After last year's shipping mishap, I thought it would be appropriate to provide a shot of the actual product since it finally arrived in Vegas.
From last year's post: The $40k Rubicon features a built-in analog to digital converter that can be driven from an internal phono preamp, several sets of regular line level RCA jacks, or balanced XLRs. Digital inputs include 2 SPDIF, 2 Toslink and AES/EBU. Analog and digital outputs are also available. The Atomic part of the product's name refers to the 10MHz rubiduim atomic clock driving its 384kH converters.
Announced today at 5pm was Light Harmonic's new DAC with an eye-popping price of $120,000. Add $10,000 to include the server option.
Why is the company's Steve Holt standing there with his arms open? They don't have the product yet, so we'll have to guess if it'll look as out-there as the company's Da Vinci DAC. Holt did say they'll have a prototype at the Munich Show in May.
The company's promo sheet states: "Even Da Vinci must kneel before his sire." Other details include: 2 femto clocks, 7 sets of digital inputs, "Ultra-high speed" DAC that will handle both 32/768 PCM and DSD 256, "Digital+Analog" hybrid volume control and 5 year unlimited upgrading at no additional cost to future-proof your purchase.
They'll also throw in a Lightspeed USB cable and plan to make only 24 per year.
MSB didn't have any new products on hand, but they have been busy spiffing up the look of a few of their existing products. Shown in the photo is the latest version of the new casework with cleaner lines and reworked "euro-style" heatsinks.
Another petite USB DAC which includes asynchronous USB interface, and up to 24/192 streaming. The Chinese built USBStreamer is available only online for $115. The company also offers OEM versions of the DAC for the DIY crowd.
AMR's iFi line starts dinky with the iDSD Nano, gets slightly larger with the iDAC line and then tops out (as far as size goes) with the new iFi iDSD Mini DAC.
Still not large by normal component standards, the Mini, which was shown in prototype form at the show, handles a wide range of digital sources including up to 24/384 PCM, DSD, Double DSD and DXD. Also included on the back is a full range of input jacks, with a volume control and headphone jack on the front.
Inside, there is aptX Bluetooth streaming, 4 Burr Brown DACs, and 4 filters set by the user. Retail price will be under $1,000 and it should arrive sometime this quarter according to the distributor, Avatar Acoustics.
Also new in the AMR (Abbingdon Music Research) room is the DP-777 DAC/Preamp SE (special edition) which features a "Quad Core Digital Engine", NOS GE 5670 Tubes and "Ultra Premium" coupling capacitors. The DAC handles PCM inputs up to 24/192 and pricing is still to be determined, but it will be somewhere north of $5k.
Century-old technology embedded in a modern digital design?
I realize that Aesthetix's Saturn Romulus is not the first disc player or D/A processor with tubes, nor will it be the lastbut does combining these technologies even make sense? Are audiophiles working at cross purposes to themselves, looking for modern perfection but preferring a little old-school sweetening here and there?
Register to win a VPI HW 16.5 Record Cleaning Machine from Soundstage Direct (MSRP $649.99) we are giving away.
According to the company:
The HW-16.5 is the standard in affordable record cleaning machines but neither its build quality nor its cleaning power has been compromised. Its high-torque, 18 RPM turntable motor is more than capable of withstanding the pressure of heavy scrubbing during extended cleaning sessions, and its 35-second cleaning cycle per side makes quick work of even the dirtiest records. Now with self aligning vacuum suction tubes for even more accurate cleaning, the HW-16.5's high-powered vacuum ensures quick, deep cleaning.
Late last year came an epic audiophile moment: I slapped a final length of tape on the box of the awesome-sounding MSB Diamond DAC (Stereophile, October 2012), in final preparation for its trek to John Atkinson's testing lab, in Brooklyn. Next up was the Bifrost DAC from Schiit Audio. I popped it into my system, where, moments before, the MSB had held court.
From $43,325 to $449. Yowseh!!the MSB costs almost 100 times as much as the Schiit! Was this even fair?
Register to win one of four sets of Audiofly Headphones (MSRP $30 - $200) we are giving away.
According to the company:
Made with high quality materials and precision manufacturing, the AF33 will play its heart out every time and astonish you with its sound quality. It arrives equipped with a custom voiced 9mm dynamic driver for detailed sound reproduction across the entire sonic spectrum . . .