We'd been told to check out Boulder's new music server, but that's not exactly what the $24,000 1021 Disc Player is. It's a CD player (with a few other formats "to be announced") that uses a computer disc drive to feed a one-minute buffer to "preserve the integrity of the audio signal delivered from the drive. "Also," confided Steve Rockwell, "the clock is about this far [pinches fingers together], so jitter is phenomenally low."
Raw data is dumped from the buffer to a Boulder-designed Eigen-value DSP oversampling filter—which itself, has a data buffer to eliminate timing glitches.
The independent, precise-interval master clock is said to "reduce jitter and low-frequency modulation noise to "immeasurable levels." The clock signal is also fed "upstream" to control the DSP.
There's also Boulder's selectable digital volume control, which can be programmed for 1dB steps or turned off.
The 1021's analog section is pretty slick too, incorporating Boulder's six-pole Bessel filter and the output stage of Boulder's 983, which is "robust enough to drive long cables."
Did we mention the large display panel? It can display data from the 1021's internal processor or pull it off the Internet.
We tried lifting the 1021 and per pound, it just might be a bargain.