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LessLoss "Laminar Flow" SD player (over $91k USD)

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I just saw the controversial review of LL's $20k dac posted elsewhere on CA.

 

Not sure when the new > $91k player is going to be released ... have sneak preview:

https://www.lessloss.com/laminar-streamer-sd-player-p-207.html

 

BTW: 

I've been using an SD player from QLS (China) since 2009. It's a WAV-only player with a very minimal operating system . The designer of the QLS350 (the $200 model I own)  stated similar reasons --to those touted by LL in above link -- for why a WAV-only, minimized-OS player might be ideal.

The QLS350 uses a single WM8470 dac. It sounds decent. 

QLS's orig 550 player, from 2008,  was a WAV transport-only. That one did get some positive attention on head-fi and diyparadise. 

 

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you can buy a lot of turbulence for $91k


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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I assume the base technology is Soekris R2R discreet dac. 

 

About LL ...  I've been aware of them since 2004, when they began offering a d/a with the PCM1704. But, afaik, very few major reviewers got ahold of any LL product. Maybe a bit like Lampizitor or Pedja Roric (Audial).

 

LL's word-salad write up (see product descriptions on LL's web site) coupled with the very high price tag leaves me very confused. Maybe it's INTENDED as a luxury item ... or it's the BRAND ... like Tiffany or  Rolls Royce. Yes????

 

It would be helpful to see LL go head-to-head against a Chord DAVE or the latest PS Audio dac.

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2 hours ago, analogue said:

It would be helpful to see LL go head-to-head against a Chord DAVE or the latest PS Audio dac.

The LessLoss is a file player with digital outputs. For 91k, you still need to add your favorite  Dac.

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Could they elaborate how this could ever work?
 

Quote

the Laminar Streamer's operating system runs synchronously at the audio sampling rate via the very same high quality audio clock used for the formation of the audio data stream


File formats are based on integer multiples of 44.1 and 48K. Furthermore micro controllers typically run in at least the megahertz range. How does the "OS" transition from idle state (nothing playing), to let's say 44.1K or then when playing 96K, to 96K. So they are saying the OS can do 44100 instructions per second when doing redbook, and per definition, the clock rate of the CPU changes with the samplerate of the input file?

Also filesystems and SD cards have buffers, and to read even a single byte from a file, you need to read a block. So you will always end up using some form of buffering. Even redbook transports have buffering, although very small.

https://superuser.com/questions/662371/do-sd-cards-use-a-buffer-or-cache

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1 hour ago, FredericV said:

Could they elaborate how this could ever work?
 


File formats are based on integer multiples of 44.1 and 48K. Furthermore micro controllers typically run in at least the megahertz range. How does the "OS" transition from idle state (nothing playing), to let's say 44.1K or then when playing 96K, to 96K. So they are saying the OS can do 44100 instructions per second when doing redbook, and per definition, the clock rate of the CPU changes with the samplerate of the input file?

Also filesystems and SD cards have buffers, and to read even a single byte from a file, you need to read a block. So you will always end up using some form of buffering. Even redbook transports have buffering, although very small.

https://superuser.com/questions/662371/do-sd-cards-use-a-buffer-or-cache

Of course they're not running the microcontroller at the audio sample rate. The outputs are serial, so that alone means there has to be a clock corresponding to the bit rate of the audio, that is 64x the sample rate. This is still not nearly enough for the microcontroller to also handle SD card communication and manage the display. My guess is that they have two main oscillators running at 1024x the basic audio rates, i.e. 45.158 MHz and 49.152 MHz, with a glitch-free mux allowing the microcontroller to switch between them.

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8 minutes ago, marce said:

Its marketing stuff...

 

Maybe.

LL only have to sell a few to make a profit. Perhaps most of its target market are rich CEOs and Arab oil tycoons who are way to busy (or "important") to scan reviews and forums. They want bling that has been nicely photographed. Those photos CC posted above sure look nice on a smartphone ....

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11 minutes ago, analogue said:

Maybe.

Not maybe. Definitely.

 

11 minutes ago, analogue said:

LL only have to sell a few to make a profit. Perhaps most of its target market are rich CEOs and Arab oil tycoons who are way to busy (or "important") to scan reviews and forums. They want bling that has been nicely photographed. Those photos CC posted above sure look nice on a smartphone ....

Those are CAD renders, not photos.

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1 hour ago, mansr said:

Those are CAD renders, not photos.

 

x-D If they were real photos, location of light sources in some of them look quite improbably. And exposure consistency from frame to frame seem rather poor for somebody who can pull off lighting wizardry like that. But what do I know? There are professional photogs here on AS. Perhaps they can chime in. In any case, looks like it's now possible to firing up renders in the cloud for cheap. Wow. Need to read up on that...

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I wonder when the copy was written - "SDHC cards up to 32gb.." (!)? 

 

I'll take a good endpoint for $2k or less and put the $89k in the bank, thank you very much...


SERVER CLOSET:NUC 7i5BNH with Roon ROCK and OWC external 2.5" HD (ZeroZone 12V on the NUC)>Cisco 2690L-16PS switch>Sonore opticalModule>fiber (HDPLEX 100). Supra MD-06 power strip. {Office Circuit}

LIVING ROOM:Sonore opticalModule (LPS-1)>Ghent Audio JSSG Cat 6a cable>Sonore microRendu 1.4> (Sonore UltraRendu>Ghent Neotech 7N solid JSSG DC cable) {20amp dedicated circuit) Uptone USPCB>Naim DAC V1>Witchhat DIN>Naim NAP 110 {both dedicated 20amp circuit}>Chord Rumor 2>Rega RX3’s.

OFFICE:TP Link MC110 optical bridge (iFi's - different office circuits)>Naim Unitiqute V1>NACA5>KEF Ls50’ (near field post mounted - sound amazing - one of the few  joys of working from the home basement). Cables: AQ Cinnamon RJ45, Meico RJ45, basic cat6, Naim stock AC cables with Wattgate or HifiKing Plugs. 

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32 minutes ago, accwai said:

x-D If they were real photos, location of light sources in some of them look quite improbably. And exposure consistency from frame to frame seem rather poor for somebody who can pull off lighting wizardry like that. But what do I know? There are professional photogs here on AS. Perhaps they can chime in. In any case, looks like it's now possible to firing up renders in the cloud for cheap. Wow. Need to read up on that...

A half-decent workstation could do those renders in a matter of minutes.

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2 hours ago, mansr said:

Not maybe. Definitely.

 

Those are CAD renders, not photos.


Here's an actual photo, just observe the specks of dust which appear absent in the rendered versions:

3.jpg


According to 6moons:
 

1'500 lines of 82KB Direct Drive code

https://6moons.com/audioreviews2/lessloss5/1.html


 

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Got to admit the PCB's mounted on unfinished (hygroscopic) plywood is a good idea (shown in the 6 Moons link above) in the DAC. Looking at the 3D model of the card reader, not much room inside so you'll get a probably get a FPGA based card...

It's definitely boutique gear for I suspect the lowest MTBF figures would be for the card socket. people with lots of money and lots of time to load up cards with music to play! I suspect the lowest MTBF figures would be for the card socket...

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There is also the added cost of broadcast-quality SD cards LL seem to suggest on that product page. I've seen as high as a couple of hundred USD for a single  128 GB/300MBs card.

 

BTW: The text on the Laminar's product page might have been written a decade ago:

"Plays any .wav or .aiff file from FAT32 formatted SD cards. About the size of a postage stamp, a Secure Digital High-Capacity (SDHC) card is a flash memory device that can hold up to 32 gigabytes (GB) of data. "

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Just now, analogue said:

There is also the added cost of broadcast-quality SD cards LL seem to suggest on that product page. I've seen as high as a couple of hundred USD for a single  128 GB/300MBs card.

 

BTW: The text on the Laminar's product page might have been written a decade ago:

"Plays any .wav or .aiff file from FAT32 formatted SD cards. About the size of a postage stamp, a Secure Digital High-Capacity (SDHC) card is a flash memory device that can hold up to 32 gigabytes (GB) of data. "

This “product,” if it does in fact exist, has been around for quite a long time. I first encountered the web page touting it at least ten years back. I do like the concept,,, just need the price reduced to one or two percent of the one quoted.  

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53 minutes ago, Doak said:

This “product,” if it does in fact exist, has been around for quite a long time. I first encountered the web page touting it at least ten years back. I do like the concept,,, just need the price reduced to one or two percent of the one quoted.  

The product link page in the OP.

About a MUCH cheaper SD ... again, the OP or #9.

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1 hour ago, marce said:

I suspect the lowest MTBF figures would be for the card socket...

I've used several SD-based Chinese DAPs (Teclast, Colorfly, QLS) since 2009. The last model I purchased was a Colorfly in 2011. All pretty much daily- or every-other-day-use devices. The QLS is an SD-card only device; the Teclast and Colorfly are dual (internal 16gb and external microSD). I've never had a card or device failure. Then again, I might only re-write to the card or device less than 5x/year. I treat cards as "mix tapes".

 

Shifting gears ... about that Product page .... do give it a read. Some of it is quite entertaining:

 

 

Quote

 

Two lines of convergence point to one solution

To sum it up, here is a list of the strengths and pitfalls of both lines: 

Lineage #1: optics-based solutions 

Pros: 

- very simple operating systems
- no viruses ever, plug and play functionality
- the romance of putting it into the machine to play it
- psychology of "Albums" is maintained physically 

Cons: 

- microvibrational influence on sound quality magnified
- expensive, massive physical realm solutions
- Redbook CD going out of style
- High-res DVD Audio / SACD war has been surpassed by ease of download
- numerous optical tweaks reveal obvious bottlenecks of performance 

 

 

 

 

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it still needs a magik power supply


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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The absurd thing is the price - having heard what a reasonably priced digital audio player, as both source and DAC, into nicely optimised amplifier and speakers can deliver if all care is taken ... this sort of product is just madness. Unfortunately, the cracks that are audibly obvious in nearly all rigs are what motivates people to keep chasing for some "higher" solution, and the potential magic of a supremely high priced item is enticing for some ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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