Review: qsonix q110 Transport
I just reviewed the Qsonix Q110 media server. It’s a pretty impressive piece. It was amazingly easy to set-up and use right out of the box. The two-piece model includes a rack-mount sized chassis hard-drive that also houses a CD drive, built-in computer circuitry, upgradeable software package and a separate 15” touch screen user control panel.
The units connections include four analog outputs, one S/PDIF jack, an Ethernet Jack for High speed internet and an RS232 port enabling multi-room distribution capabilities. The hard-drive size varies in options from 250GB (750CDs) to 1.5TB (4500 + CDs) storage capabilities. With high-fidelity music sound reproduction a key selling point with the Qsonix Q110, their premium WMA Lossless compression mode ensures perfect bit-for-bit accuracy of the original CD. If quantity is more important to you than quality, you can almost triple the storage capacity by selecting a lower-quality MP3 normal storage preference – But, who would want that? Think of it as a real, accurate copy. Why degrade the copy 90% by going to MP3. Burn it and forget the CD! My unit will never leave the “lossless” high-quality setting. In addition, you can hook the unit to an external DAC to integrate with your audiophile 2-channel system. I used it to replace my Teac esoteric CD player.
Before I move on any further, I would like to say the Q110’s sound performance is more than I expected from any media server. Though the built-in sound card that provides lossless sound with a combined four zones total, three analog and one digital or analog sounds impressively good, I connected my unit to an external digital audio converter sending the raw data signal to the high quality converter for the best performance results. The sound was better than the original CD sourced. No, you don’t need to compromise true high-performance sound one bit with the Q110.
Now let’s talk about how much fun I had playing with the unit while importing my CD’s and shopping for additional music software online via their direct MusicGiants store interface. With the MusicGiants store integrated within the package, you can sample and purchase high-quality music downloads instantaneously. The Qsonix unit features a unique “drag-and-drop” touch screen where you literally take your finger tip and touch the song you want and drag it to the play list that you are building – it’s so simple and so much fun. The album art is automatically viewed and you can even create your own album jacket art for your custom built selections. Their user-friendly touch screen interface and tapestry software lets you sample songs, select similar artist by genre, build multiple play list by mood, artist, locale – and more. The tapestry feature is way too cool allowing me to literally re-experience the music I already own all over again. It is amazing how much music I didn’t know existed within my own library.
It is a real social experience at parties. You should see how friends and family enjoy playing with the music sampling and building personal playlist. My wife even learned how to use it within minutes and uses the system to create her gym dance class music every Sunday night for the next week.
When I saw how easy it was to connect my iPod and download my personalized play list and library I was sold. The system is powerful and meaningful – and I might say priced affordable compared to others I looked at.