By Lam Seng Fatt
Before I continue with this review, I have to introduce the LEEDH Processing lossless volume control because I think it is this feature that makes the Lumin P1 jump from being just another good component in its price range to something really outstanding.
LEEDH Processing is an innovation of Gilles Millot of Acoustical Beauty, a French manufacturer of high-end loudspeakers. One of the first high-end companies to use the LEEDH lossless digital volume control is Soulution, whose products cost a fortune.
How does it work? From the LEEDH website: “Some digital processing increases the necessary number of bits for coding the processed signal. So this number of bits can exceed the limit of the DAC conversion, requiring a truncation of the signal. Indeed this truncation destroys part of the information contained in the signal.”
From the Lumin website: “The LEEDH Processing principle consists of minimizing the number of additional bits, in order to reduce or to eliminate the truncation-related loss of information.
“(It is) an innovative new digital volume adjustment algorithm that eliminates rounding errors, modifies the digital signal amplitude exactly, without any changes to its shape and free from any kind of information loss, uses more efficient whole number volume values to maintain audio information integrity during subsequent DAC conversion, has low processing power requirements to free up CPU resources, removes need for a pre-amplifier in more systems and improves the quality of the signal into a Lumin amp.”
Indeed, the LEEDH Processing digital lossless volume control is the best digital volume control I have heard so far and renders a preamp redundant, which works out to be more savings for the owner.
The Lumin P1 features a dual mono design to maximise channel separation and has two ESS Sabre ES9028PRO DACs in mono mode with a Femto Clock System with precision FPGA distribution. Much attention has also been paid to the power supply which features an integrated dual-toroidal linear power supply and an all-in-one chassis.
There are nine digital and analogue inputs. The USB digital audio input and output supports up to Native DSD512 and PCM 384. The SPDIF and AES inputs support up to 192/24 and DoP while the HDMI 2.0 input supports 4K passthrough with ARC support. To complete the list of features and functions on offer, the Lumin P1 is a full MQA decoder.
Since Lumin recommends using the balanced connections, I used two pairs of XLR interconnects — the Oyaide QAC 212-R and Audience AU24 SX. Unlike the Burson Audio Conductor 3XGT (see https://www.av2day.com/2022/12/burson-audio-conductor-3xgt-well-groomed-and-polite-performer/), the Lumin P1 sounded better with the Oyaide QAC 212-R and I used that for the rest of the listening sessions.
I streamed music from TIDAL exclusively and connected it this way — a Cat 8 ethernet cable from wi-fi router to the Silent Angel Bonn N8 network switch with iFi iPower X and Wireworld Starlight 8 ethernet cable to the Lumin P1. (Update 10/1/2023) I left out the fact that the Lumin P1 also offers a Fibre Network input on top of the usual RJ45 input. It is the first component I have reviewed that offers such a connection. I jumped into the rabbit hole of Fibre Networks and I will detail my experience in the next post.
Since it was the Christmas season, I listened to a lot of Christmas albums and especially nice was the album by Pentatonix.
The sound quality of the Lumin P1 was fantastic and it sounded just as good, if not better, than a DAC that I heard recently that costs two to three times more. At its price of RM45,500, it is definitely a best buy for those who can afford it.
The soundstage is huge in all dimensions of width, height and depth. The depth was most impressive and the layering of images was very good.
The images were very well defined and there was no ‘smearing’ of the images. For example, there was a Diana Krall song with the piano placed slightly to the right of centre and the piano notes were not overblown. With many other DACs, the piano notes would sound bigger and ‘cross over’ to the other side of the soundstage and smear the other instruments. With the Lumin, each instrument and singer occupies its or his/her own space.
I also noted that the bass was always rendered full and tight in a satisfying manner, depending of course on the quality of the recording. All the time the bass guitar and bass drum had just enough slam and punch.
If I think so highly of the Lumin P1 streamer/DAC/preamp, why do I say it is “almost perfect”? Sigh…if only it has a headphone amp feature…then it would be a perfect 10 in my book.
The Lumin P1 is available from Statement Systems at Jaya One, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. For more details, contact Terry at 012-4733005.