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ELAC DS-101 Discovery Music Server Preview



  • Product Name: DS-101 Discovery Music Server
  • Manufacturer: ELAC
  • Review Date: February 09, 2016 08:00
  • MSRP: $999
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!


  • Analog outputs (independent zones): 2
  • Coaxial output (independent zone): 1
  • Optical output: 1
  • USB port (mass storage class): 1
  • Ethernet port: 1
  • Discovery control app: For IOS, Android, Windows and Apple OSX
  • Maximum number zones: 8

With so many ways to play, stream, and store music these days it’s hard to find one that has the functionality and quality that a discriminating audiophile needs. With that in mind, ELAC introduced their DS-101 Discovery Music Server last month at CES in Las Vegas.

 “With the announcement of the Discovery Music Server ELAC has solved one of the biggest hurdles in computer audio: the computer. Our new Discovery Music Server offers all the power of the most innovative music playback software available, Roon, plus more without the need for a laptop or desktop computer.”

Chris Walker, ELAC vice president product development

 YouTube Video Overview of the Elac Discovery Music Server with Roon CES 2016

We were really impressed with the whole design of the unit. The small box was impeccably crafted with no exposed screws on the top or bottom. It is designed to be simple to setup and use with everything embedded and ready to go and designed with the ability to send music to four zones out of the box (two analog, one coax digital, and one optical digital), and eight different zones via expansion. For the price tag of just $1 shy of $1000 not only do you get the hardware box, but you also get the unlimited license to the Roon software (for use only with the Discovery) which would normally cost $500 for a Mac or PC.


Our Demo Impressions

We did get a chance to play with the Discovery at CES.  ELAC had the floor model setup using an iPad as the interface with over 1,100 albums from a small thumbdrive plugged into the USB in the back of the Discovery Server. Scrolling through the albums was a breeze and when an album was selected, there were options to read information on reviews, or read a biography on the musician, as well as links to their facebook and Wikipedia pages.  For a particular track, the lyrics would even come up with a press of the microphone-shaped icon. The software is so powerful and metadata so well populated that you could even look up the musicians that played on that album and see what other albums they played on in your library. With 8GB of flash storage, the Discovery stores thousands of albums worth of metadata without having to pull it from the web so access to all the information came up quickly.

The Discovery Music server is designed to be the heart of your serious music system offering playback of local and streaming music, multi-dimensional metadata and multi-room audio (support for up to eight rooms), all with a simple and efficient interface from software designed by Roon Labs. The small interface cuts out the problems that hooking a computer up to your sound system creates. The discovery runs on an A9 core and an embedded version of Linnux with the Roon software

Keeping in line with the goal of high quality music playback, Tidal’s lossless music streaming service has been integrated into the Discovery Server's software. Content from your local collection and content from Tidal are presented in the same easy to use interface with additional music services planned for 2016. The Discovery will play all types of music files from mp3 to DSD.

Adding the Discovery Music Server to an existing system is simple. Connect the Discovery Server to the internet and one of the outputs to your existing system. Navigating your local and online music collection is performed with the Discovery Roon App available for Android, IOS, Windows, and OSX.


To add your personal music collection, connect either a hard drive to the rear mounted USB port or point the Discovery to your NAS (Networked Attached Storage) device and the Discovery will take care of the rest, organizing and gathering feature rich meta-data for your entire music collection.

Expanding your Discovery system to other rooms is easy. Whether you want the full functionality of an integrated amplifier or a simple wireless speaker in the kids room the Discovery eco-system is ready to grow when you are. With a pair of digital outputs and two sets of analog outputs that are completely independent of each, and the ability to add additional zones via the upcoming ELAC integrated amplifier, you can play different content in up to 8 different zones or play the same content all over the house.

ELAC celebrated its 90th anniversary in the sound and music business this year and with it they are getting back into the consumer electronics arena. If the DS-101 Discovery server is a glimpse of things to come from ELAC we’re looking forward to their next innovations.

The DS-101 Discovery Server will be available in Q1 of 2016 at a price of $999.00 which includes a limited lifetime device subscription to Roon.

For 90 years, ELAC has built innovative products that deliver superior performance and value, driven by a commitment to making the best sound in the world. Today, ELAC offers a wide range of speaker and electronics products. ELAC has earned its reputation – from the beginning – with advanced technology, uncompromised build quality and modern European style.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Marshall is an Educator by trade, and currently lives in Oregon. He was lucky enough to grow up in a musical household, and though the AV equipment wasn't the greatest, it was always on. His dad introduced him to Queen, Paul Simon, and Sgt. Pepper's, and his mom played Lionel Richie and Disney Soundtracks. When Marshall was 14, his uncle passed down a pair of JBL towers and Marshall finally had his own system. Having enjoyed podcasting and video production over the past 10 years, Marshall is happy to be contributing at Audioholics.

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