Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 27, 2012  |  2 comments
In the Avatar Acoustics room, the AMR Digital Processor-777 ($4,995) mixes new and old by offering various digital algorithm filters/listening modes including "Organic, MP Listen, Apodising 808, and Traditional" coupled with tube stages one dedicated to the S/PDIF input that uses a single NOS 6H11P "high-speed valve operating into the 100MHz region" and a pair of NOS 6H1n-EV dual triodes in the analog output stage. There are a host of inputs including 2 x XLR/BNC, 2 x RCA/Toslink and a 24/192 Asynchronous USB and a pair of RCA and XLR outputs and a "Direct-Coupled/Buffered Analogue Volume Control" so you can skip the preamp if you're a digital source kinda gal (or guy).
 |  Mar 27, 2012  |  0 comments
While the Boulder Model 1021 Disc Player ($26,400) was on silent display in Montreal retailer Son-Or Filtronique's room, I learned that the Colorado-based company has two new DACs in the works—the 820 ($TBD but below $10,000) and the 2020 ($TBD). Both DACs will handle up to 32/192 and possibly 32/384 and include an Ethernet input along with the rest of the usual suspects (USB, Toslink, Coax...).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 27, 2012  |  0 comments
The cherrylicious Oracle Paris USB DAC 24/192 ($3,500) has a name that pretty much hits the high points. There are also Toslink, S/PDIF and XLR inputs and since this DAC was introduced at CES I figured I would just get the rest of the details from the Oracle website but there's nothing there. Did I mention its red?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 27, 2012  |  0 comments
Montreal dealer Audioville offered up Chord's latest Red Reference Mk III CD Player ($26,000) which adds asynchronous USB to its XLR and Toslink inputs. The Chord stack with its distinctive styling consisting of the CPA 8000 Reference Preamplifier ($45,000) and SPM5000 Mk II amplifier ($25,000) driving the KEF Blade speakers ($30,000/pair) looked like it all could have come off of the set of the forthcoming Prometheus Alien prequel film. This was one room where to my ears excessive volume levels had me abort any notion of extended listening.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 26, 2012  |  0 comments
I was about to enter the MBL room when I was halted just inches from the entrance, "There's a reviewer in there, Stereophile's Robert Deutsch, listening to the cello" I was told in a hushed voice, so hushed that I may not have heard it right. "Sorry?" I responded. "When we hear clapping, you can go in." How odd, I thought, that people would clap for a reviewer listening to cello music. But I'm game for just about anything at a hi-fi show. So I waited.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 26, 2012  |  0 comments
In the CdF/Wilson Audio/VTL Audio room, the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Series 2 ($4,995) sat under their Alpha USB DAC ($5,095). The Series 2 DAC features 24/192 playback via AES/EBU, S/PDIF - BNC, Toslink, and "BADA encrypted RJ-45" which I'll have to look into to see what that's all about. The Alpha USB DAC offers up to 24/192 playback via its asynchronous USB input and includes AES/EBU and S/PDIF BNC inputs. A MacBook Air running Pure Music handled to musical selections which included a number of recordings from Peter Mc Grath of Wilson Audio which share the common quality of sounding simply wonderful.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 26, 2012  |  4 comments
In the CdF/Tone Imports/DeVore Fidelity room, the Acoustic Plan DigiMaster USB DAC ($4,750) sat there looking bountifully blue. Capable of 24/192 playback on all inputs including in-house developed asynchronous USB, I2S, and S/PDIF (Coax and Toslink), the DigiMaster also hosts a tube output stage and performs no up or over-sampling. Sitting next door is the matching DriveMaster transport ($4,750).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 26, 2012  |  0 comments
Montreal-based hi-fi dealer Coup de Foudre had a number of rooms at SSI 2012 and in the Joseph Audio room they were featuring the Wavelength Brick USB DAC v3 ($1,750). In a twist on tradition, Jeff Joseph who has become renown for his diagonal room setup had his speakers straight but rotated the room 90 degrees.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 26, 2012  |  0 comments
Jim Hilleges of J River makes the power point

Fortune smiled upon me once again when I made it just in the nick of time to hear J River CEO Jim Hilleges final presentation on Sunday which covered "Computer Audio Demystified for Windows OS and J-River". This was also Jim's third presentation and it took place on Sunday afternoon just an hour before the end of the show and dangerously close to Jim's return home flight-time. So while there was only time for a few questions after Jim's informative presentation, I managed to sneak one in which related to a point he had touched on in his talk.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 26, 2012  |  0 comments
All eyes were on Steve Silberman of Audioquest as he demonstrated how to levitate

I was fortunate to be able to sit in on the the Audioquest-sponsored event, "Computer Audio Demystified and Computer Audio Setup for Apple" presented buy Steve Silberman of Audioquest and Gordon Rankin of Wavelength Audio. This presentation was geared towards people who've taken a bite of Apple and are, of course, curious and hungry for more information about computer audio.