Zidoo NEO S: audiophile multimedia gateway – News
Zidoo has positioned itself in the dematerialized market, especially with this NEO S, a multimedia player with audiophile and Home Theater appeal.
Zidoo is a young Chinese brand (2016) specializing in intangible multimedia content gateways or players. The NEO S belongs to the Hi-Fi Audio category, but has a technical profile very close to Home Theater-oriented models, including the UHD3000 branded iron (€999).
NEO S is a luxury product; a fully balanced design offering total noise immunity supported by an aluminum cabinet, separate audio and video power supplies, rugged reinforced chassis, sound-absorbing feet and low-distortion filtering technology for audio monitoring. The NEO S is also equipped with 2 high-precision clock oscillators that will ensure the absence of jitter in the service of the RCA or XLR stereo output. It is quite rare to mention, the NEO S offers 2 headphone outputs 4.4 and 6.3 mm with different output gain, allowing you to optimize your listening according to the model of headphones you have.
Standing out on the front is this gorgeously large OLED touch screen measuring almost 13cm. This contrasts with the unfortunate remote control, which is fortunately accompanied by a lackluster screen print that turns on the backlight. The aluminum front panel is in the audiophile tradition with a simple standby button and large volume knob. It is with the remote control or Zidoo Controller software that we appreciate some ease of use for selecting sources.
A good starting point
Like Zappiti players (read our tests by visiting this link), these devices are designed for storing, indexing and reading audio and audio-video files. However, these readers do not include hard drives required for storage when purchased. The NEO S includes 256 GB of SSD storage, which is fast and quiet, large enough to store a collection of music files, but not video files. We remind you that DVD is up to 10 GB and Blu-ray is up to 50 GB. Therefore, you need to provide external hard drives that you will plug into one of the 4 available USB ports, 2 on the front and 2 on the front. back panel. Otherwise, you can scan via the network function (wired DLNA or Wi-Fi) declared on your private network, hard drives or NAS, or via the Roon protocol. Of course, reading of MQA (Master Quality Authentication) files is supported.
NEO S integrates the SMB protocol, which allows it to advertise itself as a server; for this purpose SAMBA software is installed locally to organize the sharing. It is also possible to connect your computer via USB to the USB DAC port, which guarantees you the most accurate stream transfer possible. Finally, the NEO S can also play audio streams via Bluetooth.
This is a copy/cloning program needed to dematerialize content, video or audio that readers do not offer. It should be remembered that this type of operation violates the protection included in the discs sold.
Home Movie Manager
Zidoo offers the same interface and the same management software based on Android 9.0, from the small Z9X gateway from €229 to this prestigious model. This is important because whatever your choice of reference, you have at your disposal a simple interface to implement your multimedia library, but it is not very fast at the initial indexing level. Once your collection is sorted and categorized (editable), adding new files is transparent. Do not hesitate to press the info button during reading, the screen will have all the technical information of the source file and the reading parameters.
Control and access to customization features is via an IP interface (PC, tablet), which gives you access to multiple sorting criteria for each file/program, quality information, notes, subtitle management and even cover and wallpaper visual selection. This is the most practical way to fully customize the interface to your taste and classification preferences… and to fix a few glitches in the data from the database.
NEO S supports all audio and video file formats and codecs, the most common video file types are TS, M2TS, MKV, MP4 and ISO DVD, Blu-ray HD/UHD files. The NEO S acts as an audio gateway, allowing your connected amplifier to receive multi-channel formats including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Like Zappiti, you can install apps from video streaming platforms thanks to widevine L1 DRM integration, but sound is limited to stereo.
As for the picture, the NEO S has an RTD1619 DR six-core 64-bit A55 processor that accepts all 2D and 3D resolutions and frequencies from 4K 24p to 60p (auto switch) and is compatible with HDR, HDR10+ and Dolby vision. protocols.
The integrated file explorer is the easiest way to navigate the file search, but it is more pleasant to go through the Home Theater 4.0 module, which presents a wall of covers presented by different arrows or themes. We make our choice and presto! The image of HD or Ultra-HD content is bright and sharp. Reading is fluid knowing we are using an external USB hard drive. For DVD-style SD content, we appreciated the upscaling, which resulted in well-cut edges, good aliasing management and slightly improved visual dynamics compared to a regular DVD player. On the sound side, there is nothing to complain about, the multi-channel is perfectly synchronized, the accuracy and dynamics are perfectly comparable to the physical player.
At the audiophile level, we appreciated the high listening quality in analog stereo, which is significantly different from the HDMI output, which does not benefit from the dual ESS DAC. This provides a fairly soft and neutral sound without hindering perfect definition and flawless dynamics across the spectrum.
NEO S is a noble alternative to dematerialized content management thanks to very high-quality audiovisual reproduction and an easily accessible and customizable interface. If you don’t care about finishing and audiophile touches, go for the UHD3000, you have exactly the same components for 300€ less and you have built-in slots to facilitate large storage of video files.
The displayed price €1,599
– 1 HDMI 2.0a output (HDCP 2.3, CEC, ARC)
– 1 stereo audio output on CINCH
– 1 stereo audio output on XLR
– 2 headphone outputs on the front
– 1 optical digital input – 1 coaxial digital input
– 1 AES-EBU input
– 4 USB-A ports (2 front and 2 rear)
– 1 USB-A DAC port
– 1 Ethernet port
Dimensions (W x H x D): 21.3 x 10.1 x 29.2 cm
consumption max. : 17W
Weight: 4.5 kg
More information on the e-commerce sites (in French) or on the manufacturer’s website (in English) by following this link