The Stack Audio LINK is a new audiophile USB music player that adds streaming capability to existing 2 channel hifi systems. Stack Audio may be a new name to many. It is a British hifi company that is focused on the front-end and alongside producing analogue products has been researching and developing its streamer platform for 5 years. It passionately believes a pure source signal is paramount for enjoyable music reproduction, whether analogue or digital.

This philosophy is at the heart of the new LINK. Stack Audio also recognises that flexibility and ease of use are equally important when it comes to digital sources. The LINK will easily drop into UPnP, DLNA, Open Home & Roon based management and control systems, and supports wider industry systems like Apple devices through Shairport-sync and Spotify Connect.  Connection to sources can be via ethernet cable, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB and it can manage bit-perfect ripping of CDs through a plug-in CD drive. Indeed, the LINK is so called because it seamlessly links all sources of digital music files to any hifi system with a USB equipped DAC but just what makes the LINK audiophile?

Stack Audio has credentials. It has built up a customer base for its range of SERENE upgrades for the LinnLP12 which are designed to remove unwanted noise, resonances and interference from the phono signal. This is as true with digital audio as it is with analogue. It is noise and interference that the LINK has been built from the ground up to counter. In particular, Stack Audio has spent the last 5 years understanding the effects of phase noise, so John Westlake was the perfect partner to work with for the LINK. John has extensively researched phase noise and its effects on timing accuracy.

At the core of the detox system is an ultra-low phase noise USB audio clock circuit. The ethernet input is synchronised to the audio clock to reduce the small variations in the timing of the digital signals. A dedicated USB audio output buffers the signal to purify it and EMI filter circuitry removes remaining interference. The LINK is powered by an extremely low noise, multi-stage power circuit. Three independent switching regulators are synchronized to the audio clock ensuring that the fluctuations of the switching circuit are in time with the clock, reducing fluctuations and noise. The LINK’s bank of 9 low ESR capacitors and triple linear regulated circuit that further help to ensure the power source is clean.

The LINK’s sensitive electronics are protected in a high-mass case machined from solid aluminium. It features EMI and physical vibration absorbing materials and an anodised finish Convenience and flexible user control are essential requirements for a refined music streamer. Stack Audio has partnered music streaming specialists Volumio for the custom software built into the Link. It is powerful, flexible and intuitive, enabling the LINK to be operated in multiple ways:   The LINK is manufactured in the UK sharing production facilities with products for aerospace, medical and military applications.  It is available to pre-order now in silver or black on the Stack Audio website for £695 with a refundable £25 deposit. First deliveries are expected end Jan/early Feb 2019.

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