HiFi Rose - Digital Streamer Product Range

HiFi Rose are by no means a new player to the market - but they are relatively new to the UK.

Our distributor (Henley Audio) have brought on a number of key brands to the UK market through select dealers in the past (such as Pro-Ject Audio, Unison Research, KLIPSCH etc) and spotted this South Korean brand that were delivering an exceptionally stunning product to the rest of the world. 

Yorkshire AV are one of a select number of dealers across the UK to represent the brand and we're doing so seriously. In our showroom, you'll find each of the three units plus the CD drive (RSA780) that has recently been released. We've spent hours listening to each of the products since their UK debut and have gotten to know the ins and the outs of the entire range.

We thought a blog post may be a good idea to introduce the concept, the range, the benefits / considerations when bringing something like this into your system.

The Range

There are currently 3 main units within the UK market. Those are:

RS150 / RS150b - the flagship unit that retails at £3899.00 and is a digital pre-amp, streamer and DAC.

There are two variants here - the RS150 (currently available in silver) is the Gen 1 variant. The RS150b is the Gen2 variant (currently available in black).

The new variant has been released due to a component change - namely the DAC chipset. This is due to the original unit utilising the AK 4499EQ chip which is no longer available because of a signiciant fire at the AK factory in Japan. As such, HiFi Rose are transitioning over to the popular ESS Sabre ES9038PRO DAC.

The table below highlights the only differences:

Features

RS150B

RS150

DAC Chip

ESS Technology, SABRE ES9038PRO Asahi Kasei VERITA AK4499EQ

Output Level

6.5Vrms (Balanced)
2.2Vrms (Unbalanced)
9.0Vrms (Balanced), 4.5Vrms (Unbalanced)

THD

0.0002% (Balanced, 1KHz 6.5Vrms)
0.0003% (Unbalanced, 1KHz 2.2Vrms)
0.0002%(Balanced,1KHz 9.0Vrms)
0.0003%(Unbalanced,1KHz 4.5Vrms)

THD + N

0.0003%(Balanced, 1KHz 6.5Vrms)
0.0004%(Unbalanced,1KHz 2.2Vrms)
0.0003%(Balanced, 1KHz 9.0Vrms)
0.0005%(Unbalanced,1KHz 4.5Vrms)

IMD

-103dB (Balanced), 118dB (Unbalanced)
SMPTE 4:1, 60Hz:7kHz
-101dB (Balanced), -100dB (Unbalanced)
SMPTE 4:1, 60Hz:7kHz

Signal to Noise Ratio

121dB (Balanced),118dB (Unbalanced)
A-wt
120dB (Balanced), 117dB (Unbalanced)
A-wt

Dynamic Range

Max 132 dB (CCITT filter) Max 132dB (CCITT filter)

Stereo Crosstalk

Max -138dB, 20-20kHz Max -138dB, 20-20kHz

Output Frequency Response

20Hz to 20,000(+/-0.5dB) 20Hz to 20,000 (+/-0.5dB)

Output Impedance

50Ω 100Ω


The next unit is the RS250 - also a digital pre-amp, streamer and DAC. This retails at £1949.00.

And finally, there is the RS201e - an integrated amplifier (2x50W), streamer and DAC with pre-outs. This retails at £1749.00.

Common Features

All of the units are similar in that they're based on a custom (RoseOS) Android 7.0 operating system - all having the exact same look and feel when it comes to menu navigation and settings. This makes transitioning between devices an absolute walk in the park: you get used to one, you get used to them all!

Each has native support for TIDAL and QOBUZ, with the units also supporting MQA. There is support for Airplay 2 and Bluetooth (though there are no extensions available for this). They also support Spotify Connect and VLC streaming plus some other great apps such as RoseTube - a cut down version of YouTube that allows you to search HD content on the net (music videos, live concerts) and play this back through the DAC in hi-resolution quality.

They all support CD ripping / CD playback with an optional Rose RSA780 CD unit and all can accept external storage (RS150 and RS250 via SSD or USB and the RS201e via USB only). This means local libraries can soon be created as well as playlists.

There's also digital radio, VU meters and various digital clocks. 

Plug in a 4K TV and enjoy 4K60FPS output of album artwork or video (you choose!) - this is a really great feature as despite the screens being lovely and big, sharp and readable, it's also nice to have your album artwork out on display too!

Each supprt WiFi (dual band) and ethernet for more reliable connectivity.

The RS201e and the RS250 share the same chassis dimensions - the only notable difference from the front is the volume control. The RS250 has a rotary knob whereas the RS201e (amplifier version) has a muilti-fundtion jotstick (up, down and press). These two units are narrower / shorter than the RS150.

RS250:

278 x 202 x 76 mm @ 3.1kg

 

RS201e:

278 x 202 x 76 mm @ 2.3kg

 

RS150b:

500 x 400 x 200 mm @ 13.1kg

 

Here the RS150b and below, the RS250.

 Inputs and Outputs

The RS150 and RS150b have identical backplates that feature:

  • AES/EBU in/out
  • ARC in
  • I2S out
  • USB Audio in
  • Coax in/out
  • Optical in/out
  • Unbalanced RCA out
  • Balanced XLR out
  • HDMI out
  • USB 3.0 x 2

Interfaces are all assignable and can be activated / deactived (backplane) through the intuitve connections manager. Here you can also change items such as variable volume output (pre-amp) or fixed volume output (source), clock rates, DSD formats, balanced/unbalanced voltage output etc

You also have the option to scan your network for DLNA/music servers. This is very straight forward - once complete, you can login to each device/share with different credentials, create a database and enjoy your own locally stored FLAC in the same library as any ripped music too. We've found this to be fast, effortless and reliable too. 

We've demo'd the units and have them setup with a number of different combinations. Connecting the RS150/RS250 to:

  • power amps
  • integrated amps
  • DACS
  • Active speakers
  • Headphone amps

The RS201e we've experimented with a large range of bookshelf and floor standing speakes from ELAC, DALI, Monitor Audio and Wharfedale - none of which stressing the unit out in terms of peak output, distrorition and so on.

Below - a video of some of the display and audio settings that can be customised.

 

App support

The HifiRose App is available on Android and Apple IOS. It's incredibly stable but doesn't provide you with every single function that's available via the touch screen (i.e. settings, album artwork in some circumstances) though services such as TIDAL feel very familiar and the app has done a good job at integrating the music services. 

HiFi Rose are committed to improving on the user experience - with more features and fixes coming out regularly which is fantastic to see. The software is certainly capable to host other apps natively - it's just a case of raising the demand into the developers.

ROON

All of the devices are ROON ready. From our ROON core, we can see and stream easily to each device. Similar to Airplay, album artwork and XML data is passed to the unit and each displays your album artwork and details accurately.

HiFi Rose RS150 vs RS250

One question we're asked regularly - other than the screen size, is the RS150 really worth almost double?

The answer to that is: it depends. And it's a vague response based on the current setup, if the equipment can take the benefit of features such as AES in/out, XLR out etc and if the playback equipment (speakers, interconnects) can equally articulate the differentiation. If money is no object - go for the RS150 every time. It's built incredibly well - an amazing power suppy, superior chipset, all the features the RS250 has and then many more too means even if the system can't handle the outputs today, it may be able to in the future.

That said - if you're upgrading from something such as a Bluesound Node or other small form streamer, the RS250 will feel like a significant step up audibly.

 

Features

RS150B

RS250

Price

£3899.00 £1949.00

Inputs

Optical x 1, COAX x 1, Line-IN x 1, AES/EBU x 1, HDMI ARC x 1, USB DAC x 1 Line Input x 1, Optical In x 1, COAX x 1, USB Audio In x1

Outputs

Optical x 1, COAX x 1, Pre-OUT (Balanced x 1, Unbalanced x 1), I2S-DVI x 1,I2S-RJ45 x 1, AES/EBU x 1 PreAmp Out (Unbalanced RCA) x 1, Optical Out x 1, COAX x 1, USB Audio Out x1,
Headphone Out x1

CODECS

SWAV, FLAC, AIFF, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, DFF, DSF, AAC, CDA, AMR, APE, EC3, E-EC3, MID, MPL, MP2, MPC, MPGA, M4A PCM : 8KHz~384KHz(8/16/24/32bit per Sample)
Native DSD: DSD64(2.8MHz)/DSD128(5.6MHz)/DSD256(11.2MHz)/ DSD512(22.5792Mhz
WAV, FLAC, ALAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, DFF, DSF, AAC, CDA, AMR, APE, EC3,
E-EC3, MID, MPL, MP2, MPC, MPGA, M4A, AIFF
PCM: 8kHz~768kHz (8/16/24/32bit per Sample)
Native DSD: DSD64(2.8MHz)/DSD128(5.6MHz)/DSD256(11.2MHz)/ DSD512(22.4MHz)

Display

14.9-inch-Wide HD IPS Touch Screen LCD 8.8 inch TFT LCD & Capacitive Touch Screen (MIPI-DSI)

CPU

Hexa Core CPU
Dual-core Cortex-A72 up to 1.8GHz
Quad-core Cortex-A53 up to 1.4GHz
Hexa Core CPU
Dual-core Cortex-A72 up to 1.8GHz
Quad-core Cortex-A53 up to 1.4GHz

DAC

ESS Sabre ES9038PRO
Resolution : 32-bit
Sampling Rate : 8 to 768kHz
Native DSD Support : 22.5792Mhz ( DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, DSD512 )
THD: 0.0002% (Balanced @ 1kHz, 6.5V RMS)
THD + N: 0.0004% (Balanced @ 1kHz, 6.5V RMS)
Inter-Modulation Distortion: -103dB
Signal to Noise Ration: 121dB (Balanced, A-weighted)
Dynamic Range: Max. 132dB
ES9038 Q2M(ESS) X 1 (Single Stereo Design)

 

Conclusion

The range is well thought out, incredibly well built and not gimmicky. The soujd signature on the RS150b is genuinely impressive - width, depth, height, dyanmics, noise floor - it's all where you'd expect a streamer at this level to perform. It's crystal clear and reliable - and for that, we cannot fault it.

It's a same story for the RS250 and the RS201e - the units themselves just simply work. We've not had a failure, crash or reset and they've all been run hard.

There are quirks that need to be ironed out - namely things such as certain functions being available on the touchscreen only, album artwork not always showing from local libraries and certain apps not being natively supported yet. But that said - we know that the roadmap is growing extensively, and already the units have had significant software updates that have proven to massively improve the user experience end to end. 

We're delighted to have the brand on board and we welcome any demo in our showroom.

You can view the range online here.