Hi-fi Wi-fi device

Any comments on the Transporter from Slim Devices. Has anyone tried it?


Apparently it uses a "miracle DAC"....

I have come to expect hyperbole from high-end audio manufacturers but now we have miracles. This hobby seems more and more like a religion.
7ac929ee be73 4853 8000 abc8d06023d4shadorne
Looks pretty cool, but haven't tried it. I fired up the Slim Devices open-source music server on my server, and client emulator on my laptop. It took a few minutes to scan the music files, I fired up laptop client emulator, and I was streaming music to my laptop with absolutely no issues. If they can pull off this level of seamlessness with this box, it'll be a huge step forward.

It still doesn't seem like it should cost $2K for this type of functionality, or I'd like a version with no DAC / analog output, and just have it output a variety of digital interfaces. But maybe the price just reflects that they're the first to put out a product like this, so price is high until demand is high.

I hope it's a success - I would love the evolution of modern digital data handling applied in an audiophile manner to our hobby.
As far as the "miracle DAC" is concerned, the AKM DAC is to my ear much more fluid and realistic sounding than the Burr-Brown or Crystal Logic DAC. Each of the past two players we've owned had 4 AKM DAC's per channel, as opposed to the Transporter's 1. And I can tell you from moving up the chain from 1, 2, to 4 per channel that the improvements in resolution and musicality were not subtle. The new APL DAC will in fact have 12 AKM DAC's per channel. I say this not to plug a specific manufacturer, but rather to suggest that while the Transporter may be outstanding, there are others out there who are perhaps going even further with component design. By the way, what is "miraculous" times twelve? :-)
Thank you Boa2 for the nice words! I have to say that the Transporter has 1 physical DAC but it equals 2 DAC per channel. Each AK4396 (which is the current top line AKM “miracle” DAC) has two outputs per channel. One is 0 and the other is -180 degrees phase. AKA as Differential or “True Balanced”. The AKM uses separate DACs inside the actual chip for the differential outputs. Since the Slim Transporter uses both outputs of the DAC chips, this equals 2 DACs per channel.

The above mentioned APL DAC has 6 physical chips but also uses both outputs of the same AK4396 AKM DACs (differential mode). This equals 12 DACs per channel.


My anthem has an AKM DAC... I have tried but my poor ears can't hear the difference against cheaper Sony hybrid pulse DACs.

I think AKM's are still less than $10 ...even the top quality ones.


I agree on more modern digital data handling would be a big step forward but the industry seems so reluctant to give much in the way of flexibility on digital outputs....too much fear of piracy perhaps so they leave the consumers to suffer.

BTW: I agree with the comments in the article that compressed audio files are an inferior product. (being sold at similar prices to CD's, at leaast on iTunes)
My anthem has an AKM DAC... I have tried but my poor ears can't hear the difference against cheaper Sony hybrid pulse DACs.
In that case, Shadorne, I'll trade you one Circuit City surround system for a pair of your ATC SCM-100A's. :-)

Alex, thank you for the clarification. My technical knowledge of this stuff is borderline Homer Simpson.
"BTW: I agree with the comments in the article that compressed audio files are an inferior product. (being sold at similar prices to CD's, at leaast on iTunes)"

Personal pet peeve here... Compressed is not necessarily bad--lossy compression is bad, but there are lossless compression schemes that are not inherently evil. Apple Lossless and FLAC are both lossless compression schemes that, unlike wav files, also support tagging--a huge benefit of a digital music system. I also understand the iTMS will/does offer some selections in Apple Lossless format for audionuts. Having never bought anything from iTMS, I can't say whether the rumor is true or not...
As far as I know, Lossless files at the iTMS is still in the rumor stage. Not holding my breath. If they let you burn a CD of it you'd have, gasp, a full-quality CD! I'm way too jaded to expect that to happen.

I see lots of audio products sporting digital ins/outs in the mainstream market, but very little talk about DACs. There's a DAC in every portable CD player and iPod shuffle; and there's a DCS Elgar DAC. How do you explain the difference and not get covered in snake oil? There certainly are differences, but it's sure hard to quantify in a way that makes sense to an interested, but average consumer.

$2000 for a few upgrades from the SqueezeBox is sure a big sign of faith.
Edesilva, wav files support tagging!!!!!! Get a clue!
Doug_kraz... wav files DO NOT SUPPORT TAGGING.

Wav files are a simple wrapper for PCM data and the standard file format for wav files does not include tag data. Yes, you can run certain programs that use a database to provide metadata about specific files, but this is *not* a file tag. What this means is that if you copy the wav file somewhere else, or send it to someone else, the metadata that you have associated with the file is resident only in the program you use and will not travel with the file.

ALACs, FLACs, mp3s, AACs all support tagging--you tag an mp3 or ALAC and move it/copy it, the tag data stays with the file. There are some nonstandardized tags used by some programs, but therein lies the problem--its NONSTANDARD. iTunes won't read it. Foobar won't read it. So, it kinda defeats the point.

Get a clue yerself.
In any event, even if it seems no A'goners have used this yet, I think Slim Devices should be given plenty of kudos for being the first to bring a high end Wi Fi product such as this to audiophiles. Many people have been using the Mac Airport Express or Squeezbox, Escient, Crestron and others...but there really was not a high end Wi-fi option until now.
Shadorne, AKM is one of the largest suppliers of DACs and ADCs for the Professional and Broadcast quality products. There is no ADC like their AK5394A and no DAC like their AK4396, IMO

"I have AKM DACs" don't really mean anything. You really need to have the AK4396 because this DAC, being the AKM flagship, is much more advanced than any other AKM DAC. What they have done in the AK4396 is revolutionary in terms of Digital Filtering, Delta Sigma modulator and output stages. This DAC has up to 10 times less out-of-band noise compared to anything similar on the market today, as well as the capability to accept 216KHz sample rate while keeping the same digital filter oversampling rate and the same speed of the modulator.

I feel that Slim Devices made a very good choice selecting AK4396 DAC for their new "Transporter".

Note: The AK4396 DAC sounds lean when brand new. It gains bass, richness and fullness in about 200 hours, so be patient. :)

AKM is the worlds largest DAC Supplier, this I would add does not make you the best. However,the part Alex is talking about is the AK4396 this DAC is a large departure from other delta sigma DAC's designed by us and otherslike BB, ADI and Cirrus. The AK4396 is an entirely new modulator, pioneered and patened by AKM that does something unique. In the past many of the old phillips and BB parts were R-2R based products. These older products were looked upon as some of the best. One of the reasons was high freq noise. In older R-2R parts high freq noise was not present. In all delta sigma parts prior to the AK4396 everone fought high freq noise caused by the delta sigma modulator, putting large filters and other things to attempt to solve a problem created by the delta sigma design. The AK4396 today effectively does not have any high freq noise caused by the modulator, it is over 60dB better than the nearest Cirrus and BB devices. All this high freq noise can do many things down stream and end up as audible artifacts. That is the Miracle we belive is making the difference today. This part gives you the performance and linearity of a delta Sigma part while giving you the noise of an R-2R part. Something that was never previously available.

I recommend taking a listen to the products using the AK4396 such as APL's and the Slim Devices box. I think you will be plesently surprised. The AKM spends a lot of time and money working on sound quality it is something that makes working for AKM very enjoyable but it is also demanding. We listen to everything we produce and solicite outside very often for impressions on sound quality. However at the end of the day your own ears have to make the call.

Richard Kulavik
AKM Semiconductor

"It still doesn't seem like it should cost $2K for this type of functionality, or I'd like a version with no DAC / analog output, and just have it output a variety of digital interfaces."

Look at their Soundbridge device. For $300, you get a digital out and can use the DAC of your choice. You can even get modders to work over the digital out if you like. Something for everyone. For those who don't want to mess with external DACs, they offer this audiophile model.

- Eric

If I understand the miracle correctly you have managed to get the best of both the delta sigma (single bit) AND resistor ladder network (multibit) designs with the AK5394A;

"Linearity AND Low out of band noise".

Previously you could only get one or the other depending on your choice of architecture.

My amp has the AK4382 which I believe is a delta-sigma design of about 6 years ago (nothing bleeding edge, I will be the first to admit). I have compared this to Sony Hybrid pulse DACs which I have very little information on but I suspect are a one bit delta sigma design. Perhaps the underlying technology or design is similar enough that I have not detected a difference (or possibly my ears are not particularly sensitive to the differences).

In any case, I was blissfully unaware of a major advance in ADC's until now; thanks to yourself and Aplhifi. (My apology for sounding jaded when it comes to miracles)

I must admit the figures on AKM's datasheet, URL below, are rather impressive, especially the S/(N+D);


I need to do some more investigating (listening) as what you describe really would constitute a major step forward in ADC design; having your cake and eating it so to speak.
Sims is having an open house on
December 8th. I plan to attend. Has anyone yet had a chance to put the transporter to task?
Hi Richard, How would the AK4396 miracle DAC compare to the AKM4420 used in the newly released Squeezebox Touch?