Jon Iverson

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Jon Iverson  |  Jan 09, 2014  |  1 comments
Yes, DACs can be bought as monoblocks just like amps. The D1 retails for $22k each (so that's $44k for a stereo pair) and includes Esoteric's proprietary ES-LINK4 connection allowing DSD transfer from the companion P1 transport as well as 48/352.8 PCM, both via an HDMI cable.

Both the P1 and its D1a can be connected by a BNC cable for clock sync, and the company says that the D1 employs a 36bit digital to analog processing algorithm for PCM. In addition to accepting the P1 signal via HDMI, the D1 has six more inputs including USB, AES/EBU, SPDIF (x2), optical and i.LINK.

Jon Iverson  |  Jan 09, 2014  |  0 comments
Teac's Esoteric division also released their new P1 transport that can handle SACD/CD playback, built around the company's VRDS NEO mechanism.

The P1 also features a two-chassis design with separate power supply (not shown), "leather-finish" remote control and a $44k price tag. Both the P1 and D1 are housed in a gorgeous aluminum chassis with a fine-ribbed finish.

Jon Iverson  |  Jan 09, 2014  |  0 comments
Korean manufacturer Aurender was on hand to debut the new X100L and X100S digital music players. The L and S designations are for long and short and describe the length of each case, which contain different sizes of hard drives. The L version can hold two 3TB SATA drives for a total capacity of 6TB, while the S version has space for a 1TB 2.5 inch drive or SSD.

The L will retail for $3,499 with the S coming in at $2,999, both being released in February. The Aurender X100 supports bit-perfect playback of DSD, WAV, FLAC, ALAC, APE, AIFF, M4A, and "other major formats". Control is via the Aurender Conductor App for iPad/iPad Mini (same as used with the Aurender S10 and W20).

Designed to be combined with USB compatible DACs, the X100 is equipped with a USB 2.0 audio output that was originally designed for the flagship Aurender W20 model. Other connections include a Gigabit ethernet port for network connectivity and two USB data ports.

Jon Iverson  |  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.

Jon Iverson  |  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.

Jon Iverson  |  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.

Jon Iverson  |  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.
Jon Iverson  |  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.

Jon Iverson  |  Jan 08, 2014  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  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.

Jon Iverson  |  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.