LATEST ADDITIONS

Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 27, 2011  |  0 comments
J. Gordon Rankin is the Owner and Chief Scientist at Wavelength Audio. If you’re new to Wavelength Audio and you came to them through the usbdacs.com website, you may be surprised to learn that J. Gordon Rankin has been at this from way back before NOS stood for non-oversampling. Gordon has been designing and building Single-Ended Tube Amplifiers using NOS (new old stock) tubes since the early 1980s.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 26, 2011  |  13 comments
Perhaps one of the easiest and least expensive (as in free!) things you can do to improve the sound quality of your computer audio playback is to use one of the many audiophile-grade Media Player apps. If you’re attached to iTunes don’t fret – a number of these players let you keep the iTunes interface while they go about the business of better sound more or less in the background.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 23, 2011  |  0 comments
If you’re reading this odds are you already own a music server. And a music streamer and a network music player with access to millions of songs—for free. It’s no exaggeration to suggest that we live in an age of musical abundance with access to more music than at any other time in history. Technology has brought the world’s living music library into our homes and onto our smartphones.
Steve Guttenberg  |  Aug 03, 2011  |  1 comments
It's been rumored about for ages, played at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas a couple of years ago, but sometime in September Magnepan will begin shipping the Mini Maggie System ($1,495). It's a desktop speaker system, albeit one designed to satisfy the most demanding audiophile tastes.
Art Dudley  |  Jul 22, 2011  |  5 comments
As metaphors go, the silver bullet is somewhat ambiguous, given that it's used to represent both the reliably destructive and the reliably beneficial. (Who would have guessed that an idea from a Lon Cheney Jr. film would prove too subtle and complex for people in the 21st century?) Nevertheless, at Montreal's Salon Son et Image on April 2, those of us who comprised Stereophile's reliably responsive "Ask the Editors" panel—John Atkinson, Robert Deutsch, and I—volleyed it with the sort of sprightly, vernal abandon that is the sole province of men with gray hair. To wit: We agreed that no materials, technologies, or design decisions can either guarantee or prevent good sound. Not vinyl. Not star grounding. Not class-A circuits. Neither tubes nor transistors. Neither belt nor idler nor electrostats nor multiway nor single-driver nor copper nor silver nor silk nor beryllium. Not even harmonic distortion. Each of those ideas may mean something to someone, in the short term, in the narrow view, but that's all. There are no silver bullets.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Jul 05, 2011  |  0 comments
Relative to the Harbeth HL-P3ES-2 speakers on my main computer rig, these things just don't compare. Well, duh! The Harbeths are powered by 150Watt class-D amps run from a serious pre-amp and DAC. The UCubes get both signal and power from the USB output of my laptop. The question is: what can you compare them to?

Not much, they're pretty unique.

John Atkinson  |  Apr 25, 2011  |  0 comments
A computer is not optimized for the uninterrupted streaming of audio data. It has rapidly become established wisdom, therefore, that the optimal means of extracting audio data from a computer's USB port is to operate that port in what is called "asynchronous isochronous" mode. This lets the receiving device, such as a digital-to-analog converter (DAC), control the flow of data from the PC. In theory, asynchronous USB operation (not to be confused with the asynchronous sample-rate conversion used in some DACs) reduces jitter to unmeasurable levels, depending on the accuracy of the receiver's fixed-frequency oscillator, which is used to clock the data to the DAC. By contrast, in the alternative and almost ubiquitous USB operating mode, called "adaptive isochronous," while the sample rate of the output data, averaged over a longish period, will indeed be the specified 44.1 or 48kHz, there will be short-term fluctuations, or jitter, due to the oscillator having to change its frequency every millisecond to match the uncertain rate of data flow from the PC.
Jon Iverson  |  Feb 23, 2011  |  0 comments
Art Dudley and others have covered the first products released by HRT, and now the company has added to its product line a Pro version of its Music Streamer, which sports balanced circuit design from tip to tail.

Housed in the same simple, functional, six-sided case of extruded aluminum as HRT's other products, the Pro is painted a bright blue to distinguish it from the Music Streamer II (red) and Music Streamer II+ (gray). At 5.6" it is also a tad longer than the others, and includes a single B-type USB 1.1 jack centered on one end, and two small, fully balanced TiniQ output jacks on the other. More about these special mini sockets later.

John Atkinson  |  Dec 23, 2010  |  0 comments
The weekly Vote! Page is one of the most popular features of the Stereophile website, and the August 22 question, "Should Stereophile review more or fewer computer-audio products?", generated a record number of responses. No less than 88% of those responding asked for more coverage of products that allow a computer to be a legitimate source of music in a high-end context. Just 7% of readers wanted less coverage.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Oct 11, 2010  |  2 comments
When it comes to ripping CDs and downloading music, I've been sitting on the sidelines feeling more than a bit of envy. Stereophile's reviews of various media servers have whetted my appetite, but not so much as to overcome my timidity about getting into a new realm of technology in which I would be a beginner all over again. Still, I've sneaked a few peeks.

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