SD card player

For a few years now I’ve run an Accuphase SACD player (DP-560) next to a Lumin U1 (into the DP-560’s DAC section, via SPDIF), with the Lumin taking care of hires downloads. I’ve always found ordinary CDs and SACDs to sound more engaging than files via the Lumin.

Because of the lacklustre sound and a realisation that I don’t like selecting music from an app, I decided to sell the Lumin (also get rid of the NAS, ethernet cabling etc) and in its place adopt an Aune X5s 8th anniv. The Aune is an affordable but very well made SD-card transport with digital out and a simple DAC section, and optionally runs on a separate linear power supply. It takes a large number of SD cards, of course, but gives a CD-like experience for those of us looking for that. I’ve hooked it up to the Accuphase just as before. It has been running a few months now.

What I didn’t expect: the X5s sounds significantly more engaging than the Lumin. Downloaded music has a depth and poise that I found lacking before. On the one hand, this has me wishing for more choice of devices like the X5s and an urge to open pandora’s box and start trying out different DACs and cabling, on the other hand, I feel lucky to have found this one at least and fully expect the little X5s holds its own in any high-end system.



@EJS - Can you tell the uninitiated a bit more…?

I cannot ‘see’ you system on your Profile, so I have no idea what else you have… :thinking:
Is the Aune X5s feeding a DAC - if so which…? Or are you utilising its Audio outputs…?
It seems to very very good value - around £350 in the UK…?

Hi Ian - I don’t do profiles or gear shopping lists :wink: The Aune is piping digital out into the DAC section of my Accuphase SACD player, via spdif/coax. I’ve tried the X5s internal DAC, and it’s OK but sounding a bit ordinary and thin in comparison. The price is, indeed, a steal especially compared to streamers costing 20x as much, but then the only thing it has to do is read music from a memory card.

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Interesting little device, but only Bluetooth and flash drives? No streaming? How do you navigate the file system? Is the power adapter 5 volts?

The manual says it can use bluetooth to send and receive and read up to 2gb drives (via a simple browser in the menu; it does files and folders but no metadata), I haven’t tried any of that; I have it set to play all music on a flash drive the moment one is inserted. It really is best if used as a CD player for SD cards.

I have a Tascam SS-R200 which takes CF and SD cards but is not DSD/High Res (that came with a later model). I use it to record BBC Radio 3 from my NDX 2 via the coax digital out from the Naim. The files can then be edited later on my PC.

At some stage, I will use it to archive my cassette collection.

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Interesting device!
How do you get around the lack of an app? Using the remote to navigate across folders from your listening seat must be cumbersome.

Just load an SD card with one or two albums or a small playlist, and don’t bother with navigation! I have a few hundred cards on rotation.

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I’ve been looking for a device like this to play my ripped CDs and hi-res/DSD files from my hard drives, and this Aune caught my attention - no streaming, no bells and whistles, just a basic good sounding file transport.
Does it support gapless mode, by any chance?
I also see SACD.iso among supported formats: does it play those too?

It does play DSD files, but since there is no USB-out, you’d have to use the internal DAC. My other DAC is better, so prefer to convert DSD to 172kHz flac with xld (mac). It’s almost but not quite gapless, only audible on continuous tracks (again, xld to combine tracks). No idea about SACD.iso’s, I don’t have a means to rip those. Also, note that it only reads files in the order that they are copied to the card.

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A quick update: I’ve started evaluating the unit’s internal dac - which allows DSD files. To help the very modest DAC section along, I’ve hooked the unit up to a linear power supply (itself fed by an Audioquest Tornado), and an external clock (the matching XC1), with Crystal Cable Diamonds to the amp. This configuration sounds very close to the sound via my Accuphase dac, although at almost ten times the original cost, probably not worth it just for those scarce DSDs alone. But it’s nice that the unit can be pimped to sound much better than stock.

TEAC SD-500HR might do the trick. does both DSD and SD cards. I have one for digitizing vinyl. They are good quality and the same as TASCAM models minus the rack mount ears.

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