A Hi-Fi Bluetooth Receiver by Mass Fidelity
The Relay box streams music wirelessly from any Bluetooth enabled device, such as a smartphone, tablet or Astell&Kern player to your Hi-Fi or home audio audio system. Enjoy all your digital music through your home Hi-Fi system, whether it’s stored on a device or streaming from the cloud, without having to switch sources or bother with cables.
Most importantly, as soon as the Relay is connected to your Hi-Fi system, it is compatible with any device supporting Bluetooth streaming, whether it’s a laptop, tablet, smartphone or music player (DAP); and with all music lockers and subscription services in the ‘cloud’.
Simply plug the Relay into the AUX analogue input of your existing Hi-Fi system and turn on. No wi-fi network required. No platform specific software driver downloads or hardware configurations required. No pairing button or pairing codes. Scan for the device and connect! How easy is that?
High quality sound? – how do they do that on Bluetooth?
Let’s start with the back end first, as that’s connected to your Hi-Fi via gold-plated RCA (phono) sockets. The Relay’s output stage uses a professional grade Burr-Brown Digital to Analogue Converter which has 24bit Digital to Analogue conversion; a signal-to-noise ratio of 112dB, dynamic range of 112dB, -93dB THD and a DC coupled output amplifier stage, sending out a healthy line level 2Vrms to your amplifier. An ultra stable phase-locked audio sample clock is used to reduce jitter, allowing the DAC to render the audio signal more faithfully.
High quality audio circuitry is only as good as the power supply feeding it of course, so Mass Fidelity have used linear low noise, low-dropout regulators and common mode input noise filtering on the power supply, to improve rejection of unwanted signal noise and interference from the outside world, offering a very low noise floor and super clean low impedance supply to the audio circuitry.
The Relay also uses 3 separate ground planes; one for digital signals, one for analogue signals, and one for radio frequency signals. Each is designed to be as ‘solid’ as possible. A bulk decoupling capacitor is used to remove any potential ground loops. Grid-viaing between ground layers in each ground domain, and star grounding of the three domains ensure excellent ground integrity and very low noise.
All this high-end audio designing is topped off with a solid aluminium case, beautifully and simply designed, with the added benefit of keeping the outside world outside, and the electronics inside unable to absorb unwanted signals from our ‘noisy’ environment.
“Bluetooth technology is used a lot in the portable and small speakers market, but if you look around, it has yet to be widely adopted as a standard in good Hi-Fi sound systems; and this is where the Mass Fidelity Relay Bluetooth receiver fills the gap, bridging between your Bluetooth-capable devices such as tablet, smartphone, computer, music player and even from the cloud – it allows you and your friends and family to listen wirelessly through your wonderful non-Bluetooth enabled sound system!
Its no mean slouch in the audio stakes either, offering a very reasonable sound quality for its very modest price. Not surprising when you look behind the product at the designers – a group of audiophile ‘nuts’ who just love their music as well as high quality sound and well designed products!
We highly recommend this product.”
Reviewed by Head-Fi, January 2015
Mass Fidelity has really produced an awesome Bluetooth DAC with their Relay. It doesn’t only feature a plain, timeless design and flawless build quality, but also an integrated switchable digital output which is actually not really necessary due to the impeccable audio quality.
Sound is neutral in the best sense of the word and just like as one would expect an excellent DAC to be – it isn’t noticeable in the audio chain as it is audibly transparent and plays objective instead of doing whitewashing, just like a well-constructed amplifier also should behave.
Even with critical In-Ears which are in my experience the most weakness-revealing type of headphones, I can’t detect any flaws and the sound isn’t a tiny bit worse than with good wired audio connection – Mass Fidelity shows that Bluetooth can be just as good as a wired signal transmission and WiFi decoding, which seemed to be impossible to achieve just a few years ago. Though, a transport device that supports aptX and/or AAC Bluetooth streaming should be used to achieve the best possible sound quality.
Truthfully, I can’t see any weaknesses on the Relay’s side and solely the somewhat too tight sitting interconnection cables that come included and the for my tastes too bright LED are the only things I could find – with speakers and even with headphones, the Relay Bluetooth DAC is just sublime.
5 / 5
Reviewed by Ed Selley for Hi-Fi Choice, January 2015
… the performance with lossless files delivers on the promise … plenty of detail and an impressive sense of scale. It has the useful ability to pick out fine detail whilst simultaneously avoiding harshness and aggression.
Switching the outputs [from analogue] to [S/PDIF] digital and connecting the Relay to a Naim ND5 XS [DAC] reveals it to be as transparent as one would hope…. it effectively becomes a Bluetooth dongle and will perform exactly as the DAC it is connected to does.
This is an exceptionally well thought out piece of equipment that gets an awful lot right….. the most stable and effective Bluetooth implementations I’ve had the pleasure to to use.
Reviewed by Tech & Games for The Sunday Times, October 2015
All components are top-notch, from gold plated connectors to a metal casing that will look at home in any rack of expensive equipment. AAC Bluetooth (Apple) and aptx (the rest) are supported for the best quality wireless connection: setup took seconds. Tracks seem to sing and rythms are toe tappingly tight. The next time someone complains that wireless music is no match for disc players, fire this up. Its a revelation. Verdict: Easy to use, terrific quality
5 / 5
Reviewed by Ed Selley for Hi-Fi Choice, December 2015
Hi-Fi Choice Yearbook 2015. BEST AUDIO OF THE YEAR! 70 sonic treats to make music sound great…
Hailing from Canada, Mass Fidelity’s Relay DAC is n aptX capable design that decodes via a Burr-Brown PCM5102 and Cirrus Logic processor. AAC decoding is also supported, which means it is also backward compatible with less capable variants of Bluetooth as well.
With the rear outputs set to analogue, the performance with lossless files delivers on the promise of aptX.
… the Relay is consistently forgiving even with less than stellar mastering. It has the useful abiliy to pick out fine detail while simultaneously avoiding harshness and aggression.
An exceptionally well thought out piece of equipment … [that] I’ve had the pleasure to use.
Hi-Fi Choice’s ‘Best audio of the year! 2015’ award
5 stars, recommended / 5