Unlike most every hifi manufacturer in this writer’s home country of Australia, the bigger Japanese players don’t depend on their export markets for proper financial returns. It’s a population thing. In Tokyo, many of the big hitters can be seen chasing mainstream Yen out in the street with billboard banners. It’s also hard to miss Sony and Panasonic’s big advertising campaigns in subway stations and on trains.
Mining the everyman hifi seam at the Fujiya Avic headphone show were Pioneer. The small, colourful components that make up their new Stellanova range is aimed squarely at the wo/man in the street.
The APS WF02 (JPY23,000) is a wireless hi-res streamer with USB output designed to partnered with the (optional) matching APS DA101, an all-in-one DAC/amplifier/head-amp, whose inputs include asynchronous USB, Bluetooth, Toslink and a line-level for turntablists. Also out back are outputs for loudspeakers and a subwoofer. Power is switch mode, amplification is Class D. That’s a good number of features for its JPY29,800 asking price.
Pioneer have also developed the accompanying Stellanova software to assist with streaming on OS X, Windows and iOS. Details remain hazy on the Wifi streaming protocol being used.
What is clear is that Pioneer aren’t promoting good sound with numbers and tech specs. Instead, they’re front foot with numerous features, a small footprint and thoughtful design. The APS WFS02 and APA DA101 each come in four different colours making for a total of sixteen possible colour combinations.
The clear acrylic stand used to show off these natty little solutions in Tokyo isn’t for sale. Nor will Pioneer be selling the Stellanova range outside of Japan – gotcha! Perhaps we need Japanese audio gear more than it needs us?
Further information: Pioneer Stellanova