Thursday, 23 June 2011

BRIK Audio BT Stage

Built

BT receiver – nothing to shout about. Light but nicely designed and ‘looks’ expensive. Power supply not the best quality. Running on 12V DC.

Power Master – Heavy duty. Heavy by weight in comparison with the size. The off/on button could be more sturdy. Sometimes it does not lock in when push to on.

Connectivity

Connected to my iPhone and iPad within few seconds. No fuss. Any sounds from the iPhone and ipad can be streamed to this unit. Even the sound of email coming in !!!. However, tried running a Radio App and it gave a loud buzzing sound. So be warned, make sure to lower down the volume before changing things on your iPad or iPhone. No signal drop out throughout 3 hrs usage. Yes, I was up till 3 am this morning. J

Set up

Connected directly to M6i amp using QED Signature IC. Playlist on my iPad for AB comparison as follows. All either in MP3 320kbps/48kHz file or Apple Lossless

1. Andrea Bocelli + Sarah Brightman – Time To Say Goodbye

2. Solianos – Di bawah Sinar Bulan Purnama

3. Metallica – Enter Sandman

4. Foo Fighters – My Hero

5. M. Nasir – Phoenix Bangkit and Mustika

A-B comparison done with the following:

1. iPad connected wirelessly to Brik BT Stage with QED Signature IC to M6i

2. iPhone4 in Wadia 170i dock feeding MF X DAC via coaxial with QED Signature IC to M6i

3. iPhone3GS connected to QED uPlay with QED supplied IC to M6i

4. iTunes on iMac connected wirelessly via Airport Express to M6i

I didn’t compare it to CD replay as the idea is just to test the level of SQ satisfaction VS convenience gained.

The Listening Session

1. The Brik BT Stage came out a bit harsh in the beginning with very muddled presentation. Didn’t like it. High notes by Sarah Brightman and Solianos sounded too harsh to my ears. The unit also somehow boost the bass level up a notch. I think that’s why it sounded muddled. Not very impressed. It got worst when I put on M. Nasir multi instrument music. Too messy.

2. Two thumbs up with the volume level though. Listening at 9 o’clock on the M6i knob, no difference in volume level between 1, 2 and 4. QED uPlay was the worst. To get the similar volume level, had to crank the knob on M6i to 12 o’clock.

3. Set up 2 above still gave the best SQ to my ears. Taking the digital files from iPhone4 and let the MF X-DAC do the processing produce very sweet sounding music.

4. Connectivity however was no issues on the Brik BT Stage. No signal dropout although sometimes changing between songs, I can hear ‘click’ sound. The worst connectivity was Airport Express as it was over my WiFi which is not that strong in my hifi room. So signal drops out once in a while.

5. Convenience – having the BT Stage is definitely a plus. No need to walk down to the rack and change music on the iPhone. Eventhough the Wadia has a remote, but you still cant choose your song.

6. However, after about 2 hrs of playing music on BT Stage, the sound seems different. Maybe because I was already sleepy J. I went to bed feeling a bit disappointed.

7. This morning, had a go again. Aaaaaahhh now the BT Stage sounds different. Not to say better but different. It still sounded a bit muddled but it starts to give out the character of the music. Multi instrument music by M. Nasir sounds more airy than last night. Maybe its just a placebo effect.

Verdict

Can I call this BRIK a hifi piece that can satisfy my needs after 12 hrs of purchase? Yes for convenience, 50-50 for SQ.

Will it continue to sit together with the rest of my hifi kit? Will decide this weekend.

NOTE: Why did I buy it? The original power supply for my QED uPlay when kaput. And no warranty on the plug. Replacement cost RM150. End up using a RM10 AC/DC power supply bough from hardware store.

Why did I buy the Power Master? Same case with BRIK items like BT Stage, DAC and Phono Stage. Power supply ie plug not covered by warranty.
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