• Digital to Analog Converter

    by Published on 12-19-2013 09:57 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface


    The plot continues to thicken around USB-stick-sized micro DACs. The release of the AudioQuest Dragonfly and subsequently the Meridian Explorer pushed the burgeoning genre even further into the audiophile consciousness. The lowly (by audiophile standards) cost of entry beckons the question, how far is this game going to go? The answer from Audioengine is another step in the southern direction with their newest release called the D3 ($189).

    While Audioengine is perhaps know best for its affordable computer audio loudspeaker setups, its reasonably priced D1 DAC unit ($169) has not gone completely unnoticed among the budget computer audio faithful. The followup micro DAC here keeps the company on pace with current industry trends and further challenges the idea that high fidelity listening has to cost an arm and a leg. ...
    by Published on 11-21-2013 06:34 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. Preamp,
    5. Headphones
    Article Preview


    Meridian Audio is on a roll this year releasing the Explorer, Director, and now the Prime. All three are headphone amplifiers but the Prime is another league. In addition to asynchronous USB input for sample rates up through 24 bit / 192 kHz PCM like the Explorer and Director, the Prime can function as the center of both digital and analog audio systems. Featuring both digital and analog inputs that donít cross paths internally the Prime is much more of a foundation piece upon which to build a high quality audio system than solely a headphone amplifier as its name suggests. The build quality and the look of the Prime are terrific. The Prime exudes both a pride in craftsmanship from Meridian and no doubt a pride of ownership for the consumer. I envision the Prime quarterbacking many an office audio system in the near future driving both headphones and powered loudspeakers. The Prime is fairly small but it isnít portable. Listeners enjoying the Prime at work will likely want a matching unit for the house once they hear what Meridianís Analogue Spatial Processing if capable of delivering via the headphone outputs. Listening to plain in-the-head audio just doesnít cut it any longer. Whats more, add the Meridian Prime Power Supply to the mix and itís primetime for audio enthusiasts everywhere. ...
    by Published on 09-12-2013 04:17 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. Speakers,
    4. USB Interface,
    5. Preamp
    Article Preview

    Why do we listen to music? What motivates us to select a specific album or playlist? The answers to these questions may vary between all of us and even vary within us from day to day. I often listen to music and select certain albums because I've chosen to to write about music and equipment as a career. Recently I've been inspired to listen to music after watching videos emailed to me by friends. Three specific videos sparked me to listen to and enjoy more music in the last few weeks than I have in recent memory. One was an official music video, one was a poorly recorded public performance, and the other was an advertising campaign for a mobile phone. Three very different videos featuring very different music, yet the result the same. I delved into three artist's catalogs and did nothing but listen for hours on end. I cranked the volume when I felt like it, listened to deeps tracks that lead to deeper tracks, and listened to bootleg albums of concerts I attended. I was lost in my own little world where I wasn't concerned with writing about specifications and minute little details that the family Chihuahuas probably don't even hear. Analyzing this music with software in an attempt to learn about its provenance sounded about as fun as paying the IRS. Both of those activities couldn't have been further from my mind. I was busy rocking, bouncing, head bobbing, and feeling chills that only authentic experiences can evoke. ...
    by Published on 08-28-2013 12:44 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface,
    6. Preamp,
    7. Headphones
    Article Preview


    exaSound e28 8 Channel DSD DAC: Computer Audio Is Surrounded!
    Argh! A multichannel review? Seriously? Who likes multichannel? And file-based multichannel? Seriously? Who does file-based multichannel? Isnít surround sound for sci-fi spaceship flyovers and spooky foley effects in horror movies? And you call yourself an audiophile?

    Ok, so I got all that (tongue in cheek) out of the way. Those of you who have embraced computer audio and are content with two-channel soundstages, I implore you to read on. Maybe just one or two (thousand?) of you can discover the incredible potential of the realism and adventure, in the VAST catalog of hirez multichannel music that is becoming available to use, at your listening seat.

    When I first realized the potential of computer audio, when I first heard and experienced both the sonic improvements and the incredible convenience of remote-controlled file-based music playback, I was dreaming of the day when this paradigm would allow me to listen to ALL my music, both 2 channel and multichannel. I have a significant amount of time and energy invested into my multichannel music (not to be confused with movie setup) signal path, and am lucky to have dedicated equipment for both 2 channel and multichannel hirez listening. Itís not necessary to be this OC, but I am. ...
    by Published on 08-22-2013 01:48 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. Digital to Analog Converter,
    4. UPnP / DLNA
    Article Preview

    Pixel Magic's Lumin network music player is really something special. The Lumin simply works great, sounds great, and looks great. Every audio component should at least fall into the "it works" category. Unfortunately when network audio is involved most players have issues. Some network players can't handle gapless playback, others can't handle DSD playback, yet others can't handle files with larger than average embedded album art. The list of issues or deficiencies of network audio players could literally go on for several pages. A search of the Computer Audiophile forum, Linn forum, PS Audio forum, or even Google should give readers an idea of the headaches many users go through with network based audio solutions. Contrary to popular belief the network and player setup part is relatively easy. The hard part is running into issues such as lack of gapless playback and being powerless to fix the issue. Sometimes it's a hardware issue that no amount of firmware updating can fix. Other times firmware can resolve the issue but may cause an unforeseen issue with another aspect of playback. Network audio users know exactly what I'm writing about, whether they want to admit it is another story altogether. The Lumin suffers from none of the common network audio player ills. I streamed high res, low res, medium res, sky-high res, you-name-it res to the Lumin over my network and it simply worked. Gapless DSD? Check. Gapless 24 bit / 192 kHz? Check. No hiccups? Check. Lumin is without a doubt the most polished DLNA network player I've used to date. ...
    by Published on 08-05-2013 06:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    5. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface
    Article Preview

    High end, high style, and high class Meridian Audio has delivered another winning product without the matching high price tag. Meridian surprised many audiophiles earlier this year with its $299 Explorer portable DAC / headphone amplifier. Today Meridian released its $699 Director digital to analog converter. The Director is a larger unit but still much smaller than most high end components. I hesitate to say it isn't portable because audiophiles, myself included, have been known to take all kinds of components out of the house in order to reproduce good sound on the road, in the air, or at the coffee shop. Combined with the right ancillary components the Director would be a fine portable DAC although Meridian has positioned it as the home or office-based big brother to the portable Explorer. The Director is a more robust offering than the Explorer. It features physical components that simply don't fit in the Explorer's smaller housing or the Explorer's lower price point. The Director is much more like a traditional DAC than the Explorer due to its fixed output level or lack of internal volume control, full size USB B port, full size RCA analog outputs, both mini TOSLink and coaxial digital inputs, and included but optional external power adapter. Despite these differences many computer audiophiles may have a hard time choosing between the Explorer and the Director for their home or portable audio needs. No matter what a product review says or which internal components are used in a DAC nothing compares to trying the products personally. ...
    Page 2 of 10 FirstFirst 123456 ... LastLast