I borrowed a HiFi Rose RS-150B to study for the weekend. The unit needs to be back in the store on Tuesday in keeping with my shorter overviews.
First things first, let's get some storage in this thing. 2TB SSD is enough to test with.
The cover screws are threaded into a relatively thin base-plate, and care should be taken not to cross-thread them—a tiny thorn.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and my eye says this is beautiful. A full display for video playback by attaching a monitor/TV (up to 4k). And a nicely adjustable display for Music playback. Yes, you can change the meters! If you do not want the external display, the screen on the Rose works well. This makes me want to get one of those Samsung Frame TVs to replace the mirror on the wall with something active. But, the longer I watch the still frame of an album in front of me, the more I want it turned off. Maybe the on-screen display is enough for music.
And you can toggle the front panel display on and off from the App. The display is very bright and readable from a distance.
I have been using both the iPhone and iPad apps to operate the unit. With just two days to play with a complete system like this, I can only hope to hit upon the highlights; And maybe point out some of the anomalies.
The onscreen VU meter system might be a bit skeuomorphic for me; interestingly, it is also interactive.
Many interesting linguistic choices are made on the user interface that can be confusing and should be improved. Some may be placeholders that have not been “fixed.” Again small thorns poke in you.
Visually both the iPad and iPhone apps are pretty nice. A lot is going on there, requiring significant software development time.
On the “Rose Home” screen, there are several items that I am hot and cold on. There are two sections: User Picks and Manage Friends that link to Tidal, etc. There is also this Rose account that I do not understand and will not investigate for now. I am not sure I am interested in a “social account” in a brand-specific music system.
I am using my iPad mini as a control device, and the user interface fits the mini nicely:
I need to talk about sound quality just a bit. This thing sounds very, very good. I know that tells you nothing. Get out to a store that sells these and listen to it. I can tell you that into my 517 speakers over single-ended outputs. This sounds better than a couple of the streamers via direct AES into the speakers. Not a lot, but better.
I am trying hard not to overstate differences, and on Friday, I spent the afternoon with a Kitsune Holo May DAC connected to my Mercury streamer; that was the best thing I have heard in my home system. But that is another story!
I am enamored with Raspberry Pis and the Mercury Streamer, which are already paid for. I am having too much fun playing with software.