Years ago, when High-End audio started to play digital streaming files, many people still used their PCs or laptops as their primary source of playback and then used digital outputs such as USB or SPDIF to output to the DAC for decoding. At that time, many audiophiles found that by optimizing the software or hardware of the computer or laptop, the sound would significantly improve, and its importance was immeasurable.
Years later, many manufacturers in the High-End market have introduced digital streaming players, from entry-level tens of thousands to even millions of levels of products. The products are mature, and audiophiles no longer need to build their own. Digital streaming users, regardless of the system level, are absolutely the time to invest.
You will be amazed at the sound improvement it brings, and the rich features and user-friendly operation that come with it will make you fall in love with it directly.
Lumin is one of the earliest brands to invest in high-end digital streaming, with its market-leading design, specifications, and functions and its powerful App. It has already won many loyal users worldwide, and we have also reviewed many Lumin products. This post reviews the Lumin U2 Mini digital streaming player, which uses Lumin’s latest-generation processing system.
The U2 Mini replaces the popular U1 Mini and has been upgraded in both hardware and software, including resampling flexibility, which allows for upscaling or downscaling between 44.1kHz and 384kHz/DSD256. The U1 Mini’s 4-core clock system and five digital outputs have all been retained, and the USB decoding capability has been upgraded to DSD512. In terms of appearance, theLumin U2 Mini has also been processed with the high-end model P1, resulting in a better texture.
Although it is Lumin’s entry-level model, it is already complete and high-end in various aspects. TheLumin U2 Mini is a condensed version of the high-end model, and as a streamer, it has a comprehensive array of digital outputs, up to five.
TheLumin U2 Mini supports the highest DSD512, PCM 32Bit/768kHz, MQA, Roon Ready, Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, Airplay, etc. For audio enthusiasts, the support for formats, encoding, communication protocols, and streaming services is of utmost concern, and with Lumin, one can be assured that virtually everything is covered.
LUMIN’s in-house App is a classic representative of digital streaming equipment. When it first hit the market, it was already quite similar to what it is today, simple, user-friendly, and intuitive. Its powerful features include a more diverse selection of resampled options made possible by hardware upgrades.
As the go-to App for LUMIN equipment, it boasts a simple and intuitive interface that is easy to use. The App provides users with a wide range of powerful features that allow them to stream their favourite music and audio content easily.
The control features of the App, including the Leedh Processing Volume Control high-quality digital sound control, are patented by Gilles Millot of Acoustical Beauty from France. If the system’s preamp is not very good, consider using the digital sound control of theLumin U2 Mini to adjust the volume. At this time, your amplifier or preamp’s volume needs to be set at unity gain. In addition, there are also settings such as MQA and Roon Ready… If you find that certain features are unavailable, check the menu to see if the feature is enabled.
In recent years, streaming over the internet has become one of the most popular new product types in the hi-fi market. Choosing the right option can be a big challenge. In theory, any computer in a person’s home can approximate these functions, but only some are proficient with computers. Furthermore, computers are open-source multi-functional devices that often face minor issues such as installation, updates, and compatibility.
Moreover, computers themselves have the disadvantage of potentially damaging sound performance. While it’s possible to address these issues, only some have the energy or ability to do so. Instead of dealing with these problems, choosing reasonably priced, fully functional, and easy-to-use specialized equipment is better.
The Lumin U2 Mini is a device that allows you to listen to music effortlessly, directly integrating into your existing sound system as a network streaming player.
The device will automatically complete any future updates, making it a stress-free choice for anyone who wants to enjoy their music.
TheLumin U2 Mini is a product designed for high-quality music playback. It meets the demanding auditory requirements of audiophiles in its hardware design and supports most of the functions, file types, and playback methods used by audiophiles. Additionally, it has the capability to upsample and downsample. The output can then be sent to the user’s original DAC decoder. The transmission methods include the commonly used USB and other standard methods.
An interesting description in the manufacturer mentions, “hit your DAC’s sweet spot.” Doing well is different from doing the right thing, which is why Lumin offers the downsampling function. Suppose you have high-resolution files such as DSD256, but the DAC is better suited for PCM decoding for your auditory enjoyment.
In that case, theLumin U2 Mini provides the space for users to convert to PCM and also specifies the output sample rate for the DAC decoder. If you only prefer the original flavour, you can listen to music without any upsampling or downsampling.
Lumin is a brand that started developing before the prevalence of network streaming players in the market. They have a deep understanding of what the market and users need. For a product to be successful, ease of use is equally as important as its functions or sound performance. Lumin has both hardware and software development, and their Lumin App is a control software that perfectly fits the performance of their streaming players.
The App replaces all the control buttons that the player needs, so there is no button on any Lumin network streaming player. The Lumin App is comprehensive, aesthetically pleasing and straightforward. With just 5 minutes, you can familiarize yourself with all the settings and control methods.
With the changing market, Lumin now supports Roon, MQA, and Spotify Connect, and they will continue to evolve and support more network streaming methods in the future. Finally, talking about the most realistic aspect – price. It doesn’t cost much more than a computer, but it allows users to enjoy high-quality network streaming music immediately. It combines the convenience of use and flexibility, seamlessly connecting to your existing audio system. You don’t have to give up your existing equipment, just like using a little magic on your old system, instantly connecting to the endless music world in the network.
Although it’s considered an entry-level model, theLumin U2 Mini’s performance could be better. When listening to Dominique Fils-Aime’s “Nameless,” the overall tone of theLumin U2 Mini is bright and lively, giving the music a fresh and energetic feel. The sound is well-revealed in its lines and details, making the music feel light and flexible. The frequency band balance is seamless, with no abruptness.
The overall dynamic range is appropriate, making popular music sound natural and enjoyable, with an almost average replay level performance regardless of the song. The separation from the background is prominent, and the mid- and low-frequency bands are not particularly emphasized in volume but take a natural and steady approach. The sound lines of vocals are accompanied by good sound imaging, which results in a clear sense of three-dimensionality.
The Lumin U2 Mini is suitable for playing almost any type of music. It not only performs well with simple vocals but also in complex orchestral compositions, with a consistent standard that aligns with its versatile features.
Listen to Hans Zimmer’s “The World of Hans Zimmer” as a reference and experience whether the Lumin U2 Mini can display a tremendous and detailed performance in complex multi-layered music.
In “The Da Vinci Code Orchestra Suite,” the female singer opens with high clarity and transparency. As the male choir and the orchestra play, the rich storytelling hidden in the music becomes evident. The background is dark and peaceful, making the piece more outstanding in space and showcasing its subtle details and dynamics. The low-frequency chords lay the foundation for the main melody to have a suspenseful and visual feel.
Listening to “Ultraviolet” performed by Freya Ridings, one can already feel the great, magnificent feeling of the entire song. Despite the overwhelming feeling that the music conveys, one still feels a sense of restriction, as if being held back in a twisted way.
After using the U2 mini streamer, I was pleasantly surprised to see the entire picture being released. Various sound details were free to run in front of my eyes, and the overall scene became more magnificent, like originally squinting eyes now fully open, completely refreshed and more clearly feeling the panoramic outline.
This experience showcases the impact equipment can have on the listening experience. It highlights the significance of using the right equipment in order to truly appreciate the depth and complexity of a piece of music.
The performance of the drum sound has also significantly improved a level. Before, the drum sound was already quite satisfying, with a full and rich beat playing the rhythm, spreading rich and dense in front of your eyes as an explosive sensation full of impact.
However, after using theLumin U2 Mini streaming turntable, the level of detail has significantly increased. The overall drum sound has become more elongated, with a continuous vibration resonance, increasing the comfort and satisfaction of listening to the sound due to the smoother sound connection.
The air vibration enhances the richness of the drum sound and provides a bombastic impact. The U2 mini streaming turntable has increased the level of detail, making the drum sound more prolonged and providing a seamless vibration resonance. This results in an increase in comfort and satisfaction when listening to the sound.
The next track played is “Quattro (World Drifts In)” from the album “Raise the Roof.” The song is performed jointly by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.
Due to the overall more open visual aspect, the details in the music are also, of course, more transparent. From the beginning, the light and elegant strumming can be felt, in the midst of a peaceful background, compact and lively, strumming the strings quickly. The lines’ feel and the strings’ positioning are very clear, along with the lively melody, making the overall picture more vivid.
The low-frequency part always maintains an appropriate accompaniment. The height of the music is increased at appropriate times in the song; at this point, the stable presentation of the mid and high-frequency range can be heard in front of the eyes, and the different tone aspects that the music gives can be easily enjoyed.
Although the song’s rhythm is slower, various instruments in the mid and high-frequency range add a lot of lightness to the rhythm, presenting the music in a reasonably perfect balance. After listening, one can feel the aftertaste continuing for a long time and is difficult to dissipate.
The final song to be played was “Amazing” by Teddy Swims. The original feeling could have been better, but after using the Lumin U2 mini streaming player, the sound of the piano at the beginning of the song was enough to captivate the listener. The piano sound was extremely clean, and the mid-range piano sound wasn’t particularly clear and bright, but the crisp quality was still perfectly presented and couldn’t be covered.
The feedback from pressing the keys was quite satisfying and had a good hand feel. The vocals were heard to be very clear and clean, and under the accompaniment of the low drum sound, the result of the slightly hoarse voice was a very calm and solid performance, full of strength but not too thick, just the right sound.
Finding a balance between the drum sound and other instruments in a song is important. More drum sound vibration may result in the vocals being overpowered, while too much drum sound vibration may cause other instruments to be neglected. In this case, the drum sound is complete.
It maintains a suitable intensity, blending well with the higher-pitched piano and string sounds and presenting an average tonal performance. The drum sound supports the vocals in the background, creating a sense of continuity in the music and making it feel very smooth.
In conclusion, the LUMIN U2 Mini streamer is a compact and powerful streaming device that offers high-quality audio playback. Its versatile connectivity options and support for a wide range of file formats make it easy to use with various sources. Its intuitive user interface and easy setup make it an excellent option for experienced audiophiles and those new to high-end audio.
Whether you are looking for a device to stream music from your computer or a platform to enjoy your favourite tunes, the LUMIN U2 Mini streamer is worth considering.