The Gold Note DS-10 has already been able to convince in the past due to its versatility and first-class performance, now it even mutates into a full-fledged preliminary stage in the most compact form of the new Gold Note DS-10 PLUS. In this new version, the little Italian with audiophile virtues has analogue inputs as an additional feature.
Exactly one year ago, the Italian high-end hi-fi manufacturer Gold Note presented the so-called Gold Note Series 10 for the first time, founding a product that was advertised as a 4-in-1 solution, namely the Gold Note DS-10.
With the Gold Note DS-10, they presented a solution that is apparently designed as a D/A converter in a particularly compact form, but the Florence-based company speaks of a completely new generation of DAC, because it combines several tasks in one system, namely D/A converter, streamer, preamplifier and headphone amplifier. With the now announced Gold Note DS-10 PLUS they go one step further and equip this solution with additional analog inputs, so that you really have a fully-fledged preamplifier in every respect.
At first sight the new Gold Note DS-10 PLUS is of course completely similar to the previous model Gold Note DS-10, only a new “PLUS” on the front under the name shows the difference, and of course a look at the back…
In principle, not much has changed, but the Gold Note DS-10 PLUS is still a D/A converter based on an AKM AK9943 DAC that can process DAC signals in Linear PCM with up to 32 bits and 384 kHz as well as DSD with up to DSD128, and also content encoded in MQA. Sources can be integrated here on the digital level via one coaxial and two optical S/PDIF interfaces and an AES/EBU interface. A USB port for direct connection to a PC or Mac is also included, and a further USB port is used to integrate corresponding data carriers as sources. In addition, the Gold Note DS-10 PLUS, just like its little brother without plus, functions as an enormously versatile streaming client. First of all, it is a dlna-certified UPnP streaming client, but in addition it can also directly access Deezer, Spotifx, Qobuz, vTuner and TIDAL. The Gold Note GM Control App, which is available for Apple iOS and Google Android, is responsible for this. Furthermore, the Gold Note DS-10 PLUS is compatible with Apple AirPlay and is designated as a Roon Ready Streaming Client.
The integration into the network is done either via WiFi or a Gigabit Ethernet interface.
Those who want to use mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, but also portable hi-fi audio players without network infrastructure directly as a source can do so via Bluetooth 5.0.
Then it must be mentioned that the Gold Note DS-10 PLUS can be used as a headphone amplifier, as a preamplifier it functions via an unbalanced line out in the form of a pair of RCA jacks or balanced output in the form of XLR sockets.
In addition, as already mentioned, there is now an analogue interface, so this is the only difference between the previous Gold Note DS-10 and the new Gold Note DS-10 PLUS, but for some potential customers this is probably a more decisive factor.
Due to the very, very “narrow” conditions in view of the countless interfaces on the rear panel, the analog input here is designed as a 3.5 mm stereo mini jack socket.
As already mentioned, the front has remained unchanged, so that a colour display as well as a multi-function rotary encoder also serve as the interface for very intuitive, convenient operation directly on the device in the new Gold Note DS-10 PLUS.
Of course, the new Gold Note DS-10 PLUS is also made of aluminium and presents itself in the design language typical for current electronic components from Gold Note. You can choose between black, gold or silver.
The Gold Note DS-10 PLUS measures no more than 200 mm in width, 260 mm in depth, and 80 mm in height, making it 4 kg. The power supply unit is integrated. As an optimal playing partner the power amplifier Gold Note PA-10 from the Gold Note Series 10 is of course still available.
The recommended retail price for the Gold Note DS-10 PLUS is given by the manufacturer as € 2.890,- and should be available in June 2020. The Gold Note DS-10 Classic, as the manufacturer now calls it, will of course still be available at the recommended retail price of € 2,490.
Getting to the point
With the Gold Note DS-10 they presented a solution that is apparently designed as a D/A converter in a particularly compact form, but the Florence-based company speaks of a completely new generation of a DAC, as it combines several tasks in one system, namely D/A converter, streamer, preamplifier and headphone amplifier. With the now announced Gold Note DS-10 PLUS they go one step further and equip this solution with additional analog inputs, so that you really have a fully-fledged preamplifier in every respect.