July 2016

Monthly Archives

  • High-end future-fi: Devialet’s Expert Pro 1000

    What’s the future of high-end audio? If you’re France’s Devialet, it’s beauty inside and out: a chromed-finished aluminium block whose hardware internals also rely on software. Each Expert series model’s DSP engine room, configurable via a web interface, allows features to be turned on and off and specific settings applied. But the Expert range – Le 120 and […]

  • Schiit announce $249 Modi Multibit DAC

    The guys from Schiit Audio have been doing the multi-bit DAC thing for a good couple years now. First came the top of the line Yggdrasil DAC, then multi-bit takes on the Gungnir (which I rate VERY highly) and the Bifrost. According to Schiit, “Multibit DACs differ from the vast majority of DACs in that they […]

  • The inconvenient truth about vinyl

    Vinyl. Maybe you’re into it because you enjoy the tangibility of a physical format: that large cover art, those lyric sheets. Or maybe you’re into the ceremony of playing a record: dropping the needle, flipping it halfway and then waiting for the next groove run-out. Maybe this process helps you take music listening from the […]

  • ‘Portable’ vinyl with the KORG DS-DAC-10R & AudioGate

    Potafesu, Tokyo. December 2015. The Diana Krall album propped up behind an 11” Macbook Air hollered “Nothing to see here”. Ditto the iPhone app promising The Eagles’ “Hotel California”. Ignoring the alarm bells and spying the Technics SL-1200, I moved closer… Between turntable and laptop sat KORG’s DS-DAC-10R (US$599). To the casual drive-by inspector, it’s a USB-powered DAC […]

  • All terrain USB audio with the PS Audio LANRover

    Your Asus, your HP, your Acer, your Macbook, your iMac, your Mac Mini – hook ‘em up to your DAC via USB and they play music just fine. Where’s the beef? Ones and zeroes spill but often in bursts. So too does electrical noise. Your DAC is sensitive to both. The result is often an […]

  • THE HOST – a more affordable media server from CLONES Audio

    First came the excellent 25i – CLONES Audio’s commercial take on the Gaincard circuit – then a pair of 55pm monoblocks for those who wanted more control and transparency. After that, two DACs: Asher replaced Sheva. Then the POWER STATION – a linear PSU for the Mac Mini. Evident from the company’s product release pattern, designer ‘Funjoe’ is working […]

  • The bare necessities

    The man in the street chooses to listen music on a handheld Bluetooth loudspeaker. The audiophile looks on in horror: “He no longer cares about quality!”. The man in the street, it is argued, has changed. But is that really true? Back in the 1970s, the man in in the street and the audiophile bought the same […]

  • A new normal?

    Love thy neighbour. The dude next door buys a brand new luxury car. His bank account $50K lighter, you and a few others gather ’round to bask in the glow of his new pride and joy. That’s normal. Another neighbour, whom you’ve invited over for dinner, you notice is now sporting a new high-end watch, apparently the result of […]

  • Not as the artist intended: Google Chromecast Audio w/ Tidal

    Got the Bluetooth blues? Google’s Chromecast Audio (GCA) is not much bigger than a Checker’s piece but brings streaming service integration to any device with an analogue input, all for just US$35. Hook-up is as simple as 1-2-3: connect the GCA to an amplifier or pair of powered loudspeakers (a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm fly lead is supplied); […]

  • The host with the most: Mytek Digital’s Brooklyn

    Intra-DAC deltas are often small. Small enough that an afternoon’s A/B testing isn’t sufficient. The qualitative differences between DAC A, DAC B and DAC C take time to surface. These differences, no matter how small, are what audiophiles pay for. At US$2000, the Mytek Brooklyn isn’t quite as sonically excellent as its more expensive rivals […]

  • DAR prize giveaway #8: digital dock for OPPO HA-2

    For the headphone listener looking to take the pursuit of better sound out into the street or onto public transport, the first port of call is often a digital audio player (DAP) which more often than not will sound superior to a smartphone. The most common recipients of this first cash drop are iBasso, Cowon, FiiO, Sony, Pioneer, Onkyo, HiFiMAN, […]

  • Apple & Tidal & uncertainty & fear

    If it bleeds, it leads. It’s been argued that a news outlet’s main line of business is fear propagation. The horror of a terrorist attack, the lives lost to a natural disaster or a fresh bout of economic gloom soon give way to questions: “When and where will the terrorist group strike next?”; “Could an earthquake of […]

  • McIntosh MP100 brings vinyl playback to Devialet Phantom

    The MP100 is McIntosh’s first standalone phono stage. On its front panel (above) we note switchable MM and MC loading options – six for each – and a mono toggle that does what we might expect: “decrease noise and play the signal correctly”. The press release also confirms the existence of balanced and unbalanced outputs. Price? US$2000. This story gets more […]

  • Roon Ready comes to Bryston BDP-1, BDP-2

    In the network audio ecosystem that is Roon, the remote tells the server (aka Core) which audio to push to the Roon endpoint, when to stop pushing, when to skip to the next track or when to play something different, even from Tidal. The most affordable Roon endpoint are the Apple TV and Apple Airport Express. In saving coin, users […]