One of the more fascinating conversations I had at the High End Show took place in the CAD (Computer Audio Design) room with Scott Berry CAD's founder and designer. He spent some time explaining how he has spent considerable time addressing the issue of noise in his 1543 DAC (£7250) including high frequency noise (MHz to GHz) which he initially thought would not matter but it turned out when addressed it did. I asked Scott how reducing this noise impacted the DAC's sound and he replied that the most obvious improvement related to the depth of the stereo image and a generally more natural sound. Sound familiar?
I first covered this dynamic duo way back at RMAF 2013 but I wanted to cover them again because they offered some of my favorite sounds at the High End Show. Relaxed, easy, supple, fast as all get out, smooth, and musical. I'm also a fan of the simple system and this combo delivers on that count as well. Pictured is the DSD128 capable Lindemann musicbook:10 (€2800) with the active Manger s1 loudspeakers (€15,000).
Germany's Canton (founded 1972) was showing their AM 5 Active Monitors (€399) on inactive display. Each speaker houses an 80W amp for driving this two-way (1x 115 mm aluminum woofer, 1x 25 mm aluminum tweeter) for a rated frequency response of 50Hz - 38kHz. There are RCA and XLR inputs, three high pass filter settings, three input sensitivity settings, and three filters for adjusting bass, mid-range, and treble to your liking.
Dali always has a surprise or two up their sleeve for Munich and this year their Zensor 1AX active speakers (€599) grabbed my attention. Rated at 53 Hz to 26.5 kHz, the 1AX are configured as a master slave so just one speaker contains the 50W amp along with an internal 24/96-capable DAC (1x Toslink input). The A1X also offers a 3.5mm analog input and employs aptX Bluetooth for easy wireless streaming. Nice!
Denon is part of D&M Holdings whose brands include Marantz so their corner room at the High End Show contained about one thousand products. I focused on the DA-300USB because it offers a nice small footprint, 24/192 and DSD128 playback, USB, 1x Coax, and 2x Toslink inputs, a headphone amp, and a friendly price of $499.
Dynaudio was displaying their new Connect (€350) module which delivers up to 24/96 streaming via Wi-Fi and 24/192 wired (2x S/PDIF) for their Wi-Fi Speakers (XD and XEO range). I have a pair of the Dynaudio XEO 4s sitting on my desktop playing music right now and won't get into how much I'm enjoying them, yet.
Germany's T+A has revamped its classic "R Series" and they were showing off the new MP 2000 R - DAC / Network Client (€4500). I favorably reviewed the 2000's precursor, the MP 1260 so a new and improved version certainly piques my interest.
Here's another all-in-one integrated amp/DAC/UPnP/DLNA Streamer from Germany's AVM, the Inspiration CS 2.2 (€4490). The CS 2.2 accepts MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG Vorbis, FLAC (192/32 via LAN), WAV (192/32 via LAN), AIFF (192/32 via LAN), and ALAC (96/24 via LAN) file formats and the 2.2 also supports vTuner Radio. The amp puts out 100W into 8 Ohms and there's a separate headphone amp for your cans.
Che bello. A pair of Electro Harmonix ECC88/6922 front a 70W per channel Class A/B Amp along with a headphone amp and a 24/192-capable DAC/Streamer for a lovely all-in-one package, the Pathos Classic Remix (€3000, non-DAC version €2500).