Making good on the prototype that Great Britain's Prism was showing last year, the new Callia DAC will finally be released for retail this month at $1,895. It will handle 32/394 PCM and double DSD via USB, optical and SPDIF inputs on back. There will be both balanced and unbalanced audio outputs with digital volume control along with low-impedance headphone output with sensitivity adjustments on the back panel.
Following in the footsteps of their pro-audio brethren such as Benchmark, Grace, Mytek and Antelope, Prism is "testing the waters" at this CES for their first consumer product. They've made their mark in the pro audio business creating converters for digital recording software.
Another interesting small package from Pro-Ject is the new Bluetooth BOX S which includes aptX for streaming from your pad or smartphone. Pro-Ject says the BOX S can memorize up to eight different Bluetooth sources and works up to about 30 feet away. There are both 3.5mm stereo analog and optical digital outputs.
BTW, the plastic panel on the front is not a display, but hides the antenna.
The DAC BOX has now been upgraded to include DSD decoding in addition to 24/192 PCM. There are USB 2.0, SPDIF and optical inputs as well as analog RCA outputs on the back and a button for two filter settings on the front. Price is $499.
Stepping into the Pro-ject room in the Venetian I spied an entire wall of little boxes--literally dozens of them. Norbert Schmied, from the company's US representatives, Sumiko, handily pointed me toward the DACs and Streamers.
New to CES this year is the company's DAC Box DS in a small compact package and retailing for $549. Features include 24/192 SPDIF, Toslink and async USB as well as PCM-1792 Burr-Brown DAC and 2 filter options.
This is one of the smallest boxes I've seen that handles both streaming and conversion, and the price is tiny to match: $249. The BurrBrown chip inside handles up to 32/384 via USB and there are also analog RCA outputs on back. Though not listed in the catalog, there is a filter switch on the display unit.
Pro-Ject also has another new streamer that didn't make it to the show called the Stream BOX S. It will include UPnP and DLNA ethernet and WiFi connectivity to your network and support app control of your streams. No pricing yet, but should show up near the middle of the year.
The Consumer Electronic Association's (CEA) Gary Shapiro is known for maintaining an ever-optimistic stance on the progress of home entertainment, and a recent keynote at the Semiconductor Market Outlook Conference earlier this month provided an opportunity for him to reveal his top predictions for the future.
Project is adding some more midi-size products to its line. In addition to the STREAM BOX noted by Kal, a new product this year is the Class-A tube balanced output DAC BOX RS (pictured at the bottom right), which should be available now for around $1,000 or so. Users can switch between tube and solid state output and the DAC accepts all the usual inputs at PCM rates up to 24/192. Digital processing is built around two BurrBrown 1792 chips.
Above the DAC is the new PRE BOX RS Digital preamp/DAC also available shortly for $1,500. This one also had a headphone amp built in with switchable impedance and damping factor from the front panel.
Since it has been five years since the debut of SACD, one might think that the debate as to where it fits within the audiophile food chain would have been put to rest. But as with most things audio, reality conspires to make rational comparisons between formats tough. One is never sure if two releases on different formats have been rendered from the same source, or, as we discovered with the recent Dark Side of the Moon hybrid SACD, from completely different masters.