High Quality Roon Playback with our Fanless Mini PC

Roon has been a very capable streaming service that provides extremely high-quality control and output, especially when using Tidal (or Qobuz if one uses it through VPN in Singapore). However, it may seem a daunting task in setting a Roon Server for some without the initial dedication of time and technical knowledge, as it involves installing the right stuff to get the ecosystem working. It also requires a computer as the brain (we called that the Server or Core, used interchangeably, more about that later), which upon knowing that a ‘computer’ is needed it will immediately get users to associate that with the bulky desktop PC setting. Understandably, that will definitely be a hassle IF that was the case. Luckily it is not.

Sign up Roon here with this referral link and we both get extra 30 days!


Below holds a large chunk of info, where they are also summarised in point forms at the end here you can skip to directly if you want

Here is the introductory video on how Roon works:

Essentially we can break down Roon ecosystem into Core, Bridge and Remote.

Simply, a Roon Core is the ‘base’ Roon has to be installed in. Only Windows, Mac, Linux and NAS (because NAS uses Linux distro as the OS) can be installed with Roon Core. The Core needs the processing power for some DSP and filters to run effectively.

As mentioned earlier, we use server or core interchangeably, but there is still a fundamental difference. Roon Core mainly refers to Windows and Mac installation because such installations come with a GUI, or graphical user interface. It makes setting up a breeze just like using any software programmes in Windows or Mac settings, by just double-clicking the setup file/app.

Roon server is often mentioned with Linux and NAS installation because we install the Roon on such platforms without a GUI. Configuring the settings are easily done in Roon Remote, which we will explain in a while, so there is really no fear of setting things in codes. Installation takes a little bit of know-how as it involves using Terminal commands to install. Fret not, however, as QA will handle that installation in the Mini PC for users of Roon to be able to use it instantly and easily.

But first, we have to justify our position of using a Roon Server in a Linux environment, and there are many good reasons for that. 

First of all, Linux is very light in operation. It does not use up that much memory or hard disk space like a Windows or Mac OS – ideally, we want the environment where Roon is being run to be as cluttered-free and swift in operation as much as possible. Linux is really the best choice. Ubuntu, the Linux OS we use, is probably one of the largest and most stable, if not the largest and most stable, build of Linux. It is highly supported by many audiophile programmes so they are definitely bound to work without any guesswork. And although Ubuntu is so established, it still allows the installation of a lite version that really runs the bare bones of Ubuntu while reserving the rest of the resources firmly for audio applications usage. QA cannot recommend it highly enough. Really.

Secondly, a Roon server installed in Linux environment runs in the background, automatically started in every boot up (and the boot up is fairly quick), this allows  Roonserver in Linux to run in ‘headless’ mode – a mode where a display monitor is not even required to be connected to the Mini PC. Purely from a Roon server basis, upon getting the Mini PC from us, one could actually just connect it to a power source and an ethernet network, and the Roon ecosystem can start. With a Roon remote, as long as they are in the same network, we can easily find this server, point to it, log in to your Roon account, and start setting it up.

One may worry do we ever need to connect the Mini PC to a display monitor to maintain the Linux system or update the Roon Server. And that is the third reason why a Roon server in Linux is so preferred. Crucial updates of Linux Ubuntu are installed automatically, optional ones are well, optional, so it does not really matter if they are updated or not. The latest Ubuntu LTS (long-term release) can last and will be supported until 2027. One could do well to connect to a monitor every now and then perhaps to do some maintenance updates, but not doing that will have absolutely no effects on the quality of sound coming out of it. But a major maintenance in a year or two is definitely not too bad after all, compared to say using a Windows environment where the updates can sometimes be really problematic, breaking the system in some worse-case scenarios. The greatest news is, Roon Server updates are done through the Roon remote, so that really is a handy convenience, and as far as Roon Server users are concerned, that is really a huge blessing.

Above: Linux Ubuntu is incredibly light and stable as an OS for Roon.

Roon Server can be connected directly to DACs, most often with USB cables. Since they are computer OS-based, it is akin to connecting DAC directly to a computer for audio playback. Now, if some are really intending to use a desktop PC to use as Roon Core, it may not be possible to sit the large footprint of a computer beside or within the audio/hifi system, especially if they are in different rooms. This is where Roon Bridge comes in.

Roon Bridge is a relatively straightforward device that bridges the Core in one space to the DAC of another space. It ‘extends’ the Core to right within where the DAC is, through wireless or wired ethernet, as long as they are in the same network. It does not need a high computing capability like a Core, since all it does is to ‘bridge’ the signal path, so it can really be a low-powered or low-spec computer like an old laptop or Mac mini for example. It can run on Linux as well, so for Roon Bridge, a Raspberry Pi is fully usable. The small footprint, being easily set up and a fast bootup with Ropieee flashed to it makes the RPI one of the best choices* as a Roon Bridge.

** A Roon Server cannot be installed on a RPI because the ARM processor chip used in RPI is not supported. Only Roon Bridge can be installed on a RPI.

Above: RoPieee is a fantastic RoonBridge. However, the increasing high cost of RPI lowers the worth of using RPI as a Bridge.

So with the flexibility of the Roon Bridge, one could easily expand the playback of one single Roon Core/Server into different playback areas we called zones. Say you have one listening setup in the main room and a secondary listening area in the study, two separate Roon Bridges set up and connected to the DAC of each room will now allow you to listen in two different spaces SEPARATELY on another, playing different music altogether. This multizone playback is one amazing feature of Roon and the reason why Core/Server needs processing power.

And this where Roon Remote comes in. Roon Remote is essentially an interface through the app where your control and make the various settings of the Roon options and configuration from Android or Apple IOS devices. So a Remote with the app installed in one’s phone or tablet allows the control and playback right from the listening position, without always requiring users to get up to the computer for access and navigations if the computer is located somewhere away from the listening area.

In the example of multizone playback, two users can install the Roon Remote app on their mobile devices or tablets and they can control the playback individually from their own spot.

Upon knowing how the software ecosystem works now, we need to know how best the hardware parts can be implemented into the entire chain. As mentioned earlier, the use of a desktop computer is extremely inflexible in running a Roon core due to its size and having a rather specific placement. In QA opinion, a desktop computer has no place in a hifi setup with Roon not only because Roon is meant to be liberating which desktop is not, but because desktop is also noisy.

Desktop computers mostly run with a couple of fans to cool and if one chooses liquid-cooling system it only adds unnecessary cost. The fan will inherently introduce noise into the signal of the entire audio chain as well. Many components in a desktop setup are mostly not needed for audio playback too, so the graphic card portion can be totally eliminated, allowing us to downsize that physical part. Granted some users may wish to go all the way in utilising the graphical processing in audio playback through CUDA offload, that is really another discussion we will not go into.

And to be totally honest, contrary to many beliefs, we do not really need high-performance cores of CPU to really run Roon, IF, playing directly of just PCM and DSD64 WITHOUT upsampling is the only aim. A dual-core Intel Celeron from 6-7 years ago can run Roon with playback of Tidal as they are, in perfectly fine performance, with CPU processing hardly maxing out over 60% in both cores. Intel i3 is definitely NOT the minimum hardware requirement to run Roon.

Working with these parameters, QA offering of a Mini PC with Intel N100 as the processor is an excellent introduction to computer audio playback without all the shackles a desktop computer will bring. Let us reiterate again this is not even a compromise in moving away from a desktop setup – it is an upgrade. 

The small-size form factor allows portability, meaning it could be situated anywhere now, even right in the mix of the hifi equipment close to the DAC. It is fanless, so not only is the noise from a cooling fan will never be an issue, it also will provide the best possible sound coming out from a computer. This is a significant feature why a fanless Mini PC can sound much better than a fan-cooled counterpart. Not many CPU can run in a fanless configuration, Intel Alder Lake N100 is one suitable CPU. 

Admittedly a fanless Mini PC often uses lower-powered CPU, but that doesn’t mean it is inadequate to run a Roon server. Intel N100 Alder Lake is a 12th Generation CPU chip released in early 2023 that is efficient in its performance with 4 efficient cores that adjust the processing speed accordingly to the load of the tasks. Again, if one is running purely just Roon with Tidal or DSD WITHOUT upsampling, the Intel N100 is more than enough. 

Lastly, it is modular. We can upgrade the memory RAM sticks or M2 NVME SSD hard drive as and when needed. Now with this aspect, and considering the overall performance it can provide, the versatility is so high for the price that from QA point of view, a Mini PC is even more efficient in being used as a Roon Bridge now than using a RPI 4. With the current price surge and shortage of the RPI 4, a slight top-up to a Mini PC is just so much worthier, which in any given time, it could be easily converted to a Roon Core/Server, HTPC, or even a computer. Some of these are what RPI 4 is capable but not as flexible in handling. A change of SSD within the Mini PC and one could easily boot it up into any OS to use as a computer!

For those who are really into scaling the last bit of fidelity in upsamling, with HQPlayer for example, a more powerful processor in the form of i5 and i7 CPU are available too. These higher-spec of processors draws higher power and thus generating more heat, so a fan is most often needed to cool the chips. But here we are using a larger surface area of metal chassis as a form of a giant heatsink to draw the heat away from our Intel i5 and i7 11th Generation CPU of Mini PC, so all the above advantages of Intel N100 Mini PC still apply, but now with extra processing juice. They will be listed soon.

An i5 will be a good middle ground if one thinks the extra speed an i5 provides over the N100 is worth paying for, especially with the thinking ahead that upsampling may be experimented with in the future. Component wise, RAM sticks and SSD are also better in spec in the i5 and i7 setup than the N100, since the former can make use of the extra bump in speed of components in higher efficiency.

Be rest assured the default components you are getting in these packages are of reputable brands that promised stability and speed. Depending on budget and needs, configurations range from SK Hynix to Crucial in memory modules, and Colorful to Crucial or even better, Western Digital Black in SSD – these are high quality branded PC internals that you wouldn’t even get in many Mini PCs which are priced higher.

For non-audiophiles who happened to chance upon this article, any one of the Mini PC can be used as a computer in its entirety as per any normal PC. If graphical processing like 3D-rendering and high graphic settings of gaming is not needed in your requirement, these Mini PCs are perfectly suitable to replace the big and chunky CPU of a desktop setup no absolute problem at all. Mount it behind a monitor and connect the keyboard and mouse with the 4 available USB ports, you are all set with a sleek computer setup for school and office use.


  • Roon is a very high quality music library and audio playback engine that integrates perfectly with Tidal and Qobuz.
  • Implementing Roon in a hifi setup is not difficult if the ecosystem is being understood in terms of software and hardware.
  • Brain of Roon is a Roon Core or Roon Server, both are the same, except a Core is installed in a Windows or Mac OS, so it comes with a GUI (Graphic User Interface), while a Server is installed in a Linux or NAS (also a linux environment).
  • Roon Core/Server needs CPU processing capability, so it cannot be installed in Raspeberry Pi (RPI)
  • Roon Core installation is easy, double click on the file in Windows or Mac. Roon Server installation involves running of scripts. QA will have that installed in the Mini PC.
  • Roon Server in Linux is preferred because:
    • Linux is very light in operation, uses less RAM and storage
    • Roon Server runs in the background automatically whenever Linux starts
    • Roon Server in Linux can run headless, meaning no monitor is needed to connect to it, just switched it on or off.
    • Linux updates itself automatically on crucial updates.
  • Roon Server can be updated with Roon Remote – another feature of being in headless mode.
  • Roon Bridge is a middle node to branch out Roon capability to DACs.
  • Multiple Roon Bridges can be placed in different location with different DACs, realising multizone playback of different music all from one Roon Core/Server.
  • Roon Bridge allows a Roon Core/Server no need to be within the hifi setup.
  • CPU processing capability is not mandatory for Roon Bridge, so it can be installed on RPI as an easy and effective Bridge.
  • Roon Remote is an app installed on mobile devices to control the settings configuration of Roon Core/Server and playback.
  • A desktop computer can easily be a Roon Core. But often it is big and cannot be placed in a hifi setup. Cooling fans in desktop system also will introduce noise into the signal of the audio chain.
  • A Mini PC strips off the nonessentials of bulky desktop PC, retaining just the important memory, storage and ethernet components important for computer audio playback.
  • Mini PC then allows portability, then it can be placed within a hifi setup, close to the DAC.
  • A fanless Mini PC further improves the sound, with no noise audible from listening position and no noise introduced into the signal.
  • Intel i3 has always been the recommended minimum requirement for Roon playback, fact is even a dual-core Intel Celeron date 6-7 years ago can run Roon perfectly fine, with CPU processing hardly maxing over 60% on Tidal/Qobuz or DSD files playback with no upsamplings.
  • So the entry config of the Mini PC introduced here that uses Intel N100, a 12th Generation CPU released in early 2023, is more than capable for Roon playback if upsampling is not required.
  • The higher choices of i5 and i7 will be suitable for users who may be or are intending to use upsampling like HQPlayer where higher CPU processing is required. CPU chips are still a very respectful 11th Generation Intel chips that can still last for many years to come, especially in a Linux setup.
  • Both of these lineups are portable, fanless and run headless, with Roon Server in Linux Ubuntu package pre-installed by QA. Users only need to switch it on, connect to the ethernet, have it in the same network of the Roon Remote app and access through that for configuration.
  • These Mini PCs are also modular, so they are easily upgraded to higher value of RAM or SSD according to one’s requirement.
  • With the N100 Mini PC package not too much in cost over an RPI 4 due to their consistently ongoing shortage and price surge, it is even more worthy to use that as a Roon Bridge if one needs to. Ultimately it has the flexibility to be usable in various functions as a Roon Core/Server, HTPC or in the case of not needed to serve its functions in audio, can even be booted into any OS since it is really a computer!

Sign up Roon here with this referral link and we both get extra 30 days!


Quartz Acoustic is now an Authorised Dealer for Holo Audio in Singapore

Hardly there is any product that can sell this well before it has even been listed. Owing to the overwhelmingly positive reviews, Holo Audio May did just that.

Holo Audio has made superbly excellent products that their DACs have garnered over thousands of fave and positive reviews from owners and reviewers worldwide. They are now synonymous with the level of high end and high performance with every ounce of value their products are worth.

This has definitely been an exciting progress for the business of QA to secure the dealership for Holo Audio in Singapore and regions, at the same time furnishing the customers here another excellent choice of options in DACs, especially when R2R is concerned.

Essentially the May DAC of Holo Audio is the flagship of the lineup and it does not really need much introduction because it is such a famed model of DAC. The product listing is here for order with the primary information together with links to some of the major review links attached. What comes below are really more of the technical stuffs of May, especially the L3/KTE, where Holo Audio tries to provide a detailed breakdown of the May’s capabilities.

The May is a DUAL mono DAC. so there is a dedicated DAC Module for each left and right channel. Each channel is individually powered by it’s dedicated O-type FLATWIRE transformer found in all three models. We have found after careful testing this new transformer type outperforms ALL transformers we have ever tested to this date. Near zero leakage, improved dynamics and overall spectacular performance. They are handmade for this DAC specifically and deliver world-class performance you would expect.

May DAC also has a new screen on the front that appears the same as the Spring 2 on initial glance. Font size is bigger than Spring 2 but smaller than Spring 1. CD track-time information is displayed when using S/PDIF inputs! This is done by extracting additional data from SPDIF. This a part of CD red book standard but nobody notices this and often forgets this cool feature or doesn’t know how to extract the data! This will lead a fashion for other DAC developer to support this feature. Customers will surely love this subtle feature. The screen is much better contrast and viewing angles and one of the first things one may notice.

The May also has a front power button now! It’s been a request by many customers and gone are the days of a good old reach around to get the DAC to be turned on. As mentioned before above, the DAC has a soft start circuit. So it takes a moment for it to charge up and pull power without blowing the fuse. It actually uses the same exact value of fuse that our Spring 1 and Spring 2 has but with two transformers in this implementation. Without this soft start, one being a blown fuse can occur from power surge, and there could also be pop noises happening. No chance of these things to happen now as we have carefully designed the circuit to be a zero-compromise design.

DAC “May” is the design of a new generation, it’s HoloAudio’s finest technology all designed by Jeff Zhu, the engineer behind these great products. It’s a full discrete R2R type of audio decoder and does not have off the shelf-DAC chip! This is a bespoke custom-designed core DUAL MONO DAC modules that are truly a breakthrough with technology for any DAC chip today. The May is here to achieve new heights, new dynamics and simply a full spectrum of audio to please the aural senses.

May DAC was carefully implemented with some of the finest components.

More about the May DAC

  • The new generation of linear compensation technology solves the accuracy errors caused by resistor tolerance, after compensation, reaching a variance of 0.00005% tolerance accuracy.
  • Proprietary anti-jitter technology that provides a full amplitude of anti-jitter without increasing noise floor and other undesirable effects.
  • Based on this new generation of technology May “梅” can provide a SINAD of >115dB and a dynamic range of >130dB, which represents the performance limit reached by today’s most advanced R2R architecture DAC.
  • Using the ultimate performance of PLL+FIFO technology, provides 0.1Hz Third-Order low-pass ability to inhibit jitter. It also uses a high-performance femtosecond VCXO as the PLL clock source. Under the premise of being almost immune to the front-end jitter, it can also lock up to 1.5us-2us @ 1KHz signal with high jitter. (It can lock up to 1.5us-2us @ 1kHz signal with high jitter on the premise of almost being immune to front-end jitter).
  • Dual Mono DAC L/R channels are independently powered by their own dedicated transformer in the PSU chassis. This provides better channel separation and more accurate sound stage.
  • Official Support USB and I2S up to DSD1024 and PCM1.536MHz sample rate.
  • The USB interface uses proprietary firmware with ultra-low latency, a highly reliable data transmission, ideal USB eye pattern measurements that contributes to 2-4 times higher performance than official firmware.
  • Two sets of independent HDMI-I2S input interfaces are provided, and each set of I2S has a four-way independent circuit, as opposed to standard LVDS chip, making I2S clock signals subject to lower interference and lower jitter. In addition, each group of I2S inputs can be configured with specific pinout configuration, making it compatible with most of the HDMI-I2S digital devices on the market.

Technical information about May custom PLL circuit

Now the May is implemented with femto clocks, and also new discrete ultra high performance voltage regulators. It has an advanced PLL (phase lock loop) circuit that is completely custom built for ultra high performance anti jitter performance. Even the highest levels of jitter are near eliminated which delivers world class performance. Using Crystek VXCO clocks that will take any incoming digital signal and reclock it to perfection! This feature can be enabled or disabled to test and prove it’s performance is truly spectacular. Note: this is NOT an off the shelf PLL, but it’s truly the most powerful PLL found in a DAC. Or at least to our knowledge it’s the most powerful PLL ever. S/PDIF usually is a not a good protocol because it’s very old and dated! It was designed in 70s together with CD with Sony and Philips. As you may know, It encodes the data signal together with clock signal so it can be transferred by a one-core cable. It makes the cable easy to source, but to encode the data to clock at the transmit side and decode the clock from data at the receiving side, creates jitter. Toslink is a fiber glass version of S/PDIF. So Toslink adds even more jitter while doing electronic to photon and photon to electronic translation. So people will see clearly that I2S is usually better than S/PDIF because I2S has 4 separate signal, 3 clocks 1 data. So it does not have encoding-decoding stuff and thus having a better jitter performance. This is important to know.

A common technique to improve the clock signal from SPDIF is PLL. A PLL is to use a local clock generator to track the source clock. You know jitter is actually a time deviation problem. For example, the first period frequency is 44101Hz and the following second period is 44099Hz. Thus it has 2/44100 jitter. A PLL is to smooth the time deviation of clock. So after the PLL, it can be 44100.9-44099.1(this is a weak/poor performing PLL). Or it can be 44100.1 – 44099.9 (this is a strong performance PLL). Usually, a S/PDIF chip, like AK4118A, has an internal PLL. AK4118A is good chip compared to other S/PDIF receiver chip and it marks 50ps jitter. It’s the best we can get from a commercial chip. But it’s far from ideal, and definitely not enough for a HiFi standard we are implementing in the May DAC. So we need a significantly stronger performing PLL. If the PLL is strong enough, it can smooth the 44101-44009 source clock to 44100.00001-44009.99999(very close to ideal 44100-44100)

But to make a stronger PLL is not easy, it’s actually incredibly difficult. First you need a powerful local clock source. A fixed clock can’t be used because it need to be adjusted to follow source clock rate. A common solution to use a VCO (voltage controlled oscillator). VCO is made by resistors, capacitors and inductors. The cost is low but performance is not so great. So, a better solution is to use VCXO(Voltage controlled crystal oscillator), it uses crystal as oscillator and crystal is a far better oscillator. The VCXO we used in May is Crystek’s CVHD-957. This the best VCXO we can get now.

The second hard problem is, the data need to be synchronized with clock. For example, the source has 44101-44099 clock from S/PDIF and that also means it has 44101 samples in first period and 44099 samples in second period. So a good local 44100-44100 clock will have to throw away one sample in first period and lack one sample in second period. An easy fix to it is to use digital filter to smooth the data and it calls ASRC, but ASRC actually modified the data. So after ASRC, the data is modified thus not bit perfect anymore. And digital filter can also generate time domain problems like ringing artifacts. So, a digital filter is not a good way to solve this problem, or you can say, it solves a problem by introducing another problem.

May uses a fifo buffer to store the extra one sample in first period and release it in second period. So it has no harm to data. The difficulty for this design is how to manage fifo buffer. It can be a problem when you have a long-term jitter. And long-term jitter is actually called low frequency phase noise in a frequency domain point of view. To explain it easily, let’s take a example, a long term jitter can be like this, 44101-44102-44103-44104-44105-44104-44103-44102-44101-44100-44099-44098-44097-44096-44095-44096-44097-44098-44099-44100. So you see, it will have 25 extra samples in first ten periods, so the fifo buffer need to able store enough of them and release it in next 10 periods.

So, as a result, May’s PLL’s corner frequency is set to 0.05-0.1Hz in 3-orders. Than means it can reduce a 10s long term jitter by 90%, 1s period jitter by 99%, 0.1s period jitter by 99.9%. That maybe the most powerful PLL in this industry. And the most important is, it won’t lose data, it can still lock the source while huge jitter comes in. When you compared other similar PLL in the industry, you can see it simply unlocks the signal when huge jitter comes in. So, in that way, it simply stops you from listening, it tells you there is a problem but does not solve it. Compared to other competitors PLL. They won’t remove the jitter so clean, and simply unlock the signal for more than 10ns jitters.

May’s input and output interface:

  • Digital input interface includes
  • Enhanced USB (ground isolation) + Titanis 2.0 circuit + KYCON industrial High retention USB Connector (improved impedance spec) – Proprietary inhouse firmware w/ ultra low latency performance. Ultra low noise voltage regulation
  • RCA coaxial
  • BNC coaxial
  • optical fiber/Toslink
  • I2S (HDMI) – improved ultra high performance 4way custom circuit (NOT traditional LVDS chip anymore) backwards compatible
  • I2S-2 (HDMI) – improved ultra high performance 4way custom circuit (NOT traditional LVDS chip anymore) backwards compatible
  • All digital input interface supports DSD (DOP mode).
  • Analog Output interface: single-ended, balanced.

May DAC R2R structure and design + Input/output Stage

Modern and popular delta-sigma type DAC differs from R2R within one clock analog value can recover a sampling point, and the delta-sigma is used to represent an analog signal after passing through oversampling and high-speed digital switching 0 and 1. In comparison, the conversion structure of R2R is most direct and pure, but delta-sigma is essentially a digital chip, high-speed digital signals 0 and 1 switch to the low-pass filter to process the analog signal and this process is prone to various problems, produce digital sound (digititus) and also in the super-sampling process will inevitably cause some ringing and distortion. But DAC R2R structure requires high-precision resistor network which the cost can be very expensive. And the digital delta-sigma DAC chip in comparison is very low cost.

Patented R2R technology. 

This is the first discrete DAC that has Linear compensation and this allows for ultimate music reproduction accuracy. Dual R2R ladder network with advanced architecture for PCM, and Dual Resistor Ladder network with optimized architecture for DSD!

I/O stages: There is an Op Amp used for input stage and discrete component used for the output stage. The discrete output stage is working in pure class A.  It’s BiPolar Junction Transistors, direct coupled.

A common question we get…” Why do you use an Op amp at the input of the DAC?”

The input stage with an opamp is a good choice. It has a paired transistor input by the nature it is manufactured. But an opamp for the output stage is limited due to it’s size and the thermal capability. Also, no one will offer an opamp with class A output as it’s efficiency is so low. So an opamp used as input and discrete output combined together will have an advantage. It doesn’t mean that all discrete is not good. Actually, if we need to achieve enough low distortion. It needs at least 30-40 transistors. Which not only will it be huge and waste of space but it will also be too costly. To beat the opamp’s performance, a simple discrete architecture is not possible, although an all-discrete design looks beautiful.

We use opamp+discrete architecture for the amp parts of May. Opamp is used for the input stage, discrete is used for the output stage. All the transistors in the opamp are in the same die, then it is matched by nature. This is key because by now, there are few choice for low noise matched pair transistors but an opamp has plenty of them inside. The Output stage is discrete because it generates a bit of heat. We need a class A output stage. So you can see May is very hot compared to other DACs. An opamp output simply can’t handle that power.

The true balanced DUAL MONO circuit design

XLR is using all of the circuit and RCA is just using half of them. The balanced output has better performance (THD, noise) and also better common mode rejection rate. If you’re listening environment contains interference, either from AC power or from EMI/RF then you will find a full balanced system can really help significantly.

With diverse and flexible sampling mode conversion mode

1: NOS mode: has no digital oversampling, the raw data is directly converted to analog. Because digital oversampling will produce time-domain distortions, such as ringing, NOS avoids these problems.

2: OS mode: PCM is over sampled to PCM at a higher frequency, DSD is over sampled to DSD at a higher frequency, and then digital is converted to analog.

3: OS PCM mode: in either PCM or DSD the data will be oversampled to PCM and then digital is converted to analog.

4: OS DSD mode: in either PCM or DSD the data will be oversampled to DSD and then digital is converted to analog.


35% lower in Worldwide Shipping Rates for ALL Muzishare Amps with FREE Aucharm Fuse!

In order to further expand the reach of Muzishare tube amps to wider parts of the world, for they are more deserving to be enjoyed by more of the audiophile community, QA has managed to seek out lower worldwide shipping rates by DHL/FedEx up to 35%* cheaper! In some instances, these savings could be as much as close to S$500!

For those who have previously enquired but are held back by the higher shipping cost, we hope you can find comfort in knowing the substantial amount of savings you can have now. Feel free to chat with us again to get an updated shipping fee now!

Do note that the warranty covers the unit, but not the shipping service – insurance from DHL/FedEx will cover that. Although 1-year warranty for all Muzishare tube amps is valid and covered by QA Singapore no matter where the region it was purchased from, customers will still need to bear any shipping fees if it was decided for the unit to be sent to Singapore for support coverage as well as for any subsequent return sending back to customers.

To sweeten the deal further, any purchase of our X7, X9 or R100 amps will include 1x popular Aucharm highest performing audiophile fuse for FREE! If you are going to be amazed by the stock models of our Muzishare tube amps, you will be in awe how spectacular the upgrade to Gustard fuse is going to be. It is easily one of the worthwhile and excellent performance upgrades one could do to push the potential of these tube amps.

Enquire now! Email or WhatsApp us.

*This savings rate will remain for as long as until further adjustment from logistics.

Do not worry about the voltage difference. The units can be used in either 220-240V or 110-120V covering most regions. We will set it for you so there is no need to do that on your part.

Detailed run down of QA Triple Aces Supreme Audio Ground Box

QA Premium Grounding Box has been consistently our top seller product with highly favourable and positive reviews. For those who have taken the stride and became a believer in how our fully-handmade-in-Singapore audio ground boxes have improved your hifi audio system, QA has boundless appreciation for those beliefs.

QA Quad Size+ was made to congregate 4 groundings into one single place. While it was not really an upgrade, it was logically a next step up to provide as an option for customers. So, building on to the success of having the knowledge in ground box craftsmanship and also various positive impressions from countless happy customers, we know there is definitely potential for improvement in capability, quality and compatibility for an even higher tier of ground box which it can never be out of place sitting beside or behind any high-end system further bettering their quality.

Above: a passive and simple item in hifi audio, but the construction is a huge and meticulous job. It’s use is simply to improve the quality of the sound by connecting to any ground of a component

The proprietary mix of the mineral content inside our successful ground box has never been disclosed, as per most other ground boxes makers. Sceptical customers we have come across tend to believe inside are purely dirt. If it can really be as simple, we would have preferred brick, as least the construction of the ground box would have been less messy! But trust us when we say the content are more than dirt, because with QA Triple Aces, the total number of ingredients involved in the mix has been increased over a third more than the usual ground box to over a dozen of different components.

What was exceptionally worthy of QA Triple Aces was due to the addition of three more ingredients in the powdered form of important metals in audio conductivity in substantial amounts into the proprietary mix. Gold, silver and copper are arguably the three most used metals in audio application. Hence there is no doubt the involvement of these metals in the mix could have been more beneficial, and our prototype has proven that absolutely right. Pure copper sheets and pure silver filaments are already used within the box environment, the addition of these metals in fine 4N purity further enhances the entire conductivity nature in the whole mixture.

Both silver and gold are precious metals, and by that definition, the cost of adding them into the construction of QA Triple Aces is one of the reasons why it costs so much higher than our first ground box. If we are honest, the amount of pure fine 4N silver powder alone added in QA Triple Aces is already close to the cost of 3 QA Premium Ground Boxes. We could not add pure fine gold powder into the mix because it would elevate the construction cost so much that it truly would not be sensible and cost-effective anymore for anyone to buy.

The third pure metal powder was something which we have not mentioned because we chose not to and shall reserve that right of proprietary standards. QA seeks your understanding on this. That was truly an interesting element in our prototype and to say it does not perform as much as silver and copper in conductivity is an understatement. These three pure metal inclusions into QA Triple Aces truly excel in the performance of QA proprietary ground box mix that in the right proportions, the improvement to sound when connected is now literally immediate and apparent. Perhaps by now you should have guessed it – that these three crucial additions of metals mix are what give rise to the name of this box, as they absolutely ace the performance as a ground box.

Customers who wanted a small footprint as the cube shape QA Premium Ground Box may ask if this proportion mix can be used there instead, so as to save cost. Yes and no. Before we address this, let us first go through the choice of the box we have chosen for QA Triple Aces. The gorgeous Black Walnut box was a meticulous construction, not by us but from a supplier, with dovetail joints. It has thicker walls than that of the usual ground box. Already a much stronger wood, Black Walnut has totally no problem withstanding a total of about 6kg load of content, making it 3 times the volume of the QA Premium Ground Box at a smaller footprint than 3 individually stacked. Importantly, Black Walnut also simply oozes class and style in its finishes. Smooth, unassuming, classy and endless. The colour and grain of the wood complement perfectly with the little golden finishes we have the rest of the designs in mind around the box.

So back to the question of using the same mix in smaller cube-shape box. Effectively, 1x QA Triple Aces is three times the volume of QA Premium Ground Box. Dividing the QA Triple Aces mix into one cube shape box of QA Premium is basically lessening the effectiveness without decreasing much of the cost. In the end, one may face the circumstances of stacking 2 or more cubes to get the same effect, which we are quite sure stacking 3 cubes of the same mix would not be as effective as one QA Triple Aces because of the additional ground leads connecting to one another only introduce more noise as a result.

Already having a higher value and improved conductivity mix inside the box, it can only go to naught if the binding post is not up to standard in similar conductivity for the connection lead. CMC gives not only the highest quality of copper conductivity and construction, it is also one of the best looking and superbly built binding post for its price. The availability of a longer screw allows a further reach into the mix together with the 4N pure silver filaments. Beautiful shine from the high quality gold-plating aid on the conductivity as well as upholding the grandeur finished of QA Triple Aces.

Above: beautiful finish of the black walnut box with no glue stains complements superbly with the high quality CMC binding post

Provided in the package are 4 excellent quality red sandalwood spikes tipped with copper. It is up to the users to use three or four spikes according to one’s preference. QA recommends three spikes as it ensures perfect seating of the box (think of it like a tripod) as four spikes may wobble in some cases. Regardless of either three or four, the spikes stablises the ground box and isolate it further from other possible vibration, and the result of it an amazing cleanliness in the lower frequency. The red sandalwood material harmonises with the Black Walnut for a unified look.

Above: matching quality and finishes of the spikes for inmproved stabilisation of the QA Triple Aces which further enhances the sound

Grounding cable for QA Triple Aces has been significantly upgraded in both the core of the cable as well as the connectors to fully match up with the feat of the box. The grounding cable used in QA Premium Ground Box was effective and compatible, but it just was not the case when used with QA Triple Aces. The quality of the cable is no match to the improved Triple Aces but only bottlenecking its performance. Building from the ground up, gathered with the experience we had in building solid core speaker cables, the triple aces of the metals involved in the ground box mix are similarly used in this grounding cable before the potential of Triple Aces is fully realised and optimised.

Again, we continue the trend of using 4N purity of silver and copper for the grounding cable. Both in their single cores, they are twisted, sheathed in cotton, and insulated with adhesive heat shrinks before sleeved with cotton-PET sleeving (this similar construction was used in our single-core speaker cable we used to do). Again, the last single core of the triple aces is also the same third metal used in the mix which we could say no further. This consistency of materials ensures that these triple aces of metals components are fully optimized from start to finish in the entire audio grounding chain to a whole effect within the environment mix inside the usage of QA Triple Aces Supreme Ground Box.

Above: the grounding cable included with QA Triple Aces has to be in the same level of build and component purity for matching performance

To terminate the ground cable with equal capability and quality of the pure triple aces of single core, QA was very impressed with the quality offered by Puresonic in the quality of their spades, bananas and RCA connectors. Made in Taiwan with superior QC, the grade of metal and plating in their plugs have been superbly high, which they are no stranger to, because Puresonic has been in the OEM business for over two decades making high end connectors for some renown brands. The gold-plating on the spade and BFA banana is almost as good as the WBTs and Furutechs we have seen, with little intricate details of tech in their designs. For example, the spade was built with a wedge of gap, giving it a spring effect upon locking to provide the counterforce for improved grip. BFA banana can get smaller overtime as it compresses and loosen the grip inside the binding post. The one from Puresonic has a smaller rod inside that prevents this problem. Despite a higher cost, just like the addition of pure metal powder, the inclusion of such quality is a necessity to maintain the overall performance level. We have absolutely no qualms, as in the same for CMC binding post, that they are able to provide the best transmission of grounding pathways from whichever equipment to QA Triple Aces grounding box for the best grounding effect.

The cable is finished with a cotton-PTE sleeve which we used similarly in our TOTL cable offerings in Star Series. It gives a tougher handling of the cable while still maintain the flexibility. As with our ethos, most, if not all, of our products look good and sounds better. The whole construction of the ground cable by hand matches up to the performance of the QA Triple Aces together with the looks. As the grounding post on the box can be either red of black, the accompanying outer sleeve of the grounding cable will sport the same colour as a compatible match. Regardless of the colour, either one will seat proudly and classy in any set up.

Above: Puresonic’s over two decades of OEM experience shows, as can be seen by the grade of the copper and plating in their spades, bananas and RCAs, all very tough

We understand perfectly many audiophiles still have reservation over the practicality of such components in their system, especially for those who are more than satisfied with their setup, thinking the high-end nature of it would require no part of such passive items as the sound may well be impossible to be improved further. It is perfectly okay to hold that opinion and QA do not wish to change any of it. What we can say is that ground boxes from QA make a difference to the sound, and as with most people who have experienced it, the difference is a very positive one. The fun thing is for each and everyone to discover how the sound is better, and which components are making the best positive difference by connecting our ground boxes to them. By being more natural, more organic, calmer in presentation, darker background and tighter bass – these are the most common improvements. With QA Triple Aces connected, the varying degree of subtlety will and should be replaced with apparent notions – that is the biggest and most significant upgrade QA Triple Aces is over the original ground box. Any system is not too perfect to not be effected with an even cleaner sound, bigger staging, improved timings and more defined tonality. Take the guesswork out, QA Triple Aces is there with a definite result.

Come with 3 years warranty. Lead time for construction 3-4 weeks.

Flat rate shipping to most overseas countries at S$99 with FedEx or DHL. Contact us for confirmation. Additional fees apply for more than one box.

QA Triple Acces Supreme Ground Box listing here.

Muzishare X7 KT88 Class AB Push-pull Integrated Tube Amp in details

Muzishare X7 KT88 Tube Amp has attracted vast attentions since QA has moved into a shopfront to allow the audition of this wonderful amplifier. Our bad for taking so long in getting the details of the amp into writing as there just too many stuffs to settle in setting up of the shop. So let go straight into a better detailed introduction of the X7 for more accurate information instead of hearsays and misnomers being fed to our customers and misinterpreting the facts.

Above: Video of the sound demo with Muzishare X7

As the official dealer for Muzishare in Singapore, tube amps sold from QA will always be the latest version of what Muzishare has to offer, make no mistake about that. We can understand that due to the lack of recognition and information of Muzishare in Singapore, some details being posted from unofficial routes or channels not from QA may not be the most updated ones. So in any case, please just seek us out for any clarifications.

Reason for saying this being that the current X7 QA is selling is the latest model since beginning of 2022. Yes, now is already 8 months into 2022, but we do have customers comparing cheaper X7s out there when they were the older models WITHOUT the balanced inputs and better optimization of the circuits within. By getting Muzishare products from QA, you are making your spending worthwhile with official support and warranty for the updated models.

To clear another doubt about whether the balance inputs in X7 are truly balanced – yes, they are. The higher end models, but still considerably affordable in comparison for now, of Muzishare tube amps are getting balanced inputs as a future-proofing design consideration. More DACs are getting balanced outputs nowadays, as the number of DACs exploded into scenes for consumers in the past few years. It should not really be a surprise to see tube amps getting such inputs for a more improvement in dynamics and noise reduction in connections when digital music is concerned. What is surprising is some other brands of tube amps are still not making balanced inputs available. Which is why such spec being available in Muzishare tube amps is what makes the price performance ratio exceptionally high.

Above: back panel of the X7 detailing the phono, balanced and pre inputs

The balanced inputs are followed by 2x line in inputs, 1x phono input and 1x pre in. Generally 2x line ins and 1x balanced in for this price range of the amps should be suffice for most users. The presence of the phono input is another bonus for some users who may have just starting into vinyl playing can consider playing with that. We always manage the expectation to our customers and with regards to the phono input, an external phono stage will always triumph any build-in phono pre amp most of the time. We should just treat this presence of a phono input as a bonus good-to-have feature, which can come in handy in anytime of troubleshooting future external phono stage – who knows? Such feature is not available in many other amps while still costing less, so why not?

Pre-ins are not getting uncommon in Muzishare tube amps too. By connecting to a pre-amp one may have, all volume control will be ceded to that, and Muzishare tube amps, the X7 in this case, will be acting as the power amp. Again, another misinformation floating around was that preamps tubes will not be used when pre amp is connected via pre-in – they do. Caveat of using pre-in will be the restriction to using single-ended RCA connection instead of any possibility of using balance connections. However, balanced pre-in is really a niche in tube amp. It will no doubt raise some cost of it on such implementation, but this is definitely a feature QA will hope to see in future Muzishare integrated tube amps as well.

Going to the front of the unit, from the left, we are greeted with something familiar for users who have seen it in the X5. And that is the toggle switch to change between triode and ultralinear modes. Basically triode mode has less power output, at 25W per channel while ultralinear mode produces the maximum power from the 4x KT88 tubes at 45W per channel. 45W per channel is aplenty of power in tube amps specs, rivalling and equivalent to 200-250W per channel of solid state (SS) amps. Hence there is really no issue of X7 not able to drive certain speakers. They are definitely able to drive most speakers out there as low of a sensitivity as 82-83dB no problem.

Above: a pair of toggle switches and a pair of VU meters

Ultralinear mode unleashes to the speakers in its maximum capability, providing the juice and power if ever the speakers need. High dynamics in the frequency spectrum, crisps highs, engaging mids and importantly, deep and tight bass. The wide stereo imaging X7 gives make music listening a truly enjoyable experience, and we are not even talking about the merits of tube-y sound yet.

The clean and precise sound signature of KT88s is the reason why QA always mentioned that they are the best tube type for any one entering or transitioning into tube amps from SS amps. They can almost sound like one, even by any reason if they do not (which is not a deficiency of tube sounds), the tube sounding characteristic will carry you over into another form of enjoyment – emotional enjoyment. Vocals will sound magically sweeter and more realistic, for which we are no longer hearing into the technical part of music listening (some of you will understand what this means), but just purely enjoying music. This literally should be what it is. Even for Classical/Ensemble fans, the lack of vocals will still be up to the treat in that the level of details KT88s can bring to pick up the various instruments is playing is just fascinating.

As for 25W per channel triode mode, the reason of its existence is the flexibility of sounds X7, like the X5, can give. This lower powered mode is useful for higher sensitivity speakers like horns and full range speakers, where the sound signature is also more midrange focused. Listening to Jazz or Oldies where the warmth of tube sound is so desired will appreciate the triode mode available for toggling. The more laid-back and mellow harmonics from triode mode can never make listening on the X7 a fatiguing experience, especially on lower volumes on some late-night music relaxation.

Above: single-ended headphones with 6.35mm plug can enjoy the powerful KT88 driving headphones while another pair of precisely-CNCed msooth knobs are on display showcasing top-notch quality.

KT88 tubes for headphone usage tend to be a bit overkill in all honesty but still can be done with the presence of a 6.35mm single-ended headphone jack. Admittedly not being marketed as a headphone amp, the TRS connection is still available for compatible headphones to be plugged in and be driven with great power in melodic sweet nature of the tubes.

X7 employs a dual VU meter for each channel and as the grooves play, the needle will dance beautifully in the warm, orange back-lit glow of the meter, giving one a sense of nostalgia in a modern-designed amplifier outfit. The VU meter is also crucial for biasing adjustment for the KT88 power tubes, which is made very easy in all Muzishare tube amps with just a simple switch of knobs and trim pots-turning with a small flat head screwdriver.

Turning the knob at the top of the amplifier near the tubes to the respective power tube V1 to V4 (two to each knob, one of each side), the needle will show that particular tube biasing current. The needle should be pointed to 40mA – that is the correct biasing current for KT88 and 6550 tubes in X7. New X7 owners should have no need to adjust anything as it was already done accurately right out from the factory in most cases. There is no harm to switch the knobs to check for it, even when music is playing. However, do take note any future bias adjustment should be done at least 30 minutes in after the amp is switched on, just so the electricity and heat has stabilised the tube for a more accurate reading without much drifting.

Above: turning the biasing knob to the respective tube allows adjustment of its bias through reading of the VU meter

Contrary to some myths, please understand only power tubes need biasing. Preamp tubes do not need biasing. Both tube types, however, will need matching in order for the specs of the tubes in their pairs or quads to be as close and similar to one another in order for the two channels to run exactly the same as much as possible. Still, each and every tube is different. A perfectly identical spec matched tubes may over time drifted and aged at different speeds. That is perfectly normal. Hence it is a good practice to check on the bias reading every few months because the tubes may be drifted higher or lower from the ideal range. Again, that is normal. Just adjust them back.

A single rectifier tube is present in X7, which makes this tube a very likely first to be rolled, in QA’s opinion. As with all mentions to our customers, QA firmly believes the merit of a rectifier tube in tube amps and Muzishare so far is upholding that ethos too. As much as the rectifier being a simple function of converting AC to DC which can be easily done by a small transistor chip, having a rectifier tube doing this job in a tube amp speaks volume in Muzishare tube amps as a true tube amp in this regard. Some, if not most, brands have chosen not to use rectifier tube(s) and that is totally fine. For our case, rolling the rectifier tube(s) in Muzishare tube amps give users an additional avenue of play, of fun, and chance to further improve the sound – yes, rolling rectifier tube(s) affect the sounds in Muzishare tube amps too! And we highly recommend that.

And at the topic of tube rolling, KT88 tubes may not be the cheapest tube to roll. But there are still options nonetheless where 6550 and KT90 are some alternatives users can consider. If not, swapping out the smaller 2x 12AU7s and 1x 12AX7 can be great starting fun! 12AU7 alternatives, vintage or reissues, are not very expensive afterall. And while although 12AX7 will cost more, at least the X7 only requires one of it, so a good investment in an improved 12AX7 can go a long way definitely.

In an overall package, the Muzishare X7 is an absolute bargain of a highly capable and great performing KT88 tube amp. It is only just a few years ago when many other more established tube amp makers are marketing KT88s as their highest end of tube amp models. Muzishare, along with a couple of Chinese-made tube amp manufacturers, have over these few years been producing very well-designed KT88 tube amps like the X7 without a hefty price tag, lowering the barrier of entry in financial terms for those who yearn for a KT88 or for the matter, any tube amp. Muzishare’s continual improvement to their amps has allowed X7 to punch way above their weight in recent times as the more affordable price does not relate to a lesser representation of sound. Anyone who have seen the X7 in person will know and understand the quality of the construction is unbelievable for a high-end equipment costing just slightly over two grand Singapore dollars. If you have not, you are more than welcome to make an appointment with us and come down to our shop front to see and hear for yourself why it makes perfect sense, as well as a sound investment (we can jolly well keep it a secret in all honesty but Muzishare and QA have no qualms of sharing that Muzishare amps will only cost more as time goes) to own and enjoy a X7. So why wait. Muzishare X7 listing here.

Introducing our Star Series Cables

A few months in the making and testing, QA is excited to announce a new lineup of high-performance cables, the Star Series.

Star Series is born out of the symbolism of excellence, like how children stand to understand from their first grading system since young. At the same time, it is also paying homage to the five stars on our Singapore national flag, where the country Quartz Acoustic proudly calls home.

There is no end to the best in hifi, so the thought of naming the best lineup of a brand as ‘reference’ like many others do is not QA’s ideal of thought. Surely our best is below the mark of the truly best one out there, if there really is one, categorically speaking. But in using the higher echelon of parts and components with similarly high-end craft of termination, our Star Series is no way hovering at even the upper midrange, but way more above that. With our Star Series cables, you are guaranteed a star of greatness high up in the vast openness of sky amongst others, and definitely also a platform not far away in your journey in search of reaching out to the next or more stars.

Prices of cable lineups in Star Series may look extraordinarily expensive in comparison to similar cables from the general DIY masses, but only because QA Star Series is not those average ones out there. Until one realises the true cost of the connectors/plugs we hand-picked to be used as terminations for our Star Series cables will then the value be fully understood. Using selections from Furutech, Oyaide and KLE to name a few, there is no one critical component of the Star Series cables being a counterfeit or inferiorly-made one, because the quality of the connectors/plugs are that crucial in ensuring these cables will be right down the long list of upgrades after getting them.

Many makers and resellers seemingly market their cables to only the affluent group, actually leaving the majority of users in the audio community totally devoid of chances in hearing what ‘really good authentic’ cables can sound like. This is the reason why we do not say Star Series is only for those who can afford it. Affordability is not true at all in hifi, because enthusiasts and audiophiles like us can afford anything we want – we will go to great lengths to get it, only sooner or later – if we are honest.

And that makes everyone the possibility be the rightful owner of Star Series cables if one fully appreciates how the sum of all parts will be a greater equivalent. Nothing beats owning a cable knowing it can bring significant improvement to their system whilst been safe in the knowledge craftsmanship quality is assured and warranty support is enabled. These are values proving to be monumentally worthier than considering any justification of prices for cables, or worse yet, comparing apples to oranges and still decided based on whichever is the cheaper one. This is only doing a disservice to the outstanding products of the brands involved, who have stood out amongst the rest and have already marked their presence in many truly top-of-the-line industry cables over the years.

And before we left out the reason for Star Series creation – QA believes in the potential of these cables and simply, they deserved to be paired with few of the best connectors/plugs in hifi audio to becoming a more common option of choices for all audiophiles and the community in powering and linking their equipment up.

All Star Series cables come with extended 2-year warranty from QA.

Our Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility

From the month of March onwards, QA will be donating a small percentage of our proceeds to the Community Chest in Singapore on a monthly basis.

I have always believed in contributing back to the society in any way possible. While the field of industry in my work does not engage in the mass community to directly impact them positively, I hope a small monthly donation is the least I could make a difference.

While QA is nothing of big-earning entity, being registered as company should fulfill a corporate social responsibility, no matter how small, in the capacity as an official business.

All transactions made in March (even for back-dated ones before this announcement) will be attributed towards the donation for the month by beginning of April, with the subsequent months following the same pattern of contribution.

I thank you for your support of QA, from all customers old and new, and thank you for your contribution to the society. Every little amount counts.


Muzishare R100 in details

Continuing from where we left off, subsequent detailing of this post is on a R100 amp with 845 tube version. 845 was chosen for our audition model because it is the highest retail value of the tubes among the three (despite 805 version of the amp costing a higher price) and it sits in the middle ground of 211 and 805 in terms of power output. Presumably, it should give quite an accurate sense of the two.

Here is a quick video walk-through follow by the detailed write up that comes after.

The build

First off, R100 is a beast – a monstrous amp that could actually prevent you from excitedly unboxing to try it out, solely because it is that heavy. Weighing in at around 42kg, one needs to be mentally prepared and do some rhythmic breathing in preparation of lifting it out of the thick and rugger double-boxed boxes. Please take note of correct posture in lifting it up, as it does has a serious consequence of hurting your back if not careful. To be safe, get a partner to help. I cannot stress enough, the weight plus the bulk really make it damn heavy to be carried/lifted.

Due to its weight, it is highly not recommended to place it on top of any normal TV console or media rack without proper thickness or approved weight-holding strength. Sometimes prolong sitting it on console or rack may warp them even if they may not break. Placing the R100 on the floor is the best and safest option. If you intend to move it around or plug in and out cables at the back of the amp often, I would recommend to sit it on a heavy duty platform trolley, trolley without handles, so it can look pretty as well as having ease of manoeuvre. You will thank me later.

Done with the heavy lifting, one will instantly be drawn to the thick chassis and gigantic transformers, sources of the majority of the weight. It is definitely impressive to see how well-machined the exterior is being out together. There is no one sharp edges at all, with all corners taken into consideration to be rounded off. That at least gives one a peace of mind knowing carrying it will not dig into the hands and got hurt as a result because of been weighed down.

Above: the cage is constructed from layers of plastics which admirably, shows no signs of warping despite being so near to the intense heat of the 845s.

It is hard not to notice the bulb-like tubes sticking out of the amp. Yet the brawny amp body compliments the pair of 845 perfectly. They will never be hidden because even with a cage on, the R100 will still present the beauty of big triode tubes to be admired. The cage is semi-open, guarding just the side of all the tubes, but covering the top of the preamp tubes of 6SN7s and 12AX7s.

The cage design may split preferences, as some may hope for a fully covered cage to prevent accidental scalding upon touching the giant tubes during operation. In all honesty, a full cage may not save fingers from hurt on prolong touch nevertheless, because the heat from big triode tubes will likely heat the cage hot enough to still cause unpleasant sensation. A full cage also takes away the aesthetic of the glowing tubes (which rightfully deserved to be seen), an ethos Muzishare seems to always uphold in the design of their amps.

The semi-open cage reflects a very modern approach that lends value to the design of the amp. For safe and easy removal, the cage is removed in halves, a symmetrical approach that can be seen right immediately after the entire removal of the cage. Looked metallic but they are not – the cages are fabricated from layers of supposed acrylics finished with excellent metallic and glossy spray.

Amazingly, the cages did not warp or soften despite the close proximity with the hot 845 tubes, a trait acrylic would definitely be susceptible of. It could be a more durable type of plastic I do not know, but is surely a very safe option to leave the cages on for a prolonged period without worrying them warping. Revealing the preamp tubes, a cageless R100 shows the prestigious lineup of the tubes in an orderly and imposing arrangement.

Above: ooze of class from the formidable arrangement of tubes once the cage is removed.

The tubes

Not the biggest, but the 5U4G rectified tube seats right in the centre, leading the eyes to the rest of the tubes impressively. This visual function is almost akin to its electrical function, providing the best of direct currents to the rest of the tubes. And while we are on this rectifier tube, do understand this is a very significant implementation by Muzishare at this price point not implemented elsewhere in other brands like Line Magnetic or Cayin (except the Pro version).

A rectifier tube provides excellent efficiencies in current distributing and stabilising, allowing the tubes to be fed with cleaner and stable current for cleaner signal output. And this provides another channel of sound improvement when rolling rectifier tubes with even better vintage tubes. The presence of this rectifier tube is often overlooked but it holds a great deal to the quality of R100.

Above: the role of a rectifier tube cannot be understated. It allows the rest of the tubes to flourish, and provides an additional channel of sound improvement from tube-rolling.

On the sides of the 5U4G rectifier are a pair of 12AX7 and 6SN7, both being very popular and wonderful-sounding preamp tubes. There are great choices of rolling them with vintage tubes, improving the smoothness and linearity of the sounds even further. Rolling 5U4G, 12AX7 and 6SN7 tubes are not particularly expensive (barring those super rare European variants) yet the sound improvement is a significant upgrade. Because behind them are tubes where their vintage counterparts will cost a huge sum to get hold on that they are better left with the stock tubes. Made no mistake, the stock tubes are from PSvane – already a highly regarded brand of tube for reissues.

Do take extra care in removing the bigger tubes of 300B and 845. There are only 4 pins in them, so the wiggly motion to remove 300B needs to be firm. 845 tubes are SCREWED ON. They are not removed the same way as the rest of the tubes by pulling them out! Remember! Hold 845 tube by the glass and firmly rotate anti-clockwise about a quarter turn. The bottom of the tube will align with the groove and then it can be removed easily.

Above: the glorious glow of the ethereal 845 sitting proudly at the back, with the elegant white-ceramic based 300B planted in front.

The functionalities

On each side of these big tubes are the Hum Balance and Bias adjustment. By selecting to the corresponding bias group on the front panel on the left switch, we can adjust the bias of the 845 tubes to the correct value of 85mA with a test pen, taking reference from the ornate and bright VU meter in the middle of the front panel. Bias adjustment should be done preferably after at least 5 minutes of being switched on so the tubes are hot enough to show a stabilised reading. This adjustment does not need to be done every so frequently unless the 845 tubes are changed.

The same cannot be said for the hum balance adjustment though. This needs adjusting when different speakers of different sensitivity are connected, in addition to the changes of tubes. To and fro fine adjustments will have to be made on both adjustors on each side until the least hum is heard from the speaker cones by placing your ears right up to them. Complete silence is seldom ever possible, so do not get too caught up on that. As long as you heard nothing from your listening position then it is good.

The selector switch is on the front of the panel, seated to the right of a sturdy push button for powering on and off the R100. While the size of the power button is great, having the same size for the bias/VU meter sensitivity and inputs selector is admittedly less than ideal as these selector modes need switching which can be helped with a bigger knob. Presumably, aesthetic reason is probably why Muzishare implemented that, which to be fair, they are seldom touched as well once adjustment is done.

The volume knob, however, is one huge, precise, machined aluminum piece that turns buttery smooth. It offsets the symmetrical look we see on the tubes layout but nonetheless still visually balanced with help from the emphasis of space around the Muzishare logo on the other side. The exquisite and beautiful rounded VU meter right in the middle of the front panel ‘rounds off’ all things circular in front, presenting a delightful sight of high end outlook.

The connections

With the wide selection of inputs available comes the huge plethora of connections at the rear. Particularly high value in performance is the present of both balanced and phono inputs! A truly balanced connection in the entire audio chain can be greatly appreciated by those who played digital files whose DACs may have the option of connecting. This allows for a higher dynamic range as well as an even lower noise floor for a quieter background.

Phono inputs provides vinyl lovers to skip an additional phono stage and cable to go directly from the turntable to the amp with just a single pair of cable! Using external phono stage is often recommended as it performs way better than any built-in preamp most of the time. The MM phono stage in R100 not only saves the cost from getting the extra component, the shorter and more direct signal path within the internal circuit prevent additional noise to be introduced to the sensitive phono signal. One less component means one less complexity for the signal path and also additional money saved for tube upgrades for R100.

Having a balanced and phono inputs greatly heightened the performance value R100. These two components have already been seen in the KT88 tube amp X7, hence it is really not a surprise to see them in the flagship R100. They are not specifications to be taken from granted, however. None of these could be seen built together even in higher-priced amps from other Chinese brands like Line Magnetic and Cayin. While balanced and phono connections may not be utilised by everyone, they are definitely component features that future-proofed your investment subsequently if upgrades down the months or years call the need for them.

A common feature for high-powered tube amp less commonly seen in lower-powered KT88/EL34 amps is the availability of 16ohm speaker taps. Amps like R100 has the flexibility, and voltage muscles, to drive speakers load of higher impedance rating without worry of damaging them with higher currents.

The sound

Finally, how R100 sounds. Knowing how subjective this can get, the following impression is best described in terms of comparison from EL34/5881/6L6GC and KT88/6550 tubes. Basically, one word, marriage. EL34 tubes are known for the delight vocals. KT88s are so superior in power and dynamics. The 845s in R100 driven by 300B are almost like a perfect marriage between EL34 and KT88 WITH even added improvements!

Vocals are sweet and musical like EL34, BUT with added naturalism and organic touch to it. Bass and highs are ample like KT88, BUT with added tightness and more punch at the lower end and extended crisps of sparkles at the higher end where one will hope KT88 can squeeze these in further. Music just sounded much livelier with touch of realism. Power from 845 tubes does not mean the gain is high and volume is loud – in fact at 9 o’clock position is where the volume is good, anything past 10 o’clock the amp is pumping some serious juice (at Class A, this is fully expected). Every amps can drive any speakers to a loud level no problem. But power from 845 tubes come in extruding all the fine details of almost all the frequencies, regardless the volume level, in enabling the intricacies to be heard.

It is hard to find any further lacking of dullness of the music with R100 without going into the micro level of nit-picking of specific instruments or frequencies. At stock, the sound from R100 has little room for improvement. If any, I am sure we can go into these finer details with upgrades of the tubes, coupling caps, fuses and binding posts etc. But these can be reserved for the next discussion.

R100 845 tube amp is now available for order here at our product page.

R100 845 tube amp is also available for audition now . Please enquire for a time slot through the contact form here or WhatsApp me at +65 9423 9296. Give me a heads up preferably at least one day in advance.

No available stocks for immediate purchase just so to keep the upkeep and pricing low. Orders made will be delivered direct from factory to you within 2 weeks.

Available to ship worldwide, please enquire for shipping fees (I am sorry it may not be cheap due to the monstrous weight). FREE shipping in Singapore.

A little backstory of Muzishare R100

Our Muzishare X5 was the first full-fledge branded factory-made tube amp we brought in around 3-4 years ago in bid to increase its exposure to the general audiophile community in Singapore and the region. A tube amp so well-made and beautiful has no reason not to be considered for anyone seriously into getting his/her first, second or third tube amp.

Muzishare over these years has consistently improved on the quality further, both on the aesthetic front as well as the worksmanship and most importantly, audio quality. Their increasing popularity in China are slowly bringing much awareness outside the region and to the global scene. It is imperative such exposure could do a lot of good to have a focus here in Singapore. And as outlined in our previous post, QA’s effort has finally paid off to have secure the official distributorship of Muzishare tube amps in Singapore from November 2019 onwards.

In recent months, Muzishare has been building a flagship model in order to refresh their tube amp lineup, which has been consistently hovering in these respective tube series – EL84 of X3T, EL34 of X5, KT88 of X7 and 300B of X-300B. While KT88 tube amps are traditionally the onset of big boys, for those graduating from a EL34 tube amp, it is no longer a tube series of amp that holds the charm. Many other manufacturers have come out with various KT88 tube amps and begin saturating the market. The once-powerful and rather exclusive KT88 tube amp is now quite a dime a dozen. Not to undermine KT88 tubes at all for I am still a huge fan of the fat beam tetrode, but above this class is another league that just dwarfs the KT88s (as can be seen in the photo below), big triode tubes, 211/845/805.

From left to right: EL34, 5881, 6L6GC, KT66, KT88 & 845. The first four belongs to the same tube type and are interchangeable in most EL34 amps. Currently using the 5881 Brown base from RCA. But 6L6GC remains my all-time favourite which I could not even bear to use, similar to my reverend 6L6GC Blackplates from RCA that are preciously stowed away.

Line Magnetic is one brand of the Chinese-made amps that have enjoyed stellar reputation worldwide for its indisputable quality. They are one of the early adopters in Chinese tube amp manufacturing to use these giant triode tubes. Their 845 and 805 series of amps are parked at the higher end range of the tube amp chain in many rooms, providing a sound output of the higher echelon.

Muzishare’s flagship model of R100 is heading towards this direction – a hefty tube amp that branches into three different versions of 211/845/805 tubes respectively, allowing customer to choose one that they are most comfortable with. It may seem like a challenging feat for Muzishare in building the R100 as it is only a recent development and lack of previous big triode tube model to back as portfolio. Truth to be told, amps from both Muzishare and Line Magnetic come from the same factory estate in Zhuhai at Guandong, China. Connecting the dots, Muzishare does has a wealth of expertise in building a big triode tube amp, confidently and remarkably, as we are to find out in the next post, where I will dive in details on the Muzishare R100.

Quartz Acoustic is now the official distributor of Muzishare tube amps in Singapore

This news came way earlier but the festive period and orders have been preventing us from announcing!

We are pleased to announce that Quartz Acoustic is now the official distributor for Muzishare tube amps in Singapore!

As some of the customers know, we have always been huge admirers of Muzishare amps. They are just very well-built, fantastic quality in performance and are some of the more beautiful tube amps manufactured from China. Their specifications often edged out amps of the same tube types from competitors which gives their amps an excellent value for money.

Muzishare has a strong following in China, where it is considered relatively high-end for a tube amp brand with extensive features and solid workmanship. Manufactured in Zhu Hai, Guandong, China, the components and parts in Muzishare tube amps consisted of high quality, audiophile-grade of materials, build together with remarkable point-to-point exquisite soldering. External chassis are all well-machined and sand-blasted to a posh exterior, resulting in Muzishare tube amps to be heralded as one of the more beautiful and refined tube amp brands in China. A lesser-known fact is that Muzishare amps are manufactured in the same production factory as the remarkable Line Magnetic.

QA will provide all official queries, sales and support of Muzishare amps through all official channels of contact. 1-year official warranty, as with all our other products, will be provided. We will see to your issues and rectify them, if any, before extending the support to China factory if that need arises, even if your warranty has unfortunately expired. Terms and conditions of warranty and returns still applied. All warranties and supports are only applicable to customers of QA and units purchased from QA. Grey and/or imported sets will not be honoured.

Other than the modded and upgraded version of the X5, we also carry:

X3T – EL84 small-scale tube amp that works very well as a headphone amp as well at S$850

X7 – KT88 tube amp with balanced and phono inputs at S$1,850

R100 – 845 tube amp with plenty of power with balanced and phono inputs at S$3,050

Audio Ground Box – the WHYs and the HOWs

Ground box has become an intrinsic part of an equipment in the audiophile setup. Fans of such boxes will never get hold of them enough in adding at least one to every equipment of theirs. Let us look at why it helps in the audio chain of equipment and how it can be connected

The fundamental of ground box is really just to ground out the signal further – no matter how audio equipment are designed and built with grounding in mind, inherent interference from anywhere will get into the signal path at every opportunity. These include cable pickup from the air, electrical noises introduced from power supply, electrical components receiving EMI pickup so on and so forth. The vast complex nature of electrical principles happening in the entire equipment chain just presented a whole lot of instances where signal noise can be added and/or generated. These interference are not necessary perceivable noises we can or try to hear from speakers or headphones. They could suppress certain frequencies and/or raise the noise floor that ever slightly, giving rise to our perception of ‘veiled nature’, ‘muddiness of sound’ and ‘not transparent’ enough as we chase our own level of satisfaction of sound. For clarity, interference and noise will be used interchangeably here.

By grounding out the signal at different point of the signal path through introduction (connection) of the ground box at different entry path of the equipment chain, our aim is to get rid of these ‘noises’ as much as possible before they get amplified further down the link. This is the sole reason why we always strongly recommend to place the ground box FIRST at the source of your equipment. These are the DAC, CD player and turntable. Bear in mind we are talking about signal noise and less of those grounding issues that caused hisses and hums. These audible noises can only be resolved through correct grounding techniques and NOT by connecting ground boxes thinking they can magically remove the noise. It may help, but it will not clear up the inherent ground noises entirely.

Effective ground box will primarily make the sound turns out significantly more transparent in the background as a result of lowering the noise floor. This really brings out the tonality and timbre of the music where we can achieve better clarity across all frequencies. High resolving system can hear more details. But the point is, it will just sound ‘right’, not just better.

Our own version of the ground box with the Aucharm.

Aurcharm grounding box first make its appearance in our store a few years back and there have always been a lot of interest in it. With ergonomics and efficiencies in mind, we spent quite a bit of time in developing our own ground box to be better than the Aucharms.

QA Premium Audio Ground Box packed in a lot more minerals within the box to really improve the grounding effect. At almost 2kg in weight, QA ground box has managed to blend in a vast variety of high quality earth’s natural minerals together with pure conductive element. The effect is a more immediate and noticeable improvement than either one of Aucharm’s two boxes of different size.

The main physical difference we could see is the cube shape nature of the QA ground box compared to the rectangular form for Aucharm’s. The cube shape allows one to place the box in various orientations where the grounding cable can be best placed to connect to equipment – it will remain a cube in anyway.

Below: Likely placement of Aucharm grounding box is more or less limited to 1-2 position.

Below: The various positions you can place QA ground box – versatile and helpful

As mentioned earlier to have the ground box connected to the source first for best effect, turntables are the most straight-forward as they have ground jack most of the time. The included multipurpose crocodile clip can be clipped onto the ground jack or it can also be removed to reveal the banana plug. Plug that banana plug end into the ground box and secure the spade end to the ground jack of the turntable.

As CD players and DAC seldom come with ground jacks, connecting to any spare RCA ports found at the back panel is the best way of hooking the ground box to these sources. The grounding of RCA ports are all connected, even S/PDIF coaxial digital out port that took the form of a RCA. While the crocodile clip could be used to clip on to the RCA port directly, you can purchase the additional RCA-to-banana-plug cable at just S$7.90 to have a more secure connection. Just plug the banana plug end to the ground box and connect the RCA end of the cable to any available RCA port of your CD player or DAC to secure the ground connection.

Connecting to S/PDIF coaxial digital out in the form of RCA is perfect if there is no more available RCA ports behind your CD player or DAC.

After the sources, preamps are next in line for the ground box connection, followed by power amps and speakers. These subsequent equipment should follow the principle earlier of using the best type of plug for the choice of the connections. The included multipurpose crocodile clip should yield some combinations available in connecting to any available grounding post of the preamp, or it can plug straight directly to the negative post of the power amp output/speaker input. The RCA cable can be utilised here too if there is available RCA port on the preamp/poweramp.

Below: Like a turntable, certain preamps and most phono stages will have the ground post, and this is how the three main methods could be used to connect with the ground box.

At the point of power amp output, although the ground is also shared up to this point at both the negative posts, the effect of the grounding box will be improved if one box is connected to one negative post of EACH channel, instead of connecting just one ground box to one negative post of the power amp. Reason being that with the signal is at the highest level at this output end, amplified signal interference is best grounded to one ground box each. This is also why one ground box is recommended for each speaker too.

Additionally, we do have another cable that has the UK plug at one end. This cable is useful for the ground box to be used on the mains where all equipment plugs go, or basically it can be plugged onto a spare outlet of a power conditioner strip if one is being used. This has the effect of grounding out the electrical noises coming from the mains and keep all the current feeding to the rest of the equipment at its cleanest.

This cable comes with UK plug to allow the ground box to be connected to a shared mains or power conditioner strip.

So, the ground box practically has quite a number of ways and means it could be connected to your choice of equipment. Do play around with the placement and hear for yourself where it performs the best in keeping the sound to your most preferred listening! But very importantly, do take note that it is crucial to only connect ONE equipment to ONE ground box! A single ground box CANNOT BE SHARED between two or more equipment! Because this can result in the possibility of shorting out the ground paths at the wrong locations! So please do not try that with the aim of saving money as it may turn out you will spend a lot more!

A tip we would like to share when the single time you can share the ground box between two equipment is ONLY when the two equipment are not turned on at the same time. i.e a ground box is shareable between a turntable AND a CD player because, most of the time, only either one of the machine is turned on and playing. But do take note that the one equipment not being used should be turned off at its mains too. Having it on standby or off but still electrically connected may still has the possibility of introducing that feed of the AC current noise routed to the other equipment with the ground box as the bridge!

Our QA Premium Audio Ground Box is available for order here. Entirely manufactured by hand from various raw materials, up to 12 days are needed for completion. But do check with us if we have stocks available when we do make extras as and when, especially during those batches of mass order.

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Peninsula Shopping Centre
#03-19, Singapore 179804

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