Sound Galleries SGM 2015. It’s a system and we loved our time with it! That’s the conclusion and we would like to take you with us on the path to said conclusion. We have known Geoffrey Armstrong of Monaco’s Sound Galleries dealer/distributorship for quite a while. He caters to a specific clientele in the famed principality of Southern France. That clientele is not into audio exotics or audio adventures. No, the people who Geoff caters to want great sound from solid brands and top-rank continuous service. Solid brands with great sound are available in the market and Geoff has carefully assembled a catalogue of cables, electronics and speakers to support his audience. Service is very personal and contingent on trust between client and supplier and vice versa.

With a background in computer sciences, Geoff was interested in computer audio from an early start. He experimented with various hardware platforms and software players but was never satisfied with the end result. Either the hardware was unstable, too nerdy for normal use or plain too exotic. Ditto software players. For most the user has to be a semi-pro programmer to get decent sound from the software and the interaction with the hardware—PC and DAC—is often problematic. There is support for the hardware and software options but that lives in forums and user groups; which means hours of being glued to the Internet and frustration because discussions skid off topic within three posts. There ought to be an alternative for those who want all the benefits of computer-based audio, near plug-and-play installation, service and of course the best sound possible. At least so Geoff insisted.

A first glimpse of hope arrived when a Dutch company introduced their super-duper PC-based network player. With exclusively passive cooling, high-grade components, ultra-precision clocks, multiple over-specified power supplies and JRiver as player software atop Windows 8 via solid-state disk: could this be the solution Geoff was looking for? After intense deliberation, testing and above all listening, Sound Galleries chose a still different route. They would design their very own PC-based network player. Easier said than done. The market has a plethora of PC hardware. Where to begin? No doubt the player should be fully ‘passive’, without a single moving part: no fans, no spinning disks….

Read the full review here.