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Steven Plaskin Posted: Oct 22, 2015 35 comments
When our AudioStream editor, Michael Lavorgna, asked me if I was interested in reviewing the Kubala-Sosna Realization USB cable, I was momentarily hesitant. I knew that some of our gentle readers would be shocked at a review of a $3500 USB cable given that the cost of this cable exceeds many fine DACs that have been reviewed at AudioStream. But my curiosity was tweaked if this cable exceeded the sonic performance of some of the excellent USB cables I have reviewed or discussed in my quest for ever-better sound from computer audio.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Sep 22, 2015 35 comments
Michael Lavorgna recently did an excellent job reviewing the UpTone Audio USB REGEN and the AudioQuest JitterBug as well as comparing the sonic effects of these devices with each other (see Review). But due to the significant reader interest in these new products, our esteemed editor thought it would be a great idea to get a second take on these products. Given that Michael did all the heavy lifting describing the design of these devices, I was happy to jump right in describing my sonic impressions of these little USB add-ons that are designed to improve the sound of USB audio.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Aug 27, 2015 8 comments
The Shunyata Research TRITON v2, HYDRA TYPHON, HYDRA DPC-6 v2, and ΞTRON Sigma AC Power Cables represent the state-of-the art offerings from this well-known company that specializes in signal and power transfer products. These no-compromise products are created by Shunyata’s owner and chief designer, Caelin Gabriel; a man who has been steadily improving his company’s products since his first power conditioner offering in 2001. Shunyata Research’s products have not only been embraced by audiophiles, but by commercial recording studios, orchestras, and other commercial audio designers. The word Shunyata is a Sanskrit word that means the stillness or emptiness from which all creation emanates.
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Steven Plaskin Posted: Jul 16, 2015 4 comments
The MSB Technology Premium Quad USB2 Module is a new USB input module for the Analog DAC that represents a substantial improvement in the application of USB technology for this highly respected DAC. Both Michael Lavorgna and I have previously reviewed the Analog DAC (see Steve's review and Michael's follow-up) and found it to be an excellent sounding DAC that was characterized by a relaxed natural sound. At the time of my review of the Analog DAC in 2013, MSB sent me the Platinum Data CD IV Transport to be used in the evaluation of the Analog DAC. MSB Technology felt that this transport connected to the MSB Network input module had superior sound to the USB Basic 384 input module and would better demonstrate the capabilities of the Analog DAC. Although I could get somewhat close to the sound of the Platinum Data CD IV Transport with numerous hardware tweaks and software programs, I still found the Transport to be better sounding than using the USB Basic 384 module.
Michael Lavorgna Jon Iverson Steven Plaskin Posted: Jul 01, 2015 13 comments
Fly Me To The Roon
Roon is big medicine for your music collection. So big, we're going to come at it from three writer's perspectives; Jon Iverson will provide the heavy lifting as well as comparisons to Sooloos and a touchscreen implementation, I'll be talking about a few setup tips and comparisons to Audirvana+/iTunes, and Steve Plaskin will bring it on home with his take on Roon versus JRiver from a Windows perspective. Let's Roon!
Steven Plaskin Posted: May 26, 2015 59 comments
The Synergistic Research Grounding Block is a new accessory from Synergistic Research that allows one to make multiple ground connections to various products. More importantly, it applies Synergistic Research’s UEF (Uniform Energy Field) Technology to a grounding block for sonic enhancement. I decided to write a review on this product since it can be used with a number of Synergistic Research products I have previously reviewed that utilize ground plane connections. These include the Tranquility Base, FEQ (Frequency Equalizer), and the Atmosphere - Acoustic Wave Generator. What I found most exciting about these new products is that they can be successfully applied to most any component.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Apr 30, 2015 42 comments
The Shunyata Research Venom USB cable is the only USB cable offered by this high end manufacturer of cables, AC cords, power distribution centers, and audio accessories. Most other cable manufacturers offer a range of USB cables with enhanced features at increasing prices. Shunyata research has decided to offer only one model with everything that they feel is important in a USB cable design. Given the very reasonable price of $125 for a .75 meter length, I was curious to see just how the Venom USB cable would compare to the other high priced cables I have reviewed in the past for AudioStream. Knowing Shunyata Research’s well recognized product quality and dedication to superior audio performance, I truly wanted to see how this cable would perform in my system.
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Steven Plaskin Posted: Mar 26, 2015 11 comments
The Wavelength Audio Quotient DAC Module is a new upgrade for the Crimson High Speed USB DAC that has added DSD 64 / DSD 128 as well as support for PCM files up to 32/384 kHz. But the Quotient Q1 adds far more to the Crimson than just DSD and increased PCM sampling rate support. Gordon Rankin has gone back to the drawing board for this new DAC module resulting in a number of improvements for his flagship DAC.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Mar 17, 2015 30 comments
WARNING: This review is written for audiophiles and true believers in the audiophile experience. Non-audiophile, bits are bits people, continue at your own risk!

The JCAT Reference USB cable is Marcin Ostapowicz and Josef Piri’s latest offering to the ever growing high end USB cable market. Both of these gentlemen are probably better known as the principles behind the popular Windows operating system software JPLAY. JCAT is the hardware division of JPLAY and offers a number of computer audio hardware products.

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Steven Plaskin Posted: Mar 03, 2015 7 comments
The Resonessence Labs INVICTA Mirus DAC represents the state-of-the-art offering from this Canadian company. The Mirus is closely related to the Invicta DAC that Michael Lavorgna reviewed in May 2013 (see review). Michael presented an excellent review that was quite thorough in describing the features of the Invicta. Since that time, a number of improvements have been added to the Invicta, including a new model called the Mirus. The XLR/RCA output specifications of the INVICTA Mirus outperform those of the standard Invicta. The headphone module is removed in the Mirus, and replaced with a second ESS Sabre DAC ES9018 for each channel. By combing 2 ESS Sabre ES9018 DACS in parallel per channel, a total of 8 ES9018 channels are available for each stereo output. Resonessence Labs has discovered that every time the Sabre DAC output channels are paralleled together performance improves. This feature results in a lowering of the noise and a decrease in THD compared to the Invicta. The dynamic range specification is also improved in the Mirus.


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