Although for much of the audio world, streaming has all but replaced the physical digital disc, for the highest of high-end, those 1% or the 1% that both take music really seriously and have the financial clout to afford the very best, CD and SACD are still uppermost. There are those who argue – granted some of these arguments are as much faith-based as evidence-led – that CD still holds dominance in terms of digital sound quality. But the problem then emerges... what if you want that high-quality CD-like sound, from a file-based system? For that, many turn to ReQuest Audio. The company is best known for the striking Beast music server, but now it has taken the best elements of that powerful performer and made the Raptor. ReQuest’s Raptor is the company’s new entry level high-end music server; the result of combining knowledge and experience in High-End manufacturing and passion for music.
This elegant piece of high-end technology has a stable and zero-resonance chassis fully made out of high-grade aluminium. Each of the main components of the server has its own dedicated sealed enclosure to prevent any interference and guarantees a perfect protection from distortions. The signal and wiring-loom paths are fully-optimised and the main subsystems are located inside sealed enclosures.
Like the Beast, Raptor’s operating system, control software, and library software are all Linux-based and written by ReQuest’s engineers over the last 16 years. For the metadata, the server is connected to the Gracenote’s licensed database library, populating every recording with the maximum information, cover art, and more. This, and many other parameters of operation and control, is handled on the dedicated web-page based app originally developed for the Beast.
ReQuest’s Raptor comes with its dedicated integrated ripping station and special ripping software, and is available with internal storage of 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB using either SSD or HDD drives. When adding a NAS drive to the system it is possible to add as much external storage as needed. ReQuest’s own software allows you to decide whether new media files are stored internally or externally. For example, you could store high-end recordings (up to DSD512 or 32bit, 384kHz FLAC) on the internal SSD and standard quality files on a separate external NAS drive elsewhere on the network.
Set-up and installation is easy, especially as ReQuest also developed its own ARQ Link, which provides daily reporting from each ReQuest Audio product for support, and also allows a user travelling anywhere in the world to access the Raptor from their computer and add music or edit metadata on your server from the comfort of your hotel room. It can also create MP3 files to be played anywhere in the world.