Steven Plaskin

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Steven Plaskin  |  Jul 03, 2014  |  6 comments
Over the years, I have owned several Esoteric SACD players. I have always been impressed with the exceptional build quality and massive VRDS disc drives. The D-02 Dual Mono D/A Converter, second from the top in the Esoteric lineup, has an accompanying P-02 SACD transport with the VRDS-NEO drive mechanism. Being a computer audiophile, I have moved away from disc drives and have embraced a computer transport. Certainly, there are plusses and minuses to each type of transport, but for me, the ability to access my very large library with a remote control is essential. Esoteric has not been evading the use of computer transports, but does offer an Asynchronous USB Class 2.0 input for the D-02 DAC.
Steven Plaskin  |  Jun 10, 2014  |  76 comments
all photo credits: Synergistic Research unless otherwise noted

When I first heard that Synergistic Research was bringing out a new USB cable, a thought occurred to me. Just how much better could this cable be made considering that the Synergistic Research Active USB SE cable was recently upgraded with the new UEF Tuning Circuits? The Uniform Energy Field Technology Tuning Circuits consist of the gray and silver cylindrical devices that attach to the active shield of the Active USB SE cable and fine tune the sound of the cable. I have found that the UEF Tuning Circuits provide a smoother, more revealing sound with enhanced bloom. But after reading about the Galileo series of cables, I discovered that this series applies Synergistic Research technologies not found in the Active USB SE cable.

Steven Plaskin  |  May 23, 2014  |  3 comments
I have always enjoyed the Linn Records’ recordings of the Dunedin Consort. The JS Bach Matthew Passion has been a particular favorite of mine.

This latest release from Linn features the Dunedin Consort, John Butt conductor and director, performing a reconstruction of the Mozart Requiem as it was performed in 1793. This recording also provides separate reconstruction of the first two movements of the Requiem as performed at Mozart’s funeral in 1791.

Steven Plaskin  |  May 20, 2014  |  7 comments
Michael Lavorgna did an in-depth job reviewing Vincent Brient’s Totaldac d1-dual DAC (see review) and his Totaldac d1-server (see review) for AudioStream last September and December. Michael not only found the Totaldac d1-dual DAC to be one of the finest DACs he has experienced, but was very impressed with the clarity and abundant musical qualities of this DAC.
Steven Plaskin  |  Apr 28, 2014  |  15 comments
Being an audio reviewer, I have the opportunity to evaluate many of the high end USB cables that are manufactured today. While most of these cables are very nice sounding, some of the cables really distinguish themselves sonically. The JCAT USB cable is just one of those very special USB cables that stand out from the large number of high-end USB cable offerings today.
Steven Plaskin  |  Apr 14, 2014  |  11 comments
The Overdrive USB DAC/Pre is the creation of engineer-designer Steve Nugent of Empirical Audio. Empirical Audio was formed in 1994 and initially concentrated on the sales of patented cable products designed by Steve Nugent. Steve’s background included a degree in Electrical Engineering with 25 years of digital design experience. His resume included work for the Intel Corp. where he served as a design-team lead in the development of the Pentium II processor. Steve has also been a passionate audiophile for over 39 years and this interest lead him into the modification of other manufacturer’s audio products in 2002. His modifications not only included DACs, but preamps, power amps and CD players / transports. The modification of numerous designs gave Steve a wonderful opportunity to see what sounded best in audio and DAC design. During this time, Steve developed the Off Ramp Turbo USB Converter; a device that offered a USB interface to digital products. In 2009, Empirical Audio ceased equipment modification and concentrated on original computer audio product design.
Steven Plaskin  |  Mar 10, 2014  |  14 comments
The Synergistic Research UEF (Uniform Energy Field) Technology Active Tuning Circuits are the new replacements for the Enigma Tuning Circuits (Bullets) provided with the Synergistic Research Element and Galileo Series cables and AC cords, Digital Power Tools, Tranquility Bases, PowerCell line conditioners, and older Tesla Series LE cables and AC cords. The Enigma Tuning Circuits or Bullets were used to fine tune the sound of the Active Shields in Synergistic Research cables, AC cords and active devices. I have previously described the action of the Enigma Tuning Circuits in my reviews of the Tranquility Base (see review), the USB Active SE cable (see review), and the Element C.T.S. Digital AC cord (see review).
Steven Plaskin  |  Feb 20, 2014  |  18 comments
Wyred 4 Sound is well known to many audiophiles as a company that builds quality high end audio products at reasonable prices. The company was started in in 2007 by E. J. Sarmento who previously worked at Cullen Circuits. The company has grown from its initial offering of the 200s amplifier to a complete line of preamps, power amps, DACs, and music servers. Wyred 4 Sound offers 6 DAC models with 3 versions of the DAC-2: DAC-2, DAC-2 DSD, and the DAC-2 DSDse.
Steven Plaskin  |  Feb 07, 2014  |  3 comments
Croz is David Crosby's new album; his first new solo studio release in 20 years. In spite of Crosby’s run-ins with the law, this rock legend has endured and has produced a wonderful solo effort with significant contributions from his son James Raymond on keyboards and vocals. A stellar group of musicians were enlisted for Croz including Steve DiStanislao on drums, Shane Fontayne on guitar, Marcus Eaton on vocals and guitar, and Steve Tavaglione on woodwinds, with Wynton Marsalis on trumpet. Also contributing to the album was bassist Lee Sklar and Mark Knopfler on guitar.
Steven Plaskin  |  Jan 20, 2014  |  0 comments
The M1 DAC is built by Bricasti Design, a small private Massachusetts company that was founded in 2004 by Brian Zolner and Casey Dowdell ; both ex-Harman Specially Group employees. Brian previously worked for 20 years with Lexicon where he ultimately became VP of worldwide sales. Casey also worked for Lexicon as a dsp software engineer and helped develop the algorithm for the surround processing Lexicon Logic 7 that was able to distribute multi-channel sound on two-channel media. It should come as no surprise that the first product offered by Bricasti Design was the M7 Stereo Reverb Processor. The M7, introduced in 2007, is now used by many top recording engineers and studios. The M1 DAC was introduced in 2011; its development made possible from the financial success of the M7.

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