HiFi Rose RS150 Network-Attached DAC

hfncommendedPowered by in-house hardware and software engineering from Korea's Citech group, the HiFi Rose brand combines slick visuals with the promise of state-of-the-art sound

One of the great benefits of the rise of streaming – be it network or online – is the flexibility it gives manufacturers to create just about any product they like. There are some basic formats, including the all-in-ones like the Naim Uniti [HFN Nov '17], NAD M-Series [HFN Aug '20] and the new Cambridge Audio Evo. There are also streaming amps and standalone playback components (network players or DACs), but within those parameters the engineers and designers have no shortage of freedom to create network audio devices in just about any shape they want…

All of that clearly isn't lost on HiFi Rose, part of Korean company Citech, previously known for its interactive kiosks and set-top boxes, and now becoming available in the UK via Henley Audio. The £3899 RS150 is the more expensive of the two models being used to launch the brand, and it is a true flagship. Its casework is literally hewn – well, OK, machined – from solid aluminium, and your eye can't help being drawn to the high-resolution display filling the front IPS touchscreen panel. It's a full 14.9in wide, almost 38cm in new money, and can display everything from menus to cover art, not to mention 4K HD video, which the RS150 can also play out to a connected screen via an HDMI port.


14.9in-wide display – yes, it switches into English! – provides touchscreen control of the RS150, from input selection to menu set-up. You can even have multicolour ‘VU’ meters

File Under Flexible
There's no arguing with the fact that the display is a stunner, making the RS150 look unlike any rival product. The effect is much like one of those latest-generation electric cars, with screens stretching across the dashboard. Freed from any need for conventional controls, many designers are embracing this new flexibility, and the HiFi Rose team has gone for broke here… You can even have 'VU' meters in a variety of colours, including a McIntosh-emulating light blue, and as many formats of clock display as anyone could sensibly need, from an analogue face through to a recreation of very retro mechanical digital flip-digits.

The same display, albeit in a smaller form, appears on the partnering RS201E, which sells for £1749 and comes complete with a rated 100W of amplification to create a 'just add speakers' device. There's more where these two come from as the entire HiFi Rose range runs to some six models, including the RS350, which is an all-in one unit complete with onboard speakers. There's also a USB CD drive, the RSA780, which comes with the challenging slogan 'It is not light. It is not shaking anymore. 900g is the best weight for


CD Playback'. So Now You Know&Hellip;
Mind you, it's easy to forgive the company's designers and marketeers all this exuberance, given just how well equipped is the RS150. It offers playback from a wide variety of sources, both local and networked; has extensive capability with a huge range of file formats; is compatible with Airplay, TIDAL with MQA, Qobuz and Roon, as well as supporting some proprietary streaming services such as RoseTube for video (currently mainly in Korean); and can act as either a source component or a streaming/digital preamp, thanks to variable-level outputs on both unbalanced RCAs and balanced XLRs. It even offers the option of becoming both a player and a streamer – remove a panel in the base-plate, and you can install an SSD drive for onboard storage to complement its USB-A host ports, and there's also a slot to accept Micro SD memory cards.



Line ins (RCAs) are joined by digital coax, optical and AES in/outs plus I2S outs on both RJ45 and DVI, and audio (ARC) and video on HDMI. There’s Ethernet plus one USB-C, micro SD and two USB-A ports for external media, another for a BT/Wi-Fi dongle and USB-B for computer connection. Analogue outs are on RCAs and XLRs

Customised OS
Meanwhile, conventional digital connections, in and out, are provided on optical, coaxial and AES/EBU sockets; USB-B for connection to a computer; I2S digital output is available on RJ45 or DVI sockets; and networking is via wired or wireless connection, the Wi-Fi being via a plug-in USB dongle also able to support Bluetooth with aptX. This also allows the Bluetooth remote handset to control the RS150.

Are we there yet? Not quite, as the RS150 can also accept audio from a video device using the ARC (Audio Return Channel) protocol on a separate 'HDMI in' port and the USB ports can output audio to a suitable DAC. Oh, and there's a single set of analogue inputs, like all the RCA sockets here covered by flexible black plastic dust-caps on delivery.

Citech Co., Ltd
South Korea
Supplied by: Henley Audio Ltd, UK
01235 511166