Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 24, 2011  |  6 comments
One of the questions in terms of deciding whether or not to go down the native DSD-road is—where does one get DSD music? While you can rip SACDs, that’s the subject of an entire article on its own but suffice it to say it is not a simple procedure (you can start here). In terms of downloads, I’m only aware of one source at present and their DSD offerings are $40/album and the selection is limited to under 20 titles.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 24, 2011  |  5 comments
The Chapter Audio Notepad ($2,500 available in December) was on mostly silent display in the On A Higher Note Room at RMAF (you can read about the main event here). The Notepad is a Class D amplifier that puts out 150W into 8 ohms and includes Chapter's Stream DAC, a USB input, an ethernet port and wireless connectivity using Apple's Airport wireless protocol. The Notepad will stream music from your wireless source of choice and reportedly supports streaming up to 24/192 via Ethernet and a reported 24/96 wirelessly.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 21, 2011  |  3 comments
I'll start by saying I've been a fan of 47 Labs designs from the first time I saw and heard the 4706 Gaincard and 4713 Flatfish. It helped that Herb Reichert wrote about the 47 Labs Gaincard (Listener, volume 5, number 2 Spring 1999) since he was a favorite writer on Hi-Fi and someone I felt I could relate to in ways that included non-Hi-Fi stuff (now that I've had an opportunity to meet Herb on a few occasions, I discovered I was righter than I knew). If a minimal design aesthetic appeals to you in a general sense, i.e. you enjoy the work of Ray and Charles Eames, Donald Judd, Ad Reinhardt, the Bauhaus, etc., then the design approach of Juni Kimura should tickle a similar fancy. Juni Kimura's quote, "Only the simplest can accomodate the most complex" adorns the 47 Labs US Distributor's home page.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 20, 2011  |  4 comments
To say that computer audio was all over the place at RMAF would be an understatement. Which is why I missed so much of it. My apologies to all those people whose rooms I missed and please note that it was only due to a lack of time and not a lack of interest. If it was a possibility, I would have visited every room regardless of its relevance to my narrowed focus.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 20, 2011  |  0 comments
In the AudioQuest room I got to hear another cable comparison but this time we're talking about Ethernet. I know, be still my beating heart of darkness. The Naim UnitiServer and Naim NDX Network Player were connected via Ethernet. Our host who shall remain nameless (and headless to protect his identity) swapped between the AudioQuest Forest RJ45-G CAT5e Ethernet Cable ($39/2m) and a standard RJ 45 router cable (essentially free).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 20, 2011  |  0 comments
Size matters. At least in terms of listening rooms. The Peachtree Audio ballroom had three active displays setup and the first time I went in to listen it was too crowded. That first time David Solomon of Peachtree was giving an animated presentation/introduction to the new Peachtree products on display. When I returned later in the day, it was Jonathan Derda's turn (that's him above) and he was equally animated. And when I say animated, I mean that in the best possible sense.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 20, 2011  |  0 comments
Somehow I'd missed Jonathan Tinn's room at THE Show Newport and I wasn't going to let that happen again. At RMAF he was showing the diminutive in size but not in musical stature Evolution Acoustics MMMicroOne ($2,000), darTZeel CTH-8550 integrated amplifier ($20,300) and while I was in the room the Playback Designs MPS-3 ($8,500) controlled by custom software Playback Designs had developed for their players.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Phillip O'Hanlon proprietor of On A Higher Note was spinning vinyl when I arrived in the Longs Peak ballroom. The Audio Aereo La Source sat silently but I didn't mind one bit. Those Vivid Audio B-1 loudpseakers ($15,000/pair) sounded immediate and enveloping (and they remind me of something but I just can't put my finger on it) driven by the Luxman M-600A Pure Class A Stereo Amplifier ($8,500).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments
In one of the hall displays on the Mezzanine I came across Aesthetix, their Pandora Vacuum Tube USB and S/PDIF DAC ($6,000) and Jim White who took some time to show me around the inside. The Pandora offers an Asynchronous USB input using Wavelength's Streamlength technology and three S/PDIF inputs all capable of 24 bit/192kHz. Those tubes you see are 12AX7s and 6DJ8/6992s and the DAC you can't see is the Burr-Brown PCM1792A. There's an optional volume control so you can go direct into your amp of choice and there's a lot more to this story and a full line of products so visit the Aesthetix site and see for yourself.

If the name Jim White rings too many bells, this Jim White is the one that worked with Theta back in the Casablanca days. If that doesn't ring any bells think cool badass vibe digital.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Sometimes you have to travel to get close to something from home. GTT Audio's Bill Parish lives within a few miles of our home but we hadn't met until Denver. Go figure. Room 535 featured the YG Acoustics Anat III Pro Signature Loudspeakers ($119,000), Tenore Audio 350M Mono Amplifiers ($100,000/pair), Tenor Audio Line 1/Power 1 Linestage ($75,000) and Kubala Sosna Emotion cables throughout. During my visit we listened to music streaming through the Bryston BDP-1 ($2,500).