I always enjoy my visit to the TAD room for two reasons; it always sounds great and TAD Director of Engineering Andrew Jones is always entertaining. And while you'd think these two qualities would be running rampant at a hi-fi trade show, they sadly ain't, in my experience.
Playback Designs had their in-production IPS-3 Integrated Playback System ($13,000) coupled with the Evolution Acoustics MMMicroOne loudspeakers ($4,000/pair which I continue to think is pretty amazing considering how they sound) for another simple and superb sounding system. The IPS-3 is a DXD and DSD (up to 6.1MHz) capable DAC, preamplifier, and 130W/channel amplifier all wrapped up in one box.
John Tucker at Exemplar Audio offers his own ground-up products like the eXception 4 input 24/192 tubed DAC ($4,000), eXception SE Line stage ($4,250), and eXception Integrated amplifier ($4,950) on display in his room shared with Eficon who showed their Eficon F300 Speakers ($18,100). He also modifies gear and here we see his Expo T105 ($4,750) which is obviously a modified Oppo 105.
In the same Rega room, The Sound Organisation put together a small desktop system consisting of the Rega Brio Integrated Amp ($895), the 24/192-capable Rega DAC ($1,095), Rega RP6 Turntable with the Exact MM Cartridge ($1,990), with a pair of PMC Twenty.21 Loudspeakers ($2,900/pair). But that's not the cool part...
The new Rega Saturn-R DAC + CD Transport ($2,995) was making its debut at RMAF. I guess the target for these DAC/disc spinners is for those people who don't want to rip their CDs but who do want to play their downloads, too. The Saturn houses 4 S/PDIF inputs, an asynchronous USB input, and the Wolfson WM8742 DAC for up to 24/192 playback.
Cary Audio had their new prototype DMS-500 network player ($3,995 pictured on top) on display connected to their DAC-100t Vacuum Tube DAC ($2,995). The DLNA/UPnP DMS-500 offers all of the connectivity you'd expect from a network player including Ethernet, S/PDIF (Coax and Toslink), USB for connecting up to 3TBs worth of USB storage, as well as AptX Bluetooth so you can easily stream from a smartphone or tablet which I view as a very easy way to get more people involved with hi-fi—let them easily connect and play their music through it! The DMS-500 also houses a 32/192-capable DAC.
The Naim room featured their SuperNait 2 80/wpc amplifier ($4,900) and the NDX Network Player ($5,300) pulling files from the NaimUniti2 ($4,800) playing through a pair of Dali Epicon 6 speakers ($13,495/pair). But the really cool part was...
Simaudio was streaming tunes from through their Moon MiND (Moon Intelligent Network Device) ($1,250). The MiND is a DLNA compatible UPnP Renderer so you can stream from a NAS or the internet and play back WAV, FLAC, FLAC, AIFF, AAC, ALAC, MP3, WMA-9, and OGG Vorbis file formats up to 24/192. Connectivity is provided through Ethernet and Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) while outputs include AES/EBU, Coax S/PDIF, and Toslink. There's also a custom MiND remote app for iOS and Android devices that can control multiple MiND zones.
that little cylindrical metal pimple on the face of the Bose is an HFT
Break out the incredulous powder and apply generously! Synergistic Research debuted their HFT - High Frequency Transducer Technology ($299/5-pack or $75/ea.) and FEQ - Frequency Equalizer Technology ($750) and applied it to the room and a Bose Wave radio. The HRT are tiny baby-fingernail sized metal cylinders that you stick to surfaces with Blu Tack and the FET gets plugged in and just sits wherever you decide to put it. I did try to take some notes during my visit and demo but I write too slowly for Synergistic Research's Ted Denny's thought-to-speak patterns. The only relavant scribble pertaining to these devices that I was able to note (legibly) is that they are "...reactive to all kinds of energy".