Media Servers

Qsonix Q110 Media Server

ARTICLE INDEX

In Use

I connected the Q110 to two systems. One (Zone 1) used the digital coaxial output which went to the digital input on my Lexicon MC12B SSP, connected to McIntosh power amplifiers and Carver Amazing Mark IV ribbon speakers, while the second system (Zone 2) used an RCA stereo analog output pair that I connected to an Onix H6550 integrated amplifier and Onix Strata Mini speakers. Cables were Legenburg and Nordost.

The setup sounded excellent both through the coaxial digital output and the analog outputs. I am not a fan of using DSP to produce surround sound from two-channel music, so I simply listened to them the way they were coming off the server, in stereo. I had no complaints at all, except that it was so easy to add more music to the que, I got behind in my work sitting there for hours on end. Maybe that's not such a bad thing though.

I didn't use the remote control that much because it was so much fun to drag and drop music with the touchscreen, but I suppose that novelty would eventually wear off. It would be nice to have four remotes, one for each zone, and each one an RF transmission with its own code so one could operate each zone from that room with a remote dedicated to that zone.

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I am not going into waste space with a bunch of such statements like, "The second violins at 1 minute 34 seconds into track 6 of such and such an album had tremendous air," as you know that is not my style. What I was looking for here was a sound quality that was as good as I am used to with my own excellent CD players, and I got it. Enough said.

At this time, the Q110 will not store SACD or DVD-A music discs, nor will it store movies. That is down the road.

I would also like to see four Cat 6 digital outputs, one for each zone, so that digital signals could be carried to all the various rooms, some of which might be a hundred feet away. DACs would receive the signal, decode it, and send it on to the power amplifiers. At present, the unit is designed to sit next to a multi-channel power amplifier, and the speaker cables then will need to be very long in some cases. I didn't connect the power amplifiers to 50 foot speaker cables, but I am sure there would be some high frequency loss doing this. To help remedy the problem, be sure to use heavy speaker cables, such as 12 gauge, if they are really long.

On the Bench

At 1 kHz (signal recorded onto a CD at -5 dB and then the CD was uploaded to the Q110), THD+N was 0.06%. Notice also the absence of a 60 Hz peak and its harmonics. This indicates a very good power supply.

At 10 kHz, THD+N was a bit higher, at 0.14%. Part of this is due to that peak outside of the audible band (an 80 kHz bandwidth is used to calculate the THD+N), but that peak could interact with audible frequencies.

IMD, using 60 Hz and 2 kHz sine waves as test frequencies, was a very low 0.01%.

Frequency response was 20 Hz - 20 kHz, + 0.3 dB.

Conclusions

I have to say that you had better put away some extra cash, because you will be purchasing new CDs to download from Music Giants and listening to more music than you ever have in your lifestyle before getting such a fun product like the Qsonix Q110. It's easy to set up. plays music in four places at the same time, and you will have no more excuses for not listening to that bursting collection of CDs that have been sitting around gathering dust for so long.