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Network player


Manufacturer: PIXEL MAGIC SYSTEMS Ltd.
Price (in Poland): 57 990 PLN

Pixel Magic Systems Ltd. | Unit 603-605
IC Development Centre | No. 6 Science Park West
Hong Kong Science Park | HONG KONG


Provided for test by: MOJE AUDIO

AUDIO FILES PLAYER, also known as: „streamer”, „network player”, „bridge”, „music server” and so on, is a component used to play audio files (decoding) and converting them into analogue form (conversion). Based in Hong Kong, LUMÏN is one of the most well-known and respected manufacturers of this type of products. It was the first company whose players decoded DSD files. We're testing its latest and most expensive player, the X1.

f we compare historically the first player of the Hong Kong based Lumïn company with its latest model, the X1, that we are reviewing, it would be difficult to point out the differences. Yes, the X1 has a much nicer-looking power supply, but besides that both Lumïn - The Audiophile Network Music Player - from 2012, and the X1 - Network Player - from 2019 could pass as the same device, only after slight modifications.

In fact, the six years that passed between introductions of these two models in the world of computer design - and audio file players are specialized microcomputers - is an eternity. As it reads in the company materials, the streaming platform featured in earlier devices from this manufacturer has been completely redesigned. Not only for the X1, but also for the T2 player we tested in February this year, which also benefited from other elements developed for the X1.

| X1

Despite the passage of time, the Lumïn player surprises with its mechanical construction. Its chassis is made of milled and bolted together aluminum profiles with a characteristic, sloping front and top cover protruding far beyond the rear wall. The latter is a remnant of the fascination of the company's founders with Linn file players. There is also a nice, though quite small, display where one can read all the necessary information about the track and file type.

And there is also an external power supply. Its housing in X1 is as good as the chassis of the player itself. And it was not always the case - the first players were accompanied by simple, though well made, aluminum housings for separate power supplies. Now it is something that can be proudly placed next to the player. Also the connection cable between these two element is now much better - thicker and featuring higher quality connectors. My T1’s cable looks like a shoelace in comparison.


WestminsterLab Lumïn
Power cable DC

As already mentioned, the DC power cable connecting the power supply and the X1 player looks very good. It's just that we're talking about a perfectionist device, and I assume people reading these words truly strive for perfection in audio. So it should not come as a surprise when I tell you that there is a company that makes even higher quality cable of this type.

I am talking about the British company WestminsterLab, a result of a meeting that took lace in London between 29-year-old Angus Leong and his two friends. They decided to set up a company that would offer exotic audio devices. Their most famous product - so far the only one they offer - is the Unum power amplifier, with a pricing going up to 66,000 British pounds in its top version.

Their basic product, however, are connection cables. The lineup includes all basic types, and the cable for Lumïn systems is a special addition to standard offer. These cables are made in a way for most companies would simply be too expensive, because it making them takes too much time which forces a relatively small margin. As Le Ong says, the conductors are hand-polished, and it takes 60 hours to make one cable. As a shielding they use carbon fiber. The cable looks amazing and is made in Great Britain. I will add that I haven’t seen such a nice-looking, and at the same time simple, box for a long time.

Replacing the standard DC power cable in the X1 player with WestminsterLab’s introduces some major changes to the sound. These are not micro-differences, which one could have doubts about even after a year of using this upgrade, but changes that strike at once and immediately "set" how we perceive them. The WestminsterLab’s cable makes the X1 sound much more resolving. You can hear it best in the treble area, because the cymbals, that before sounded like from a good vinyl record, will sound more like from an analogue master tape (I am talking about general character). They were clearer, more vibrant, more three-dimensional. With this cable one simple receives much more information.

The differentiation and - above all - the definition of bass were also significantly improved. It was a significant change, because now the bass had a faster attack and better control over decay. And its higher range, underlined with the standard cable, has now been tempered, and even slightly withdrawn. Because it does not work like that, that every change for the better is automatically better, because it introduces small changes in various elements of the sound.

The X1 player was designed and listened to with a company’s standard cable, and the sound obtained in this way was a coherent project. The WestminsterLab cable modifies it, because the tonal balance is set higher with it, and the whole is a little bit drier. Not dry on its own, but drier compared to what we have with the company's cable. That is why before replacing standard cable one should check both options and choose the preferred one, because it may happen that the changes introduced by the British cable may not fully fit in to one’s system or one’s expectations. On the other hand, if the changes are welcomed, the WestminsterLab’s cable will be one of the most valuable X1 upgrades, even more significant one than replacing the player's power cable for a higher class one.

Files | But let's get back to the X1. The most visible difference between the previous generations and the new player is the step by step improvement in handling high resolution files with parameters higher than DSD64 and PCM 24/192. And, let me remind you, when the original Lumïn was developed it was the only audiophile file player supporting the DSD format! The latest top model from this manufacturer supports DSD files up to DSD512 (22.6 MHz) and PCM up to 32/768. In real life you won’t probably even have a chance to find files of such high resolution - they require huge memory resources - but the larger device’s capabilities, the more effortlessly, i.e. with a lower distortion level, it should be able to decode the basic file types.

The device also features - for those who need it - an MQA decoder. You can find hi-res files coded with MQA on the Tidal streaming service. The device also works with Spotify Connect, Qobuz (including Qobuz Sublime), Internet radio TuneIn and is compatible with Roon. Since the files stored locally offer the best sound quality the X1 features also the 1000Base-T Gigabit Ethernet network.

Connectivity | Before we move to the analog section, let's stop at the digital outputs for a moment. There is a USB output that supports DSD512 and PCM 32/768 files. Usage of the USB port has changed in the devices of this manufacturer over time and - as I assume - was influenced by users feedback. Let me remind you that initially it was used as a digital output, then as an input for USB and pen-drive disks. Along with the latest generation of players, the original purpose of this port has returned, but in a new version - now it's both a digital output and an input for pen-drives. In addition to it, there is also have a BNC output that sends PCM signal up to 24/192 and DSD (DoP).

Much more interesting, however, seems to be the Ethernet 1000Base-T Gigabit Optical Ethernet socket. In principle, optical links are far better than electrical ones, because they galvanically isolate the signal source and the receiver. So we avoid ground loops, noise is not transmitted, etc. So why is it so rarely used in audio? - For a prosaic reason: the TOSLink standard, the only optical standard currently present in home audio devices, is simply much worse than the standard RCA and BNC links, although all use the same S/PDIF protocol. A paradox.

The optical Ethernet connection is also almost absent in audio. It operates in the industrial SFP standard. SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) is a type of transmitter and receiver used in telecommunication industry and for data transmission in server rooms,. It allow user to connect the device to the router with both fiber optic cable and a copper cable. In home audio, however, it is used very rarely - to be honest, that’s the first time I seen it in such application as in the X1.

Digital section | Digital filters were developed by Lumïn specialists. They wanted the user to be able to convert the input signal to any other one - for example to DSD512. Hence the digital signal can be up-sampled to any value, both PCM and DSD, back and forth.

The conversion of the digital signal into analogue one is done using two ESS SABRE32 ES9038Pro D/A chips, each of which features eight channels; Let me remind you that in the T2 there were also two, but of lower quality, SABRE32 ES9028PRO DAC chips. These eight channels are combined here into one, mono, which results a much lower noise and distortion level.

Analogue section | The audio circuit is fully balanced. Before outputs one finds desymmetrizing and matching transformers - one more solution sourced from Linn. But to be clear, Linn is not the only brand that uses it. The signal is sent outside either via RCA - unbalanced - or XLR - balanced outputs. Using the company's application, one can change the output voltage - from classic 2V for RCA and 4V for XLR we can go up to - respectively - 3 and 6 V. In the menu one can choose whether the output’s level is fixed or variable; volume control is done here in the digital domain.

Control | The X1 player looks like a monolith, an extraterrestrial warship. The entire control is done using the Lumïn App. As I once said, I got used to its appearance and functionality, but it would be nice to have a newer version, because Roon set the bar much higher.


Lumïn X1 was placed on the mid-level shelf of my Finite Elemente Pagode Edition rack and was powered using the Hijiri SM2R „Sound Matter”. The player worked as a source for a system containing the Ayon Audio Spheris III (140 000 PLN) linestage and the Soulution 710 (currently out of production, 135 000 PLN) power amp driving the Harbeth M40.1 (also out of production) loudspeakers placed on top of the Acoustic Revive Custom Stand ( 80 000 PLN a set). It was connected to a router using the Acoustic Revive Ethernet cable.

For comparison I used Lumïn T2 and Mytek Brooklyn Bridge. My Ayon Audio CD-35 High Fidelity Edition (80 000 PLN) player was another reference. As a source of files I used my Synology NAS, as well as the Lumïn L1. A separate test was performed using Master Flash (DXD and DSD512) cards plugged into USB. I listened also to the music from Tidal.

LUMÏN in „High Fidelity”
  • TEST: Lumïn T2 | music files player
  • TEST: Lumïn D2 | music files player
  • TEST: Lumïn M1 | music files player/amplifier
  • TEST: Lumïn S1 | music files player
  • TEST: Lumïn | music files player

  • Recordings used for the test (a selec- tion)

    • Aeon Trio, Elegy, TRPTK TTK0010, CD | DXD Studio Master 24/384 (2017);
    • Alexis Cole, A Kiss in The Dark, Chesky Records JD366, CD | PCM 24/192 (2014)
    • Arne Domnérus, Jazz at the Pawnshop. Vol. I, II & III, Proprius/Lasting Impression Music LIM UHD 071 LE, 3 x UltraHD CD + DVD | DSD64/SACD rip (1976/2012)
    • Bill Evans, Bill Evans At The Montreux Jazz Festival, Verve /Universal Music LLC, SHM-SACD | DSD64/SACD rip (1968/2014)
    • Charlie Mariano & Dieter Ilg, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Sommelier du Son sds 0014-1, DSD256 (2009/2018)
    • Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms, Vertigo/Mobile Fidelity Labs UDSACD 2099, „Original Master Recording, Special Limited Edition | No. 1808”, SACD/CD | DSD64/SACD rip (1985/2013)
    • Jeremy Monteiro Trio, A Song For You, Karen, First Impression Music FIM SACD 036, SACD/CD | DSD64/SACD rip (2002)
    • Keith Jarrett, Charlie Haden, Last Dance, ECM Records, ECM 2399, PCM 24/96 | Tidal MQA Studio 24/96 (2014)
    • QOPE, Nocturnal, trptk live TTK 0024, CD | DXD Studio Master 24/384 (2018);
    • Queen, A Night At The Opera, Island/Universal Music LLC (Japan) UICY-40006, Platinum SHM-CD | DSD64/SACD rip (1975/2013)

    When Lumïn entered the market with a high-end audio player, they did it differently than other well-established players who had been on it for a long time - Linn and Naim. First of all, they wanted to offer people the ability to play DSD files, which for both British brands at the time was just a fad. Later, when it turned out that DSD - but also SACDs - became for the audiophile industry what the master tapes had been for the analogue, they were already far ahead the competition, setting the direction for others.

    Because, as it happens, it is a company that builds its position a bit in opposition to big players. On the one hand, it grew in the cult of well-known producers - Mr. Li On, one of its founders named: Linn Klimax DS, dCS Scarlatti, Antelope Eclipse + Atomic Clock, EMM Labs SACD player / DAC (more HERE). On the other hand, they wanted to offer something that the other did not want to, or they just couldn’t.

    It was exactly the same with the sound. From the very beginning, they were in opposition to what Linn did, to what the dCS presented and only the EMM Labs could serve as a reference point here. The X1 also in this respect does not disappoint. Its sound is shaped in a very characteristic way, I do not see here an attempt to go towards neutrality. It does not change the fact though, that the X1 player, like the T2 before, is different from, respectively, the original Lumïn and T1.

    Sound volume | The X1 offers a big, meaty sound. This is the first thing that one notices when listening to it in a good system. You do not even need to compare it with anything - it will allow you to notice this features already after listening to a few tracks. You can hear in the sound the desire to fill the room with the sound And leaving the listener with the impression of incompleteness of the presentation, as if there were holes in it, is one of the main disadvantages of the systems used to play the music files. Here everything is rich and even "essential".

    The player shows the closest layers of the stage, pulls the back ones a bit closer, but leaves them at the right distance - enough to make the extremely spatially recorded Alexis Cole’s A Kiss in The Dark had a breath, and the instruments were accompanied by a long, low reverb. These are recordings made in a modified version of the binaural system. They show the vocal with a slight reverberation, although not so close to us, as do the devices simply warming up the sound, and large instruments with dense room’s acoustics simply "popping out" from the sides.

    Lumïn added some richness to it, some warmth, brought it closer, but everything was done smoothly, casually. Yes - the smoothness is another feature that we get with it. This is an element that distinguished players from this brand from others and which remained its hallmark until today. Regardless of what kind of file we are going to play music from, what source, and even what kind of music it will be, each time the X1 will offer a refined, „polished” sound. This make the presentation so damn enjoyable.

    As I say, it does not matter what kind of file we play, because each of them will be treated in the same way. But I also do not say that it does not matter what kind of files and where from we play them. Lumïn’s X1 is not a player that would try to deeply analyze played recordings or even to dig out the absolute truth about them. It rather chooses its own truth. If what matters to you most is an impression of being there, where the recording took place, maybe you should look for something else, because the tested player brings the whole micro-cosmos to us, filling the room with music. The difference seems to be small, but it is really showing two completely different approaches to presenting recorded music.

    Files | The Lumïn X1 is sufficiently resolving to allow its user to look for for files with the highest possible resolution. Because, you see, the X1 is a device that from the very beginning forces the listener to a higher level. It tries to make him do better. It is not really about forcing anything, but one immediately realizes that it has so much to offer, that it would be foolish not to take advantage of it.

    FLAC 16/44.1 files played with Tidal sounded good - a lot depended on the recording, but in general the quality was quite good. But the switching to files encoded in MQA, and then to files played from a NAS or a pen-drive, and among them to DSD above DSD64 and PCM above 24/44.1 was liberating - because it meant a continuous improvement.

    The difference between the file played from Tidal and from the NAS, let it be the Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden from the Last Dance in PCM 24/96, boiled down to the greater effortlessness of the file from the NAS, mainly its greater dynamics. The file encoded in MQA was smoother, warmer, but also less resolving. The same was true when I moved up the resolution up to 24/384 listening to the beautiful album Nocturnal by QOPE, or a piano solo, recorded by the tprk label. The X1 does not point out these differences, without a direct comparison they may be less significant, and even meaningless, but once we hear them, we will try to get every music in the files with the maximum possible resolution.

    Open sound | Unlike previous generations of players from this manufacturer, the X1 offers a more open sound. I wrote about this "transition" when testing the T2 model. Here it is more subtle, and this is because it is a much more sophisticated sound - actually there is no comparison. The basic direction of these changes, however, is similar.

    It is the highlighting of the midrange that is responsible for sound opening. The Ayon player, which served me as a reference point, plays much lower and darker. It might seem that Ayon is a warmer sounding player, but it is not - we get much more smoother, emphasized, especially at the turn of the bass, with Lumïn. The Japanese Accuphase modified the sound of their SACD players in a similar way some time ago so maybe there is something to it.

    The vocals are thus shown quite close to us, they are large and have a lot of energy. I heard it with both Alexis Cole and Norah Jones from DSD files (it was powerful!), but also with instruments from the Jazz at the Pawnshop (DSD). This is the result of the three features I mentioned coming together: making sound denser, emphasizing the lower midrange / upper bass range and opening the upper midrange. Because the treble is slightly sweetened, they do not attract attention, we have the impression of warmth - the fourth feature you need to know about. Though, let me repeat once more, the X1 does not really warm up the sound, at least not directly.

    Bass | If I had to point to something that has not changed ever since I know this company’s products, it's a way the bass is presented. It's big, nice, tuneful, soft and is not particularly well defined - at least compared to the best CD and SACD players. Linn players play this range in a perfectly neutral way, but often - in my opinion - too conservative, leaving no space for expression. And there is no shortage of expression in Lumïn's presentation. Because it’s presentation has a proper momentum. And although not quite as resolving at the very bottom of the range, or not fully defined, it is simply nice and it nicely complements the rest of the band.

    Music Machine | Listening to X1 I had a smile on my face many times. Even more often, however, I was accompanied by pure curiosity. The smile appeared when I satisfied this curiosity and it turned out that the sound the Lumïn designer achieved with the X1 is extremely satisfying. The X1 is a real "music machine", so to speak. It generates waves of pleasure that come to us with subsequent albums, rising up when the recording is better and the file bigger, falling a bit when the recording is just so so, and the file has the parameters known from the Red Book CD.

    The „satisfaction fluctuation” in question applies to all types of audio devices, and here it is relatively small and shifted upwards on the scale of pleasure. The X1 does not go in the direction of precision and resolution, it's not what it does. Differentiation is good, but it’s also not the most important feature. The Ayon player, whether playing SACDs or CDs, was still better in many respects, even compared to the best PCM 24/384 and DSD256 files. But this is a difference that many music lovers will not care enough to fight for. It is real, but not necessarily decisive factor.


    Because what the X1 offers here and now is very attractive. It presents a big, rich, full sound with a particularly open midrange. It offers momentum, dynamics and slam. Also a very large space - although without the precise location of the musicians. This is the sound that many vinyl lover dream about. The world is ending - a digital player that sounds better than a turntable? Go ahead and listen for yourself and then think how much more convenient to use the Lumïn is.

    And in the case of audio file players from the beginning it was about - convenience. The new generation of these devices, including the X1, adds a beautiful sound to it, which means that we get more than the designers could have dreamed about just a decade ago.

    Lumïn's players share a similar mechanical design concept. They are low, deep, and in the middle of their fronts there are always blue displays. More expensive models receive housings made of elements milled of thick aluminum and external, linear power supplies.

    Front and rear | Same applies to the X1. Its appearance is extremely attractive and the construction is very solid. The display delivers such information as: the name of the artist, the title of the track, the technical data of the file being played, the time of playback and the same information, but in the form of a round bargraph. And there is also a large number showing the track number on the playlist.

    All the connectors on the rear panel are hidden under the elongated cover. It protects the cables from damage, although I would rather see the USB in a better place - sticking the pen-drives with the Master files there was not that simple. However, if one plays files only from a NAS drive, it will not matter. There are two Ethernet ports - classic and optical ones - digital outputs: BNC and USB, as well as two pairs of analog outputs - XLR and RCA. There is also a ground terminal - one should use it to connect the player to another device in the system or to an artificial ground.

    Inside | The interior was milled out of a single block of aluminum and divided into two parts - a file player and D/A converter. The player section is a specialized microcomputer, with the main processor hidden under a large heat sink and two DSP systems - Xilinx Altera IV and XMOS. Next to the microprocessor, you can see two mechanically stabilized clocks from Crystek.

    Behind a thick shielding, there is a place for DAC board. Two ESS SABRE32 ES9038Pro chips with radiators on top of them were placed in its input stage. It’s a rare sight, although it would seem logical - the chips get warm and the temperature changes do not improve their work. I/U conversion and analog filters were built using IT OPA1611 and OPA 140 integrated circuits; The latter are JFET transistors. The output is, however, coupled additionally with Lundahl Transformers LL7401 transformers. The analog circuit is a dual mono design with separate power supplies and gain stages.

    Power supply | The main power supply was, however, placed in a separate, attractive aluminum chassis. Also, its housing was milled out of an aluminum block. At the front there is a triangular blue power indicator and on the back there is an EIC power socket with a mechanical switch, a DC outlet for the player and another ground clamp. As you can see Lumïn is not joking around with the ground :)

    Inside, there two large toroidal transformers, one for each section, mechanically stabilized from the bottom with aluminum brackets, and bolted to the back of the housing. Two secondary windings come out of the transformer intended for the analog section - one for each of the channels. In total there are three power supplies with five low-noise integrated stabilizers at the end - Linear Technology Corporation LT3015 and LT3086. The power supply connects with the player through a thick DC power cable with solid, screw-on connectors.

    This is one of the best made audio files players I’ve ever seen.

    Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

    Streaming protocol: UPnP AV
    Supported files:
    • DSD: DSF (DSD), DIFF (DSD), DoP (DSD)
    • PCM: FLAC, Apple Lossless (ALAC), WAV, AIFF
    • compressed: MP3, AAC (in M4A container)
    Supported sampling frequencies, bit depths:
    • PCM 44.1 - 384 kHz, 16 - 32 bits, stereo
    • DSD 2.8 MHz (DSD64) – 22.6 MHz (DSD512), 1 bit, stereo

    Digital outputs:
    • USB:
    DSD512 | PCM 44,1 - 384 kHz, 16 - 32 bits, stereo
    • BNC S/PDIF:
    • PCM 44.1 - 192 kHz, 16 - 24 bits
    • DSD (DoP, DSD over PCM) 2.8 MHz, 1 bit

    Digital inputs:
    Ethernet Network 1000Base-T
    Analogue outputs: 6/4 V XLR | 3/2 V RCA
    Dimensions (W x D x H): 350 x 345 x 60 mm
    Weight: 6 kg


    Reference system 2018

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    6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
    7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


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    AC Power

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    Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
    Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
    Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
    Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


    Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
    Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
    Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

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    Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

    Record mats:


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    Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC