Toward the back end of 2022 Gold Note gave its very popular DS-10 a bit of a refresh with the launch of the DS-10 EVO. Visually this new model looks almost identical to the outgoing DS-10, it has a new display and the EVO logo gives it away somewhat but other than that you would never know.
The DS-10 EVO hit the ground running upon launch as it won the Hi-Fi Plus Magazine ‘DAC/Streamer‘ of the year award, which is quite a coup given all of the competition that is out there.
In terms of its feature set it is fair to say that the Gold Note DS-10 EVO is a fully loaded Swiss army knife of a modern digital product!
DAC and Network Streamer
The DS-10 EVO is both a DAC and a Network Streamer, it offers plenty of connectivity, more than enough for most users I would imagine :-
Optical Input x 2 (supports up to 24 bit/192kHz)
RCA SPDIF Input x 1 (supports up to 24 bit/192kHz)
AES/EBU Input x 1 (supports up to 24 bit/192kHz)
USB Type B Input x 1 (supports up to DSD 512 and PCM 32 bit/384kHz)
USB Type A Input x 1 (supports up to DSD 256 and PCM 32 bit/384kHz in FAT 32 or NTFS, 32GB max size for USB sticks)
There is also a network input, this can be wired or wireless, but wired will always offer greater performance and stability. It is this input that is likely to be the most commonly used connection as the streaming services it supports is significant to say the least.
The DS-10 EVO is Roon Ready and it will also stream Qobuz, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, Deezer and it also supports MQA, UPnP, DLNA, Internet Radio plus Bluetooth. There is a dedicated Gold Note app called Gold Note Navigator and it can also be controlled via some third party apps like MConnect HD and JPlay as well so there is plenty of options.
The DS-10 a fully fledged analogue pre-amp as well, this can be disabled if someone wishes to your the DS-10 EVO purely as a DAC / Streamer connecting to an integrated amp or separate pre-amp for example. There is a 6.3mm headphone socket on the front panel and adjustable sensitivity within the menu.
If you need an analogue input for a phono stage there is a version of the DS-10 EVO with just that, the standard all digital version is £2700, the DS-10 EVO LINE has an analogue input on a 3.5mm jack on the rear panel, this version is available for £3000, Entreq make a high quality 3.5mm plug to 2 female RCA sockets which costs £200.
In terms of operation the DS-10 EVO is very easy to use, as mentioned above it can be controlled via an App, it comes with a conventional remote control and most functions and settings can easily be accessed by the dial on the front panel, it turns and pushes and is incredibly intuitive to use.
Providing your DS-10 EVO has internet access you can now update the firmware via the menu/dial (the previous DS-10 had to be updated via USB stick, which was much less convenient), within the menu you also have access to what is called the Chameleon DAC settings where you can adjust and fine tune a number of parameters to subtly fine tune performance to suit musical tastes and genres, there’s a lot of choice to play with although I must admit I like it as it comes out of the box.
With this new model the performance has certainly been upgraded over the original version of the DS-10, sonically it is very tight and fast sounding, with great drive and it creates an expansive soundstage that really draws you in.
Over the past week I have been running a system with the DS-10 EVO, starting with a single Gold Note PA-10 (in stereo), then adding a second PA-10 (in mono). I have also used a PSU-10 EVO Power Supply – starting with a single power amplifier the presentation is superb, but by the time you have gone from 2 boxes to 4 things have really elevated to a new place musically, for the combined asking price of £7300 plus a pair of speakers it really is a stunning system.
A DS-10 EVO and a single PA-10 makes for a really compelling, simple 2 box system that performs to a really high standard, but the Gold Note eco-system is scalable, as and when the desire to upgrade comes along (and when funds permit) you have options to increase the box count and really elevate performance to another level with either another PA-10 and/or the Power Supply.
We keep all 4 pieces on permanent demonstration along with an IS-1000 Deluxe so please get in touch if you want to come along for a listen, as ever part exchange is welcome!