Listening to Hi-Rez

As Jason mentioned earlier, I gave 5 hour-long presentations at RMAF entitled "Hearing is Believing—Is Hi Rez Digital the Future of Audio?" To allow Showgoers to hear the differences between the hi-rez masters of my recordings and CD and MP3 versions, I used a system put together by HiFi+ editor Roy Gregory for his demonstrations of system tuning—Ayre A7-xe integrated amplifier, Avalon Evolution NP2.0 speakers (which I reviewed in July, Vertex AQ cables, Stillpoints rack and speaker stands, and Quantum QX4 "field generator"—to which I added a MacBook running iTunes 8 driving a Wavelength Audio Cosecant USB DAC.

Despite the system's fairly modest price—the Ayre amp costs $3500, the Avalon speakers $2000/pair, the Wavelength DAC $3500—it proved well up to the task of demonstrating the differences. My thanks to Roy Gregory of HiFi+, Gordon Rankin of Wavelength, Steve Silberman of Ayre, and to the other manufacturers for allowing me to use their gear.