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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2013 4 comments
If I was to try my hand at trendspotting, I'd have to say there were two opposing poles attacking audiophile's soft middle at this year's CES—DSD and Lifestyle. Most DACs either included DSD-capabilities or their representatives were saying its on the way. The Lifestyle influence was seen in a number of ways but can be summed up by simplification and form factor/style (here the Wadia Intuition 01 is an obvious standout). There were many multi-purpose devices incorporating network players with integrated amps, DACs with amps, disc spinners with USB inputs, preamps with streamers, and more. I also see the inclusion of the very promising Apt X Bluetooth functionality as a huge boon to get the non-audiophile playing their tunes through the hi-fi which is the best way I know of to show people why we spend so much time and energy on hi-fi. Hint: its the music and the quality of its playback and that's a lifestyle I'm proud to be a part of.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2013 0 comments
Wadia has broken the mold and ventured somewhere new while incorporating the best their old. The Intuition 01 (projected $7,500 - $8,000) rolls up a 350W/channel Class D+ amp, 32-bit AD/DA digital preamp with a 1.5MHz sampling frequency, 32/384 and DSD-capable USB DAC, 6 additional digital inputs (1 Toslink, 2 Wdialink/I2S, 2 Coax S/PDIF, 1 AES/EBU), Wadia's Delta-SigMaster 1.536MHz upsampling algorithm, and 2 analog RCA inputs for a nearly fully functional and sleek one-not-a-box solution.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2013 0 comments
The new Musical Fidelity M6 Series Reference DAC ($2,999) is one a few new Musical Fidelity devices that offers Bluetooth Apt X/48kHz technology that allows streaming from any Bluetooth-enabled device at rates up to 16/48kHz. This is very cool because a) most people have music on their phones, and b) its a snap to get that music to the M6. I had the music on my iPhone playing within a minute. And the M6 upsamples this incoming data to 24/192. The M6 also includes regular wired connections including USB, S/PDIF and AES/EBU. There are 2 RCA and 1 XLR outputs along with 3 Coax, Toslink, and AES/EBU.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2013 0 comments
Pro-Ject was showing oodles of goods geared for the computer audio listener. Pictured above (clockwise from left): DAC Box DS ($549), Amp Box DS mono ($499), Tube Box DS ($699), Pre Box DS ($499), Amp Box DS mono ($499), and Amp Box DS ($499). The DAC Box DS can accomodate up to 24/192 data through its asynchronous USB input. There are also 1 Toslink and 1 Coax S/PDIF input and 1 pair of RCA outputs.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2013 1 comments
The Vienna Acoustics diminutive (10.5x8.3x3.5“) Berg passive speakers ($700/each) would make for a stylish desktop. The Berg's come in silver or piano black and can hang on the wall or with the optional stands ($50/each) stand on your desktop.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2013 0 comments
Primare's I32 integrated amp and PRE32 preamplifier can come equipped with their MM30 multimedia upgrade module ($1,999) that turns the given device into a 24/192-capable DAC/network player. This is the case with the I32 Integrated Amplifier ($2,999) pictured above (on top). The I32 puts out 120W/channel and includes 2 pairs of XLR and 3 pairs of RCA inputs. The network option adds Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB, 3 Toslink and 1 Coax S/PDIF input.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2013 0 comments
The Phasure NOS1 ($4,500) is a non-oversampling 100% filterless DAC that uses 8 PCM1704U-K Burr Brown (Texas Instruments) multibit 24 bit D/A converter chips and was shown with their XXHighend Software Player ($100). The NOS1 can handle up to 32-bit/768KHz data and you can upsample to this rate by using the Windows version of the XXHighend Software Player (MAC is currently limited to 32/384 input). There's really a lot more to read about this DAC/Player combo so I encourage you to click that link.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2013 0 comments
The CH Precision Digital to Analog Controller ($32,975) functions as a DAC and preamplifier and includes 2 S/PDIF inputs that support up to 24/192 data, and 1 CH-Link for use with the matching CH D1 CD/SACD player that supports up to 32/768kHz and native DSD. There are optional boards to add functionality including asynchronous USB (up to 24/192), analog in, and Network (supports up to 24/192).
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2013 0 comments
The Qualia & Company Indigo USB DAC ($35,000) from Qualia is new to me so let me quote from their brochure:
What does Qualia & Company stand for?
It is the suggestion of a luxurious lifestyle, a product that has an elegant feel but is functional and pleasing to the eye.
The luxurious Indigo USB DAC uses the ESS Sabre 9012 DAC and offers 1 Coax S/PDIF input, 1 Toslink, and 1 USB and can handle up to 24/192 via Coax and USB and 24/96 via Toslink. Outputs are pairs of XLRs and RCAs.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 15, 2013 1 comments
Naim was showing their new DAC-V1 ($2,300) that can also function as a preamplifier and headphone amp. The DAC-V1 has 5 S/PDIF inputs and an asynchronous USB input all capable of up to 24/192 playback. The USB input ups the ante to 384kHz.

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