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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 09, 2013 0 comments
The new SOtM (Soul Of the Music) battery-powered sDP-1000 DAC Preamplifier ($TBD) supports up to 32-bit/192kHz and DSD via USB. The preamp section offers analog RCA inputs as well as balanced XLR and digital inputs include AES/EBU, BNC, asynchronous USB, Coax and Optical S/PDIF. There are two battery packs that run in tandem so that one automatically charges while the other provides the power and the switching between the two is also handled automatically so you always have power without having to think about it.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 09, 2013 0 comments
The SGR MusicKube ($4,995) is a purpose-built, from the ground up including the Orakle Ripping Engine, Media Server. SGR was responsible for the MusicKube's software while they relied on MSB Technology for the "digital hardware". The MusicKube comes with a digital volume control or optional analog analog volume control and can handle up to 32/384 data as well as DSD and "30-40" file formats. The interface is also an SGR developed browser-based application. Inputs include Coax, AES, USB, HDMI (for audio), MSB-link, Ethernet, and BNC for clock input. At present the MusicKube comes with 248GB SSD internal storage but SGR expects that to grow to 1TB within a few months. For people with larger libraries, a NAS is the recommended solution. The MusicKube will see its official launch at the Munich hi-fi show this May.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 09, 2013 1 comments
The Auralic Vega Digital Audio Processor ($3,500) can handle 64x and 128x DSD, DXD (32/352.8 and 32/384), and regular old PCM up to 24/192. The Vega upsamples all incoming PCM data to 32-bit/1.5MHz and its digital volume control allows the Vega to act as a digital preamp. Inputs incude 1 AES/EBU, 2 Coax, 1 Toslink, and 1 USB and there are pairs of XLR and RCA outputs. There are also six Auralic-developed digital filters including a linear phase filter, minimum phase filter, and a slow roll-off filter to contour the sound to your liking.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 09, 2013 5 comments
The Teac UD-501 offers 64x/128x DSD (via USB) and 32bit/384kHz PCM (via USB) with 7 user-selectable filters (3 for PCM and 4 for DSD). Inputs include 2 Toslink, 2 Coax S/PDIF, and 1 asynchronous USB and there are RCA and XLR outputs and a headphone amp with volume control all wrapped up in a rugged aluminum chassis. And Teac gives you all of that for $949.00. Nice.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 07, 2013 12 comments
Why Convert?
The V-Link192 should appeal to anyone that wants to play up to 24/192 music files from their computer who own a DAC that does not have a USB input. It should also appeal to those people who have a DAC that does not support 192kHz files via USB but does support them via Coax or XLR, and even for those with an older adaptive USB DAC that does not have an asynchronous USB input. Out of these three options, the first two are, imo, no brainers whereas the efficacy of the last will be based on a case by case basis.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 04, 2013 30 comments
I'm usually not a fan of the review preview which often times strikes me as simply a means of generating more page views (I'm also not a fan of splitting up reviews into multiple pages when one would suffice) but I will put aside my crusty perspective and say that I just received the Schiit Modi DAC which costs all of $99, hooked it up last night, and am listening to it right now. And I'm breaking my no preview rule mainly to say after seeing and handling the very nicely built Modi—how'd they do that for $99?
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 04, 2013 0 comments
Sibelius Spiders by Sermonizer

Do you like dark? I'm of the opinion that the dark allows us to better appreciate the light. And vice versa. Belgium's Forced Nostalgia, the label, is dedicated to re-releasing some of the darkest industrial analog synth-driven underground music from the 70s through the 90s most of which originally appeared as very limited cassette releases. Now, through the free jukebox that is the internet, you can listen to most of the wonderful releases from Forced Nostalgia on their Bandcamp page and you can download entire albums for free (or whatever you'd like to pay for them) in CD-quality FLAC format.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 03, 2013 30 comments
FPGA All the Way
If you know only one thing about Chord Electronics, I'd suggest knowing they do things their own way and that way typically diverges from the main stream. This approach can be seen in any of their products industrial design from amplifiers to preamplifiers to digital to analog converters as they all share a lozenge-shaped outline and a round window for seeing into and emitting light from within. Once inside, you'll aso see that things are far from common. But what matters most, in hi-fi land, is how all of this adds up. Does it serve the music being the relevant question at hand. And not to give too much away up front, the answer with the Chord Chordette QuteHD (DSD) DAC is a resounding Oh yea.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 02, 2013 7 comments
Happy New Year! With CES less than a week away, it's time to start thinking strategy. With 1,118 exhibitors listed under Audio and only 541 in the sub-category Audio, High-Performance and nearly 4 full days to see 'em, I figure with some judicious use of time I should be able to cover what I can cover. Not to mention T.H.E. Show with its nearly 90 exhibitor rooms. The first priority for any show coverage is typically What's New(s) and based on the barrage of press releases that started pounding my inbox weeks ago there will be a lot to talk about.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 28, 2012 2 comments
Never has a title been more apropos—The New York Rags. David Chesky composed this suite of 18 sumptuous rags performed on a Yamaha DCFX Mark IV Disklavier Pro concert grand piano and as he tells us in the liner notes, "You’re living in New York City … art reflects time and culture. So you take what’s around you and you write. And in the end, is it symphonic? Is it jazz? It’s a crossover. The way American music should be, like how Bernstein or Gershwin did it." The pace of Chesky's New York Rags is, for the most part, frenetic and mimics life in the big city with its many touches of spice and flavors from other times and places. I immediately heard traces of Conlon Nancarrow, Gershwin, Bernstein, and Joplin with the skeletal structure of the Second Viennese School barely containing the jaunt and roll. Nice.


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