Jon Iverson

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 13, 2014 0 comments
The company logo reminds me of a sixties horror movie and the glass front panel evokes memories of lying on the floor in a pal's living room in 1972 listening to his Dad's Stack O' Mac, but something about that bioluminescent glow gets me every time. All the more weird since this is such a contemporary product.

The MB100 lets you stream from the internal 1TB drive, wirelessly from your personal device, or hook up USB, eSata or NAS drives. You can also stream from Pandora, Spotify, etc. All is controlled via an iOS or Android custom app, web browser or TV user interface and output to either digital or analog ports on the back.

Available in April or May this year for around $6,500 retail. Go with the glow.

PS: Some of you must have similar memories of listening to music as a kid while the Mac's green and blue lights cast an eerie hue on the ceiling?

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 13, 2014 0 comments
The DSD exhibitors included Native DSD Music, Blue Coast Music and representatives for Acoustic Sounds new download web site: Super Hi-Rez. In all fairness it should be pointed out that Super Hi-Rez offers both DSD and PCM HD downloads, though the numbers of titles seem heavily weighted towards DSD at this point.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 11, 2014 0 comments
Chord's John Franks was trying hard to contain his enthusiasm. "Everything we've done has been leading to this point" he intoned dramatically while holding the new Hugo DAC/Headphone Amp in his hand.

Aimed at both the headphone enthusiast and home listener, the Hugo (goes everywhere "you go") has five digital inputs including 24/192 optical, 24/384 Coax SPDIF, 16/48 driverless USB (for tablets/phones), 32/394 or DSD128 USB, and A2DP Bluetooth link. Outputs include two 3.5mm headphone jacks, 1/4 inch headphone jack and a pair of RCA jacks.

Inside is a rechargeable Li-ion battery for portable use, since the USB does not draw any power and of course, FPGA circuitry which the company is known for. And colors. Chord is also known for putting a window into their DAC's soul on the top of their cases (which indicates the resolution of what's playing), and for the Hugo, they've added a colorful volume control marble as well.

Price in the US will be $2395 when the Hugo is released in the next few weeks.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 11, 2014 0 comments
Joining the chorus of companies adding DSD to their products this year, Chord has also updated their flagship DSX1000 Network Music Player to include DSD64 playback over ethernet. Existing users can upgrade their units over the internet for free.

Price remains the same at $13k and is available with the update now. More details in Jason Serinus' previous report.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 11, 2014 0 comments
Chord was also showing off their new CodeX uPnP network music player released last August (based on the FPGA-endowed QuteHD DAC) which can slide into the Choral Modular system as shown. The solid aluminum rack lets you stack up to five chord products onto the stand, such as an amplifier shown at the bottom in the second photo.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 09, 2014 1 comments
Yes, DACs can be bought as monoblocks just like amps. The D1 retails for $22k each (so that's $44k for a stereo pair) and includes Esoteric's proprietary ES-LINK4 connection allowing DSD transfer from the companion P1 transport as well as 48/352.8 PCM, both via an HDMI cable.

Both the P1 and its D1a can be connected by a BNC cable for clock sync, and the company says that the D1 employs a 36bit digital to analog processing algorithm for PCM. In addition to accepting the P1 signal via HDMI, the D1 has six more inputs including USB, AES/EBU, SPDIF (x2), optical and i.LINK.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 09, 2014 0 comments
When I reviewed the Romulus DAC/CD player last year, a reader quickly noted in the online comments "Can't play pure DSD files. That seems absurd for a player targeted at the audiophile market. Pity - I like the design."

Ask and ye shall receive. The Company's Jim White has updated the product with the ability to accept and process both DSD64 and 128 natively over USB. In fact, the entire DSP processing section has been updated with an Xilinx gate-array to allow for the pure DSD.

Customers with current Romulus or Pandora DACs can also upgrade their products at the factory starting mid January. In addition to DSD, the upgrade also adds a new analog board, Vishay Z-Foil resistors, and Dynamicaps.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 09, 2014 0 comments
Korean manufacturer Aurender was on hand to debut the new X100L and X100S digital music players. The L and S designations are for long and short and describe the length of each case, which contain different sizes of hard drives. The L version can hold two 3TB SATA drives for a total capacity of 6TB, while the S version has space for a 1TB 2.5 inch drive or SSD.

The L will retail for $3,499 with the S coming in at $2,999, both being released in February. The Aurender X100 supports bit-perfect playback of DSD, WAV, FLAC, ALAC, APE, AIFF, M4A, and "other major formats". Control is via the Aurender Conductor App for iPad/iPad Mini (same as used with the Aurender S10 and W20).

Designed to be combined with USB compatible DACs, the X100 is equipped with a USB 2.0 audio output that was originally designed for the flagship Aurender W20 model. Other connections include a Gigabit ethernet port for network connectivity and two USB data ports.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 09, 2014 3 comments
Meridian didn't have any new digital products for me this year (I guess they've been busy outfitting those Jaguars with premium sound systems), so they only came up with the Control 15 in the new black finish for a photo. There is about 60 days supply of silver models still left, so grab one now if you want that colour.

The black model looks beautiful and is exactly like the silver one inside, retailing for the same price: $7,500. And IMO is still the best way to control a large library of full resolution music.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 09, 2014 0 comments
Teac's Esoteric division also released their new P1 transport that can handle SACD/CD playback, built around the company's VRDS NEO mechanism.

The P1 also features a two-chassis design with separate power supply (not shown), "leather-finish" remote control and a $44k price tag. Both the P1 and D1 are housed in a gorgeous aluminum chassis with a fine-ribbed finish.

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