Chip manufacturer ESS Technology is no stranger to audiophiles interested in new formats. It was responsible for one of the first "universal" SACD/DVD-Audio decoding chips and more recently was the supplier of a special-purpose chip for Linn's SACD "Silver Disk Engine" designs.
Following on the heels of its announcement last week of the first commercially available DVD-Audio disc (Swingin' for the Fences, by Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band), Silverline Records says that Aaron Neville will become the first major artist to release an album in the format. Silverline expects that, on October 24, Neville's solo album Devotion will be released on DVD-A. The disc will also include audio tracks compatible with standard DVD players.
Tone Imports' Jonathan Halpern was on hand to demonstrate the new AcousticPlan DriveMaster transport and DacMaster DAC which retail for $4,200 each and were designed and built by Claus Jaeckle. There is also an optional power supply upgrade for $2,000 that will run two units.
These are small but superbly crafted units, and obviously use a novel approach to spinning a disc. The DAC features SPDIF BNC, I2S, and USB inputs.
Last week's Vote! question about vibration control garnered one of the most interesting groups of comments from readers so far. Everything from bicycle tires to bubble wrap is being employed in audiophile homes around the world in an attempt to subdue the dreaded curse of the shakes.
When it comes to power, VTL's Luke Manley is definitely in the "more is better" camp. But when Lonnie Brownell sat down to listen to the VTL ST-85 tube power amplifier, he elected to start with a single amp and go for more power later. Lonnie writes: "How's about I go with just one amplifier for a while? After all, that's what most people would buy, at least at first. Then I can drop in another one and see what that does." But in the end, was one enough? Brownell tells all.
Want to start an audio newsgroup fire-fight? Just put the three letters "ABX" in the subject line of your post, sit back, and watch the pros take over. Read where it all started 15 years ago in "The Highs & Lows of Double-Blind Testing," which John Atkinson has compiled from the years 1985 and 1986, when an argumentative thread ran through Stereophile's pages discussing the benefits (or lack of) of double-blind testing methods in audio component reviewing—all triggered by J. Gordon Holt's review of the ABX Comparator.
Please bear with us a moment here—we know most audiophiles react to MP3-related news with a serious case of ringing ears, but tracing where the lo-fi market is currently headed can be instructive for understanding the distant hi-fi future. And if the new technology previewed last week at Qualcomm's BREW conference in San Diego is any indication, some parts of your audio future may, in fact, be wireless.
As a result of the terrorist attacks last week, the Audio Engineering Society (AES) has decided to postpone its AES 111th Convention until November 30. The annual audio event, which was to have been held this week in Manhattan at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, will now be held Friday, November 30–Monday, December 3, 2001. The AES says that the convention will use the same exhibit, demo, and conference space as would have been used next week.
Shown above is the new Pandora DAC which has three slots on the back for a variety of input options including AES, USB (asynch) and SPDIF, and tube analog stage and both balanced and unbalanced outputs and an optional volume control. Retail is $6k.