ADL had their new GT40 MII DAC/ADC/headphone amp/full function preamp ($TBD but should come in around $800) on display. The GT40 MII can handle up to 24/192 and DSD playback through its USB input while also offering a "built-in low noise MM/MC phono preamp!"! (I added that second !). There's also a USB output that lets you rip your records to digits.
April Music was also showing the updated Aura Note v2 ($2,950) all-in-one "receiver". The Aura Note wraps a CD player, FM tuner, DAC (24/96 via USB and 24/192 via Toslink), headphone amp, and 125W/channel amp into one small sleek & shiny package. Trending...
April Music was showing their new DA100 MKII DAC ($1,500 shown up top) that offers PCM playback up to 24/384 and 2x DSD. Inputs include AES/EBU, 2x Coax S/PDIF, and Toslink while outputs include RCA and XLR pairs. The DAC fits in with the other components in the Stello lineup in order of appearance from top to bottom the HP100 MKII preamplifier ($1,300) and the 50wpc S100 MKII amplifier ($1,200). The Stello lineup owes its rugged good looks to designer Neil Fey.
Apologies for the lousy photo(s). The diminutive palm-sized Arcam miniBlink ($149) is an aptX Bluetooth receiver that allows you to add Bluetooth connectivity to your hi-fi via any available line-level input. The miniBlink sports a mini-USB power socket, a 3.5mm audio output jack, and a "pairing button". Arcam claims a 35-40' range for pairing up your smart phone, tablet, or laptop with the miniBlink. Trendspotters take note.
The new Astel & Kern AK240 ($TBD but around $2500) can handle up to 24/192 PCM and 2x DSD data with its Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC and you can store up to a total of 320GB of music on 256GB of internal memory and 1 micro SD Card. The AK240 is based on an Android OS with an eye toward allowing downloads of HD music directly from the device [trending]. Should hit the stores by March 2014.
The solid state Audio Research CD6 ($9,000) offers up to 24/192 playback from its asynchronous USB and 3 S/PDIF inputs (1 Coax S/PDIF and 2 Toslink). The CD6 is, obviously, also a CD player which is great news for you disc spinners and there are both RCA and XLR output pairs.
The Audioengine A2+ powered desktop speakers ($249/pair) pictured inside the larger A5+'s add a TI/Burr Brown PCM2704C 16/48-capable DAC to the company's popular A2 active speakers. Measuring just 6” high, the diminutive A2+s deliver a claimed 65Hz-22kHz (±2.0dB) frequency response from the 2.75-inch Kevlar woofer and 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter per side. Inputs include a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack, RCA, and USB. Jason Victor Serinus has a pair which he'll be reporting on in these pages.
I reported on the sophisticated products from Audionet at last year's T.H.E. Show (see report). One big change this year is Audionet is now being distributed in the USA by GTT Audio. Another change is they've been working on their DSP software which would take me more than a novella to fully explain. In brief, the Audionet software suite, Carma (Computer Aided Room Analyzer) and RCP (Audionet Remote Control Point), allow you to measure your room, correct the frequency response among other parameters, and save these custom settings to an Audionet device like the Digital Network Preamplifier ($20,000) pictured above. You can then re-measure, re-calibrate, and fine tune your EQ by playing through the Audionet device with your custom settings and again measure your in-room response, save the settings, and load them into your Audionet device so your music comes out exactly as you'd like it.
Aurender was showing their new Aurender X100 digital music player which comes in two flavors—the X100L ($3,499) with 6TB of internal storage, and the X100S ($2,999) with 1TB of internal storage. Both offer USB output to connect your DAC of choice and support DSD, WAV, FLAC, ALAC, APE, AIFF, M4A file formats. I have their recently updated S10 here for review which uses the same Aurender-developed app for control as the X100s and from the demo I got at CES, it looks to be a nimble beauty. Stay tuned...
The wall hang-able Bladelius Mimer (3,000 Euro) also incorporates a touch screen, Ethernet input for accessing NAS-based music as well as internet streaming services including WiMP and Spotify, 2x Toslink input, 2x Coax S/PDIF input, 1 RCA analog input, and 1 USB DAC input that support up to 32/284 data. There's also an optional CD player and a free iPad app coming soon.
The BUC1 ($749) is Bryston's take on a USB to S/PDIF converter. The BUC1 supports files up to 24/192 and includes an asynchronous USB input, Coax S/PDIF (BNC & RCA) and AES/EBU (XLR) outputs. Available with silver or black faceplate.
The BSG qøl Signal Completion Stage ($3,995) is essentially room treatment in a box accept the qøl Signal Completion Stage treats your musical signal not the room. I sat in for a demo which essentially consisted of listening to music with the device on and off.
And here's what I wrote—O o. That's what the perceived sound picture looked like with the qøl on (O) and off (o) (everything flattened out without and expanded beyond the confines of the room with). For the full run down on this product, I encourage you to read John Atkinson's review in Stereophile (see review).
Erstwhile French speaker manufacturer Cabasse was showing a trio of new streaming products. Let's start with the Stream Source ($549) which is a full fledged DLNA network player that also supports wi-fi, aptX Bluetooth, data rates up to 24/96 and WAV, FLAC, WMA, AIFF, AAC, ALAC, and MP3 file formats. Outputs include Analog RCA and optical S/PDIF. The Stream Source also includes a USB Type-A input which allows you to connect USB Storage and turn it into Network Attached Storage for sharing around your house among other Cabasse streamers.
The new Cambridge Audio Azur 851D 24-bit/192kHz-capable DAC ($1,649) is Cambridge Audio's flagship DAC / digital preamplifier. Based on the Analog Devices AD1955 DACs in dual differential mode, inputs include asynchronous USB, Coax S/PDIF, Toslink, BNC S/PDIF, AES/EBU, and BT100 Bluetooth. Outputs are your standard balanced XLR and unbalanced RCAs as well as a 1/4" headphone jack (supports 600 ohm headphones, however 300 ohms max recommended). The 851D upsamples all incoming data to 24-bit/384kHz and includes a Linear Phase, Minimum phase or Steep filter mode. Volume control is handled in the digital domain.