HiFi ROSE RS150 NETWORK STREAMER REVIEW
HiFi Rose is a South Korean manufacturer that makes a series of streaming products and amplifiers which are very much aimed at the mid to high-end market. The HiFi Rose RS150 falls between the mid and high-range products.
First off, HiFi Rose is a highly reputable audiophile company. Its parent company, Citech, a Korean software company, makes screens for Mcdonald’s restaurants among other things. In my opinion, HiFi Rose has the best screens in terms of usability size that I encountered. Thankfully, they are well-funded and it shows through their products.
The RS150 is currently their top model and retails for £3889. That’s a pretty heft price tag but when you see the design and build quality, it turns the product’s price point into a good investment and a great value for money. The 14.9-inch touchscreen is the largest I have ever seen on an audio product.
Rarely does HiFi equipment look good, have exceptional build quality, and sound good. I’m interested to see just how good the RS150 compares against the competition of which there is a plethora. Brands such as Lumin, Naim, Auralic, Moon, and Metronome (just to name a few) all have competing streamers. However, few of them have the screen or facilities that the HiFi Rose offers.
The HiFi ROSE RS150 Technical Features
The RS150 comes in an all-aluminum cabinet with a huge 14.9” touchscreen which takes up almost the entire front panel. It’s seriously impressive visually as you can change the screen from a conventional streamer to cool VU meters and other things.
The Rose OS (their operating system) is a bespoke operating system that delivers a really nice interface that is so much more impressive than the 3rd party ones used by many manufacturers. The HiFi Rose is also less clunky than other streamers I used and even the touchscreen is a joy to use.
The DAC uses the ESS Sabre ES9038DAC chipset which offers low noise, low distortion, and ultra-high-resolution sound. This offers up to 32-bit/768 kHz processing and DSD up to 512.
A linear power supply keeps electrical noise to a minimum.
There is an android and IOS platform as well as airplay so it pretty much covers all the bases.
There are built-in apps for Tidal and Qobuz, with the Tidal app giving access to Tidal’s music video streaming on the RS150 screen. You can also use HDMI for the video signal to an external screen and there is an MQA decoder for full playback of Tidal Masters
The CD and CD ripping apps allow you to connect a CD Rom drive for CD playback or CD ripping and you can add an internal hard drive or rip to external drives so every base is covered here.
Finally, the HiFi Rose is Roon Ready, has Spotify Connect and Airplay, and radio and podcast apps while RoseTube has YouTube covered.
The HiFi Rose is a complete digital hub and preamp with an extensive array of inputs and outputs including internet connection either by ethernet or Wi-Fi. The included dongle also supports Bluetooth and the supplied remote control gives extensive control over the Rose OS.
There are balanced and unbalanced inputs and outputs as well as digital inputs and outputs including I2S to link to high-end DACs.
Impressive Sound Quality
All the tech stuff is impressive however we all know the sound quality is what it’s all about. Thankfully, I can say that the sound quality is every bit as impressive as the build quality and facilities and that’s really saying something.
There is a lot of competition from well-established streamer brands at this price point but the RS150 not only looks better, but it also is well-built and has exceptional facilities such as the touch screen and a dedicated operating system.
The sound quality does not disappoint either. I linked it through my Ansuz X-TC audiophile network switch and with the Ansuz ethernet cables the sound was stunning, absolutely superb, and certainly at least on a par with any other streamer I have listened to at this price point.
Without having another similarly priced streamer on hand to do a direct comparison it’s difficult for me to say that the HiFi Rose RS150 is better but its performance delighted me. It sounds great it is simply beautiful and simple to use both via the Apps, Airplay, and touchscreen.
It’s also extremely easy to use and I suspect for someone starting out in streaming the HiFi Rose streamers are probably the easiest to use on the market, especially via the touchscreen.
It’s honestly difficult to be negative about this streamer. It looks great, has superb build quality, a huge touchscreen, fantastic facilities, a great interface and operating system, and brilliant sound. What’s not to like?
There are certainly alternatives from some very good brands but especially if you are new to streaming. HiFi Rose looks like the brand to beat and bearing in mind that in their product range, there is a sub £2000 streamer/amp (great little first system), a sub £2.5K streamer, a higher spec streamer amp, and the RS150 that’s a decent range.
I am reliably informed there is a very high-end streamer coming this year as well.
It’s great to see a new brand being so good in every respect and being well-received. You really need to listen to the Hi-Fi Rose range.