Omega Audio Concepts CDP The Stream CD player and digital processor

12.06.2018..
Omega Audio Concepts CDP The Stream
Omega Audio Concepts CDP The Stream

Introduction

Reading this article on the listening test of the digital source The Stream from Omega Audio Concepts – a company from Treviso, Italy – would be useless if you don't check out first our tests on the Omega cables here and here and on the DNA digital source here. In fact, it is absolutely necessary to have at least an idea of the two fundamental concepts, that is to say the theoretical limit and the space-time event.

Only by keeping this two concepts in mind we can understand the reasons behind the design and building of this music machine, which defining extreme is an understatement. From The Stream's picture, we can only get a small idea of how much thought and effort Omega did put into the realization of this digital source.

Words will probably not be enough to describe the exact value, in terms of sound output, that the Stream is able to offer.

 

Description

Timeless is the Omega line that distinguishes the amplification and digital sources, while Elements is the all types cable's line. Omega's equipment achieves its max if is used all together, in respect of the whole design philosophy underlying any Omega's product.

The Stream represents, at the moment, the absolute top and the highest expression for good sound result, that Omega Audio Concepts is able to offer to us avid audiophile. This means that Stream is a no-compromise machine, its aesthetics does not contradict this approach, needing a mandatory use of the connecting cables Elements.

As I said, the photos may not be enough, therefore, I would like to give you some clarification, starting from its weight: the Stream is really heavy and works in a rather voluminous and very resistant flightcase. The configuration in three frames of this digital source speaks volumes, as well as the shapes that are different for each frame. The base of the Stream is triangular and contains the power supplies, physically separated and contained in a special Sorbothane, dedicated individually to each section of the appliance, also on the base is anchored the heavy aluminum support that bears the machine.

Resting on the power supply frame is the conversion section, collected in a circular frame on whose upper part, slightly concave, the Omega logo is carved in the aluminum. Above the converter and suspended on elastics - fixed on the aluminum's and plexiglass' support - fleets the mechanical Philips CD-Pro2LF, contained in the imposing semi-oblong hemisphere frame. The combined action of weight, shape and elastics' suspension, dampens and cancels any type of vibration, of whatever nature. The whole machine was assembled so as to leave the minimum space below the rotating disk and limiting the airflow generated by the rotation, which would otherwise make the disk vibrate, causing difficulty in the beam laser's reading.

The heavy lid opens by rotating and lifting it by hand. The many and necessary connection cables do not in sliming the Steam's design. In this case, the photos help to highlight the complex and intertwined connections, that are due to the physical separation of the power supplies.

What you can't grasp from the photos, is the pleasant tactile sensation of the varnish finish, a very original and beautiful rubber and anti-scratch layer. The whole machine, however, looks impressive, cumbersome and difficult to place in a domestic environment. I think the Stream is absolutely the device with the lowest WAF I've ever met.

Extreme even here!

 

Listening

For the listening test, I used the ReMusic Artesuono disk - of which you can read the article here – Italian only. Already from the first track, we hear Stream's amazing ability, to draw a sonic picture full of details. Enlighting not only the tools used for the recording but also the environment in which it did take place - I on about the reflections and the echoes that can suggest the size of the recording environment. The strong reverberation of the xiloaerphone is returned to my listening room with an accentuated three-dimensional connotation. In practice a real holographic sound which shows extreme naturalness.

 

This gives me the opportunity to make some special considerations about the audio signal. What I found out from the listening is that it's not thanks to simply signal's sampling, but it is the original signal coming from the disk. So this kind of information is contained in the disk and it's only waiting to be taken out! The game takes place exactly on this field: the concept of theoretical limit guides us to the ideal mechanical construction, while the concept of space-time event marks the ideal path for audio and electrical signals. This road designed and followed by Renato Filippini - designer and owner of Omega - is just this one, that is to put the mechanics in the position of collect all the information and keep the flow of digital information unchanged and, subsequently, of the analog electrical ones until reaching amplification. From this point on, unless other Omega equipment is used, you can't achieve the same results.

 

With the second track, we can appreciate both the emission depth of the low frequencies and the speed in the return of the dynamic transients, along with a very wide frequency range. The percussive energy of the instruments is expressed with a powerful sound pressure maintaining its balance, and giving rise to an impressive acoustic mass. The fourth track clearly shows the wide acoustic window, which is wider and deeper compared to any of my references, which seem to reproduce a smaller and narrower picture. The female voices of Vendramin and Favot, of the fifth and tenth tracks, and the masculine voices of Ku-Umba Frank Lacy of the number fourteen track, highlight the great qualities of the timbre restitution of the Stream. The voices are not only tonally perfect, but they also feel real, present and true. The attacks and releases are very fast, drastically close to the listener, everything seems spontaneous and sincere. With the rock music of W.I.N.D. - track 17 - you can appreciate how much dynamics and control can be reproduced with this sound system. If you close your eyes, you forget about the audio system and get the feeling of a live event.

At this point, Omega's philosophy is clear: while everyone strives to increase the resolution with a heavy upgrade in digital technology – NdR See the depth of bit; Omega puts efforts on mechanical stability, transport of the signal and care of the feeding. Like a "return to the future", with the analogic balance of the turntable-arm-head-step up-phono system, which has been really important and has given a lot of satisfaction to the pre-digital generation. If these are the results, they are for sure on the right path.

 

Others listening

The Stream was also tested by some audiophiles who were guests at my listening room. In particular, my friend Antonio Sarcinelli Postiglione, a new entry as ReMusic's photographer, who sent me a spontaneous comment on the system.

 

"-The ignorant's review.-

On Roberto invitation, I went for a listening test of this alien looking machine, powered and kept alive by tubular connectors, it looked like something straight out of Area 51. The upstream chain is that of classic integrated Audio Innovation 500 and downstream the Audiosophia RR tailored loudspeakers, tailor-made for Roberto. It's a lot but still affordable. For comparisons you just need to look at this two alternative sources: the Teac VRDS 25X, modified AM Audio, and STAT Audio The One.

On the comfy sofa of our "spaceship", starts one of the most curious, amazing, entertaining experiences of my new improvised reviewer's career.

Let's start with the main guest, the digital source Omega Audio Concept The Stream, which I've renamed spolert, like the cauldron suspended above the fire in the typical Friulian fireplaces. The initial impact takes on a comic turn. I have before my eyes the object that will probably antagonize all the wives of audiophiles who will try even to think of evaluating the purchase!

Phil Collins' notes in "In the air tonight" catch my attention, I immediately realize that I'm listening to something totally different. The replay with the Teac first and the Stat then, dispel any doubts. Good with the first, very good with the second, amazing with the third Steam's listening!

Now come the records of audiophile importance, opera, symphonic music, jazz, blues. Yes, I'm looking at Steam with new eyes. I get up from the sofa and get a closer look at this machine. The design looks bizarre, surely a result of uncompromising technological solutions such as heavy mechanics suspended on large elastic bands, which are able to make refractory the resonances, add in the separate connections for power supply and red cables converter and you are left with an aeronautical looking machine. I can point out a dual power supply for the reader, mechanical and laser, and a little further down the mighty network cable. At the touch, the Stream reveals the preciousness of the materials used, the elegant workmanship, the precision of the mechanical parts and the hinges. Topped off with velvety black paint.

No! I was wrong ... It's really beautiful, yes! As beautiful as the sound that reproduces, able to keep me glued to listening for seven "very short" hours: from ten in the evening to five in the morning. Nothing comparable to what I have been listening so far, able to make a remarkable leap in quality to an even high-caliber plant. High price? Alone, you could save thousands of euros on great blast amplifiers and loudspeakers.

An embarrassing sound for beauty and majesty.

The Ferrari of the CD players.

Stage. Environment. Realism. "

 

Conclusions

 

Pro

For me, the Stream is a Top of the World machine. On a few occasions I've used in my articles so many superlative adjectives, but in this case, they are necessary. Stream is a great music machine, one of those state-of-the-art machines that do not base quality on extreme technology but on the deeper respect of the original signal. The great expenditure of energy spent on the mechanical parts and on the transport of data, of the signal and of electric energy has allowed reaching top results, managing to offer a sound that is not only coherent but also very natural. Listening to music can last for a very long time, witness the friends that I have invited in my listening room and who stayed for the whole night until the following morning!

 

Versus

The less positive side is the design and use, which undoubtedly make this machine invasive, uncomfortable and, let's say, aesthetically ugly if compared to our common standard.

 

Final considerations

The question is: does the Formula 1 Ferrari have air conditioning, a boot, comfortable seats and an extra-luxury radio's car? Well, the Stream is the high-end Formula 1. Those who want to own a Formula 1 are aware of what they will meet. The price is as high as the performance. Who will fall in love with this digital source of Omega, will also have to accept it as it is, there are no side ways.

 

 

Summary

Maximum rating ***** Spark, ReMusic's sparks

 

Timbrica: ***** | Neutral, harmonic and natural. Voices and instruments, both electric and acoustic, are real, solid and authentic. The great timbre resolution favors the psychic abandonment to listening. Listening fatigue disappears.

 

Dynamics: ***** | There is everything. Macro and disruptive but sumptuously controlled transients. Micro and chiseled detail. Sound pressure of great impact and totally free of even the slightest distortion. Speed and security in reproduction.

 

Image: ***** | Very wide and very deep. A very large and three-dimensional sound picture. A wonderful holographic representation with notes of naturalness and spontaneity.

 

Emotion: ***** | We are at the highest levels. The long relaxing period of listening testifies how much conscious excitement can arise in listening to an audio system. You are likely to get addicted.

 

Construction and packaging: ***** | The construction is perfect under every technical point of view. Beautiful the special anti-scratch paint, but the rather heavy design and overall appearance, make it difficult to place it in a house. Packed above all suspicion, durable and reliable flight case.

 

Performance vs price: How to judge the cost of a top machine? High performance, high price.

If I had the economic possibilities I would buy it. For the moment I just have to consider myself lucky to have had the privilege of listening to the Stream under controlled conditions. I'm missing it already!

 

 

Features declared by the manufacturer

 

READING UNIT

Cabinet: in semispherical-shaped aluminum machined from solid by means of numerical control machines.

Power supply: three independent power supplies starting from the transformer, low noise, with linear regulators for motor control, analog and digital circuits, control logic.

Reading mechanics: CD-Pro2LF PHILIPS with mechanical solutions for stiffening structure, non-magnetic aluminum hollow clamp, the bottom of the flat reading unit.

Internal and external connection system: made with ELEMENTS cables from Omega Audio Concepts of the NANO extra series. Digital Cable Nano Extra series, supplied with the machine.

Digital output: coaxial S/PDIF

Dimensions: 300x175mm DxA semi-spherical element

Weight: 19kg

 

CONVERSION UNIT

Cabinet: in cylindrical aluminum machined from solid by means of numerical control machines

Power supplies: low noise, six high-speed controllers for receiver, conversion circuit, analog output right channel, analog output left channel, TCXO and USB receiver

Mass: analog signal isolated from digital signal mass

Components: SMD with 0.1% tolerance for resistors and capacitors in the analog stag. No capacitors in series on the analog output stage.

Converter: Delta Sigma 24bit 192kHz

Inputs: digital S/PDIF, coaxial 75ohm USB

Receiver: Wolfson S / PDIF WM8805 with TCXO reference clock

Receiver: USB XMOS SK1449 24bit 192kHz

Output: maximum level 2.0Vrms

Signal to noise ratio: 120dB

Front green LED indicator for S / PDIF input, blue for USB input

Weight: 16.5kg

 

POWER SUPPLY UNIT

Power supplies: seven 10VA toroidal transformers separated from each other for motor control, digital circuits, mechanical control logic, digital and analog circuits, interface circuits

Power supply board: stabilized for CD-Pro2LF mechanics.

IEC tray with a fuse.

Maximum absorption: 35W

Cabinet: triangular shaped aluminum machined from solid with CNC machines

Connection system: external made with ELEMENTS conductors of the NANO Extra series supplied with the STREAM digital processing system

Dimensions: 450x100x400mm WxHxD

Weight: 38.5kg

 

Total weight system including bearing structure of the sphere containing the reading mechanics: 84kg

Overall dimensions of the closed system: 450x500x400mm WxHxD

Overall dimensions of the open system: 450x750x400mm WxHxD

 

Official Italian distributor: to the Omega Audio Concepts website

Price in Italy on the review's day: 29,600.00 EUR

System used: to Roberto's sound system

by Roberto Rocchi
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