XACT S1. The music server you've been waiting for

Marcin_gps

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JCAT WILL LAUNCH ITS OWN HIGH-END MUSIC SERVER AT AVS 2022 - XACT S1 – FEATURING WORLD’S 1ST 100% LINEAR POWERED MOTHERBOARD.

L1003809-Edit-Enhanced-Edit-2.jpg


Designed from scratch, XACT S1, is a purist’s dream for those in the know. Based on JCAT’s ZeNA (Zero-Noise-Architecture) motherboard, the S1 does not rely on switching DC-DC converters. Instead, super-low-noise linear regulators are used exclusively making XACT S1 the world’s first music server running on linear power alone.



The market lacked a genuine audiophile-grade motherboard. Most of the available streaming products are assembled using general-purpose PC motherboards. According to Marcin Ostapowicz, JPLAY & JCAT Founder, such motherboards with noisy switching converters all over the place should not be used in a high-end audio system.



XACT S1’s proprietary motherboard, apart from linear regulation, features extremely low-jitter OCXO clock with ±5 ppb frequency stability. The extensive power supply section based on JCAT’s renowned OPTIMO linear PSU delivers 140 000 uF of capacitance provided by Nichicon’s flagship Muse and Fine Gold capacitors series.



Software is custom made and finetuned personally by JPLAY’s Founder, Marcin Ostapowicz, who promises superb sound quality and ease of use via included brand new JPLAY iOS app which combines Qobuz, Tidal and local content in a single beautiful interface.



According to Wojciech Pacuła, chief editor of High Fidelity, the sound of XACT S1 is 'insanely difficult to distinguish from an analog source'. Come and hear it yourself.


When: 28-30th October


Where: Warsaw, Poland. Radisson Blu Sobieski Hotel, Room 718
 

matthias

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According to Wojciech Pacuła, chief editor of High Fidelity, the sound of XACT S1 is 'insanely difficult to distinguish from an analog source'.
Do you have a link to this statement?
Thx

Matt
 
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Marcin_gps

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The all new XACT S1 music server is on the cover of the upcoming HighFidelity issue. The issue, and the XACT S1's review, will be purblished on 1st of November. Make sure to visit highfidelity.pl then.

Sounds very intriguing... is there any idea of expected pricing? Looking forward to further details, TIA.
@audio.bill the price will be €10.500

I am leaving for the Audio Video show. I will update the topic when I return after the weekend.

High-Fidelity-okladka_223.jpg
 
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matthias

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"I really liked the XACT S1 FILE TRANSPORT. Its sound encourages long listening sessions . They will be relaxed, pressureless, yet rich in sound experience. The transport is characterized by a slightly warm, dense and saturated sound. Its sound has a lot of energy, especially with hi-res files. This, in my opinion, is still not the quality of the best CDs and SACDs, but the difference is not that big and the S1 comes down to resolution and micro-information only. The timbre, dynamics and space are comparable.
What's more, by shifting the emphasis to the lower midrange, by saturating the bass, by - finally - a slight withdrawal of treble, we get a sound with the tested transport that many music lovers and audiophiles may like more than a more precise, but less saturated sound. Because it is a refined, thoughtful, sophisticated product in which you can clearly see a person who is standing before. And it is a very good sight :)"

Interesting summary of the mentioned review :cool:

Matt
 

JSA

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Looking at the pictures in HighFidelity review, I wonder how much different soundwise such S1 transport would be to Lumin U2 Mini with external LPS?
 
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matthias

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I think it will be interesting how it compares to other Network Music Players up to 10k.

Matt
 

JSA

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I think it will be interesting how it compares to other Network Music Players up to 10k.

Matt
No disrespect to XACT S1 (which I am sure is a fabulous product), but taking a quick look inside it seems to be in the same solution concept as Zen Stream+LPSU or Lumin U2+LPSU. Objectively here we talk about getting out via USB solid, well powered signal without any interruptions from internal motherboard processes. Similar objective is behind Zen Stream (with Femto and active noise cancellation on USB output) and with Lumin U2.
I am currently having both at home. Zen Stream with LPSU is shockingly good, and Lumin U2 Mini is even better (this one I haven't tried yet with LPSU as it requires a small modification/upgrade).

Of course would be great to understand how XACT S1 compares to Taiko - how big is the gap, if any.
 

Marcin_gps

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Lumin is not a music server. It's 'only' a network transport whilst the XACT S1 is a network transport and a music server and a router / switch.

I will update the topic with more information about the product later this week.

Best regards,
Marcin
 
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audioblazer

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Pretty empty inside the box compare to the cheap Vietnam MagicDigitalZ1 probably at 20% of its cost . So I wonder where is the magic of this server. By the way I do like Jcat products .. heard them . Just puzzled with the pricing
 

tedwoods

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If this was priced at half of what it seems to cost now, it would be a serious contender against the Innuos Pulsar (elaborate power supply and integrated reclocking of USB output) or the Aqua Linq (integrated switch but non-USB outputs) perhaps. At the current pricing, either are priced more attractively and even Pulsar plus PhoenixNET has a lower asking price overall. Of course, not everything is just a sum of their parts, but I guess we'll have to wait and see about the things that truly matter when user reviews start coming in. I have read the said review but you'll have to excuse me for not taking it under any consideration at all, as even from a purely linguistic perspective it seems unfocused and aloof. Since the methodology of magazine reviewing is all over the map these days, I no longer believe that any type of reviewing that falls in this category holds any merit whatsoever.
 
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JSA

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Lumin is not a music server. It's 'only' a network transport whilst the XACT S1 is a network transport and a music server and a router / switch.

I will update the topic with more information about the product later this week.

Best regards,
Marcin
I am not sure I see the difference. Lumin has firmware/software on the main chip (U2 Mini) that enables to take music data from Minimserver etc. and be processed until it reaches required output (like USB, AES/EBU) and upsample in the meantime if required. It also has an app (that by the way is free of charge). Indeed, it doesn't cover network switch part.

In that respect any Raspberry Pi or alike is of similar nature/concept like sMS-200ultra Neo, Zen Stream, Lumin U2 and XCAT S1. Approach from Taiko (and many others) is on a completely different path.

What is really interesting these days is the SOTM motherboard release:
as that makes a valid option for DIY server at reasonable price with motherboard tailored towards solid music signal reproduction. This will finally lead to multiple options for solid (maybe even dedicated) software to operate the motherboard and make a great server and/or streamer.

Again - will be interesting to see comparison of XACT S1 to architecture wise alike products (sMS, Lumin, Raspberry, Zen Stream, optimized NUC) suplemented with solid linear power supply, and at the same time to see comparison to something like Taiko Extreme (which is a completely different concept of how to achieve a great server/streamer).
 
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Marcin_gps

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Pretty empty inside the box compare to the cheap Vietnam MagicDigitalZ1 probably at 20% of its cost . So I wonder where is the magic of this server. By the way I do like Jcat products .. heard them . Just puzzled with the pricing

I guess it is a matter of perspective. The chassis is wider than e.g. my $50k APL DSD-MR SE DAC.

I am not sure if you read the article or my first post. I will try to explain the unique value proposition.

First of all, I am in 'computer audio' business since 2011. My software player, JPLAY for Windows, received highest sound quality notes from various magazines and is still used around the globe. It does not have any UI, upsampling or any DSP. It does not support MQA. It sells for 149EUR. Is it a lot for such a limited functionality? Anyone can download a free trial version, listen and decide. I sell multiple licenses everyday even though the product was not updated since 2018. Why is that? Because it sounds good.

Since the very beginning of my career, I had a dream - to condense all my experiences and knowledge into a product - a box with a single 'POWER' button. So that the user does not have to know about all these matters - operating systems, drivers, formats, optimizations, etc. connect a power cord, Ethernet and USB, launch the application on the tablet and be able to focus on music.

10 years have passed from the idea to the finished product. I could have done it before based on the available components, but I didn't want to go the easy way. I wanted to do it my way, without compromise.

Anyone can build a PC-based music server. Most of the products on the market use computer motherboards, even Taiko does. XACT S1 is not a PC. The motherboard in XACT S1 is world's first motherboard running on LDOs. It is running my JPLAY software. It is controlled by JPLAY iOS app, awarded by Chris Connaker already even though it's not released yet. In my opinion, the XACT S1's price is a bargain given the cost of R&D and from pure sonic performance's perspective.

Best regards,
Marcin


IMG_0376.jpeg
 
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matthias

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@Marcin_gps

I have two questions:

1.) How is the quality of the Network section / USB section of the XACT S1 in comparison to the JCAT NET CARD XE / USB CARD XE?

2.) Is the USB 5V Vbus of the S1 strong enough and well regulated for powering a pure USB DAC with 500mA?

Thank you

Matt
 

tedwoods

Member
Dec 14, 2021
25
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I guess it is a matter of perspective. The chassis is wider than e.g. my $50k APL DSD-MR SE DAC.

I am not sure if you read the article or my first post. I will try to explain the unique value proposition.

First of all, I am in 'computer audio' business since 2011. My software player, JPLAY for Windows, received highest sound quality notes from various magazines and is still used around the globe. It does not have any UI, upsampling or any DSP. It does not support MQA. It sells for 149EUR. Is it a lot for such a limited functionality? Anyone can download a free trial version, listen and decide. I sell multiple licenses everyday even though the product was not updated since 2018. Why is that? Because it sounds good.

Since the very beginning of my career, I had a dream - to condense all my experiences and knowledge into a product - a box with a single 'POWER' button. So that the user does not have to know about all these matters - operating systems, drivers, formats, optimizations, etc. connect a power cord, Ethernet and USB, launch the application on the tablet and be able to focus on music.

10 years have passed from the idea to the finished product. I could have done it before based on the available components, but I didn't want to go the easy way. I wanted to do it my way, without compromise.

Anyone can build a PC-based music server. Most of the products on the market use computer motherboards, even Taiko does. XACT S1 is not a PC. The motherboard in XACT S1 is world's first motherboard running on LDOs. It is running my JPLAY software. It is controlled by JPLAY iOS app, awarded by Chris Connaker already even though it's not released yet. In my opinion, the XACT S1's price is a bargain given the cost of R&D and from pure sonic performance's perspective.

Best regards,
Marcin


View attachment 99770
May I offer a suggestion?
Why don't you try a "tourbox", a.k.a. a server that will go around a few prominent audiophiles with good systems, that'll offer their insight and comparisons for all the community to witness.
For every product I've seen that happen, it has always been beneficial in more than one ways.
 

Marcin_gps

VIP Donor/Industry Expert
Jun 24, 2015
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jcat.eu
@Marcin_gps

I have two questions:

1.) How is the quality of the Network section / USB section of the XACT S1 in comparison to the JCAT NET CARD XE / USB CARD XE?

2.) Is the USB 5V Vbus of the S1 strong enough and well regulated for powering a pure USB DAC with 500mA?

Thank you

Matt
Hi Matt,

1) We used the same OCXO as in the USB / NET XE. And the same connectors. I compared various PHYs during development and chose the best sounding. I no longer use a PC-based music server, because I think the XACT S1 is on a higher level. With USB XE and NET XE cards the end result depends on many factors like motherboard, power supply and software configuration of the PC. With XACT S1 I guarantee the same level of sound quality, because all components are the same, even the SD card.

2) Yes, there are LDOs on the motherboard and the linear PSU is based on our OPTIMO series, so customers who heard the OPTIMO can expect at least the same level of sonic performance.

The unit presented at the AVS in Warsaw is a production unit. The picture taken by Hifipig team below:

Day-1-sobieski-Audio-video-show-warsaw-20222810220008.jpg

Best regards,
Marcin
 
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