Jon Iverson

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 17, 2013 0 comments
MSB gets the award for most interesting new chassis design for their new The Analog DAC, which is essentially a single low-slung curvy slab of aluminum with pockets sliced out of the bottom for the electronics.

Pricey though it was, their Diamond DAC IV is the best I've heard in my system so far, so you have to wonder what the new DAC brings to the table. The intial price is $7,000 with one input module installed. You can install up to three and pick from ethernet, USB or SPDIF at $995 each. Add $1,000 for volume control and $3,000 for the powerbase option for a total of $12,990 fully loaded.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 14, 2013 1 comments
Aimed straight at the Sonos owner, Arcam's new DAC has a form factor similar to a Sonos ZP90 and plugs right in. It forms a base for the Sonos to sit on and is similar to the company's rLink DAC with TI PCM5102 chip, supporting streams up to 24/192. Retail price is $299 and it is available now.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 13, 2013 0 comments
The Burmester music server was one of my favorite products of last year's CES. Pricey at $50,000, it nonetheless has that feel of a product where the designers have though of everything you would want in a music server. Since last year there have been some refinements and I had a chance to play with the iPad app (there is an iPad in the box with the app loaded) which allows complete and instant control of the system including music selection and volume control. Everything worked quite smoothly and Burmester's Robert Hagemann picked out some cool music for the demo too!
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 17, 2014 0 comments
Qualia founder Masanori Fujii was born in France where his father was Japan's former ambassador to the country. Fujii still bridges both cultures by designing his products in Europe, but building them in Japan.

The Qualia DAC with USB is machined out of a single large block of aluminum and features 4 ESS Sabre 9012 DAC chips in a dual mono design. In addition to USB, inputs include AES/EBU, coaxial and optical. The DAC handles all PCM streams up to 24/192 and has both balanced and unbalanced outputs as well as headphone jack.

Available now for $39,000. Fujii adds that he is "not interested in any compromise in quality. The DAC has a very natural analog sound."

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 14, 2013 0 comments
Philip O'Hanlon always provides some of the very best show demos, and this CES was no exception. As before, he had a suite atop the Mirage hotel, featuring Vivid loudspeakers and for purposes of this report, a new Luxman DAC. Music was provided by O'Hanlon's Mac Mini running Audio Nirvana and Pure Music and consisted largely of wonderful high-resolution rips of vinyl tracks.

The DA-06 will be available in May for $5,990 and can accept PCM up to 24/192 as well as DSD/DXD and 2xDSD. Digital inputs are upsampled and processed at 32/384 and there are USB, SPDIF, AES/EBU and Toslink inputs on the back.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2014 0 comments
Being able to stream from your mobile phone, tablet and laptop is a popular new option these days, so Arcam has created a another way to add this capability to an existing audio system.

The miniBlink is based on the technology from Arcam’s previous Bluetooth DAC, the $300 rBlink, which has been re-engineered to lower the price by 50%. The $149 miniBlink has a USB input for power only, and mini audio output for wiring into your system. When you are in range, you pair your device via Bluetooth and can then start streaming audio.

Inside is a Burr-Brown PCM5102 24bit DAC chip and aptX streaming technology and the company is claiming 30dB more headroom and improved distortion specs compared to normal Bluetooth. The miniBlink should show up around March.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 15, 2014 0 comments
"It's a black box. It's a music source, it plays everything. Forget about converters and other technologies." So stated Genesis' Gary Koh when I asked him to explain the new Genesis Muse. Koh noted that they've been running a home-brew server in their rooms at CES since 2006, so it seemed only logical to turn it into a product.

However, there are specifications: the Linux-based system comes configured with 1TB SSD, has 2 USB 3.0 inputs for adding storage, has ethernet for network connectivity and streaming, and includes both balanced and unbalanced analog outputs. You can also add an optional CD ROM drive to rip CDs, backup via a cloud-based approach, and control it with any app compatible with the Squeezebox protocol.

One cool feature is that it will stream to your iPad for headphone listening if you like. Price will be around $15,000 when it appears "probably in spring this year."

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