Ethernet/Wifi in, coax or HDMI I2S out. It’s as simple as network streamers get when they’re not loaded with an internal DAC. To PS Audio’s new AirLens network streamer – teased for a long time, formally announced this week – we must add an outboard DAC.
Once hooked up to a D/A converter, the AirLens will send PCM up to 32bit/352.8 kHz out of either digital output, DSD up to DSD128 over coaxial or DSD up to DSD256 over I2S. Such exotic data rates will likely come from locally stored files: via Roon Ready or UPnP/DLNA. JRiver and Audirvana will see the AirLens as a UPnP streaming endpoint but PS Audio also recommends the mConnect app which, like Roon and Audirvana, additionally integrates Tidal and Qobuz albeit by way of a more agricultural interface.
Closer to the other end of the data rate spectrum, the AirLens also supports Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect but Apple AirPlay, and Google Chromecast are not on the menu. So why buy the AirLens instead of another network streamer?
The short answer is galvanic isolation.
From PS Audio’s press release: “Typically, noise from any number of sources including a computer, long runs of Ethernet cable, EMI interference via Wi-Fi, and modems and routers all contribute to increased jitter and a loss of fidelity. PS Audio’s galvanic isolation removes this sonic degradation by eliminating the electrical connection between the input and output stages, using only air as the interface. This ensures 100 percent isolation and noise-free delivery of the digital audio signals. In addition, the signal is re-clocked at the output stage for jitter-free, pure digital audio.”
In the video below, which was filmed way back in October 2022, PS Audio CEO Paul McGowan says the internal airgap is bridged by two devices that communicate via “something close to RF”.
The AirLens is available now for US$1999 / €2395.
Further information: PS Audio