Constellation Audio Sirius DAC & CD Player

Designer Peter Madnick, one of the original founders of Audio Alchemy a couple decades back, has returned as part of a new Southern California company called Constellation Audio. In addition to preamp and amplifier offerings, on hand was the $50,000 Sirius DAC and CD player two box system. One box (which they call the "clean box") contains the DAC and audio stuff and then the "dirty box" houses the transport and power supplies (pictured above).

The company's entire line of products have a unique Jetsons retro/future look with clean lines that suggest fine cloth stretched over wire frames. The company is just getting off the ground and delivery of the Sirius is expected by mid-year.

One thing I found curious (other than the price) is that though they call it a CD player, the Sirius will also play SACD and DVD-Audio, outputting native DSD to their DAC. The company notes that the AES/EBU on the back of the DAC will only output PCM however.

DAC inputs include the usual suspects: AES/EBU, SPDIF, Toslink and USB. Also included is a proprietary optical link. The DAC uses an upsampling algorithm where the user can set the time and frequency domain behavior.

Chris's picture

I thought the $25k and $30k CD players were silly but each day delivers even more expensive nonsense. I wonder how you can take less than a few hundred dollars in parts (yes I know I am spotting them some) and mark it up to $50k. Not one electronic component in these players is manufactured by these companies except maybe the power supplies. I await an explanation of how this DAC is so much better than the DAC from last year. As I said before who needs a CD player. Moore's law says DAC should be cheaper than ever but I have seen where Tech is so old the price goes up again because of limited availability--I assume in this case very rare indeed.

prashant's picture

50K USD price tag is outrageous & equally's just paying a hefty amount for a piece of a technology which no more holds the ground.......the CD is dead!

Paul S.'s picture

While I disagree with the two posters above who claim that the CD is "dead"[the CD is still very much alive!]. I do agree that 50K is WAY too much for any audio component. I think they are overreaching a bit with that price. Who's the demographic? A handful of billionaires?

John Atkinson's picture

With all due respect, those who talk about a product like this having just a "few hundred dollar's worth of parts" are revealing their lack of informed knowledge. In addition, there are no economies of scale with something like this and the company's fixed overhead has to be spread over a much smaller production run than a low-priced product, resulting a higher cost allocation per unit built. Finally, if you really do feel that a product is over-priced, please please please do not buy it - that's how the free market works.

Jim Tavegia's picture

It seems that the gist of this show is not to worry about the masses in the throws of this recession, let's go after the people who always seem to have money, recession or not. I am not debating a product's worth...that is only up to the potential buyer. It just seems like the market is really moving high up the food chain in this economy. I am intrigued by the Bel Canto offerings. The DAC market is an emerging one for sure.

Chris E.'s picture

John, I'm not sure I understand the addition of the word "informed"? Seems redundant to me. Are you indicating that there is a special kind of knowledge required to price the parts list of a CD player? Precisely because these companies lack economies of scale they are buying their parts from electronics manufactures that do have large production capacity. Given the parts list one can easily calculate the cost for everything except the cost of the enclosure. Ayre does some special things with their aluminum block enclosures and so I see that this could add a significant amount to their price. From the picture of this $50K CD player I do not see the same level of cost on the enclosure. The last part of your argument effectively says that this company’s limited capacity results in a higher cost that generates no benefit to the end customer--No improved product quality or improved sound, just a higher cost to own because a small company has assembled it. This is not a winning argument or sales pitch—give the customer something to justify the price. Even your writer Jon Iverson is a bit incredulous over the price “One thing I found curious (other than the price)…” Surely Constellation Audio provided a reason.

I. G.'s picture

Supply - demand. Until there are enough people who pay $50K for it, they will sell it for $50K.

orange juice's picture

Each product is calculated out of material, work, costs and profit (why otherwise would one build it?). And yes, there are importers and dealers needing to live from it as well. So, why beeing so unfair bringing things down that simple? What do you think cost such a cabinet, then engineering, the prototypes, the parts, the engeneers ivolved, the factory and others...? I am not sure, but for sure I know it is not that easy to build it, labeling it with a crazy price and hoping to find someone dumb enough to pay that. Funnywise guys who can afford that are usually not dumb, but succesful for the fact beeing on the brighter brainside - and if those guys making the decision to buy it, why beeing smarter then these guys? And, no, I am not involved with this company, nor having any other interest in it, believe it or not.

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