Jon Iverson

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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 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 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 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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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 17, 2014 0 comments
Creek's new EVO 50CD made its debut at CES and will also include a DAC built around 2 Wolfson 24/192 chips. On the back will be coaxial, toslink and USB inputs as well as coax and toslink as well as analog outputs. The player/DAC with USB will be available in spring this year for $1,495.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 15, 2014 0 comments
Bel Canto is moving decidedly upmarket with the new Black system. Jason will cover the amps, so I'll stick to the pre/DAC here. The ASC1 will interface specifically with the MPS1 monobloc amps via custom LightLink ST fiber interfaces and cables. There are nine inputs, and capabilities include analog sources, AES, SPDIF, Toslink and UPnP/DLNA streaming up to 24/384 PCM as well as DSD64 and 128.

The ASC1 retails for $20,000. When you add the amps, the entire system is $50k.

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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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