ordinary hi-res files - every transfer between servers, every manipulation of the signal would suppress the "flag", and file players should be able to find it in the data stream. Maybe the future is MQA files as we are sure of their origin? Every copy should be untagged. The point is, we should GET WHAT WE PAY FOR.

| Summary

JULEK SOJA ⸜ KSS MEETING DURING THIS PANDEMIC was a specific experience. We decided to divide them into two small (4-5 people) groups, one of which met at the Tomek Folta;s place. Finally, three of us came to meet him (i.e. the host - Tomek Folta, Rysiek B. and yours truly). We all had masks, and Rysiek also brought disposable gloves for everyone, in line with the safety first principle.

The topic was a fairly complex comparison of tracks played from files (from two different players), a CD player and a turntable. As an unrepentant analog fan, I expected the result of each comparison to be the same, i.e. blah-blah-blah-oh yes!. But it turned out that in real life it's not that simple. Of course, ultimately, the turntable ruled and did not take prisoners, and the album of the evening was the first Dire Straits (S/T) album in the Mobile Fidelity version (2xLP 45 RPM). In some cases, the files took over (in my opinion), while the CD player turned out to be occupying the middle, offering a decent quality every time - neither the worst nor the best.

We differed in our opinion a few times - e.g. in the first listening session (Daft Punk) my friends decided that the turntable sounded best, and I voiced a votum separatum, because for me the file sounded best (!) played with the Aurender / Ayon combo. Probably because the source material was an excellent quality digital master, and the master made of it for vinyl is simply worse - the same was the case with Hania Rani's recording. In the latter case, the Aurender showed much more vertical planes than the vinyl, the vinyl also had a more matte and subdued treble - in my opinion, the author of the vinyl master exaggerated with the desire for "analog" sound.

Hania's album also proved another thesis that was born in our heads during listening sessions. The point is that at the end of each comparison, we returned to the Ayon S-10 and compared the sound played from the PCM file with one after the DSD conversion. And here's a surprise: with each subsequent listening session we became convinced that PCM simply sounds better. Files converted to DSD had a difficult to define problem with the treble, we had an impression that there was something unnatural about it.

On the Hania Rani album it became obvious that DSD clearly distorts the holography of the recording. Listening to the PCM file, it was clearly audible that one microphone was placed inside the piano and the other outside by the keys. It was also evident that one was at least half a meter away from the other, while after converting to DSD, both phantom images completely merged with each other and the recording lost its spatial dimension. Holography is the biggest problem of the Ayon S-10 II - with really great dynamics, resolution and sound clarity - it plays a "wall of sound", it hardly creates any depth of the stage, neither in front of nor behind the speakers.

Summarizing, I believe that you cannot blindly strike out any format, it all depends on the quality of the recording, mastering, transfer, etc., etc.

RYSIEK B. ⸜ My memories of this meeting could be titled: "Are we going with the flow or are we barely keeping up?"

Let me remind you that this is not our first encounter with files and with Ayon - we have already listened to music from digital files from various sources and using different resolutions, so it is a good idea to refer to the notes about the meeting during which we listened to the Ayon Audio transport.

The hero of the latest meeting was supposed to be Ayon S-10 II, but it turned out to be not the only one. Thanks to Tomek and Nautilus, the Ayon Audio distributor, as well as Mr. UberEditor, we returned to historical disputes: vinyl, CD or files? And this time there were no surprises, and with each listening session the hierarchy of sound quality was, in my opinion, in the order in which I listed the carriers above.

Apart from the recording formats, only the comparison of the Aurender and Ayon S-10 was actually within the same discipline. The Ayon fared in this comparison as a source distinguished by its scale and spectrum of colors, energy, emotions and speed of sound. The Aurender dominated with musicality, warmth and calmness, simplifying everything with a "tube breath". But does that mean it sounded better? - In my opinion, it did not.

Like all audiophiles, I would like to discover something new, but again - this was not it. History repeats itself - vinyl records sounded best, which - in my opinion - massacred CDs and files. I think that you need hold off with investing in a file player until the quality of the source files reaches the one of the best quality, i.e. recordings from MOFI, Analog Productions or the SHM-CD Platinum releases.

Maybe I am wrong and it is enough to correct, wait - that’s the wrong word - find holography, phase differences, waveforms of rising and falling harmonics for various instruments in file players, and then they will sonically catch up with the tape or vinyl. These challenges probably also apply to publishers offering files. So we are waiting for the next KTS meeting to find out where we are. For now, we're still in (in love with) the black… discs.