• Brian

    by Published on 08-18-2015 02:16 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Software
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    To the computer audiophile, the convenience of having millions of tracks at your fingertips has always been hamstrung by quality issues. With the rise of Tidal and its lossless capabilities, streaming has really gotten a second look as a more legitimate source. Its appearance at audio shows is becoming more frequent (even if its use is often hidden from public view). So as with most intentions associated with the audiophile hobby, it should come no surprise that eventually steps to squeeze more fidelity out of this high-potential cloud-based service should come to market. ...
    by Published on 07-24-2015 09:43 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. Headphones
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    There seems to be no end in sight for the significant gains portable audio has seen in the past few years in terms of both sound quality and feature sets. The last big hurdle seems to tackle the elusive integration of tubes. A few desktop units from Woo Audio and others have trickled out into the market but a more portable solution hasn’t really gained significant steam in the public consciousness. Portland-based ALO has introduced several variations on this theme with their original Continental and subsequent Pan Am models, but has since halted production to focus on their new portable flagship called the Continental Dual Mono ($1,495).

    The feature set is a hefty one, and appears to be an impressive collection based on learnings and observations from the company’s time in the field. ...
    by Published on 03-17-2015 09:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. Headphones
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    The newest product from the long-standing High Resolution Technologies (HRT) is a small one, both in size and pricing. The dSP line consists of two products (estimated $69/each). i-dSP can handle an Apple Lighting connection while the regular dSP is intended for use with a computer (via USB) and Android devices. The i-dSP still requires the purchase of Apple’s Lighting to USB Camera adaptor to work properly, so add another $30 on to the price to get things going in that scenario.
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    by Published on 12-10-2014 09:17 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    5. AES/EBU Interface,
    6. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface,
    7. Preamp,
    8. Headphones
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    The wild world of DACs continues to expand with a new update from the pro-leaning company Grace Design. The m903 was released just 3 years previous but already it seems like a (product) lifetime ago. The newest bible-sized, DAC/headphone amplifier is called the m920 “High Resolution Monitoring System” and still shares many of the same external design elements from its predecessor. The internals have had some renovating of course, and the price moved $100 north from $1,895 to $1,995. As of September of this year the m903 is permanently discontinued so older models aren’t kept around for purchase like the Benchmark DAC 1 series or a previous generation iPad. ...
    by Published on 10-06-2014 11:29 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Speakers,
    3. Wireless,
    4. USB Interface
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    Computer desktop audio and hifi converge in the form of several products each year. The newest submission by Eclipse is called the TD-M1 wireless speaker system. The bullet-shaped casing from each of the mounted speaker cabinets houses a single 8mm driver and is rated for 20W output from the built in amplification. Also included in the mix are an interesting selection of inputs that include Apple’s Airplay, your standard computer USB input and a USB input from a direct connection to an iDevice. The overall layout of the system screams for desktop and nearfield listening, although the setup can still be used in a pinch for a makeshift bookshelf or kitchen stereo.

    A satisfying gloss finish further complements the TD-M1’s external appearance. The review pair that was received was set in black but a white model is also available for purchase. The 8mm driver is slightly recessed into the front of the airplane engine shaped module and feels like a fairly tight little package overall. The 11-˝ lbs. combined weight of the pair certainly contributes to the sturdy form factor. The adjustable tilt from the non-removable stands is a godsend for getting the sonic delivery adjusted to your liking and is fairly easy to use and setup. While the height of the speakers is locked in, this designated distance from the ground keeps the setup from becoming to intrusive against tight desk quarters. The protruding clip found hidden in the rear design allows for the tilt to be adjusted in much the same manner as a car steering wheel. The removable antennae in the back may allude to Bluetooth connectivity, but alas, the M1 is restricted to Wi-Fi usage on the wireless front.



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    by Published on 06-30-2014 10:23 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    5. AES/EBU Interface,
    6. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface,
    7. Preamp,
    8. Headphones
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    The Oppo HA-1 is a harvester of many tricks, so many in fact that it is almost unfair to label it strictly a headphone amplifier as the acronym in the name suggests. It really stretches the boundaries of inputs, outputs and digital conversion all within a reasonable amount of desktop real estate.

    As with all things Oppo, attention to detail appears to be a top priority, even down to the packaging. In a market where the focus on sound quality can allow manufacturers to slip by with off-the-shelf interfaces and external design, the Oppo ship is watertight. In rare form for most HiFi equipment, the head amp includes a fully interactive graphical interface, complete with pretty icons for source selection. Connectivity is king with the HA-1. Nearly every single base is covered. In the rear you can find super DSD-friendly USB, single ended ins and outs, balanced XLR ins and outs, and one of each type of available digital input (including optical, coaxial and AES/EBU). To top it all off Oppo included both an in and out trigger and Bluetooth connectivity with aptX. An external remote is included, but in case you don’t want another one lying around the house, Oppo even has a remote app for your perusing pleasure that connects via Bluetooth. ...
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