Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  2 comments
Everything in the Cambridge Audio room has some sort of computer audio interface (I think the sofa was equipped to handle USB and Ethernet). Our featured image is the new DacMagic 100 ($399) that offers 24-bit/192kHz Asynchronous USB courtesy of the Wolfson WM8742 24-bit DAC (Windows users must by necessity install the free Cambridge Audio driver to enjoy the fruits of higher resolution labor since Microsoft has not yet seen fit to support USB Audio Class 2.0). There's 1 optical and 2 Coax inputs to convert additional digital data to analog music. The Dacmagic 100 was on silent display but I plan to get one in for review where it'll be anything but (silent).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  0 comments
Simaudio was also showcasing its new MOON 380D Digital-to-Analog Converter ($3,900 + $600 for variable analog outputs). Using a whopping 8 DACs per channel, the 380D boasts 24-bit/192kHz on any of its 8 digital inputs (2 AES/EBU on XLR, 2 S/PDIF on RCA, 1 S/PDIF on BNC, 2 Toslink and 1 USB). Simaudio claims "A virtually jitter-free '1 picosecond' digital clocking system" and you can add the MOON MiND module (it won't sit on top like this image, it'll reside inside) for $1,200 turning on wired and wireless streaming capabilities.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  0 comments
Simaudio is kicking their computer audio offerings into high gear with the diminutive but dextrous MOON 180 MiND Music Streamer ($1,250 available April 2012). MiND (Moon Intelligent Network Device) is a UPnP renderer that suports wired (Ethernet 24-bit/192kHz) and 802.11 b/g/n wireless networking (16-bit/48kHz). It's DNLA 1.5 compatible (meaning it's not DLNA Certified but it may become so in the future), vTuner Radio ready, multi-Zone capable, it supports playlists and gapless playback and it controls all of this with custom Simaudio media server software that'll run on an iPhone, iTouch, iPad or Android device. There are S/PDIF (Coax and TosLink) and AES/EBU digital outputs to connect to your DAC of choice. File formats supported include Wave, FLAC, AIF, AAC, ALAC, MP3 (vbr/cbr), WMA-9, and OGG Vorbis.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  0 comments
Alpha Design Labs (ADL) is Furutech’s "entry-level line" and the Esprit DAC/Preamp/Headphone Amp/ADC ($999) is ready to do all sorts of things to your analog or digital data including making a recording of it (just don't tell the RIAA). The Esprit sports a 24-bit/192kHz Wolfson WM8716 DAC for 24-bit/192kHz through its S/PDIF inputs (Coax and Toslink) and a Tenor TE7022L for 24-bit/96kHz for D/A conversion via USB. Analog to Digital conversion is handled by an Asahi Kasei AK5385B 24-bit/192kHz converter.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  2 comments
We arrived after a layover in Denver where we got see the winning TD pass in yesterday’s Broncos/Steelers playoff game about 425 times on the airport bar TV (Fat Tire on tap if you must know). Arriving in Las Vegas brings with it that special rush of feelings that are best summed up in a word—dread. I’d say more but Stephen Mejias of Stereophile already said it better right here.

The 2012 International CES officially opens tomorrow at 10:00am and we’re in for 4 days of action-packed listening. Stay tuned!

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 06, 2012  |  3 comments
I bought the long since discontinued SilverStone EB01B about 6 years ago for what I recall was the sale price of $78 (original retail was $99). I was looking for a relatively inexpensive USB DAC for a desktop system and I’d read a review of the EB01B on a long since defunct website and thought, for $78 why not? The diminutive EB01B sat on my desk and was connected to all manner of hi-fi from T-amps to tiny tube amps to homemade speakers using a pair of Fostex drivers sitting in ceramic flower pots (that was really meant to be a joke but they didn’t sound half bad). Once my listening room merged with my full-time office, I retired the EB01B along with the flower pots for a more serious setup.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 06, 2012  |  4 comments
My CES dance card is filling up with all kinds of new tricks and treats. I've received hundreds of emails and a bunch of phone calls mainly from companies selling stuff with lowercase "i"'s affixed to the beginning of their product names which I suppose makes them "computer" related even though 99% of the emails and phone calls I received have nothing to do with "audio" (mental note: next year do not provide my actual cell phone number when registering). So the real trick for covering CES is to stay focused on what's important. Seek out new trends, spot the next big thing, snap that photo of the as yet unseen, and perhaps if we're lucky come away with a long list of must-hear hot new gear.

That's why I'm looking forward to my date with Snooki.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 04, 2012  |  22 comments
Pioneer made the official N-50 announcement today. Here are the vitals (from Pioneer):

Networking: AirPlay-compatible, DLNA 1.5, vTuner Internet Radio, Ethernet, Wireless LAN and Bluetooth ready (requires separate devices)
Inputs: Asynchronous USB DAC (32-bit/192kHz), S/PDIF (Coax & Toslink), Ethernet/LAN input, front panel USB for Mass storage/iPod/iPhone/iPad digital
Outputs: RCA, S/PDIF (Coax & Toslink)
Other: “Made for iPad, iPhone and iPod”, iPhone or Android remote apps, 2.5” Full-Color LCD Display, included remote and more...
File Formats Supported: WAV (24-bit/192khz), FLAC (24-bit/192khz), MP3 (320kbps), WMA (320kbps), AAC (320kbps) and Ogg Vorbis (320kbps).

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 04, 2012  |  12 comments
It’s Easy
As Sam Tellig said in his review of the Musical Fidelity V-DAC II in the January 2012 issue of Stereophile, there really shouldn’t be much uncertainty or confusion surrounding computer audio and high resolution downloads. Oh wait, here’s what Sam actually wrote, “There’s so much uncertainty and confusion surrounding computer audio and high-resolution downloads.” OK, we don't see eye to eye.

Sam also wonders/worries, “Which hi-rez format will win out? How do you store the downloads you’ve bought (Easy. Don’t buy them.) How do you access them? Will digital rights management (DRM) cramp your style, or data storage fees for cloud computing crumple your wallet?”

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 03, 2012  |  1 comments
Used digital music? I think "pre-owned" may be more accurate but the concept is as old as the hills—sell music you bought that you longer want:
Simply put, ReDigi is recycled digital media. We’re like your favorite used record store, but for digital music files. We offer the best-quality downloads of your favorite songs for a much lower price than other music stores, and you don't have to worry about songs being lower-quality becuase a digital music file isn't like a CD - it never gets scratched or worn out.
But is it legal?