The Linkserver Solo isn’t the first Wi-Fi music server from British hi-fi stalwart Cyrus but at £1500 – spare change to audiophiles – it’s the first aimed at what the high-end brand endearingly terms the ‘mass market’.
The big saving over the original Linkserver means a drop in hard disk size – down to a miserly 80GB – but the Solo otherwise loses nothing in terms of multi-room wireless music functionality.
Using the unit couldn’t be simpler. There are a handful of USB sockets, not to mention coaxial and optical audio in/outputs, phono in/outputs and a smattering of video connects to let you to hook up the system to a display.
Ethernet and modem ports also make an appearance, giving you handy access to your home network and the web.
It’s easy to control too, using the remote control and backlit display to flick quickly through the menus. Colour-coded quick keys also allow speedy access to heavy-use menus such as album and artist lists.
You can also search for artist and track information using Gracenote – as long as you’re plugged into the web.
Keep your bit-rate high
The Linkserver Solo will let you burn CDs onto its hard disk in either uncompressed or compressed MP3 form. Although it can go down to 192kbps you’re best off going for the 320kbps MP3 option, otherwise it’s like re-fuelling an F1 car with milk.
CDs and uncompressed digital files sound uniformly excellent, with rhythm and bite to match some of the firm’s revered standalone CD players.
Even the highest quality MP3 files clearly lose some of that musical sparkle, which leaves you with the usual conundrum – cram all of your music onto the hard-drive at lower quality, or go for the best possible sound. Considering the price, it’s a choice you shouldn’t really have to make.