Behold Gentle G192 Media Player


Hello again!

We at TARA Labs have been having a lot of fun auditioning new components for our listening room. One recent subject is our Behold Gentle G192 Media Player. It functions as a music server, amplifier and preamplifier, DAC, and DSP corrector. Musically the sounds are very detailed and well-defined, but without the analytical nuance quality that some digital components produce. Rather the sound seems well extended, airy and open overall. Has anyone else tried this media player? Are there any similar products that you have had good experiences with?
codytara
Does TARA have anything to do with the company? The only reason I ask is that you will probably be eliminating the need for quite a few pairs of cables using a device like this.
Zd542...good catch! Cody may not want to tout this device :-)
Yes, it is TARA Labs auditioning the component, though we are likely not going to keep it. I was just curious if anyone else had tried it.
If you guys like it so much why get rid of it? Also, what's the point of starting a thread about it.
Codytara, is this unit made in the u.s.a. or china?, does it have a analog volume control or digital?
easy boy's, easy, he is a newbie, remember when you was?, I was ignored for a long time or treated like dirt, codyTara, it take's a long time to get in this community as accepted, keep the ole chin up cody.
I own it. It is an awesome piece that sounds superb with Behold speakers. I auditioned quite a few speakers costing up to $30K. I thought I would keep my separates, but felt that the G192 and Behold Tanara were very far ahead of anything I had previously owned or auditioned. Also, I don't think Behold outsources to China. It is a small operation. Call Behold and the company's president, Ralph Ballman, picks up the phone.
Hi Mcondon, first off, thank's for your post, to tell you the truth here, after all these year's, I find my self tired of cd's skipping!, can you elaborate on the sound of the two unit's you are speaking of?, I am in the market for a media player that has it's own volume control to run direct to amp, I do not need another amp, just a source of this kind with a quality volume control.
I believe Behold is a German company.
"01-21-15: Audiolabyrinth
easy boy's, easy, he is a newbie, remember when you was?, I was ignored for a long time or treated like dirt, codyTara, it take's a long time to get in this community as accepted, keep the ole chin up cody."

How long exactly? Its been years and everyone still treats me like dirt.
ha,ha,Hi Zd542, I have only been a member since, I believe 9-2012, I stiil catch the bs, you know how it is.
Audiolabyrinth, the G192 is an integrated amp with DAC. I believe it can be purchased with "modules", including room correction and a media server. I don't know much about the media server module. Brett Mesler, my dealer at Audio 202 in New Jersey may be able to answer your questions. The U.S. distributor, Sam Laufer at Laufer Teknik can also answer any questions. I found both to be very honest and accommodating. My sense is that the G192 would be overkill as a server alone, since you wouldn't be using its amp. And, although the G192 can be used with a wide array of speakers, my feeling is that it really shines when used with Behold speakers. I demo'd many speakers in my search, including Acoustic Zen, Wilson, Coincident, Vivid, Gamut, DeVore. None were as immediately transfixing and mind blowing as the G192 and Tanara (which are the lowest end in the Behold line.) The only speaker that I preferred to the Tanara were the Kaiser Kawero Classic, but they are too large for my space and a lot more money than Behold. Behold is a great option if you want a simple setup that sounds fantastic. I sold all my expensive separates, many expensive power cords, my standalone DAC. I guess my point is that the G192 is a stellar "Swiss army knife". Buying it as a media server only might not be worth the money. Aurender, Lumin, the Signature Rendu, etc. might be better and cheaper options if you just want a media server, although I have heard none of those units. The only server I have demo'd was the Laufer Teknik Memory Player, which sounded absolutely stellar in my system, easily the best I have ever heard as a digital source, but it is very large and very expensive. Bottom line is that Behold makes stellar audio equipment, but you should think of it as an entire system, not just as a digital server.
Hi Mcondon, what a great post, thankyou, I would like to find a streamer of excellent sound with a quality volume control to run direct to my amp and get out of cd-player's, dac's-transport's all together, I am not that interested in computer audio, that's silly to me, computer's do not have quality power supplies, tube's, quality capacitor's, etc..., plus usb cable's are a silly way to attempt to get state of the art sound, some usb implementation's inside of some of the best Dac's out there may sound good, however, the usb cable is a bust!, a media streamer that has balanced cable out-put with a quality volume control to run direct to amplification is what I would like to audition, is their such a unit on the market yet?
Isnt this a $50K piece of kit??

That needs to be said upfront. Its audio jewelry with a fantastic screen/display.


Correction, this is the runt of the litter at $16K. The $50k sibling is newer.

No DSD.
"01-26-15: Audiolabyrinth
Hi Mcondon, what a great post, thankyou, I would like to find a streamer of excellent sound with a quality volume control to run direct to my amp and get out of cd-player's, dac's-transport's all together, I am not that interested in computer audio, that's silly to me, computer's do not have quality power supplies, tube's, quality capacitor's, etc..., plus usb cable's are a silly way to attempt to get state of the art sound, some usb implementation's inside of some of the best Dac's out there may sound good, however, the usb cable is a bust!, a media streamer that has balanced cable out-put with a quality volume control to run direct to amplification is what I would like to audition, is their such a unit on the market yet?"

I think you just set the record for the longest sentence on Audiogon. That aside, I'm not sure what you are asking for. For computer audio, you use the PC as a transport only. But unless I'm mistaken, a streaming device is essentially a computer as well. The way you interact with a streamer is a little different, but you still have to rip all your CD's and they get played back essentially the same way. I could be wrong, of course, but I thought that's how it works.
ZD, you are not wrong.

Streamer is just a quiet transport that is designed optimized for music, accepts ethernet/wifi, etc and outputs in Dac friendly formats like USB, HDMI, RCA, BNC eutc.
Audiolabyrinth,

So you want to keep your amp, but replace your CD transport, DAC, and preamp with a single digital server with balanced outputs? I believe a Lumin server would fit that bill. Nothing else comes to mind, since most digital servers output a digital signal that needs to be converted to analog by a separate DAC.

I briefly explored the idea of demoing a Lumin. I don't know if you are in the US or somewhere else, but Ciamara in New York is a Lumin dealer that allows 30-day trials within the US (or rather, the right to return the product for a full refund if you don't like it).

Mind you, I have never heard a Lumin player, so cannot recommend it based on personal experience. And Lumin is not cheap. But it might be worth investigating if you want to retire your CD player and move to a one box solution.
Thankyou Mcondon, you hit the nail on the head, that is exactly what i'm looking for, however, I will still use the cd-player on a second system, not sure if the Lumin product is my answer, worth looking into, just tired of cd's rearing out, we all know what i'm saying, scratche's, breaking, skipping, etc..., want to join the new era of music play back, but I will not and refuse to use a usb cable or interface, that is silly!, I enjoy state of the art analog balanced cable's now, I cannot imagine getting rid of my $15,000 1-meter balanced I/C for a usb cable, really, ha,ha,ha, now you know why I desire a quality analog volume control on a streamer that signal's by way of balanced out's, cheers.
Hi Zd542, Do you remeber the Krell kps 25sc?, when this unit was made, it was an all in one box solution that was incredible in it's day, I would like to audition a streamer that is like this, instead of cd play back all in one box, the krell unit had a real class A analog preamp inside the unit, eliminated the use for some cable's, only need one analog cable direct to amplification, the krell was state of the art in the entire decade it was made, I may be hopeing for to much here, you would think with all the technology these day's, one would be able to find such a streamer?
Mc,

This is exactly what I told Audiolabyrinth yesterday.

Spot on!
K.

You can also go down the Devialet path...
Lumin is a Streamer/Dac, not a server.

$7K full retail for the basic one and about $11K for the topline one that does DSD2x.
Wisnon, by your definition, a server has to have a large internal hard drive? I don't know of any audio piece that has that, as well as an internal DAC and balanced analog outs. To use Lumin, you need to set up a NAS, which is very easy to do and pretty inexpensive, and that then transfers files to the Lumin as you want to play them. A NAS also automatically backs up your music files, so if one hard drive in it fails, you just insert a replacement. I personally would not want a large hard drive, a digital "renderer", and a DAC in one box. First, if the single hard drive in it crashes, as they are prone to do, you are left with a very expensive doorstop until the manufacturer replaces the drive, assuming they are still in business. Second, an internal hard drive can be noisy (i.e., mechanical noise and EMI). A NAS that is across the room or in a closet will be a lot quieter.

Of course, one now should start to see the appealing simplicity and economics of a decent headless computer connected to a USB DAC or a USB-SPDIF converter. Many Luddites in this forum are appalled by the idea of this type of setup, but it can sound very good. The owner of Ciamara uses a MacBook Pro as his source and it sounded stellar when I heard it. The folks at Computer Audiophile also seem to set up their systems this way and don't seem to believe they are sacrificing any sound quality to TOTL CD players. That is the direction I am most likely headed, and I have reasonable optimism it will work. Right now, I get stellar sound using a Bel Canto CD3t, a $1500 transport, plugged into the Behold. The combination beats the pants off my prior setup of the Perfect Wave Memory Player, Perfect Wave DAC, Aesthetix Calypso, and Pass Labs 150.5, all of which I sold for more than the cost of the Bel Canto + Behold G192.

In any case, this thread has gone way off topic. It was originally about the Behold Gentle, which is a very nice piece.
Mc,

I dont disagree with you, just being clear for AudioLab, who seems very unsure ofbthe space. I think maybe the Lauferteknic Memory Player is the only one stop box like you describe.

So yes, we are largely on the same page.

I like DSD as a format, so will likely head in the CAPs server, Win2012/AO/HQP direction. Maybe with a fitPC acting as NAA.
interesting reading all this, gentleman, is there a way to have what I am wanting here?
Audiolab,

Lumin is your best bet at the moment. I have a contact that can do you a better price than retail, so contact me if you want to go that way and save some $$$.

A pal told me that its dead easy to setup and the Dac feedback is very competent. Took him max 15 mins aand all worked flawlessly. I think its the S1 that does DSD2x, as the more basic A1 does only DSD64.

That said, I only head it briefly at the showroom in a big Audio show. For SoTA sound you would have to put up with more boxes and more tachnical hassles. I am pretty sure the SSR will be hard to beat as its the only one handling Packet data in a SoTA fashion.
"01-27-15: Audiolabyrinth
Hi Zd542, Do you remeber the Krell kps 25sc?,"

Yes, I do remember it. But, to be completely honest, I never liked Krell Digital. It was definitely built well and looked amazing, but I just didn't care for the sound.

I just remembered something that you may be interested in. Check with Bo1972. He reviewed a product maybe 6-8 months ago, that sounds like what you are asking for. I don't remember the name of it, but he liked it very much. He may have mentioned something about 3D sound, lol.
Zd542, That's funny!, you know better than to joke about hooking me up with him, come on man!, Ha,he,ha.
wisnon, I took a look at the lumin equipment, unless I missed something, they do not have a volume control, this, I do not want.
The Lumin UPnP Network Player is a Linux-based player and DAC with a digital volume control all wrapped up in a gorgeously smooth machined 17+ pound slab of solid aluminum.

http://www.audiostream.com/content/lumin-network-music-player
Also, the key for these streamers is SOFTWARE development of the Control point (eg the iPad App).

Not sure if the one man boutique shops can handle keeping software updated and doing the customer support needed for this. You have to stay with bigger outfits like Lumin with a battery of programmers and support staff.

Its as much software and networking saavy as it is hardware knowhow and implementation.
"01-28-15: Audiolabyrinth
Zd542, That's funny!, you know better than to joke about hooking me up with him, come on man!, Ha,he,ha."

I didn't know you guys don't like each other. I know some people don't like him, but there's no denying he truly loves audio, and his whole world revolves around it. I don't know if you noticed lately, but AG is slowly, but surely, being overrun by the "scientific" crowd. You know, the people that can tell you what your system sounds like just by looking at a spec sheet. At least Bo listens to music and is genuine about audio. There's so few of us left. I know he's strange, but he's probably not stranger than me. lol.

Getting back to the product he reviewed, it just sounded like something you would be interested. I would never suggest that you buy something without listening to it first. That's crazy. But I know how serious you are about audio, and are always willing to consider something new.
Zd542, thankyou for the kind word's, I like Bo, I believe some of what he say's,but his relentless i'm correct and nobody else is post is a little absurd, I even have defended bo on these board's, somtime's, he get to be much, you know what I am saying, in the end, he really is not a bad guy, I run across nasty member's that is a nightmare, he is an angel compaired to all them.
Keith,

This Server/ripper may interest you:
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f20-buy-and-sell-audio-and-computer-components-no-dealers/sonore-signature-server-and-deux-upgraded-power-supplies-23283/
Or this:

http://ariamusicserver.com/index.php/features-aria-music-server
Thankyou Winson, I have had some personal matters come up, I will have to put off my agenda of a media player at this time, however, you may call me if you like, I enjoy talking to you, you are a good friend and member.