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Lumin P1 Mini

Network music players have grown up. It’s no longer enough simply to offer a bridge connecting online music services and home storage with a hi-fi amp – today the players themselves have taken on the ability to be a complete system hub, with network, digital and analogue inputs, and outputs to feed a power amplifier or active speakers.

It all has much to do with how integrated these products have become, with manufacturers building their own computer platforms and streaming solutions, all driven by in-house apps on a phone or tablet. Get all that in place, and it’s (relatively) easy to pile on extra functionality without impinging on the audio performance.

As an example: the heavyweight Lumin P1, yours for the better part of £9000, combines all the clever network stuff with full DAC functionality, plus analogue inputs and that all-important selectable fixed/variable audio out that enables it to be used into a conventional amp or preamp (at fixed level) or straight into offboard power amplification. The P1 sounds superb, is a delight to use, and certainly looks and feels the part: it may be narrower than the hi-fi standard, at 35cm wide, but it stands almost 11cm tall and weighs a chunky 12kg.

All of which is very well, but there’s now the P1 Mini. It was unveiled at the 2024 High End Show in Germany, and offers less of everything except (it’s claimed) performance. It’s wider but shorter, weighs 7kg – and feels every bit as solid – and, best of all, will save you almost five grand. It’s £4195, in a choice of black or raw aluminium anodised finishes.

What’s more, while the P1 looks designed to make a visual statement in your system set-up, the Mini version will slip more easily into your equipment rack while still retaining that air of ‘what’s it for?’ mystique thanks to a front panel packing not much more than a pair of sculpted rotary controls straddling a simple-but-informative display panel. Complementing it is a very classy slimline remote handset in zinc and acrylic - although I suspect most users will spend most of their time on the Lumin app on iOS or Android. Yes, it looks rather busy compared with some rivals’ offerings, but it’s comprehensive, very flexible, quickly understood and then easy and pleasurable to use - it remains one of the best in the business.

The P1 Mini itself has an impressive array of connectivity. As well as wired Ethernet networking, it also has a fibre network connection, accepting a plug-in SFP adapter, which brings with it isolation from any interference on the home network, and is a strategy I’ve long used on my music network with impressive results. Both these network connections can be used at once, so you can connect to your ISP’s service for online music sources as well as having a dedicated connection to a NAS carrying your home music library.

Digital audio connections run to USB-B (for use with a computer), coaxial and optical, and there are also HDMI inputs and outputs to allow the unit to accept audio from TVs, set-top boxes and the like, and output video back to a TV. Two USB inputs also allow the direct connection of music stores on USB devices. There’s one set of inputs for an analogue audio device, while the analogue audio outputs are on both RCAs and balanced XLRs, along with digital outs on USB and BNC electrical.

The dual ESS Sabre ES9028PRO DACs allow the P1 Mini to handle audio at up to 384kHz/32bit and DSD512 (depending on the input) and up-sample lesser digital formats to 384kHz/DSD128 if required. Processing and streaming are handled by a computer engine of in-house design. This allows the Lumin to access a wide range of streaming services, including (deep breath) Apple AirPlay 2, Qobuz, Spotify Connect, TIDAL Connect, FLAC lossless radio and TuneIn radio. The P1 Mini is also Roon-ready, and completely software- upgradable to add further functionality and enhanced audio performance.

Sound quality

Suffice it to say, then, that the Lumin is pretty well future-proof – and it’s also quite a performer in the here and now. Using it both as a player straight into my reference system, and as a preamp into either a Naim NAP 250 power amp driving PMC Prodigy 5 speakers or a pair of Klipsch The Nines active speakers, it’s immediately apparent that this is a highly accomplished network player (with the added bonus of its preamp functions should you want them).

Playing the Henry Mancini 100th anniversary tribute Henry Has Company, the Lumin’s combination of weight and power, allied to excellent detail and insight, illuminates the familiar Pink Panther theme featuring Lizzo and James Galway(!), and the tight harmonies of Take 6 on The Days of Wine and Roses are absolutely luscious. The Lumin punches straight into the title track of Lake Street Dive’s Good Together, driving the track along while showcasing the fabulous voice of lead singer Rachael Price, as it does on the horn-driven funk of Better Not Tell You.

That this player manages to be fast and rhythmical without trading away any weight and impact is readily apparent with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra bringing its considerable firepower to bear on John Williams’s Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - the skittering strings and woodwind are underpinned by powerful percussion and rich, ripe brass. There’s no shortage of albums of film music by Williams, but this one (Raiders of the Symphony) has just the right balance of lightness of touch and exuberant pomp to make it truly satisfying - and those qualities are convincingly showcased by the Lumin.

From the stripped-back, close-focused take on Blackbird on Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter set to the downhome dance rhythms of Texas Hold ’Em the P1 Mini’s ultra-detailed, super-clear sound is a treat. And when the focus of listening moves to the big-screen drama of Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes, that presentation pays dividends in both intelligibility and the focus with which the drama unfolds. 

The composer’s original reading, recorded in 1958 for Decca in an open studio soundstage, has the fascination of its purity - but it’s intriguing to compare this with the location recording on the beach that inspired the work, on Arthaus Musik Blu-ray, or indeed the propulsive drama of the 2020 Chandos recording conducted by Edward Gardner. The P1 Mini makes all too clear the differences in the recordings, especially the sense of unstoppable movement towards the tragic denouement of the piece in the Gardner recording.

Dramatic stuff, but then that’s what the Lumin brings to the party. All the hi-fi niceties are so well handled that what’s being performed is front and centre, not how well the electronics are handling it.

Living with

Whether or not you’re familiar with the ways of network players, the P1 Mini is easy to understand and use, both as a player added to a conventional system and as a full-house digital-based preamplifier. It’s not a product you can just bung on your wi-fi network – Lumin makes it very clear that wired networking is de rigeur, and making use of the fibre connectivity will bring just a smidge more focus to what it already a superbly explicit and captivating soundstage – but partner it well and this ‘junior’ P1 player is capable of world-class results.


All the network player you’ll ever need? Quite possibly - while it lacks the dramatic visual presence of its full-size P1 big brother, this Mini version makes a convincing case for focusing all your listening around streamed music, whether from online services or your own library ripped onto a NAS box hidden away. Not only that, but it’s quite a looker in its own right, and the carefully-developed Lumin app integrates with it seamlessly.

Listening notes

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck Bruckner – Symphony No 7

A thoughtful, dramatic performance from Honeck’s Bruckner cycle, captured in a wide-open recording by the Fresh! Label team, delivering both power and close detail

Lake Street Dive Get Around

From the Dive’s latest album, Good Together, this track has serious funk underpinning Rachael Price’s amazing voice, with writer Bridget Kearney laying down an evil bassline overlaid with crisp, shimmering snare

Bobby Darin Beyond The Sea

This 1959 recording of Darin’s version of Charles Trenet’s La Mer couldn’t be much simpler or more appealing: the voice is captured persuasively, while the orchestra is at turns smoochy and ridiculously explosive and bombastic. Pull up the charming 1945 Trenet original on your streaming service of choice, and compare and contrast.

What the press say

Why you should buy it

Take one of the best network player/DAC/preamp combinations on the market, slice enough cash off its price to buy a decent power amp and a pair of speakers without hampering the performance, and you get a seriously good buy in a high-end streaming market where prices can be stratospheric.

Video review

Pair it with

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