• Digital to Analog Converter

    by Published on 07-31-2015 03:06 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. Speakers,
    4. Wireless,
    5. USB Interface,
    6. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    7. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface
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    The Dynaudio Xeo 6 system is often misrepresented as a pair of wireless loudspeakers. The reality is that the Xeo 6 is a system that takes the place of a DAC, audio cables, amplifiers, and loudspeakers. The only piece not included with the Xeo 6 is the source such as a music server or traditional computer. What's more, the Xeo 6 system includes all of these elements in a sleek design. The visual minimalist can even place a music server and the wireless transmitter in another room, so the only visible piece of the audio system is the Xeo 6 loudspeakers. In addition to flexibility, the Xeo 6 system offers true high end audio sound quality. There are so many things right with the design of this system that it’s no wonder the sound quality is so impressive. From the full digital signal path to the loudspeakers to the active design with perfectly matched amplifiers for each of the three drivers in each speaker, the system technically hits many high notes. The Xeo 6 system simply makes sense on several levels and delivers the goods when it comes to sound quality. ...
    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 05-27-2015 09:29 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. Digital to Analog Converter,
    4. Wireless,
    5. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    6. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface,
    7. UPnP / DLNA



    I visited the Naim Audio factory in England last September after visiting Devialet in France. The contrast between the companies couldn't have been more clear-cut. On one hand was Devialet with automated everything and the newest technology. On the other hand was Naim with real humans putting together every component by hand. Where Devialet wasn't old enough to have a major servicing department, Naim had a dedicated area in the factory where the company serviced nearly every piece of gear the company had ever made, going back many years. The area was like a Naim Audio historical society. The funny thing is though, both companies are pursuing the same goal of delivering excellent music reproduction in the home. There isn't one right way to do this stuff and there isn't one style of component that fits all user's needs. As enthusiasts who love great sound we are fortunate to have both companies perfecting their crafts in two completely different manners. ...
    by Published on 05-14-2015 11:39 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface



    The exaSound e12: The little engine that could...change how we think of sub $2k DACs


    George Klissarov of exaSound had an idea that he could take his award-winning e22 stereo DSD DAC and create a lighter smaller (read: less expensive) version that lost none of the sound quality....none! The savings would be in case size, inputs and output parts, removal of the display and an ever so slightly less refined power filter. He told me about it over a year ago and I jumped at the opportunity to hear it. ...
    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.
    ...
    by Published on 02-27-2015 09:10 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
    Article Preview



    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). ...
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