Dr. Jeffrey Barish, founder and president of 3beez
The 3Beez Music Management System incorporates the company's music management software into their custom music server the Wax Box 2 ($5400). The software demo proved to be very interesting as the 3Beez system is very flexible in terms of metadata. Very flexible. For example you can view your library according to different values so that a Composer field will show up when viewing classical music then you'll just get Album and Artist when viewing pop or rock. All of this is up to you of course and you have the ability to add new metadata fields you define.
The Antelope Audio Zodiac Platinum DSD DAC (reviewed by Jon Iverson in Stereophile) with the new Audiophile 10M Atomic Clock and Voltikus Power Supply ($12,995/bundle) were used in conjunction with the Sound Science Music Vault M7 ($5695) server.
The Antipodes DX "The Reference" Music Server and DLNA streamer (NZ$ 6,395.00) supports resolutions up to 32/384 and double rate DSD. You can stream to the DX via Ethernet, play music from its up to 2TB of SSD storage, and rip your CDs using the internal drive. There's an internal DAC as well or you can output to your favorite DA converter via USB.
Arcam was showing their prototype CDS27 CD/SACD player UPnP streamer ($1100). The CDS27 houses the TI/Burr Brown PCM1794 DAC and can handle resolutions up to 24/192. The network-ready CDS27 can stream music from your network attached storage, from USB storage, and spin your discs.
The chiseled Astel & Kern AK500N ($TBD estimated between $9-11k) is a music server with 1TB of SSD internal storage (expandable to a max 4TB), a CD ripper (WAV or FLAC), DLNA complant for accessing network attached storage, a PCM/DSD DAC (dual Cyrus Logic 4398), and its battery powered for music playback to keep you running smoothly and quietly. The AK500N supports PCM formats up to 24/384 and up to double rate DSD. All incoming data is converted to DSD64 and that 7" WXGA (1280 x 800) touch screen is also part of the package. The AK500N supports WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, ALAC, AIFF, DFF and DSF formats. And it looks really cool to boot (based on Switzerland's Matterhorn accord to Astel & Kern).
Here's a nice little package, the Audioengine B2 ($299), that essentially combines a pair of the company's A2+s with their B1 aptX Bluetooth receiver for a portable playback solution. Available finishes include Zebra (shown), American Walnut, and Black Ash. Production models should be available by mid-November.
I sat in on Steve Silberman's of AudioQuest excellent intro to computer audio held in the AudioQuest room at RAMF2014. Steve covered many topics including how to set up iTunes and JRiver Media Center, the importance of good quality RAM and Solid State Drives, his preference for the AIFF file format as compared to lossy formats, and of course a brief but convincing demo of WiFi versus Belkin cable versus AudioQuest's own Pearl Ethernet cable ($29). Disbelievers beware—each change, from WiFi to Belkin to AudioQuest, brought increased clarity and resolution and generally a more musical sounding system.
Once again, Ayre succeeded in transforming their room into something other than an emptied out hotel room. This year, it was a swanky night club, complete with vested and tie'd attendants, candle lit tables, and of course live performances courtesy of Ayre Acoustics.
Berlin, Germany's B.M.C. Audio showed off their PureMEDIA music server ($4890) which comes standard with a 2TB drive but you can add up to a whopping 24TBs! of storage. The PureMEDIA server supports PCM formats up to 32bit/384kHz as well as DSD64 and DSD128 and offers digital Coax S/PDIF and USB outputs. PureMEDIA comes with its own app and backup synchronization software making backups a breeze.
The Bel Canto REFStream ($2495 pictured on the bottom) is a network streamer capable of handling up to 24/192 data. Outputs include AES/EBU, Fiber, BNC and RCA S/PDIF. For the demo, Bel Canto was using their e.One DAC2.7 ($2495) and JRiver/JRemote for the control point.
The pre-production Cary Audio DMC-600 (Digital Music Center) server ($TBD) supports resolutions up to 32/284 and double rate DSD via USB. There's a CD/HDCD drive, user selectable solid state and tube analog output sections, two Coaxial inputs (24/192), Toslink (24/96), AES/EBU input (24/192), and CSR aptX lossless Bluetooth input. Production models should be shipping "later this year".
While Channel D, makers of Pure Music ($129) (which I'm listening to right now) and Pure Vinyl ($299), wasn't showing anything new, its important to note that they are one of the only software companies to have a room of their own. This commitment to keeping a public face is nice to see.
Constellation Audio was showing off their prototype Cygnus Media Server/DAC ($32,000) which features an outboard power supply and supports resolutions up to 32/192. There's a host of digital inputs including AES/EBU, 2x Coax S/PDIF, 2x Toslink, and USB (optional), as well as an Ethernet input to play back from network attached storage. Outputs are comprised of balanced XLRs and single-ended RCAs. There are a number of user selectable filters including minimum-phase, phase-perfect, Bessel and Butterworth. Production units are expected to ship within 60 days.
The DEQX PreMate+ ($5995) is a preamplifier, 24/192-capable DAC, crossover and speaker/room correction device all-in-one. The DEQX room also featured a pair of Magnepan 1.7s driven by a Plinius SB-301 amp and their demo with their room correction software on and off was also an exercise in increased and decreased naturalness respectively.