• The Computer Audiophile

    by Published on 02-27-2015 10:10 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
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    I'm starting this review from a unique point of view. I purposely learned very little about the product under review before I started my listening sessions. I know the product is a DAC manufactured by Hegel and it says HD12 DSD on the front panel. I skimmed through the user manual to find out how to enable 24 bit / 192 kHz PCM and DSD playback and at the same time learned it's recommended to use the balanced analog outputs. Other than this information I have no clue how much this product costs, what DAC chip (if any) it uses, or where Hegel positions the DAC in its lineup of products. I don't know if I have an entry level or a flagship DAC. I even disabled the LED display on the unit while listening so I was looking at a small black box that gave me no visual cues that could sway my sonic impressions. Sure, I could have hired an assistant to unbox the DAC and place it behind a curtain until I wrote this review but life is about balance and I think I found a good balance between knowing everything about a product and not knowing anything, including how to use the product. I'm not a fan of blind testing audio components, rather I just wanted to have a little fun while reviewing this component and try writing from a different perspective. In a way I feel like a consumer entering an audio store without too much knowledge and looking for a DAC. The person at the store has told me to have a listen to this product from Hegel and we'll discuss the details after I'm done listening. With this in mind here are my sonic impressions of the Hegel HD12 DAC, followed by some information about the product (that I must look up after writing about my sonic impressions). ...
    by Published on 02-19-2015 02:25 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. Digital to Analog Converter,
    4. Wireless,
    5. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface
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    My office consists of an iMac 5K retina, Macbook Pro, iPad, Google Nexus 7, and my iPhone 6+. All of these devices either contain or stream audio that I listen to while working. Whether itís Internet radio, audio books, TIDAL HIFI, or podcasts I prefer to listen to the audio through my main audio system, which fortunately is also in my office. The question for me is always, how do I get the audio from any of my devices to my stereo system as easy as possible with the best quality possible? One answer to this question is the Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Receiver. The B1 is all about balance between convenience and quality. The convenience offered by a Bluetooth connection is currently second to none. There are no WiFi networks or passwords to worry about. Simply tap connect on a device on thatís it. On the other hand, thereís no getting around the fact that Bluetooth is currently a lossy way to stream audio. But, using the aptX codec companies like Audioengine have increased the quality of these lossy streams greatly. aptX has moved Bluetooth audio from barely acceptable into the realm of highly desirable under the right circumstances. ...
    by Published on 02-05-2015 02:37 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. Wireless,
    4. USB Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    6. AES/EBU Interface,
    7. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface,
    8. Preamp
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    Thereís no question Devialet builds beautiful products. From the moment one opens the box itís easy to see this company is the Apple of HiFi. Unboxing a Devialet amplifier is like opening a present to oneself. Beautifully packaged, the amplifier comes out of the box with an absolutely perfect mirror finish to the chassis. The same can be said for the one of a kind remote control. Right from the start my experience with Devialet was luxurious. I can see why Devialet has become a media darling and why the press has unanimously drooled over everything the company has released. Are the products that good or are the stunning looks and unique design fooling everyone? I set to find out, first with the Devialet 200, then with a pair of Devialet 400 monoblocks. ...
    by Published on 01-29-2015 10:02 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. CAPS v4


    This is the final installment of the CAPS v4 series! It will cover both the Maroubra and Bundoran servers because they are very closely related. This is the first time a CAPS design has been based on an Intel NUC. Part of me feels bad because there isnít much to ďdesignĒ when using the NUC platform, but I am more excited than anything because there is a lot of user demand of NUC based servers. For readers unfamiliar with the Intel NUC, itís a very small motherboard with the CPU soldered to the board. Itís one of the platforms Intel has decided to keep supporting, unlike its traditional motherboard business. Anyway, the main purpose for NUC based CAPS servers is size. These servers will fit into almost any component rack or fit nicely hidden behind a DAC. There isnít much hardware experimentation to be done when using a NUC, but I believe Iíve found a couple ways to make these last two designs a bit more audiophile than a standard off-the-shelf server. The Maroubra and Bundoran servers arenít for everyone, especially those who like to try different things and tweak their systems a bit. These servers are simple solutions that donít cost an arm and a leg and fit nicely into any existing audio system. I hope readers donít see this installment of CAPS v4 as anticlimactic but rather something offering two sensible solutions for specific members of the CA Community. ...
    by Published on 01-22-2015 09:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. Wireless,
    4. USB Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    6. AES/EBU Interface,
    7. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface,
    8. UPnP / DLNA
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    The Auralic Aries is one of the most highly anticipated products in recent memory. From the moment it was announced as a wireless DXD and DSD capable component with USB output to today, the Aries has remained high on many peoplesí lists of components to audition. Fortunately Iíve been able to audition the Aries for several months. During this audition many software and firmware updates were released and the product continued to improve far beyond its initial capabilities. For example, users of the Aries requested USB disk playback and Auralic delivered the feature through a firmware update. Based on my experience with the Aries itís completely understandable why the product remains very hot among members of the Computer Audiophile Community. As of today the Aries and corresponding Lightning DS app deliver on all Auralicís ...
    by Published on 01-13-2015 03:19 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. 2015 Consumer Electronics Show
    Article Preview



    CES 2015 is in the can and Iím disappointed. Iím disappointed that I didnít make it to nearly as many rooms as I wanted to and I didnít spend enough time in the rooms I visited. Without an editorial staff itís impossible to do this show any justice. For the most part, what I saw was great. The new Ravenna based network DAC from Merging Technologies, the NADAC, looks promising. It has the ability to output from two to sixteen channels and should be priced around $6,000 - $7,000. One of the best sounding rooms I stumbled into during the entire show was that of Nagra. The Swiss manufacture demonstrated prototype amplifiers that were part of a system featuring the HD DAC and a MacBook Air. The sound was delicate and stayed in my mind throughout the entire four days of CES. ...
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