The products in this article can be purchased from KJF Audio.
Arylic’s Up2Stream platform continues to receive exciting updates and development both in hardware and software. Direct USB input from a PC or Mac, configurable SSIDs and Bluetooth names, digital outputs and the ability to integrate physical control buttons and knobs are huge upgrades that the company have made recently. I’m excited to see what these and future upgrades might allow us to build in future articles.
Though great for DIY, Arylic’s Up2Stream portfolio also includes several readymade solutions. Herein we take a look at the Up2Stream A30, a compact streaming amplifier equally suited to hi-fi and multi-room use.
The A30 is essentially the Up2Stream Amp 2.0 in a compact aluminium case barely larger than the board itself. It’s the size of a pack of cards, yet packs full wireless streaming capabilities with a 30W per channel amplifier, hence the model designation. There are no controls to speak of, the intent being that the unit will be controlled either via the included remote control or the 4Stream app. I published a detailed rundown of the app Here so for the sake of brevity I won’t cover old ground.
The A30 is well presented in a comparatively large box. Included are a 15V, 4 amp power supply, a 3.5 mm to stereo RCA cable, the remote control, speaker terminal block and even a small screwdriver to facilitate the latter. Nestled in a thick block of foam is the unit itself with a user manual also included. The product shipped from the EU with a two-pin EU power plug on a standard C7 IEC cable so UK buyers will need to have one of these on hand. You’ll also need AAA batteries if you intend to use the remote.
Those wanting more power can upgrade to the 24V, 4.16A power supply also available from Arylic. This increases the power output to 50W per channel though will naturally increase the heat generated by the amplifier. Given the small enclosure, one must use efficient speakers in this configuration, or the amplifier may reach its thermal limits. If you need a higher power output you’re better off upgrading to an A50 which offers an increase in output power as well as minor differences such as an RCA input and RCA preamp output.
In its supplied configuration, output power of the A30 is 30W per channel at 4Ω and 15W per channel at 8Ω, both at a respectable 0.03% total harmonic distortion. As with all Up2Stream products the A30 includes Bluetooth 5.0 with a maximum range of 15 metres, 10/100 Ethernet and 2.4gHz 802.11N wireless networking.
The USB port facilitates USB storage drives but doesn’t allow the unit to be used as a USB DAC for a computer. The A30 can decode up to 24-bit, 192kHz media in FLAC, MP3, AAC, AAC+, ALAC, APE or WAV formats. AirPlay, DLNA, UPnP, Spotify Connect and Qplay protocols are catered for and a 3.5 mm line-in jack handles analogue sources.
The A30 measures 116.2 mm * 64 mm * 22.6 mm (4.57 * 2.52 * 0.89 inches) and weighs 200 grams (0.44lb). It’s well constructed and feels heavier than it is, with substantial rubber feet on the bottom to keep it in place and isolate it from excessive vibration. It has no physical controls, only an LED and IR sensor on its front panel.
Operation is consistent with other products from the 4Stream platform. The setup portion of the app guides you through connecting the A30 to a WiFi network and giving it a name. You’re then able to access the same 4Stream interface as you get with any other product. See Here for a full breakdown.
Sound is crisp, detailed and surprisingly punchy given the A30s fairly low power and low current output. It was able to drive efficient Tannoy floorstanders to reasonable levels with apparent ease. Though this is an amplifier targeted towards use with smaller speakers or in-ceiling models such as Arylic’s RK525. Idle noise is low during playback and near-silent with no content playing as the chip enters a low-power muted state.
When driving small bookshelf and mid-sized standpoint models, again with fairly high efficiency, the A30 can produce perfectly adequate volume for home listening. It won’t shake the walls or knock items from shelves, though I doubt any amp of this size could achieve those levels into even the most efficient speakers. If you like your music loud or intend to drive larger or more difficult loads, the A50 might be better suited, or the S50 Pro preamp with a higher power amplifier.
Arylic’s A30 is a tiny, generously specced mini amplifier with an excellent app and great sound. It’s perfectly suited to home listening where space is at a premium and where high levels of power aren’t required. It makes a great amp for the bedroom, the office, the kitchen or the workshop. Or pair a few of these to speakers around your home and you have a great multi-room setup. Highly recommended.