“Thirty twenty”. A most common utterance when NAD comes up in hifi conversation; it was the integrated that brought audiophillia to thousands upon thousands of households. The NAD 3020 was – and is – a quintessential piece of everyman hi-fi. I own one. It’s a tidy benchmark from which to judge other amplifiers that pass through these doors. Heck, its
Remember Resonessence Labs’ INVICTA – their statement DAC and headphone amplifier? Refresh your memory with Michael Lavorgna’s review at Audiostream and Srajan Ebaen’s coverage over at 6Moons. You’ll note from the picture below that Mark Mallinson’s team have added DSD support to new and existing INVICTA owners (via a field-flashable firmware upgrade). DSD, DXD, PCM 352.8kHz and PCM 384kHz playback now runs on
Louis Chochos has taken his budget-friendly single-driver Omega Super 3T standmount and transmogrified it for use on to the desktop. A longer front spike ensures the sound is better angled toward the ear and the (rear) port has been moved to the bottom of the cabinet so that positioning close to rear walls won’t mess with lower frequencies. Having reviewed
I first saw the Burson Timekeeper on static display at RMAF 2012′s CanJam. Six months later and it looks like Burson are getting ready for the official launch of their statement amplifier. I asked the guys at Burson if any internal changes had been made since the Denver sighting. “R&D has made some improvements since then. Let’s say it was
Schiit Audio are making good on their promise of the Bifrost and Gungnir DACs being modular and fully upgradable. First up, the Bifrost gets a new Uber analogue board. This apparently lifts the ‘sonic and measured performance’ of the Bifrost by borrowing the discrete, direct-coupled gain stage from the Gungnir. The Uber board can be ordered with any new Bifrost
iFi Micro are about to add another unit to their already excellent Micro range. This time it’s a USB-S/PDIF converter called the iLink. According to the press release they “analysed the complete transmission/conversion process.” Two new (trademarked) technologies – Super Digital Output® and Jitter Elimination Technology JET® have been deployed within the iLink recipe in order to best combat jitter.
After the rather smashing miniature N3 tube amplifier, Hong Kong’s Miniwatt have launched a new product – the Miniwatt N4. It’s a UAC2.0, async 32bit/192Khz all-in-one DAC and headphone amplifier. Note the stitched leather extrusion – a nice way of acknowledging the rough and tumble of portability. It’s good to have an edge in this increasingly-crowded portable DAC/headphone space; especially
Not a review (yet) but a heads up. One of the more interesting reader-suggested amplifiers for the Magnepan MMG is a 10 year old, no-frills integrated from little-known Portal Audio. The Panache is a dual mono Class A/B design that seemingly inherited its looks from a Russian army tank. A bespoke 425VA toroidal runs the centre of the Panache’s engine
Metrum Acoustic’s flagship Hex DAC’s USB implementation knocked it out of the park – an internally powered M2Tech OEM module. It’s one of the very few DACs that I’ve heard that doesn’t require Concero or Audiophilleo intervention to reach optimal performance – the Hex kept it all in one box. Time now for the junior Octave to see MKII improvements.
Graham Slee has had his USB DAC & headphone amplifier in the oven for a while…and now it’s finally ready to eat. This palm-sized unit was first christened ‘Itsy’ but now it’s called Bitzie. Not much better if you ask me but it’s a minor niggle for what appears to be an impressive feature set. 24bit/192kHz-capable USB input feeds two
Is this the lowest-priced native DSD-capable DAC to drop thus far*? The X-SABRE from Matrix Audio marries an XMOS USB DSP to the well-established ESS Sabre 9018 Reference decoding chip for DXD (24bit/352.8kHZ) and DSD (1bit/2.8224MHz or 5.6448MHz) joy. Playback resolution is indicated by a series of front panel LEDs. The USB input can also decode PCM streams of up
The awkwardly named Woo Audio WA7 ‘Fireflies’ looks like it has dropped into Australia earlier than expected. There aren’t too many DAC/head-amp combos that really tickle my fancy but Jack Wu’s (picture above, right) latest is surely one of them. A matched pair of Sovtek 6C45, Class A, single-ended headphone stage married to a 32/192 asynchronous USB DAC. Not only that