December 2013

Monthly Archives

  • audiounion

    Insight holds more water than speculation

    Like a joke trying to make another joke laugh. Ha ha. During the first year of running Digital Audio Review I took advice from more seasoned quarters. I sought pearls of wisdom from those who had already found success in the hi-fi review field. I listened. I absorbed as much as I could. During these […]

  • w4s_mamp+mpre_6

    Wyred4Sound mAMP review (Part 2 – w/ mPRE)

    Can you hear the destruction? USB your computer to your DAC/headphone amplifier and favourite cans, fire up iTunes and then nudge the Apple software volume slider to the left. This is what Chebon Littlefield of Mytek Digital suggested I did if I wanted to witness a digital volume control erode musical information. Ducking iTunes’ in-built […]

  • header3

    KIH #3: Can digital volume controls keep it honest?

    Digital volume control. It’s becoming all the rage. Digital amplifier used to be a misnomer as though that’s what class D meant. In truth such amps were amps with analog inputs, zero D/A conversion and switching analog output stages. SMPS or switch-mode power supplies were entirely optional. Nothing digital about any of it. Sticking a volume […]

  • w4s+yba_5

    Is a pre-amplifier still relevant to digital audiophiles?

    The in-between days. During November’s listening periods with the Red Wine Audio Signature 57 I played a frequent switcheroo between it and a pair of Wyred4Sound mAMPs. With the RWA intergrated packing its own volume control I’d run the Resonessence Labs INVICTA Mirus DAC source-direct into the the Californian Class D monoblocks. No need for a […]

  • top10_2013_main

    Darko’s Top 10 albums of 2013

    10. Arcade Fire – Reflektor My least favourite Arcade Fire album to date and yet it still squeaks into the top ten for this year. Why? The title tracks is a rolling juggernaut of anxious reflections and “Normal Person” is the nearest thing we have to a new Talking Heads song this side of LCD […]

  • redwineaudio_signature57_1

    Red Wine Audio Signature 57 integrated amplifier review

    My first experience with a Red Wine Audio amplifier was a real eye opener: I’ll never forget how that 30-watt Tripath implementation took the Louis Chochos’ Omega Stick from saliva desiccating Lamington to moist chocolate sponge. The LFP-V Edition of Vinnie Rossi’s 30.2 integrated inflated the tires on music and advanced the humidity through which […]

  • header2

    KIH #2: Removing the room

    A day after penning KIH #1, the notion of an ongoing column arose. Kinda like I’d done a decade ago with the short-lived Auroville for Positive Feedback. Or the longer running Y Files for SoundStage! Of course all columnists fret. One day they’ll run out of things to say on the very subject they’ve pinned […]

  • hrt_microStreamer_DAR_1

    HRT microStreamer DAC review (6Moons)

    This month and last I spent considerable time applying HRT’s microStreamer to various scenarios. Thanks to a mid-2013 firmware upgrade the microStreamer can now tap the digital stream from an iPad via a CCK/host mode adaptor; HRT can sell you their own-branded version. One review session translated an iPad into a ‘virtual Squeezebox’. Furthermore, the […]

  • nano-iDSD_main

    iFi’s battery-powered Nano iDSD DAC/headphone-amp

    This might look like just another entry in what has become a loooong line of micro DAC + headphone-amp packages…but it isn’t. iFi-Audio’s nano iDSD ticks all the 2013 trend boxes: PCM up to 32bit/384kHz, single- and double-rate DSD, user-selectable digital filters. However, into the portable bargain comes a PCM-only digital output, analogue volume attenuation, […]

  • goldenear_aon2_main2

    GoldenEar Technology Aon 2 standmount review

    In Stevenson, Maryland, GoldenEar Technology make affordable loudspeakers with a difference. Each model in their Triton and Aon ranges features a ribbon tweeter; a technology usually the preserve of pricier loudspeakers. Down under, the Aon 2 sell for AU$1345/pair.  Stateside you can pick them up for US$400 each. Each speaker ships in its own box. […]

  • sb2

    KIH #1b: More components that ‘keep it honest’

    Last week Srajan Ebaen penned his first piece for DAR. The focus: those components that KIH (“Keep it honest”). A response to Ebaen’s call means my own turn in the confession box. Forgive me Father for I have grinned… Digital. Pretty much every DAC made by Audio-gd falls under the KIH umbrella, especially their R2R […]

  • astell&kern_ak10_main

    Astell&Kern AK10 smartphone DAC review (TONEAudio)

    Fresh from their success with standalone AK100 and AK120 digital audio players, iRiver’s sub-brand Astell&Kern want to “Hifi Your Smartphone”. The AK10 is a dongle DAC and headphone-amplifier with onboard transport controls and jog-wheel volume control*. Unless you want to chance your arm with Apple’s Camera Connection kit, the AK10 is best suited to the […]