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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 27, 2013 21 comments
from the top left (clockwise): Fostex HP-A8, Teac UD-501, Auralic Vega, Mytek Stereo192-DSD DAC (flanked by the Acoustic Plan DigiMaster w/linear power supply)

I was just looking at my lovely Box Furniture equipment rack and realized this is probably somewhat of a rare sight. Reviews forthcoming.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 27, 2013 0 comments
InnerFidelity's head honcho, Tyll Hertsens, has reported on a very interesting development related to the Meridian Explorer DAC/Headphone Amp. It's that last bit, the headphone amp, that has come under scrutiny and Meridian has recently modified the headphone output of their popular Explorer DAC.

I'll let Tyll explain since he does it so well and I very much encourage anyone who already owns an Explorer, is interested in one, or if you'd like to read about the importance of things like output impedance, frequency response, and damping factor, to head on over to InnerFidelity.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 26, 2013 7 comments
The Hex DAC is, according to Metrum Acoustics, a non-oversampling (NOS) filterless DAC in the strictest sense. This means that inside, including inside its mysterious* DAC chips, the PCM signal remains a PCM signal and it passes through the D/A process un-oversampled and un-filtered, as it were. Many of today's DACs, even some calling themselves NOS DACs, employ delta-sigma DAC chips that, among other things, oversample, interpolate, convert the PCM signal to a PDM signal (pulse-density modulation), and filter our precious musical data. Filterless NOS DACs skip these steps and some feel that the resulting analog signal sounds more analog-like as a result.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 22, 2013 17 comments
Miles Davis' In A Silent Way is near the top of any list I'd make. When I first listened to it decades ago my heart raced (literally) after the opening notes and things got more intense from there on in. The same still holds after countless listens. In A Silent Way, along with Bitches Brew and A Tribute to Jack Johnson helped me get over the passing of Jimi Hendrix and pointed toward a very bright future. I don't really care all that much as to whether or not In A Silent Way was the first 'fusion' album because the music speaks to matters beyond category. You simply need to sit and do nothing other than listen.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 19, 2013 1 comments
Z Ultra-Compact Component
The Zdac hails from Parasound's Z-line of "ultra-compact components" that includes the Zamp V.3, Zphono, Zphono-USB, Zcd, Ztuner, Zpre2, Zbreeze cooling fan, and the Zselect five-pair speaker selector. The Z-line comes in silver or rack-mountable black and all of the Z components share the same chassis so one could have a complete matching Z-system (sans speakers). For some, matching components are a plus while for others, mainly for certain kinds of audiophiles, matching components take all of the fun out system mixing and matching. Thankfully you can have the Zdac either a la carte or prix fixe.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 18, 2013 4 comments
MSB Technology The Analog DAC ($6,995)
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 15, 2013 1 comments
Devendra Banhart Mala

Just when I thought the bloom was off the rose, Devendra Banhart reaches way down (and as far back as the '50s) and pulls out a bouquet. Mala isn't for everyone, what is, but I've been streaming the entire thing for days for free from NPR's first listen and I've been smiling, laughing, and shaking my head at the crazy beat and banter of Banhart. This, his debut on Nonesuch Records and overall 8th studio album, is one freakin' fun listen.

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 13, 2013 6 comments
Being Single
Single driver speakers have some fairly straight-forward pluses and minuses—they only use a single driver to reproduce everything. So that means no crossover which, contrary to some adherents of the single driver way, is not necessarily an evil one way or another but most single driver speakers I've heard, and I've heard a bunch, tend to do at least one thing really well and that thing is immediacy. But what does immediacy really mean? From my way of hearing, it means that the sound of the music coming out of a single driver speaker sounds incredibly present as if the music is caressing your ears, intimately. Single driver speakers can sound seductive. The Ancient Audio Studio Oslo powered speakers use a single driver.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 09, 2013 12 comments
One look at the Emotiva XDA-2 DAC/Digital Preamp/Headphone Amp and you may ask yourself—I wonder how much that costs? And when you learn that the answer is a dollar shy of $400, you may think "Wow" or you may think, "Wait, what does it do?". Price perception is similar to depth perception in that's its all about ones' point of view. While anyone that's been shopping for a DAC lately will more than likely be impressed by the XDA-2s package, what it does is play music and how well it does this one job will tell you most everything you need to know about its value.


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