LATEST ADDITIONS

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 10, 2013 4 comments
The Ayre Acoustics DX-5-DSD and the QB-9-DSD are getting a facelift that includes DSD playback. The new versions should be available within the next few months and at that time existing owners can bring their QB-9s and DX-5s into their dealer for the DSD tuneup. The cost for the new DSD versions are TBD.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 10, 2013 0 comments
I finally got to hear the MSB Technology Analog DAC ($6,995) and boy am I glad I did. It sounds...nice. The design of the inputs is modular in nature meaning you can pick and plug in up to 3 modules (the first one is free - additional modules are $995/each) selecting from Toslink or Coax S/PDIF, balanced XLR AES/EBU, Isolated MSB Network, MSB ProI2S 32 bit input, and USB 2.0 384kHxz input. There's an optional analog volume control ($995) that also adds a pair of Analog inputs so the Analog DAC can act as a preamp. There are 2 very discrete controls on the unit, one for volume and one for source selection as well as an included remote that adds phase invert and mute.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 10, 2013 2 comments
The Anthony Gallo Acoustics Strada 2s ($999/each) where setup as room-filling floorstanders so I cannot comment on their sound as desktop speakers but they sure sound like a lot of sound for nearfield listening. The crossover-less Strada 2s incorporate the patented CDT3 (Cylindrical Diaphragm Transducer) tweeter and two 4" dynamic hyperbolic carbon fiber woofers with a claimed frequency response of 68Hz - 20kHz +/- 3db in room with speakers 1ft. from the rear wall.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 10, 2013 2 comments
The handsome Resolution Audio Cantata ($6,495) is about as close as you can get to an Ethernet DAC. The UPnP-enabled Ethernet input allows you to connect to a NAS via the Resolution Pont Neuf and you can control playback with the Cantata app for iOS devices. There's also a cleverly concealed slot-loading CD drive for spinning discs when the feeling moves you. The Cantata can handle up to 24/192 playback via asynchronous USB, AES/EBU, Coax, and Toslink and there are fixed and variable RCA and XLR outputs.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 10, 2013 0 comments
The Esprit DAC ($899), digital preamp, and ADC from Alpha Design Labs otherwise known as ADL by Furutech offers up to 24/96 playback and recording resolution via USB and 24/192 playback resolution via S/PDIF. There are 2 line level RCA inputs, 1 Coax input, 1 Toslink input, and Toslink output (for USB source only) and USB Type B in/out. The Esprit DAC can also act as an analog to digital converter for doing things like ripping your vinyl or cassette tapes. Do you rip tape? There's a front-resident toggle switch to choose recording attenuation (0dB, 6 dB, or 12dB) and next door there's a headphone jack.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 10, 2013 0 comments
The Calyx Femto DAC ($7,000) offers "a new level of digital clock performance measured in femtoseconds (500 femtosecond accuracy) to reduce jitter to astonishingly low levels." The 24/192-capable Femto DAC utilizes the ESS9018 Sabre DAC (8 converters per channel) and can also act as your preamp with its internal volume control and included remote control and there are 3 digital filters to shape the sound to your liking. There's also phase control, balanced XLR and single-ended RCA outputs, 2 Coax inputs, 2 AES/EBU, 1 BNC, 2 Toslink, and 1 asynchronous USB.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 10, 2013 1 comments
Arcam was showing a number of new components from their rSeries including the irDAC (TBD but around $600) so named for its infra-red remote control. The irDAC uses the TI PCM1796 DAC and can handle up to 24/192 data. There are 6 digital inputs including asynchronous USB, Coax, Toslink, and iPod. The rBlink Bluetooth DAC ($249) can handle "near-CD-quality sound" music streamed from your Bluetooth device of choice, and the aptly named SonLink DAC ($350) that marries the Sonos Connect via coaxial SPDIF to what looks like a base but actually houses the 24/192-capable Arcam rLink DAC. The airDAC (TBD) is again aptly named as it is Airplay ready which means you can stream from your iPhones, iPads and iPods. There's also an Ethernet input so can stream to the airDAC via wires. The rLink ($249) is actually a 24/192-capabe S/PDIF DAC (Coax an Toslink) and the rPAC ($249) is a tiny asynchronous USB DAC that supports up to 24/96 data and includes RCA and headphone outputs. The drDock ($299) is what it sounds like and supports iPods, iPhones and iPads. There's an HDMI video output for connecting your iOS device to the big screen, Coax S/PDIF output, a USB port for charing, and a pair of RCAs.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 10, 2013 1 comments
The M Series of products from NAD present some interesting options. The M50 Digital Music Player ($2,499) combines a CD Player/Ripper and Network Player and is built on a customized Linux software/hardware implementation. Supported file formats include FLAC, ALAC, WMA, MP3, AAC, and OGG up to 24/192. Inputs include USB Type B to connect to the M52 Digital Music Vault, 2 USB Type A for hard drive or flash drive, Ethernet, WiFi 802.11n/g 2.4G, and outputs include Coax S/PDIF, Toslink, HDMI 1.4 (Audio only), and Digital AES/EBU. When used in conjunction with the M52, an inserted CD can be played or automatically ripped to the Music Vault. The M52 Digital Music Vault ($1,999) includes three HDDs for 3TB of total storage in a RAID 5 array for 2TB of usable memory. Last but not least is the M2 Direct Digital Amplifier ($5,999) that combines a 24/192-capable DAC, preamplifier, and 250W/channel amplifier. Analog inputs include balanced and single ended RCAs, and on the digital side AES/EBU, Coaxial X 2, and Optical X 2.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 10, 2013 2 comments
NAD was showing off their new line of small form factor gear. From left to right the D 1050 USB DAC ($499), D 3020 Digital DAC/Amp ($399), and the D 7050 Digital Network Receiver ($899). The 1050 asynchronous USB DAC can handle up to 24/192 data through USB, and also includes Coax, Toslink and AES/EBU inputs, balanced and single-ended outputs, and headphone out with volume control. The D 3020 combines a 30W/channel amplifier with an asynchronous USB 24/96-capable DAC, aptX Bluetooth for streaming music from your smartphone, a headphone amp, subwoofer out, and a remote. The D 7050 UPnP Network Receiver offers a 50W/channel amp, asynchronous USB input, Airplay, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and aptX Bluetooth. Wow.

These small but feature-packade products will hit the market Q2 2012.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 10, 2013 0 comments
The new MicroStreamer from HRT ($189.95) is a small form factor 24/96-capable USB DAC and headphone amp with an analog volume control and fixed and variable outputs.

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