While the purist approach (Fidata direct to Networked DAC) is the right way to do things, I also used the Fidata in my preferred streaming set-up, that is taking the ethernet output into an AURALiC ARIES G1 streamer prior to passing it onto the DAC. This proved equally enthralling with Radiohead’s ‘Decks Dark’ [A Moon Shaped Pool, XL] delivering an open and nuanced soundstage full of rippling reverb thanks to strong low level resolution from the server. When the vocals kick in there’s a depth of tone to the sound that allows easier lyrical comprehension, which with a mumbler like Thom Yorke is a true boon. Likewise, the lack of distortion makes it very easy to turn the volume up and become immersed in the experience. I found Glenn Gould’s version of the Goldberg Variations [Columbia/Sony] on the drive and have to say that the Satie-esque fragility with which he played had a downtempo charm that I couldn’t resist; he makes the piece very much his own and every nuance is plain to hear.
Listening to the Fidata – especially in the most uncompromised, most direct ways – highlights the Japanese are eschewing the PC in an audio setting for a reason. HFAS1-XS20U server rips and plays your stored music exceptionally well, and if that means it should be unencumbered by demands for streaming services on purely sonic grounds, then so be it! Those who want to enjoy their digital music collections at an uncannily high level of resolution and musicality will find an awful lot to like about this beautifully executed and highly refined server.
Type: Solid-state music server with SSD storage
Storage: 2TB SSD hard drive
Network connection: RJ45 Ethernet
Digital Outputs: RJ45 Ethernet direct, USB 2.0
Back up connection: USB 2.0
Formats supported: WAV, MP3, WMA, M4A, M4B, OGG, FLAC, AAC, MP2, AC3, MPA, AIF, AIFF, DFF, DSF
CD rip format: N/A
Streaming services supported: None
User Interface: Fidata Music app
Other Features: UPnP server, DLNA 1.5 compatible
Dimensions (H×W×D): 65 × 350 × 350mm
Manufacturer: IO Data
Distributor: Select Audio
Tel: +44(0)1900 601954