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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
UK-based Leema Acoustics is new to me, but they've been around since 1998, and they were showing a number of products at CES 2014 including CD players, a preamp, a phono stage, and amps. Of interest to us is their Elements Integrated Amp/DAC ($2,895) which marries a 55W integrated amp with a 24/192-capable DAC. Offering Coax S/PDIF, Toslink, asynchronous USB, and a single analog input, the Elements Integrated Amp/DAC also provides a headphone jack for personal listening.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
The very shiny thus difficult to photograph Jadis JS2 MKIII DAC ($6,700) can handle up to 24/96 data via its Coax S/PDIF, optical on ST Fiber, or USB inputs. The analog output stage employs ECC 82 dual triodes.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2014 1 comments
I don't believe anyone at CES was more enthusiastic about their new product than John Franks of Chord. From the information sheet supplied by Chord, "...I traveled to Japan to meet with the movers and shakers in this newly emerging [mobile audio] market to see if we could bring something special to the party with the new hugely capable Spartan-6 FPGA 0.7-volt chip. With this new programmable chip, we are no longer limited by gate-count or power consumption. Freed from these constraints, our brilliant designer, Robert Watts, has at last been able to create this wonderful, landmark, truly mobile, reference-standard, beautiful-sounding design, which I'm confident you'll soon love as much as I do." I appreciate and enjoy enthusiasm. Don't you?
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
Interestingly enough, directly across the room from the qøl Signal Completion Stage was the Synergistic Research room where they also demoed some room treatments. This demo consisted of the new XOT Crossover Transducers (expected retail $399/pair) which attach to your speaker's binding posts as well as the HFTs (see Steve Plaskin's review). This was an in/out demo (I'm winking as I type) and I clearly heard a difference in the musical presentation with and without both devices. "More open | Flatter, less depth, less organic, less dimensional." is what I wrote about the XOTs in and out, and "Better sense of place | smeared spatially" is what I wrote about the HFTs in and out. While I won't discount the possibility of placebo effect, I found it interesting that the Synergistic devices and the qøl Signal Completion Stage worked similar apparent magic on my perception.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
The BSG qøl Signal Completion Stage ($3,995) is essentially room treatment in a box accept the qøl Signal Completion Stage treats your musical signal not the room. I sat in for a demo which essentially consisted of listening to music with the device on and off.

And here's what I wrote—O o. That's what the perceived sound picture looked like with the qøl on (O) and off (o) (everything flattened out without and expanded beyond the confines of the room with). For the full run down on this product, I encourage you to read John Atkinson's review in Stereophile (see review).

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
"You’re buying into a program." So explained MSB's Vince Galbo about their new Diamond Select DAC ($59,900) which is a DAC and a program. Essentially for the first year after you make your purchase, you will receive any and every upgrade that MSB can imagine for free. Even if that means they deliver a brand new chassis in the event that an upgrade warrants more space than the current chassis can accommodate. The Select program lasts for 10 years and starts life as a fully loaded Diamond DAC IV. Then, according to MSB, "These upgrades are free for the first year and simply the difference in cost between your DAC and the current select DAC for the remaining years. Guaranteed, no questions asked. Upgrade as often as you like. This DAC is kept in stock in matte Black and ready to ship. Custom colors are available but require 6 weeks lead time." Interesting, no? For the guy who has everything but wants more...
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2014 1 comments
You could write a novel about the functionality and available options for the Theta Casablanca (starts at $16,000. A typical setup averages $22-$25k according to Theta). Let's just say that this latest incarnation includes the Dirac Live digital room correction and optimization software (see review) [trendspotting] which processes data up to 24/96 while the Theta can handle up to 24/192. Inputs and outputs can include essentially anything your heart desires with the optional cards from stereo to multi-multi-channels.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
The Muse Music Source ($15,000) from Genesis Advanced Technology who are mainly known for their loudspeakers, incorporates a 1TB solid state drive, 2x USB 3.0 inputs, 1x Ethernet, and transformer-isolated RCA and XLR output pairs. The Linux-based DLNA/uPnP compatible Muse can handle up to 24/192 and DSD data and delivers streaming services including Spotify, Pandora, and Rhapsody as well as internet radio. The internal CD-ROM drive auto-rips your CDs using AccurateRip (requires an internet connection) to the internal storage and you can use a number of third party apps to control playback. From the Genesis Facebook page, "It's EXPENSIVE - to encourage you to build your own. The latest recipe (not for the G-Source obviously) is available on the Genesis website."
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
The 2.1 MicroMagic ($2,400) from Elac wraps up a DAC, sub, speakers, and 3 amps into one bundle. Consisting of the MicroSub 2010.2, and 2x ELAC 301.2 satellite speakers, the MicroMagic system offers Toslink, USB Type-B, USB Type-A, line level RCA analog, and 3.5mm aux analog inputs and can handle up to 24/96 data.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2014 1 comments
The Prima Luna ProLogue Premium CD Player/DAC ($3,799) obviously employs vacuum tubes. While we've seen this kind of thing before, mainly in the analog output stage, the ProLogue Premium CD Player/DAC employs 2 tubes to reduce jitter. Interesting no? "...the SuperTubeClock™ replaces the solid state oscillator normally found in a CD player's digital clocking device with a mini triode vacuum tube. By using a tube, we have significantly lowered the amount of jitter and noise, resulting in superior detail retreival. This in turn yields superior detail and dynamics from top to bottom, and improved overrall musicality." (read more about it here).

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