XOno 2019 Reviews

Thomas C. (19-11-2020)

Perhaps the blackest of the black ones: XOno2019

I’ve been following the progress on the RStAudio site for a long time. When the day came, I was sure that this could be something for me. Changing the parameters with an rotary encoder or even a remote control is something special. I always need a little rest for these settings and now I don’t need any tools at all.

The package is delivered with a detailed documentation. The quality of the boards was not spared. I was a little bit exhausted by the variety of parts when the packages from Reichelt and Co. arrived at my home. I printed out the assembly plan in DIN A3 to get a better overview.

Whenever family and job allowed it, I soldered diligently and after a few weeks the parts that still had to be installed became more manageable. Mr. Stens always answered questions about the construction quickly and comprehensively. After the first commissioning the housings came from Italy in the black version.

The first soundcheck was done with the case not yet closed. I was relatively quickly thrilled. What immediately impressed me was the deep silence. One of the previous writers describes this absolutely right as deep black. I would like to mention that this is not usual. W-Lan and cell phone were noticeable with the predecessor. Even the use of an HDMI cable from the TV to the AV receiver does not produce any hum. I was particularly pleased that my real motive to buy a new phono stage was fulfilled. The crack every 60 seconds is gone.

My sound evaluation is accordingly positive. Crisp bass, a beautiful stage almost three-dimensional. The trebles are as pronounced as I would like them to be. No details are omitted. The preamp fits perfectly into my system.

I built up the version with servo controllers and the controller with a large display. The display is unfortunately only available in black and yellow. Not quite the right thing for a Rhinelander. But also for it was provided. If the display is too bright in the long run, it can be switched off in normal operation.

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Philipp N. (02-11-2020)

During the last weeks I have used every free minute to listen to music through my phono system and the RStAudio Xono. So I have also postponed my report, because I just could not tear myself away.

I am not a tester and my experience is limited, especially with regard to the different devices in my system. But I can definitely say that this Xono has taken my listening experience to a new level. Big orchestras are really big now! The individual sections are clearly distinguishable and wonderfully precise to locate in the room. Recordings with smaller ensembles create an intimacy that I have never experienced before with any system.

In my opinion, these experiences can be traced back to the fact that the Xono can really do everything. Dynamics and detail, warmth and speed. It delivers everything as a matter of course when the music demands it, but never plays itself into the foreground by influencing the sound. I don’t want to use the much-read phrase “I’m rediscovering my record collection”, but I would like to say that with this phono stage I can’t get enough of listening to music and I finally feel like I’m not thinking about my system anymore.

I don’t want to leave unmentioned how, in the version I have built up with the servos and the controllers, the whole thing can be adjusted wonderfully comfortably and precisely. Thanks to the detailed and extensive documentation, the setup was no problem at all and was in itself a great project.

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Meinolf S. (04-10-2020)

It is not difficult to say that this version of a XONO dwarfs pretty much everything I have heard so far.

Essential: the XONO2019 plays cleanly, with a pure sound, musically, spatially and coming from nowhere.

As a listener of classical music, I immediately became familiar with the switching of the characteristic curves and took one old record – especially DGG – after another from the shelf.

This is the main feature for me: it doesn’t play itself into the foreground, but brings out potential from the pickup and turntable that I had not suspected.

I have never heard the tonal blackness from which the music comes like this before. It is completely free of noise and hum. The music, no matter what genre, detaches itself completely light-footedly from the sound transducer.

Listening to music has taken on a new dimension, and as a reaction I have first ordered a batch of new records.

Ralph Stens:
A detailed review and a very readable report on the build-up of the XOno 2019 can be found on the homepage of Meinolf S.

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Heiner F. (03-10-2020)

Recently, I have acquired the new Xono 2019 with servo controllers in the fully equipped version. I would like to try to describe the sound here. First of all I would like to say that I am really very satisfied with the old Xono.

Well, and now the new one.

I was prepared for it to sound better. Theoretically it should have less noise by using more transistors in the input and by omitting the coupling capacitors, there should be more neutrality at this point as well. Surely the other improvements also have an influence on the sound, but I can’t assign that to the sound.

Well, I have the feeling that the new one is even less noisy. That’s just a feeling, because it didn’t make any noise before. I sit about 4.5m away from my speakers and even at high levels I can’t hear any difference between the noise of the CD input and the noise of the phono stage. I find that impressive every time.

Now for the sound. I am already spoiled by the old Xono and it sounds even more beautiful now. It’s hard to describe, but I’ll try anyway. Instruments sound more natural. A bit tighter, yet with a lot of body. Complex passages are drawn through even more precisely. Voices have more details. The three-dimensionality seems even more believable. Records fascinates me even more.

These details combine to create a pleasure like I have never experienced before.

The remote control allowed me to find the termination resistor for my pickup very, very easily. And no uncertainty remained.

I have some old records and to listen to them with the right equalization instead of RIAA is impressive.

I like listening to classical music, jazz and now and then rock from my youth. (Deep Purzle, Tull etc.)

Briefly to my music system:
Do-it-yourself record player (modified direct drive)
Selfmade tangential tone arm (air bearing) Thanks Detlef
Cartridge system: modified Denon DL103R
Phono preamplifier: New Xono 2019
Preamplifier: RStAudio VV6
Digitisation: Lynx Aurora 8, Acourate Convolver
Loudspeaker: Neumann KH420 from 80 Hz upwards, below tapped horns (Spud) do-it-yourself
Various room acoustic measures (self-construction)

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