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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
The BUC1 ($749) is Bryston's take on a USB to S/PDIF converter. The BUC1 supports files up to 24/192 and includes an asynchronous USB input, Coax S/PDIF (BNC & RCA) and AES/EBU (XLR) outputs. Available with silver or black faceplate.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
Aurender was showing their new Aurender X100 digital music player which comes in two flavors—the X100L ($3,499) with 6TB of internal storage, and the X100S ($2,999) with 1TB of internal storage. Both offer USB output to connect your DAC of choice and support DSD, WAV, FLAC, ALAC, APE, AIFF, M4A file formats. I have their recently updated S10 here for review which uses the same Aurender-developed app for control as the X100s and from the demo I got at CES, it looks to be a nimble beauty. Stay tuned...
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments
miniDSP has a new digital room correction in-a-box product coming down the 'pike but it wasn't ready for prime time at CES. While the name and price are TBD, the miniDSP device will employ the Dirac Live Room Correction software (see review) and should be available by mid-February. Trending.
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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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