Channel D’s Hi-Rez Music Servers
Channel D's Stereophile-recommended Pure Vinyl ($229) is a Macintosh-based music server program that is equipped for both archiving and playback of vinyl recordings at 192kHz/24 bits). One very cool feature allows you to "drag the needle" across the archived record to whatever groove you choose, in much the same way that you can skip ahead on a digital music file by dragging the cursor. What's extra fun is that your computer screen shows a simulated LP and arm, allowing you to drag the needle back and forth without scratching a thing.
In 2007, the company followed with Channel D Pure Music, a Mac-based music server can handle sample rates up to 192kHz, 32-bit playback, auto sample rate switching, and optional 64-bit real-time upsampling. ($79 Axpona show special, $99 regular price, with a free 15-day demo available to anyone). A key difference between Pure Music and Amarra, another superior-to-iTunes, Macintosh-based music server that has been bringing me joy for many months, is that while Pure Music utilizes the archiving and storage features of iTunes, it uses its own proprietary volume control and entirely bypasses the volume control in iTunes. Channel D's Robert Robinson claims that this results in superior-sounding playback.
Channel D's latest product is the Seta phono preamp ($3795), which is unique in that it is a "flat" amplifier, the RIAA equalization being performed in the digital domain by Pure Vinyl (though a conventional RIAA-equalized output is also available). In a cute little system that utilized diminutive Polk Audio loudspeakers, the set-up was delivering impressive sound.