Esoteric Wireless Wonder
Innovation comes from surprising places. Esoteric has always focused on pushing the state of the art with their flagship and pricey digital players (the financially squeemish can skip to another post now), but they've also begun to accommodate digital media wherever it may be found.
Though the digital disc is far from dead, streaming media is the new reality. With this in mind the company has created an upgrade for the D-05 DAC which enables wireless streams in addition to the usual wired suspects.
The USB upgrade kit allows wired or wireless transmission of data from anything with a USB port. A small card with a USB jack and two small antennas is inserted into the back of the D-05 and a USB dongle, the size of a typical memory stick, is inserted in the USB port of the source.
The system can stream Linear PCM signals decoded at your PC or Mac, with sampling rates up to 16 bit / 48 kHz (for both wireless and wired connection). The wireless connection features 2.4GHz wireless transmission up to approx 100 ft.
I heard a brief demo of a wireless stream from a small PC and the sound was fabulous. The D-05 converter is priced at $7,500 and the USB upgrade kit is tentatively priced at $1200 including installation. Availability is planned for the first quarter of 2009.