Munich 2017

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Michael Lavorgna  |  May 25, 2017
MSB's The Reference DAC ($39,500), the little brother to the Select DAC, made its world premier at Munich High End 2017. The Reference sports four Hybrid DAC modules as compared to the Select's eight, and like its big brother the Reference is a modular design; "DAC modules, clock, input and output modules are all user-replaceable."
 |  May 25, 2017
Xuanqian Wang

All new, all Auralic!

Michael Lavorgna  |  May 25, 2017
Think of the Hegel H90 ($2000) as the little brother to Röst (which I liked). The H90 is a 60 Watter (into 8 ohms) and includes all of the digital niceties of the Röst (Ethernet, USB DAC, Coax S/PDIF, and 3x Toslink in) while keeping Hegel's SoundEngine tech as found in its bigger brother.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 24, 2017
Pictured above is the Innuos Zen Mini Mk.II XL music server ($1299 w/1TB HDD standard, 2TB HDD available). The fanless Mini can function as network attached storage, CD ripper, and streamer running on "innuOS" (Linux variant). A quad-core Intel CPU with 2GB RAM handles the processing and all of the Zen MKII music servers run Roon Core and offer USB out.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 24, 2017
I like Ayre Acoustics. I own their AX-5 Twenty integrated amplifier, have met and interviewed Charley Hansen, and enjoyed their QB-9 DSD DAC and QX-5 Twenty Digital Hub. So it is with great pleasure and anticipation that I share the forthcoming Ayes AX-8 Integrated Amplifier ($TBD but think a double digit % decrease from the AX-5 twenty).
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 24, 2017
Hohner Fabrikat

Let's take a walk around Munich High End and see what we can see...

Michael Lavorgna  |  May 24, 2017
Play & Display LP frames from Art Vinyl: intelligently designed frames for your records.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 24, 2017
The Mytek CLEF ('tentatively priced' at $299) is a portable MQA-ready 32bit/384kHz PCM/DSD128 DAC Bluetooth-enabled headphone amplifier. The company claims 120dB dynamic range and 2.2 VRMS output with a 1.0 Ohm output impedance. But wait, there's more...
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 24, 2017
Serbia-based Auris' D2D High End DAC (£3,990) is all leather and walnut niceness so I hate to sully it with 1x USB, 3x Coax (RCA), 3x TosLink, and up to DSD128/32bit/384kHz for USB, max 24bit/192kHz for Coax and Toslink. You can also add Bluetooth or WiFi Airplay/DLNA modules.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 24, 2017
Leo (projected $5,000) is 560 Watts of Class D power, a 6.5-inch woofer, 2.5-inch midrange, and 0.75-inch tweeter for each channel, an MQA-enabled Roon Ready endpoint (24/192-capable), includes a MC/MM phono stage or analog input, a 24/96-capable Toslink input, and Chromecast/AirPlay/Bluetooth support into its angular (and nearly impossible to photograph in black but also comes in silver) 21.5 x 14.8 x 7.1 inch, 30 pound body. Leo can be stereo-paired.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 24, 2017
Color! That, is a stack of CAD Ground Control GC1s ($1850/each). From the company:
Over the past 10+ years the amount of high frequency noise on our Mains power has increased dramatically due to the use of computers, routers, modems, wifi, switch mode power supplies, etc. The high frequency noise that is generated within our audio systems has also increased: DACs, Servers, Computers, NAS drives, Routers, WiFi, etc. are all connected directly to our audio systems.

CAD believes that one of the key reasons so many digital audio products “sound digital” is due to this high frequency noise.

What to do. CAD Ground Control to the rescue:
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 23, 2017
At €399.00, the new Dali Katch is a cute yet not inexpensive portable battery-powered Bluetooth (apt-X) speaker wrapped in aluminum and topped off with a leather handle that also includes an analog input, USB charge port so you can keep your phone juiced on the go, two " Audio Profiles" ('Clear' and 'Warm'), a place to stick your Chromecast dongle, 24-hour battery life, and stereo pairing for the well-heeled looking for stereo separation. But what about that price? How many people are really going to fork out 400 smackers for a battery-powered Bluetooth speaker, let alone double that for two?

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