I strolled over to T.H.E. Show on Friday afternoon and the first booth you run into (by necessity) is CEntrance. They had a few displays featuring their USB bus-powered DACmini CX ($795) and a DACmini PX ($1,475) both connected to an iPad via the Apple Camera Connection Kit. The CX version is a DAC/headphone amp and features Coax and Toslink inputs capable of 24-bit/196kHz, and USB up to 24-bit/96kHz. The PX adds a 50W/ch integrated amp in the same small package.
I took the Las Vegas Monorail to the Las Vegas Convention Center on Thursday afternoon to see what I would see. I hit two Halls, South and Central, and pretty much just strolled around to take in the sites and sounds of consumerism run amok.
I went to the big Onkyo room in the Venetian Level 2 and saw and snapped (blurry I know) the Onkyo TX-NR609 THX® Select2 Plus™ Certified A/V receiver ($599). Connectivity includes...a picture's worth a thousand words (in this case more)....
"Machined chassis milled from a solid block of aircraft grade 6061-T6 aluminum", the Jeff Rowland Aeris DAC ($9,800) is a wavy wonder to look at. Accepts up to 24-bit/96kHz via USB and 24-bit/192kHz via Toslink and (2) Coax. Includes balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs as well as an integrated volume control for direct-connecting to an amplifier.
Waterfall Audio makes glass baffle and aluminum speakers. On display was their new HFM 2.1 Active System that consists of the Serio satellites (shown with optional stands) and High Force HFM 2.1 subwoofer ($1,500/system including sub). The Serio speakers can also be wall-mounted and I find them cute but they are also undeniably tiny (5" x 3.5" x 5"). The new HFM 2.1 subwoofer includes 3 Class D amplifiers for powering the Serio speakers (2 x 60W) and itself (1 x 120W) as well as a 3.5mm jack so you can plug in and play from a host of variable output sources.
Parasound was also showing some delectable stackable gear and sitting sandwiched between their Zcd CD Player ($400) and Zamp v.3 ($349) is the Zdac 192kHz Digital to Analog Converter ($450) that includes USB and S/PDIF inputs (Coax and Toslink) and RCA and XLR outputs. With a Sonos on top!
Pro-Ject was showing off a whole slew of same-sized digital goodies in their new "S" versions including the above pictured DAC Box S USB, DAC Box S F (standing for "Filterless"), Tuner Box S, and the Stereo Box S. Pricing has yet to be finalized for U.S. but figure "between $200 - $400". The DAC Box S USB is what its name says and features 3 Inputs (RCA, Toslink, USB), manual switching via that button on the front and will handle 24-bit/96kHz data.
The Bladelius Embla CD Player/DAC/Preamp/Music Server comes in three flavors; Standard ($4,500), Basic ($6,000) and Classic ($9,000) all sporting a large touch screen display. The Basic model includes five digital inputs (AES/EBU, RCA, Toslink, USB, Ethernet and optional Blutooth) all capable of accepting up to 32-bit/192kHz data. The Basic model adds a 32GB Solid State Drive so you can rip your music to SSD or play it from disc and the Classic adds a 64GB SSD drive and 3 analog inputs. You can load up your Embla with up to 2TB of Solid State Storage goodness (I did not get the price for this but figure—a lot).
The April Music EXIMUS DP1 24/192 DAC-Preamplifier ($3,195) is very attractive to my way of seeing in a subtly alluring way. Featuring 1 USB 2.0, 1 I2S, 2 Coax, and 1 AES/EBU input all capable of handling the full 24/196. The EXIMUS DP1 also offers a defeat-able upsampling circuit and a front-mounted headphone jack.
In another Axiss Distribution room sat the much more serious Accuphase DC-901 Precision Multiple Double Speed DSD (MDSD) Digital Processor ($32,500). The DC-901 (sitting on the middle shelf) offers seven digital inputs (XLR, 2 Coax, 2 Toslink, USB and HS-Link). All inputs accept up to 24-bit/192kHz and up to 2.8224MHz /1 bit (2ch DSD) via HS-Link which is used to connect to the $32,500 Accuphase DP-900 transport.