High End 2013

The audio world is not exactly short of pretty streaming solutions, but few seem as ambitious or elegant as the French Soledge Canto setup. This consists of the Maestro server (14,000 with a top-mounted and motorized touchscreen interface, 9000 if controlled from iPad or other mobile device) and Tenor DAC/amplifiers (6000 in stereo, 5000 each if used as monoblocks). There is also the Alto DAC/receiver (4000) for use with existing amplifiers. As well as 2TB of configurable storage, the Maestro server also functions as a CD player and offers USB replay from thumb drives via a front-mounted input. The various elements are constructed from a mixture of Corian (in customizable finishes) and aluminum and use patented digital technology and conventional linear power supplies to achieve their claimed superior sound quality. Uncompressed 24-bit/192kHz data transfer is via the AC mains supply, FireWire or wireless, although we were unable to pin down quite how the latter functions. Multiple independent zones are supported, and the remote-control app was simplicity itself to use.

This well-thought-out system certainly seemed to deliver on the promise of performance and functionality -- albeit at a price.

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