Source Systems Presents Lumin, Fi-Data, DALI, and Lateral

Huge, colorful, and highly engaging sound highlighted my time in the room sponsored by Mark Gurvey's Source Systems distribution of San Clemente. Deserving applause for some of the best signage at AXPONA, Gurvey used Lumin's proprietary playback app to output files stored on I-O Data Device of Japan's solid-state Fi-Data 2TB server/renderer/ripper/tagger/CD player ($1600) to the Lumin X1 flagship streamer with external dual mono linear power supply (LPS) ($13,990). From there, the system output the streaming signal to the brand new Lumin P1 streamer/renderer/DAC/AV hub/preamplifier with internal dual-mono LPS ($10,000) that John Atkinson reviewed in our April 2022 issue.

The P1 then sent the preamp signal in its analog form to the Lumin class-AB, dual-mono amplifier (160Wpc into 8 ohms, $13,900), which output it to DALI Epicon 8 loudspeakers ($22,000/pair, above). Most equipment was displayed on a Lateral LAS-1 4-tier audio stand ($8500) and conditioned by a Puritan 156 power conditioner ($2300) from the UK.

The P1, which is also a Roon endpoint, is the only device Gurvey knows of that can function as a streamer/renderer/DAC/AV hub/preamp. Whether that changes after the slew of product introductions expected at Munich High End is TBD. The Lumin amplifier, in turn, can also be used in bridged form or as a monoblock that outputs 600Wpc.

Because it allows for custom upsampling, the Lumin P1 gave new life to a 16/44.1 rip of a less-than-stellar-sounding CD of Herbert von Karajan conducting Wagner Overtures. At my request, the P1 upsampled the files to far smoother DSD128. Boy, did that sound better. Next, a transfer of a much finer-sounding, Esoteric-remastered recording of Sir Colin Davis conducting Beethoven Overtures blew me away with a huge sound that was wetter than that produced by the Classé/Bowers & Wilkins system I'd heard shortly before. It was easy to hear how much more depth and interest upsampling brought to the presentation.

Although I didn’t hear it, Lumin has just introduced the U2-Mini ($2400, above), a new digital transport/renderer that has ethernet and USB inputs and 5 digital outputs. The U-2 Mini is capable of outputting native DSD up to 512 and native PCM up to 768k from its USB output to virtually any compatible DAC or streamer on the market. It is also a Roon endpoint. Gurvey characterized it as a device "for people who want to stream and don't want to buy a second DAC in order to do so."

The U-2 Mini also includes the Lumin app and Leedh signal processing. The latter, which is included on every Lumin streamer, is said to eliminate the coloration associated with digital volume controls. All digital-only Lumin devices, including the U-2 Mini, unfold the MQA core (first unfold), while DAC-equipped Lumin devices do full MQA decoding.

Gurvey continually stressed that because Lumin is a broadcast-based company rather than a company that is computer-based, it pays particular attention to sound quality. I look forward to the day when I can try one of Lumin's top-level server/streamer etc. products in my system. Meanwhile, I eagerly anticipate Lumin's appearance at the Pacific Audio Fest, which will take place near SEATAC airport July 29–31.