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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2015 0 comments
The Krell Vanguard Integrated Stereo Amplifier ($4500) was shown with the optional digital board ($6000) which adds USB, HDMI, coax S/PDIF, and Toslink inputs as well as Ethernet and apt-X Bluetooth streaming to the Integrated's 200-watt-per channel amplifier and Class A preamplifier for another mostly all-one-box solution. The digital side will handle PCM resolutions up to 24/192 (Toslink maxes out at 24/96) in AAC, WMA, WAV(PCM), FLAC, and ALAC file formats. Analog inputs include 1x balanced XLRs and 3x single-ended RCAs and there's an iOS and Android app for remote control.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2015 0 comments
The Burmester 151 Musiccenter ($25,000) is actually a music server and DLNA/UPnP network player with 2x 2TB of HDD storage in a RAID 1 array. There's also a SSD for system storage, fixed and variable outputs, WiFi, gapless playback, and an iPad control app. The 151 can play back Internet radio, from your NAS, and it supports PCM resolutions up to 24/192 and FLAC, WAV, AIFF, AAC, and ALAC file formats. Up front there's a CD slot drive for ripping your music and around back there's a USB input for playback from USB storage. The 151 offers both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR outputs.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2015 2 comments
There's been, and continues to be, a boatload of buzz over the Devialet Phantom ($1990 and $2390 for the Silver Phantom). And rightly so.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2015 0 comments
Yowza, that's one hunk of DAC. The new EMM Labs DA2 ($25,000), shipping in April/May, houses the company's "completely re-engineered, next generation analog system and proprietary, custom made, fully discrete MDAC DSD converters." And "Our next generation digital system with the latest MDAT2, MFAST and MCLOCK components." The DA2 supports PCM resolutions up to 32/384 as well as DSD128. Higher resolutions may follow in the future. Pictured is the optional gold finish and there's also silver and the standard dark gray. The metallic finishes come as an upgrade option. There may also be an optional network streamer but we'll have to wait and see if that becomes a reality.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2015 0 comments
The Hegel HD12 DAC ($1400), which is their middle-tier DAC sitting between the lower priced HD11 ($1200) and the higher priced HD25 ($2500), supports up to 24/192 PCM data and currently DSD only on PCs (Mac drivers will launch Spring 2015). The H12's USB input does the heavy DSD lifting while the 1x Coax S/PDIF and 2x Toslink inputs max out at PCM 24/192. Outputs include single-ended RCAs, balanced XLRs, and a headphone jack up front.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2015 0 comments
Here's another pro audio company making its first inroads to the world of audiophilia—Prism Sound was showing an unbranded, i.e. unfinished, prototype of their new USB Hi-Fi DAC (around $2000) which supports up to 24/192 PCM data. The USB Hi-Fi DAC offers a fully balanced analog signal path and accompanying XLR outputs as well as single ended RCAs. There's also Coax S/PDIF and Toslink outputs and a front-mounted headphone jack. Inputs include USB, Coax S/PDIF and Toslink. Expect production units to hit the streets Q2 2015.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2015 0 comments
Lumin impressed me with their original Network Music Player (see review) so I am a bit more than intrigued by their new S1 Player (S12,500). Pictured in silver, the S1 also comes in black for you steathy types, and supports up to 32/384 PCM and DSD128 using 4 ESS SABRE32 Reference DAC chips delivering a total of 16 DACs per channel. Inputs include Ethernet, USB storage, flash drive, USB hard disk (single-partition FAT32, NTFS and EXT2/3 only) while outputs consist of single-ended RCAs and balanced XLRs as well as digital outputs including BNC S/PDIF (supports up to 24/192 and DSD64), and HDMI (supports up to 24/192 and DSD64). The S1 also includes an upgraded external dual-toroidal power supply and a new clocking system.
MBL
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2015 2 comments
What a delight it is to sit and listen to music in the MBL room where we were treated to a number of great tunes including a remix of Falco's "Der Kommissar" sung in German through the company's Noble line. I noted the sound was at once delicate and effortless with a natural ease while delivering heart-stopping stunning dynamic contrasts. Nice. On display and pictured top left is the new MBL N31 CD-DAC ($18,000) which is capable of handling up to 24/192 data as well as DSD using the ESS Sabre 9018 DAC chip. There's a boat load of in-house technology wrapped up in all of MBL's products and the N31 is no exception which includes a custom developed filter which avoids "intersample overlook" (or inter-sample overs) according to its designer Jürgen Reis which can cause non-harmonic and non-musical distortions.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2015 0 comments
I'm a fan of the entire Bluesound lineup including the original Pulse (see review). For CES 2015, Bluesound was showing the upcoming Pulse Mini (targeted retail price $499) hitting stores in April. The Pulse Mini includes the Bluesound networking capabilities, so it can play up to 24/192 music from your NAS, stream music from the Internet, Bluetooth, and through the recently announced deal, you can now stream from Tidal's lossless streaming service.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2015 1 comments
Ayre also had a Pono player on display since it houses their digital and analog circuitry. Alex Brinkman of Ayre suggested I give the Pono player a spin comparing single-ended and balanced operation through a pair of Sennheiser HD650 cans. So I did.

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