Aurender had a cool hand-size device in their room that not only functions as a normal DAC/Headphone amp for portable use, but also sports optional mSATA storage up to 1TB(!!) of user installable SSD, turning the thing into a player. I must admit the form factor for the FLOW is pretty seductive with a large velocity sensitive volume knob on the front and smooth satin aluminum case.
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.
Constellation creates some of the most innovative casework at CES, and the Cygnus is no exception. First shown at CES a couple years back, the product will soon be shipping in two form factors: standalone DAC ($27k) and a DAC/Server ($32k) configuration (shown above).
They were still playing with name ideas when I spotted the prototype media server, here shown from behind with the top off. MSB says there will be up to 3TB of storage inside (which is expandable with external NAS drives) along with an "industrial-grade" CPU with 7 year guarantee. Also included is the company's legendary Femto clock, and MSB Pro I2S output. Control will be via web browser and the server should be available in around 6 months for approx $29k.
There's been some back and forth on AudioStream.com and other forums about how to best play back DSD and PCM, with some finding that having a single digital section converting both formats is less than optimal.
T+A decided that in order to do both formats justice in a single product, they would have to create completely independent decoding and analog output sections (including two sets of analog output jacks on the back!). The result is a design that the company believes is a unique and "fully optimized approach to the decoding of both PCM and DSD."
Unfortunately The Beast was not in their room when I visited MSB, and only showed up later, so I asked MSB's Vince Galbo to send me some photos. MSB is the North American distributor for the Swiss-built The Beast.
Black shiny products are tough to photograph at shows, so trust me when I say the new N31 is dripping with gorgeousness not reflected in this photo.
Priced at $18k and available this May, the N31 will process both 24/192 PCM and DSD sources (including iPods/iPads/iPhones). MBL's Juergen Reis showed me a screen shot of an iPhone playing a 24/192 file in the the USB 2 input of the N31, using iTunes USB storage feature.
MSB is now shipping new casework for both the UMT ($6,995) and Diamond DAC V ($29,995), which I think better reflect the company's dedication to digital audio perfection. The DAC is shown above and the UMT below.