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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2016 3 comments
Appropriately, the MQA room was the last room I visited at CES 2016. In it, I heard two demos on two different systems where I got to compare an MQA'd file with the exact same file in its original, non-MQA state.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2016 1 comments
I'm going to go off the computer audio res for a moment and share my enthusiasm over the self-powered Kii Three Loudspeaker System ($13,900), which are designed by Bruno Putzeys (here's Bruno on his DAC). These rather diminutive speakers are rated down to 20Hz +/- 0.5dB and the basic concept behind their design is they energize the room unlike a traditional loudspeaker. According to my ears this claim is true, and I noted a whole bunch of quickly scribbled accolades relating to their ability to present music in-room and out-of-room simultaneously. "Sound spreads out like a city" is the most coherent comment from my notes.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2016 0 comments
ELAC is on fire. The Discovery Music Server DS-101 ($999) not only includes a limited (limited to the ELAC ecosystem) subscription to Roon but ELAC have added multi-room functionality to the Roon app allowing you to synchronously group (or un-group) and control multiple ELAC devices from one app (max number of 8 zones). The Discovery Roon app will run on iOS, Android, Windows and OSX. There's an Ethernet input and USB for USB storage, 2x analog outputs (independant zones), Coax S/PDIF and Toslink out.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2016 0 comments
The new EMM Labs DA2 DAC ($25,000) is Ed Meitner's new flagship DAC. Built completely in-house in Canada, the DA2 was designed from the ground on up. Here's the bullet list from the company:
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2016 0 comments
The new Bryston BDA-3 DAC ($3495) adds DSD support, up to DSD256, and PCM support up to 32/384 to the well reviewed BDA-2 (see review) as well as 4x 2-channel HDMI (accepts SACD input), 2x asynchronous USB, AES/EBU, Toslink, and Coax S/PDIF (RCA and BNC). There's also an Ethernet input for home automation applications. Outputs include single-ended RCAs and balanced XLRs.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2016 0 comments
It's hard to keep up with China's Questyle as their products seem to multiply in-room. In terms of new, I was directed to the ICEpower'd R200i 5GHz Wireless 200W Mono amplifiers ($1500) which put out 200W into 4 ohms and also house a 24/192 and DSD capable DAC.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2016 1 comments
I popped into the GamuT room even though they were only spinning vinyl. After listening and enjoying the system, GamuT's President Michael Vamos directed my attention to something I'd missed; the GamuT Lobster Chair ($4990). "Damn, that's so cool!" I said. "Sit in it" Michael suggested. I did and it is, in fact, womb-like in its comfort. There's a matching ottoman as well. Hmm. "You'll have to review our new DAC when its ready", Michael shared. "I need to review this chair!" that's me to which Michael responded, "We send you the chair, we'll never get it back."
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2016 0 comments
Music Hall offers gear that makes good-sounding music at three and four digit prices. The Creek EVOLUTION 100CD ($1995) supports PCM resolutions up to 24/192kHz via 2x transformer isolated S/PDIF, 2x optically isolated Toslink, and 1x galvanically isolated USB. The DA chip inside is the Wolfson WM8742 x2. Outputs include 1x SPDIF, 1x Toslink and single-ended RCA and balanced XLR pairs. The 100CD is also Bluetooth enabled so you can stream to it over the air and of course you can spin CDs in it as well.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2016 1 comments
Aurender had their new and as yet to be priced A10 Caching Network Music Server/Player with analog Output (RCA and XLR) on display and that's its insides. All of my pictures of its outside, sucked (I've decided to divorce my camera after our embarrassing inability to get along at CES. I have a new, younger model on the way). The A10 holds 2TB of internal hard disk drive storage for your music and a 120GB solid state drive for cached playback. You can also play music via Ethernet from network attached storage and all Aurender models include their Conductor app and all models support Tidal streaming.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2016 3 comments
Ayre Acoustics, makers of my amp, handed off DA duties to their Codex DAC/Preamp/Headphone amp ($1795), which made Steve Plaskin's Favorite Bits List while also garnering a Class A rating (check out the price again and compare it to other Class A DACs on that list).

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