Jon Iverson

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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
Though they didn't have the product on hand, I convinced Accuphase representative Kohei Nishigawa to hold up the brochure. The new player will be here in February for $27,000 and features the company's obsessive build quality.

Inside, eight 32bit ESS "Hyperstream" DAC chips are run in parallel, which Accuphase calls "Multiple Double Speed DSD". In addition to playing discs, there are HS-Link (for DSD), coax, optical and USB inputs.

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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 08, 2014 1 comments
Axiss Distribution was on hand to display new products from Olasonic including a CD transport and DAC (shown in photo). Axiss' Arturo Manzano explained that Olasonic is a Japanese company comprised of ex-Sony engineers who had worked on SACD development. The products are made in China and come in white or black finishes while retailing for $800 each.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2014 0 comments
While some companies have been focusing on using Bluetooth or Wifi to stream music around a room, HRT decided to use RF as their method.

Unfortunately, HRT's Kevin Halverson was in a bicycle accident a couple months back, so was holding forth from his wheelchair (he should make an almost complete recovery). Halverson said that the system will comprise two parts: a Wireless Master which sends the signal from your source (the smaller device in the photo) and the larger Airstreamer (seen in a photo mockup).

The RF signal can cover a distance of up to 15 meters and send 24/48 PCM. The system will cost $249 and should be shipping around March 15th. Hopefully Kevin will be walking around a bit by then.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2014 0 comments
Being able to stream from your mobile phone, tablet and laptop is a popular new option these days, so Arcam has created a another way to add this capability to an existing audio system.

The miniBlink is based on the technology from Arcam’s previous Bluetooth DAC, the $300 rBlink, which has been re-engineered to lower the price by 50%. The $149 miniBlink has a USB input for power only, and mini audio output for wiring into your system. When you are in range, you pair your device via Bluetooth and can then start streaming audio.

Inside is a Burr-Brown PCM5102 24bit DAC chip and aptX streaming technology and the company is claiming 30dB more headroom and improved distortion specs compared to normal Bluetooth. The miniBlink should show up around March.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2014 0 comments
Having had a Meridian Sooloos in my system for the last few years, I'm a sucker for a nice big touch screen for controlling a music collection. Done right, there's nothing like it. So I made a beeline to the $9,995 Pathos Musiteca, which I first observed in prototype form at a previous CES.

Very similar in features to Meridian's Control 15, with built in 1TB drive, CD slot for ripping discs and network connection for gathering metadata, the Musiteca also has a built in tube DAC based on the design for the company's Endorphin CD player.

The Musiteca has beautiful styling, however when I started tapping the screen and calling up music, I found it a bit pokey in the speed department. Also, there is currently no method for adding more hard drive space in case you exceed the roughly 2,000 CD storage capacity.

Still, it looks gorgeous sitting there and should be available in April.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2014 0 comments
New for Antelope Audio this year is the Zodiac Platinum DAC at $5,500, which in addition to the normal PCM stuff, handles DSD 64, 128 and has the ability to upsample these to DSD256. The spec sheet also lists "64 bit precision 8x linear phase PCM upsampling" with the onboard FPGA, quad DAC architecture, and for extra precision there is an input for Antelope's 10M Rubidium atomic clock.

There are two headphone jacks on the front, volume control, and input switching for a wide variety of digital inputs. There are also 2 "de-jittered" SPDIF outputs for up to 24/192 PCM. The Zodiac Platinum is available now.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2014 2 comments
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.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 07, 2014 4 comments
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.

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