• AES/EBU Interface

    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
    Article Preview



    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. ...
    by Published on 07-09-2013 09:26 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    5. AES/EBU Interface,
    6. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface
    Article Preview

    I entered the Auralic Vega review process knowing as little information about the DAC as possible. I had no expectations for the Vega. By the time I selected the first track for playback via an Aurender W20 music server I'd long forgotten the product announcement I posted last year and had since confused the Vega's specs with countless other DACs on the market. DAC confusion is a little known benefit when trying to judge a product based on sound quality and minimize the influence of specs and features. In fact I didn't know the price of the DAC until I started writing this review. Going in "blindly" turned out to be terrific. Throughout the entire review I focussed solely on the music flowing through the Vega rather than items like how its USB receiver chip operated or its method of up or over sampling. These technical details could easily be found later in the manual, a technical document, or by trial and error. I wanted to know how the Vega sounded. After several weeks of listening I conclude without a doubt the Vega's great sound quality, transparency, and very rich tone earn it a spot on the Computer Audiophile Suggested Hardware List (C.A.S.H. List ). The $3,500 Auralic Vega digital to analog converter is quite possibly the best DAC I've heard at this price. ...
    by Published on 05-22-2013 05:13 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    5. AES/EBU Interface,
    6. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface
    Article Preview

    Sooner or later audiophiles come to the realizations that every component flavors the sound and that there isn't a single best flavor. Accepting these two facts eases us into the world of endless enjoyment provided by this wonderful hobby. Researching, selecting, and auditioning new components can be pleasurable when our sonic tastebuds are the only things that matter. When visiting a chocolatier we may ask for recommendations or for the most exotic or popular truffles. Tasting each type of truffle is a blissful experience that frequently leads us to prefer a specific flavor. Regardless of each ingredient's purity, source, or popularity the final decision is based on taste. Selecting audio components is no different from selecting fine chocolates. The colorful sights and sounds of my McIntosh MC275 may be equally as enjoyable as my impeccably engineered Spectral DMA-260 solid state amplifier. When I'm listening to music rather than equipment my audio system is comprised of components that best bring out an emotional response to my favorite albums. Over the last few weeks nothing in my listening room has been as essential to my musical enjoyment as the Luxman DA-06 digital to analog converter. The Luxman DA-06 DAC is as rich and smooth as a Diane Krön truffle yet as pure as water from France's Auvergne region. Like a good book the DA-06 had me hooked on its lush qualities from track one. ...
    by Published on 02-26-2013 05:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. Digital to Analog Converter,
    4. USB Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    6. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    7. AES/EBU Interface,
    8. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface

    The T+A DAC 8 has been in my audio system off and on for several months. There was something about this DAC that just didn’t sound right for much of this time period. I knew the DAC 8 was engineered very well with several user adjustable settings and DSP unique to the T+A brand, so I continued using the DAC in between reviews of other products. I had faith in the DAC 8 but admit at one point I even started writing an email to prep T+A for an unfavorable review. Roughly two weeks ago I decided it was time to fish or cut bait. I couldn’t hold up the review any longer. In my last ditch effort to squeeze better sound from the DAC 8 I re-read the user manual and discovered I wasn’t using the correct digital filter for my musical taste. This entire time I thought I’d set the DAC up to use its pure Bezier interpolator for better timing and dynamics. To my dismay I’d accidentally selected the Bezier interpolator with IIR filter that produces a highly analog sound similar to vinyl records. There’s nothing wrong with the Bezier interpolator with IIR filter but it was far from my expectations of accurate playback. Once I selected the pure Bezier interpolator all was right with the world. I’d found the magic I knew was inside the T+A DAC 8 and couldn’t have been happier. ...
    by Published on 09-23-2012 02:21 PM
    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

    Several Consumer Electronics Shows ago I remember seeing the PS Audio PerfectWave DAC in a very early stage of its development. If I'm not mistaken the front color display was actually an iPod screen placed in the front window of the chassis. Most high end audio focussed show goers had no clue what PS Audio was doing with this new PerfectWave series of products. As The Computer Audiophile one of my most important stops of the entire show was the PS Audio suite. The PerfectWave DAC was right up my alley and I wanted to extract as much information as possible from everyone in that suite. I must have asked the same questions to five different PS Audio representatives just to see if I could squeeze an extra morsel of information. I left the PS Audio suite thinking the PWD looked very promising based on a nice set of features and that PS Audio as a company was laser focussed on the next phase of high end playback with the PerfectWave products leading the way. Since that show PS Audio hasn't wavered in its dedication to the PerfectWave platform and computer based audio. In November 2011 PS Audio announced the MKII update to its original PerfectWave DAC. Once the dust settled I got my hands on the MKII this summer. After a couple months with the PWD MKII in my listening room I have some strong opinions about the product. The bottom line is the MKII update is a game changer that elevates the PerfectWave DAC to C.A.S.H. List status and puts the original PWD MKI to shame. ...
    by Published on 08-16-2012 09:10 PM
    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

    Many people don't realize it yet but nearly all the high tech devices in use today are computers. Even iPhones and Android based smartphones are just small computers that fit into our pockets and enable us to communicate via voice. I remember the days of analog phones that never needed a reboot. Those were the good old days. Many audio components are no different from small purpose built computers. Some companies suggest their devices are for people who don't want a computer in the listening room or near an audio system. In reality these same companies' products are computers running Linux operating systems disguised as traditional audio components. Good, bad, or indifferent virtually everything is a computer today. Wadia's 121 Decoding Computer follows a long line of products with apropos names. Calling the company's Digital to Analog converters DACs is a bit too simplistic. Wadia writes software that runs on multi-purpose processors to decode and process digital audio. This audio is received, buffered, and processed by Decoding Computers such as the Wadia 121 similarly to conventional computers. To the end user a Wadia Decoding Computer looks, feels, and functions the same as any DAC. Connect a USB cable to the digital input and analog cables on the output and music flows without any user configuration. What happens inside the Wadia 121 Decoding Computer is another story complete with an advanced design similar to Wadia's very high end reference components. The 121 isn't the largest component on the block but is capable of competing at large component levels. ...
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