Introduction to the World of βaetis™ Audio

Introduction to the World of βaetis Audio

Our high-end audio world is a complex ecosystem of music servers, DACs, amplifiers, speakers and more. The sometimes subtle interactions between the components are often overlooked. For example, a modern Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) will sound very different depending on the music server to which it is attached.  Many high-end audio magazine writers/reviewers do not tell you what music server they are using when reviewing a particular DAC.  If they tell you the brand and name of music server, they might not tell you the type of audio input on the DAC they are using; they might assume everybody only uses the USB input of the DAC.  Many never use the AES output of a well-made server (computer), and they have not experienced how the sound of a well-designed USB output differs from that of a factory computer’s USB output.  As a result, these reviews of DACs are of limited use at best and, at worst, misleading; the reverse is also true – reviews of music servers depend critically on the DAC that is being used by the reviewer.

At Baetis Audio, we have upgraded and redesigned our media servers – since our beginnings in early 2012 - to provide you with the very best choices, for ALL of the outputs of a server (inputs of a DAC) that you might use – SPDIF; AES; USB; HDMI; and Ethernet.  Our Reference models have the best available outputs of each type, and the audio quality of our Reference line is consistently rated at the pinnacle of what is achievable.  Meanwhile, our Prodigy line of servers offers all of the capabilities of the Reference line (and nearly all of the audio quality), at competitive prices that are outstanding value.

We started out focusing on the quality of our AES output, but have more recently discovered ways of making our USB outputs, HDMI outputs, and Ethernet outputs the best available – the lowest common-mode noise, the lowest jitter, the best sounding, for a given price range.

Importantly, only the Baetis line-up of media servers have the following capabilities:

  1. Streaming from any website based service in the world – including the usual Tidal™, Tidal Masters, Spotify™, Pandora™, but also the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Music Hall™, the Metropolitan Opera, and, at the other end of the cultural spectrum, Netflix™, Hulu™™, and even YouTube.
  2. Multiple outputs allow the user to decide whether to bitstream audio untouched to the DAC (via USB or Ethernet) or, instead, send a perfect PCM stream via AES that has higher voltage and lower noise than any other process, including AES PCI-cards that cost well over $2k.
  3. Our included optical drive allows the user to “rip” a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray disc.  Playing the ripped file on a Baetis will beat the sound from a Disc player, no matter how expensive.  Meanwhile, SACDs may be ripped professionally (talk with us about this).
  4. Unlike music servers using proprietary, limited, Operating Systems and software, all Baetis models use the most flexible operating system out there – the Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) system.  This permits the use of more brands and types of playing software than the Apple OS, Linux, or the many proprietary operating systems.  With Windows 10 you can use all of the major Digital Room Correction software programs, and any disc-ripping software. You can play any audio (or video) codec – not just WAV, FLAC, Apple Lossless, etc, but also DSD up to DSD512, and MQA-encoded music included downloaded or streamed MQA.  Unlike an Aurender™ music server that uses its own proprietary OS and playing software, any Baetis can play JRiver™ MediaCenter, Roon™, Amarra™, Dirac™, or Musichi™ – or all of them, each for specific playback needs.
  5. The Baetis line-up can also rip or download multi-channel music, and then play it within a MCh audio/visual system – using USB, HDMI, or Ethernet connection to a MCh DAC or pre/pro.
  6. Finally, video files can be stored, organized and played by ripping your Blu-ray discs in our optical drive. You can now even add your 4K videos using our new optional external UHD Drive

But all of these capabilities are NOT the major reason to buy a Baetis media server if you are an audiophile.  Rather, no other music server will sound as good when played to any of dozens of high-end DACs up to and including those that involve complex stacks of aluminum boxes with every lauded feature, including external word clocks and dual-AES inputs.  The latter two possibilities are enabled by, for example, coupling a dCS™ Network Bridge to a Baetis with either the Prodigy version of the SOtM™ USB process or the Baetis Reference version of SOtM™ USB.

The Baetis Reference models are characterized by advancements that might exist elsewhere, but are not ALL available in a single music server, nor discussed as fully as we do:

  1. The Reference AES/SPDIF daughterboard has a better AES transformer (which also serves as a galvanic isolation transformer) than on the Prodigy models.
  2. Every cable inside a Reference model is cryo-treated copper or silver, even for DC distribution cables coming from the ATX board in the computer (no other computer out there can boast this feature).
  3. The power supply for each of the Reference models is the best linear PSU we have ever heard, made for us by HD-Plex™, with higher quality Neutrik™ XLR output connectors.  These PSUs are optional on our Prodigy models.
  4. The USB ports on our SOtM cards is NOT a PCI-bus card but rather a board that is connected directly to a USB header on the motherboard, dramatically reducing common-mode noise from that of any other USB process.
  5. The DC cables from the PSU to the Reference computer are cryo-treated; the separately powered SOtM USBhubIN card and its internal clock board are powered by a separate smart-switch-mode PSU that has ripple/noise less than one micro-volt, not one millivolt.
  6. Our highest quality models – the Reference X and the Reference 2 – also have 5N pure silver, cryo-treated cable for the DC cables coming from the linear PSU, plus 5N pure silver, cryo-treated cable for the AES and SPDIF cables, as well as the cable connecting the SOtM™ USB ports to the motherboard.  5N pure silver stands for 99.999% pure silver; and cryo-genic treatment involves a two-day process of lowering core temperature of the cable to minus 350°F, then back up to room temperature.

These details add up to much more than mere bullet points; we are confident that if you use our 15-day money back guarantee to audition a Baetis, you will NOT want to return it.