HiFi Rose RS520 does-it-all streaming system takes on Naim Uniti

HiFi Rose RS520
(Image credit: HiFi Rose)

HiFi Rose components tend to be like parents with approaching birthdays – they just have everything. The Korean brand's latest streaming system, the RS150, appears to be no different.

Taking design and engineering cues from HiFi Rose's flagship RS150 network streamer and the quirky RA180 integrated amplifier, the all-new RS520 is a seriously well-equipped just-add-speakers solution for anyone wanting to combine a network player, DAC and integrated amplifier in one compact box.

The industry isn't exactly short of such boxes, with Naim's Uniti range the leading light in the increasingly popular category. In fact, if Naim sides with Oscar Wilde in the belief that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it should be pleased that the RS520 looks pretty similar to its Uniti Atom. For the uninitiated, that's no bad thing.

A key USP for HiFi Rose streamers is their tactility, and indeed, like its RS201E and other siblings, the RS520 sports a 12.6-inch-wide LCD touchscreen that encourages users to interact with it directly. In this day and age, that sounds pretty refreshing.

The firm's Android-based operating system, ROSE OS, is naturally onboard as the gateway to a world of music and video (yes, video!). It facilitates access to both local and network-stored media in addition to streaming services and platforms such as Tidal, Qobuz, Apple Music, Spotify and Roon. 

Good news for Tidal HiFi Plus subscribers: the RS520 is also an MQA decoder, for full playback of Tidal Masters tracks.

HiFi Rose RS520

(Image credit: HiFi Rose)

Owners can also choose to connect USB, SD or internal storage, and a smattering of digital and analogue connections (including HDMI eARC) allows external audio sources and TV displays to be connected. Hooking the RS520 up to a CD drive can allow users to play and rip CDs via the ROSE OS platform's dedicated app, too.

HiFi Rose claims its operating system isn't just fully featured but also performance-optimised too. The architecture within the platform can supposedly deliver "pure audio data to a DAC without loss" thanks to the way it separates and isolates various operations and processing within the system.

Also in the name of improved performance, the RS520 is primarily a one-piece construction (its four surfaces are made from one chunk of aluminium), limiting the risk of vibrations transferring through the chassis. 

HiFi Rose has employed its own, brand-new discrete amps for the amplifier design, with the 250-watt-per-channel power amp stage borrowing the same Class AD technology found in the RA180 integrated. And the company says it has strived to produce a more analogue-like "natural tone" output, by using Gallium Nitride FETs as opposed to the more common Silicon FET technology.

The HiFi Rose RS520 will become available sometime in October, priced £3399 (approx $3,600 / AU$5,500).

MORE:

Read our HiFi Rose RS201E review

The best hi-fi systems you can buy

HiFi Rose's RA180 integrated amplifier deserves to be seen, let alone heard

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her eight years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.

  • Gray
    All very nice, but how much will these 'all-your-eggs-in-one-basket' products cost to repair once out of guarantee?
    £700 a bit much?
    Sorry mate, you paid £3400 for the thing 🤑 - what you gonna do, chuck it away?
    Reply
  • Terry Webb
    Gray said:
    All very nice, but how much will these 'all-your-eggs-in-one-basket' products cost to repair once out of guarantee?
    £700 a bit much?
    Sorry mate, you paid £3400 for the thing 🤑 - what you gonna do, chuck it away?
    That's if you know or can find someone who is skilled and trustworthy enough to be relied upon to perform a good repair. I guess kit like this is aimed at people with a sack load of disposable cash who can buy a brand-new replacement. Personally, I'd be fretting every time I turned it on!
    Reply
  • Gray
    Terry Webb said:
    I'd be fretting every time I turned it on!
    Me too.
    (And electronic servicing was my job - back when the components were big enough to see).
    Reply