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Steven Plaskin Posted: Dec 07, 2016 5 comments
The Starlight Cat8 Ethernet Cable supports Category 8 transmission speeds in a flat design that also provides great flexibility and ease of use. The Starlight Cat8 has a patent pending Tite-Shield™ design that uses 23 gauge conductors and a triple-shield that is just a tenth of an inch thick. This new shield design has simplified the assembly with Wireworld’s shielded RJ-45 plugs.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Nov 23, 2016 27 comments
Many computer audiophiles have been discovering that optimization of the operating system can lead to significant improvements in the sound of their music systems. I have previously reviewed Fidelizer Pro (see review); a program that I found made sonic improvements to the sound of music software utilizing the Windows Operating System. I have also reviewed the Playback Designs Syrah Server (see review) that employed a modified Windows 10 Pro that was stripped and configured so that it could only be used to play audio files and utilize network access.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Oct 27, 2016 3 comments
Musica Pristina’s Virtuoso Network DAC is a Roon Ready DAC that takes advantage of Roon Lab’s RAAT (Roon Advanced Audio Transport) protocol technology for bit perfect network streaming over Ethernet and WiFi networks. RAAT supports “all relevant audio formats today and for the foreseeable future.” Musica Pristina is one of the earliest companies to support Roon’s RAAT with a DAC that utilizes this new network protocol.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Sep 29, 2016 20 comments
When Grant Samuelsen, Marketing and Sales Director at Shunyata Research, contacted me concerning the new Hydra Denali Series of Power Distributors, I assumed that that this would be a conversation discussing the repackaging of Shunyata’s previous efforts in a more affordably priced product. After an extended phone conversation with Grant, I realized that the Shunyata Denali Series represented a total rethinking by Caelin Gabriel, Designer and CEO of Shunyata Research, in the design of his power conditioners. A portion of the technology in the Denali Series resulted from Shunyata’s work in the new medical grade technology that has been successfully developed for electrophysiology labs and hospitals.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Aug 25, 2016 63 comments
While USB DACs have been widely embraced by computer audiophiles for their ease of use and excellent sound, there has been a price to pay for the benefits associated with connecting one’s computer to these DACs. Noise, part and parcel of any all-purpose computer, is the enemy of music reproduction. The computer noise transmitted from the USB cable to the DAC steals from the user the ultimate sonic potential he could be enjoying.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Jul 07, 2016 35 comments
image credit: Wyred 4 Sound

Wyred 4 Sound, E.J. Sarmento’s California Company, has jumped into the very competitive ring of USB enhancement devices with their new Recovery USB Reclocker.

Steven Plaskin Posted: Jun 16, 2016 16 comments
Andreas Koch, Founder, CEO, and Engineer along with Bert Gerlach, Engineer have recently released the new Playback Designs Sonoma Series that includes the Syrah Server, Merlot DAC, and OpBox conversion kit for the Oppo103 Blu-ray Disc Player. Another component in the Sonoma series is also slated for release called the Pinot that is an Analog Digital Convertor. I’m sure a number of you have noticed that the Sonoma Series has named the products after fine wines. Andreas previously worked for Sony developing the first native DSD recorder and workstation. Sony’s chairman at that time felt that DSD’s potential and performance was similar to a good wine; hence the name Sonoma for the workstation. Andreas’ view of musical experiences and fine wine:
Steven Plaskin Posted: May 19, 2016 20 comments
Standard Version (top) Industrial Version (bottom)

The Intona Technology USB 2.0 High-Speed Isolator is the product of a German firm that specializes in electronics engineering for professional signal processing solutions that are sold worldwide. Interestingly enough, the USB 2.0 High-Speed Isolator was not originally designed for the audiophile market, but for all applications requiring clean and stable USB connections with separate grounds.

Steven Plaskin Posted: Mar 24, 2016 14 comments
USB audio has become the most popular standard for computer audiophile DACs in recent years. Although most manufacturers have added circuits for isolation of computer noise as well as other methods of dealing with the shortcomings of USB audio, a number of innovative designers have come forward with accessories that they feel improve the audio performance of USB DACs. Gordon Rankin, John Swenson, and Thorsten Loesch are some of the best known designers to address the issues that degrade the performance of USB audio.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Feb 25, 2016 7 comments
The Synergistic Research Tranquility Base UEF represents a major upgrade for their popular Tranquility Base; a product I reviewed in 2012 for AudioStream. At that time, I was very impressed using the Tranquility Base with my computer and one under my DAC. The sonic improvements to both components were impressive enough to encourage me to continue to use the Tranquility Bases to this day. But if there is one thing I can say about Synergistic Research’s lead designer, Ted Denney III, is that he is constantly trying to apply new technologies to his products for improvements in their performance.

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