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    by Published on 12-02-2016 09:36 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    6. AES/EBU Interface,
    7. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface,
    8. Preamp
    Article Preview

    The Mytek Brooklyn is an incredibly versatile audio component. In fact, I can't think of another HiFi component that packs as much capability and technology into a single chassis (OK, the new $5,995 Mytek Manhattan II does but in a chassis roughly twice the size and four times the weight).). In most of the world, a plethora of features is a good thing. In the world of audiophiles, this can be seen as a bad thing. Many audiophiles still have in their heads the idea that they can use a straight wire with gain for preampfification. Such thinking is frequently called "purist." I suppose someone who still rides a horse to work could be called a purist as well. That's a club of which I don't want to be a member. I'm a card-carrying, knuckle-dragging audiophile that's skeptical of products that claim to do it all, but I also have an open mind and recognize solid technology when I see it. The Mytek Brooklyn is definitely a jack of all trades and a master of most. I held off on saying master of all trades because I didn't use the Brooklyn as a headphone amp or a phono preamplifier. All the other technologies and features of the Brooklyn were worked over very well throughout this review period. Overall, I really like the Brooklyn and believe, in many cases, it could be the best component in its class for under $2,000. ...
    by Published on 11-23-2016 09:03 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface,
    5. Preamp
    Article Preview

    I'm going to start this off with an assignment for those reading the review. I hate to sound professorial, or like there will be an exam later in the semester, but it's for your own benefit. Please read my review of the Peachtree Audio nova150 before reading further. There's no need to recreate the wheel and go over the 99% of shared concepts and features a second time. The nova150 and the nova300 have so much in common, that I consider them not just brothers, but twins. Not in the complete Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito kind of way. Rather, more like real twins. One is stronger, better at sports, and receives more accolades. The nova150 and nova300 have the same DNA, just like identical twins, but the nova300 is that captain of the hockey team twin. The nova300 has a bit more going for it than the nova150. Similar to the way that members of the opposite sex may be more attracted to the stronger more athletic twin, audiophiles may be more attracted to the nova300. 300 is more than 150, so it must be better. Right? Or, just like the real world, does the smaller twin have more brains and finesse? After taking the nova300 for a spin for a week, I have no doubt that the stronger twin is equal to or better than the nova150 at everything. When paired with my TAD Compact Reference One loudspeakers, the nova300 had plenty of power to play Nine Inch Nails at 100 dB, with peaks near 115 dB, and play Beethoven's Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 5 in F, Op. 24 at reasonable levels with excellent detail and texture. I had so much fun with the nova300 in my system that I played everything from classical to classic rock to heavy metal to rap to metal rap. I just had to hear if the nova300 was capable of driving my 86 dB sensitive loudspeakers with power, finesse, and control. Test = passed. I hate to demean the nova150, but life isn't fair sometimes. Just like that identical twin who was naturally stronger and more gifted than his brother, in my system the nova300 is simply better. When in doubt, the Peachtree Audio nova300 is the one you want. Period. ...
    by Published on 11-18-2016 10:01 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. The Music In Me
    Article Preview

    In August of 1967, my friend Billy came back from London with two albums, which he gave to me, and almost fifty years later, I am still impacted by those albums.

    It seems that during my junior high and high school years, among my friends’ parents I was thought of as something of a bad influence. Yes, I earned some of that… but some of it wasn’t my fault! Then, continuing the tradition after high school, which for me was 1964, my room became something of a hippie redoubt where the nascent neighborhood stoners convened. My parents were away for weeks at a time, which would be when all that convening occurred. I had the cool pad with the stereo set up… just so, and thanks to the absence of parents, we played it loud. I’d moved into a large, finished attic, painted the walls electric blue, used two piled-up mattresses for my bed on one side of the room, and two more for a couch on the other side, both covered similarly. Then I went to one of the “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS!” places in Times Square and got a 9 X 12 oriental rug for $79.99 and used British flags for curtains. Let’s call it proto-hippie décor. ...
    by Published on 11-15-2016 10:06 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Bits & Bytes

    Just a real short post today. If you haven't heard about the new PBS series called Soundbreaking, you must check it out. Here are some paragraphs from PBS about the series. In addition, I've embedded the first video into this post. I hope members of the CA Community from locations that don't receive PBS can watch this series. It's very cool.

    Note: If you're a supporting member of PBS, you can actually watch the other episodes before they air.

    "The eight-part series explores the art of music recording, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the birth of brand new sounds. Featuring more than 160 original interviews with some of the most celebrated recording artists of all time, Soundbreaking explores the nexus of cutting-edge technology and human artistry that has created the soundtrack of our lives."

    Episode 1: Soundbreaking begins where a recording does — at the intersection of inspiration and execution. Profiling some of the most accomplished and revered producers in the recording industry, “The Recording Artist” offers a study in contrasting styles and approaches.
    by Published on 11-11-2016 11:02 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Books

    Over the last year or so, I frequently had these feelings and a desire to make something with my hands. I thought about getting into woodworking, even though I have less than zero skills with the craft. I didn't really understand these feelings, but they were very strong. I use the word feelings rather than the word thoughts because this was coming from inside me and I couldn't wrap my head around it. I had an innate desire for something real. It turns out, I had an analog itch that was screaming to be scratched.

    I put down my Canon 5d MKIII digital camera, picked up my Hasselblad fully manual analog camera and shot a few rolls of Fuji Velvia slide film. I shipped the exposed film off to be processed, scanned, and printed. The anticipation of seeing what I had created was delightful. I waited nearly two weeks for the results to arrive home. Upon receiving the prints, I had a realization. While the final images were nice, they weren't the main reason for my happiness, my new found enthusiasm for analog, and my sense of fulfillment. Nostalgia also had little to nothing to do with this feeling. It was all about being human and connecting with something real, something tangible, something analog. It was about using more of my senses and being more human, as opposed to the binary digital life I lead on most days. Smelling the film as I placed it into the camera. Hand-winding the film within the A12 camera back. Hearing the distinctive rear auxiliary shutter of the Hasselblad 503CW camera body as I depressed the metal shutter release button. And finally, seeing, touching, and smelling the finished 5x5 prints upon their delivery from the mailman. This was a physical human experience from beginning to end. ...
    by Published on 11-03-2016 02:49 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    4. AES/EBU Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface
    Article Preview

    Reviewing or writing about updated versions of products is something I rarely do. For the most part, I am just not as interested in the incremental updates so often placed into audio components, as I am interested in products that are new or significantly changed. I've been disappointed in the past to learn of manufacturers who release "Mark II" of a product only because a single internal component of the original version is no longer available. It's just as disappointing to see the unaware spend hard-earned money on such an upgrade. This type of thing happens across all industries. It's the nature of capitalism and consumerism. Fortunately, we are in the golden age of the Internet, where people can freely publish opinions about products without any trouble. We've all see numerous follow up reviews of version 2.0, where the writer says the upgrade isn't worth it or the upgrade didn't make any difference. Oh wait, today is November 1st, not April 1st. I can't recall ever seeing such an article. Back to my distaste of wasting virtual ink on incremental version upgrades. Aside from my skepticism about such upgrades, my lack of interest would no doubt lead to lackluster articles. Ever try writing about a topic with which you have zero interest? If the piece turned out good, you're a much better writer than I. Working for myself, I have no boss breathing down my neck to get a follow up review done. Without such pressure, I physically can't write such an article. It's just not in me. How does any of this relate to the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series 2? The DAC is obviously version 2 of the original, but in this case I can't not write about the RS2. The difference in sonic quality between Series 1 and Series 2 is substantial. This difference makes the decision to upgrade from from S1 to S2 a no brainer, and puts the Alpha DAC Reference Series back into play for people who may have written it off based on previous listening sessions. The Alpha DAC Reference Series 2 is easily Berkeley Audio Design's finest work to date and a reference by which other DACs will be measured. ...

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