Hi-fi Corner: Trade out your clunky gear for this silver sonic jack-of-all-trades

hi fi corner trade clunky gear silver sonic jack trades sprout 2
There’s something beautiful about an utterly minimalist piece of gear that breathes versatility in function as well as it does simplicity in form. Such is the design of the Sprout from PS Audio, a sleek little piece of audio magic that can run your entire hi-fi system, from vinyl to hi-res audio, all from a slender silver box.

Related: Meet McIntosh McAire: the Rolls Royce of lifestyle audio systems

If audio minimalism were a religion, than devices like the Sprout would be its alter. Similar to the excellent Oppo HA-1, a simple flip of the dial transforms the Sprout into a Bluetooth streaming device, a digital to analog converter for high resolution audio (at a max 24bit/192kHz resolution), a premium headphone amplifier, and an input source for both standard analog devices, and turntables.

But unlike the HA-1, the Sprout goes even further than that, offering 50 watts per side of high-quality stereo amplification to push anything from a pair of shelf speakers, to floorstanders. And if you’ve already got your power plant of choice, it can also be used as a preamplifier to sweeten up the sound before it takes the next step up in the transformer food chain.

Along the brushed-metal back panel are an ample collection of connection ports, including a USB B input for connection to a PC, a Coaxial digital input for a CD player or Blu-ray player, a 3.5mm analog input, an RCA phono input, and banana plug connections for your speakers of choice. The Bluetooth chip is also equipped with aptX for near CD-quality resolution from compatible devices.

The Sprout is fresh off a successful Kickstarter campaign over the Summer, in which it raised over $414,000, far surpassing its meager $36,000 goal. It’s too late to get this premium device for its Kickstarter steal-of-a-deal at $450, but even at its current $800 asking price, the Sprout could prove to be a very worthy investment, especially for those looking to step up while paring down.

If you’d like to trade out your cumbersome gear for something more simple, you can pre-order the Sprout from PS Audio’s website now for delivery in January.


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