Audio4Soul is a small company based in Greece and they produce just two items, the Xtreme 16 (tested here) and the Xtreme 16 with USB streamer. The company has an interesting philosophy and one that will appeal to a good few people I suspect – they want to produce a straightforward product that simply allows people to enjoy the very best sound quality at a price point that is achievable for most people. They also recognise that not all music lovers want to have boxes and boxes of hifi equipment strewn all over their living room. Of course, having a box of tricks that does it all means you have more to spend on great quality loudspeakers and this is another important aspect of the company’s philosophy.
It’s an attractive looking bit of kit and worth noting that is it is built by hand, though I’m sure it will have its detractors – the front panel is reminiscent of a piece of lab equipment. However, there is a lovely touch on the top of the unit where the ventilation grill is a cut out in the shape of a treble clef. On the front of the unit there is an SD card slot, a power switch, a small red LED screen, a switch to alternate between optical input and coaxial and a host of LEDs to let you know the status of the machine.
So what is it exactly? With the Xtreme 16 you get a16 watts per channel integrated digital amplifier that has a powered DAC onboard with a PCM/PWM converter. You can connect a CD transport (or laptop with appropriate converter) using Spdif or Toslink (the unit uses a Wolfson 8804 receiver) or you can use the front mounted SD card reader to play Ogg. Mp3 or Wav files. Aceptable files are up to 24/96 (16/44 for the SD card). More »