An upscaling CD Transport. Yes you read right, this CD transport upscales your discs using, according to Chord, "the power of the new Xilinx XC7A200T FPGA, which has a standout 740 DSP cores, to develop sophisticated WTA (Watts Transient Alignment) filtering and upscaling algorithms which can output digital data at 705.6kHz (16 x CD’s 44.1kHz native resolution)." Whew!
While the dCS and Nagra suites at the Mirage approximated the size of a typical medium sized living room, the YG suite at the top of the Venetian was something else entirely. The room was quite large, the speakers human size, and a bigger crowd was also on hand. Lori Lieberman was playing on the system as we walked in and YG's Director of Sales, Dick Diamond greeted us with a big smile and helped me get the laptop connected.
Jake was going to hear his music for the first time on a system totaling over half a million dollars.
The palm-sized Chord Mojo DAC/Headphone amp is arguably one of the best portable audio invigoration devices around, so why not add some more super-powers? The Poly is a networking "module" which adds streaming, network and SD card playback to the Mojo. The Poly is about half the size of the Mojo and snaps onto one end. Very clever.
Due to a scheduling conflict I missed the press conference with power point presentation (you can see the slides here), but having spent some time with Chord's Rob Watts in the past, I'm sure the new products are packed with carefully thought out tech. Pictured here is the new Chord Hugo2, which follows on the heels of the successful Hugo DAC launched three years ago.
Lindemann announced a group of four new gorgeous-looking music players all with preamp control built in: MusicBook 10:DSD (USB music player/$3,495), MusicBook 15:DSD (USB music player plus CD/$3,995), MusicBook 20:DSD (Network music player/$4,495), and the MusicBook 25:DSD (Network music player plus CD/$4,995 - pictured above). The network models support WiFi and ethernet. Also new are two models of matching Class D amplifiers.
First, let's list what is in the photo (left stack first, top to bottom): EVO PhonoDAC Two ($1,600), EVO Clock Two ($640), HiFace EVO Two ($640), EVO Supply Two ($500), EVO Plus DAC Two ($890), and the EVO DAC Two ($630). Common to the DAC products: 32/384 PCM and DSD 256 processing, while the EVO Plus DAC Two has an additional clock input. Go to their website to check all the other little differences, but with pricing like this, I think listeners are in for a treat. I loved the pricier M2Tech Young DAC when I reviewed it a couple years back, so I trust their ears are in the right place with these new lower priced products.
In addition to having an awesome sounding setup in a smallish room, Simaudio's Lionel Goodfield was putting the final polish on the new Neo MiND. The Neo is a network streamer and music player that supports most PCM formats up to 24/192 and has a variety of output jacks for connection to your DAC. For networking, Bluetooth, ethernet and WiFi is included in addition to a SimLink in and out. Track sample rate and input choice are indicated on the front panel.
Covering CES with a perpetual smile and fresh ears is usually a challenge. But sometimes, you can feel like the luckiest reporter alive when everything falls into place.
Yes, it'll sound like I'm gushing, but unless you meet him, it's hard to comprehend what a positive and gracious human being Jake Shimabukuro is. Everywhere we went he stuck his hand out and, with a smile, exhibited unending excitement and curiosity at what he was hearing. And watching him play, up close and in person, is amazing. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
British manufacturer RHA, known primarily for their in-ear headphone models, had the new Dacamp L1 for the first time at CES. Beautifully built and feeling hefty in the hand, the new headphone amp and DAC sports independent processors for each channel. Three knobs along one side control gain (there are three settings), bass and treble, and inside is a 4000mAh lithium ion battery that RHA claims will give you 10 hours of play time.