Astell&Kern calls their new server an "MQS Network Audio Player", where MQS stands for "Master Quality Sound". WIth all the talk at the show about Meridian's new MQA technology, at first I confused it for "Master Quality Authenticated" and did a double take. Nonetheless, A&K's new product is quite a stunner as presented both on a stand with amplifier and as shown here, on a table top by itself.
New in Simaudio's room was the 208D which comes as a basic DAC for $2,200 and also a version with added network player for $3k. The 280D handles both PCM up to 32/384 and DSD up to DSD256 via USB. The analog stage is a fully balanced differential circuit which Simaudio claims increases dynamic range, headroom and signal to noise.
In a repeat of last year's CES, Accuphase again showed up without their latest digital product actually in the room. So company representative Kohei Nishigawa was a good sport and again held up the photo of the soon to be released DC-37.
Here's Simaudio's Lionel Goodfield hanging out in the company's '80s room with period correct speakers, amp, turntable and Aiwa 990 cassette deck (hidden behind his left arm). Behind him on the poster is the company's first product from 1980, the PW2000 and on the table, his hand rests on the Sima PW3000 which retailed for $825 back in the day.
Burmester's Ref Line Musiccenter 111 now has a little brother that dumps the big screen on the front panel for a more low profile and less expensive version at half the price: $25k.
Inside are two 2TB SSDs in a RAID 1 configuration, plenty of networking options and web and iPad control. On the front is a slot for ripping or playing CDs and the internals handle anything PCM up to 24/192. Available now.
I've always enjoyed Wadia's industrial design and the di122 is no exception with their new Series 1 compact casework. Meant to stack with other components in the line, the di122 is a straightforward DAC design with two SPDIF and two optical plus USB inputs on the back along with both balanced and unbalanced audio outputs.
A new brand to me, it turns out that Melco is a division of Buffalo, the japanese computer memory company. Melco had two products on display: the N1Z server with two 512GB SSDs and dual power supplies for around $9k and the N1A with two 2TB hard drives and single power supply for approx $3k.
Other features include full networking capabilities, quick start up and shut down (5-15 seconds), DSD support and multiple USB 3 ports for back up and expansion.
Sorry I don't have a better photo of this handsome component, which is at the top of the stack. Available now for $3,500, the M12 handles up to 24/192 PCM via USB as well as several card slots on the back for further options. One of those options is a $450 network card that enables the BluOS, aptX Bluetooth, WiFi and Ethernet. Control is via the Bluesound app which looked very nicely done. I hope to play with the M12 a bit more and see what it can do.
If this product has halfway decent sound, it should be a hit at $540 retail.
Included is a built-in USB DAC as well as analog line in and Bluetooth wireless capability for connection to smartphones and the like. Power output is 25 watts/channel (MOSFET Class A) and there is also a headphone jack on the front. A preamp out is also included if you'd like to use the MARS just as a tube DAC to drive your he-man amp. Looks well made and available now.
Confusingly, the N10 is listed in the company's product brochure as a Network Music Player, but also has a 1TB SSD inside, so I'm calling this one a server. Some details such as pricing were not available at the show, but the N10 will have more caching (240GB - though in one spot the literature says 120GB) for playback than the N100 and more of a full size case.
Also features the linear power supply, Tidal-readiness and app. Projected release date is March.