• Digital Interface Converter

    by Published on 04-28-2016 07:27 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. UPnP / DLNA,
    5. RoonReady
    Article Preview



    In mid 2014 I received a call from Sonore's Jesus R. He wanted to discuss an idea. Jesus and his team had decided they needed to move the needle, in a huge way, with respect to computer audio playback. They had built, sold, and supported custom high end music servers for years, but were ready to innovate beyond this somewhat traditional approach. Jesus told me they wanted to design and build both the hardware and software for a tiny microcomputer the size of a credit card, that had a single purpose, to reproduce the best sound quality possible. Then he semi-jokingly asked me if I knew anyone with really deep pockets who'd like to bankroll the endeavor. At the end of our lengthy conversation I concluded that this was another great idea that would never come to fruition because it was simply cost prohibitive for a boutique manufacturer.

    Fast forward to summer 2015, when I received an email from Jesus with the subject, code name = Toaster. The first two sentences said, "For your eyes only. The small board goes on top of the larger board and it's to scale if you want to print it." Attached was the schematic for prototype units numbered 1, 2, and 3 that were already being made as I read the email. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. Jesus and his team had successfully pulled off the initial hardware design phase of a project I never thought would see the light of day.

    Seeing a product brought to life from its infancy was pretty cool, at least for me. Readers putting two and two together are probably asking what happened from mid 2014 to mid 2015 to the end of April 2016. As anyone with knowledge of hardware design, prototyping, software development and testing, and sourcing components can tell you, there are more trials and tribulations involved in bringing a high precision product to market than Joe Sixpack could ever imagine. But, that's an interesting story for another time. Today, April 28, 2016 marks the launch of the highly anticipated custom designed Sonore microRendu, a purpose-built audiophile microcomputer designed to unprecedentedly process USB audio. ...
    by Published on 11-25-2015 09:49 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. Wireless,
    4. USB Interface,
    5. UPnP / DLNA
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    The exaSound Playpoint Stereo/Multichannel Streamer (Jack of All Trades, Master of at Least Four!)

    When the computer audiophile world began to embrace the onset of ethernet-based music streamers, it was slowly becoming clear that not all DACs could seamlessly take part in this (general use) computer-less setup. As DAC manufacturers pushed for better and better integration with computers, some of them went as far as creating specific drivers to take advantage of direct handshaking with such higher resolution formats as raw DSD (as opposed to getting one's DSD packed in a PCM carrier, aka DoP). This integration often had sonic payoffs, but made plug-n-play Linux UPnP streamers, looking for common drivers in the USB Audio Class 2 category (aka UAC2) too pedestrian to be able to talk to these DACs. And although some of this has changed over the past couple of years (Linux code lines now embrace some native DAC drivers of various manufacturers, above and beyond UAC2) some DACs still would rather interface more closely with proprietary drivers. One such DAC manufacturer that has espoused this direct driver philosophy is exaSound. ...
    by Published on 08-26-2015 11:41 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. Digital to Analog Converter,
    4. Wireless,
    5. USB Interface,
    6. S/PDIF (BNC) Interface,
    7. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    8. AES/EBU Interface,
    9. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface,
    10. UPnP / DLNA,
    11. Preamp
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    The last couple audio events I attended I talked to consumers who were hesitant to purchase a new Digital to Analog Converter (DAC). The most common reason for this hesitation was that they weren't certain a DAC purchased today would satisfy their needs tomorrow, especially when they didn't even know their own needs today. What if I want to play this or play that or stream this or stream that? Those were common concerns at the events, but they have likely been on peoples' minds since high end digital audio began changing faster than is comfortable for most peoples' pocket books. I completely get it and I would likely be very frustrated if I were in the position of Joe Sixpack the average but dedicated audiophile.

    Based in Boucherville, a suburb of Montreal, on the South shore of the Saint Lawrence River, Simaudio understands consumer desire for a product that won't be obsolete as soon as it's setup on one's home. Not only that but, the people at Simaudio are incredibly down to Earth and manufacturer products that they would want to spend their hard earned money on as well. This equates to products that have terrific flexibility, upgradeability, and great sound quality and products that the hesitant audiophile should definitely consider. ...
    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 02-19-2015 01:25 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital Interface Converter,
    3. Digital to Analog Converter,
    4. Wireless,
    5. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface
    Article Preview



    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 01-22-2015 08:00 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
    Article Preview



    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 ...
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