LUMIN M1 STREAMING AMPLIFIER REVIEW
Lumin are listed on Roon’s partner page, but with that ever frustrating asterisk indicating ‘Coming Soon’.
In the meantime, and as mentioned earlier, the M1 is an AirPlay device and so can be used with a Roon core on your network (though not the ideal way of using Roon).
I engaged it, and lost the usual detailed display and instead got the Lumin name encircled by an AirPlay logo.
You can approach this usage in one of two ways; you could set the Lumin volume to the MAXIMUM you would be comfortable with and use the Roon Zone volume to adjust, or keep the Roon output at 100% and then adjust the Lumin volume either manually or via the Lumin app.
Playing back Joe Pug’s (a favourite folk/Americana singer) ‘Hymn #35’ from his ‘Nation of Heat’ EP, I did a play-by-play comparison.
The Roon output via AirPlay was good, or at least I thought so until I played back the same track natively via the M1. This was a definitively better presentation, more detail, space and clarity. No AirPlay for me then!
Upon seeking further clarification from Lumin regarding Roon, this is what they had to say:
We are currently implementing the RoonReady feature. Unfortunately, we have other urgent projects so Roon development has been a bit delayed. Our current estimate is to release RoonReady by the end of 2016.
Good news for Roon fans and even better news for Lumin owners.
Now that I am a Roon convert, every other control app seems to be ‘just enough’ to get you going without offering anything more and the Lumin app is much the same.
Where Roon stands apart is it is striving to be more than just an app control, it wants to be an experience for the end user, and that is why you pay a premium for it.
The Lumin app is not bad, not by any means, it just doesn’t attempt to be better than anything else.
It’s easy to navigate, though some of the icons do take some getting used to.
The app control is reminiscent of the QAT MS6i I reviewed previously, albeit a touch better laid out.
The controller also seemed stable, not crashing once during use. It was quick and responsive too.
The phone version didn’t seem to lose out compared to the tablet version either, everything was still accessible and the Lumin designers have tried to keep it as similar as possible in structure and functionality with the tablet version.
Given the design focus of the Lumin M1, I never felt as though there was any obvious weakness.
You could argue that a lack of inputs could be one, but given that this was designed to be a streamer that could connect directly to speakers, is it really a drawback?
The app control could be better, but it isn't worse than anything from any of the major streaming players. If you can justify the expense, once Lumin and Roon work seamlessly, this would be a moot point anyway.
I actually struggled to find fault with the Lumin M1, it does everything it has set out to with aplomb.
I find myself struggling to let go of the Lumin M1. Yet let it go I must, save having my head on the chopping block for buying yet another audio component.
It’s a stunning looking piece of equipment that has the performance to match.
I loved the convenience of being able to activate it from my phone as soon as I rose from sleep, and I was constantly blown away by how competently it drove my ELAC speakers, no easy feat.
If I were to set up a third (yes, you heard me) system somewhere around the house, I would be giving the M1 some serious consideration.
If you’re fed up of the vinyl resurgence, or have ripped all your CDs and palmed the rest off to St. Vinnies and you want music streaming done well, you would be remiss to not take a look at the Lumin M1.
Excellent product and wholeheartedly recommended.
The Lumin M1 is available now for $3,290 RRP and distributed by Audio Magic.
Lover of Hi-Fi, Music and Recording Engineering. I particularly like the affordable and value-packed products; finding that diamond in the rough.
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