In the small DAC department is the iFi iDAC for $299 and for those that would like a better power supply, add the optional iUSB Power Plant for $199. Though this is the first CES for the iDAC, Michael Lavorgna has already reviewed it quite favorably over at AudioStream.com.
The iDAC sports a 24/192 USB asynch input with headphone amp, analog volume control and ESS Sabre DAC. Adding the Power Plant means your computer USB is no longer doing the heavy lifting and all of the iDAC components get a "super-regulated" filtered power supply.
The VEGA is another DAC employing a femto clock for extremely low jitter and retails for $3,500 (a low price point for the femto feature) . It handles PCM streams up to 32/384 as well as DSD, DXD and 2xDSD. The VEGA can also function as a digital preamp and includes a remote that can control the output level. Inputs include AES/EBU, 2xSPDIF, Toslink and "ActiveUSB". Analog outputs are both balanced and unbalanced and the front panel sports a very easy to read display.
Aimed straight at the Sonos owner, Arcam's new DAC has a form factor similar to a Sonos ZP90 and plugs right in. It forms a base for the Sonos to sit on and is similar to the company's rLink DAC with TI PCM5102 chip, supporting streams up to 24/192. Retail price is $299 and it is available now.
It's a simple idea really. Make it easy for anyone at your home to pull out an iDevice and play what's on it over your audio system without having to fiddle with cables and the proper connectors and then a compatible USB port. Some products, such as the Musical Fidelity M1SDAC have this already built in, but if you don't have it, here's an easy way to add it.
The $249 rBlink gives you the ability to connect any Bluetooth device like an iPhone wirelessly to the system. Plug the rBlink into an extra input on your stereo, and then have the Bluetooth enabled iDevice add it from their menu. Maybe not the best sound in the world (though better than it used to be with Bluetooth), but easy for your pals and great fun at parties.
Krell is jumping into the streaming world with a somewhat reasonably priced product that can come two ways: streamer with digital out only at $2,500 or with built-in DAC for $3,500. The Connect has WiFi and ethernet UPnP/DLNA compatibility for NAS drives in addition to internet radio and USB input. The Connect will handle FLAC, WAV and MP3 files up to 24/192. The DAC option adds five digital inputs along with its ESS Sabre 32 bit DAC processor.
Though they were both at the CES last year, the MiND 180 and MOON 380D DAC with the MiND option have only recently started shipping. The MiND (Moon Intelligent Network Device) retails for $1,250 and adds basic network and NAS streaming functionality to your system. It can handle up to 24/192 through WiFi, ethernet, AES/EBU and Toslink. Control is handled via a free iOS and Android app that looked very user friendly and easy on the eyes.
Stepping into the Pro-ject room in the Venetian I spied an entire wall of little boxes--literally dozens of them. Norbert Schmied, from the company's US representatives, Sumiko, handily pointed me toward the DACs and Streamers.
New to CES this year is the company's DAC Box DS in a small compact package and retailing for $549. Features include 24/192 SPDIF, Toslink and async USB as well as PCM-1792 Burr-Brown DAC and 2 filter options.
One of my favorite products to review over the last couple years was the Cantata Music Center from Resolution Audio. What's not to like: solid engineering, forward thinking and gorgeous styling.
The company claims the product is designed to be future proofed for at least the next 10 years, and is now offering a new $500 24/192 hardware upgrade (software upgrades are free) to existing owners that is also featured in current versions. The Cantata Music Center is now also UpNP capable for FLAC and AIFF file decoding.
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.
M2Tech is seen here showcasing the new Joplin ADC which can convert analog signals to anything up to 32/384. You can convert line level inputs and there is also a built in phono stage with 16 preset EQs built in for compatibility with various manufacturers. Price is $2,499 and there are AES/EBU, SPDIF, Toslink and USB outputs. There is also a single SPDIF input.