• CES 2009 Is Here

    The 2009 Consumer Electronics Show is here! Check Computer Audiophile frequently for the latest information about computer based playback and music servers. There will be some great product announcements over the next few days and Computer Audiophile will have photos and videos of everything. All the CA readers in Vegas are encouraged to share their experiences here on the site.
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. lapaix's Avatar
      lapaix -
      Chris (or other folks),<br />
      <br />
      What is the story on this device? It looks impressive.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      I talked to the rep. extensively and it's a Linux based music server with external storage capability.
    1. lapaix's Avatar
      lapaix -
      It would be nice if it ran on OS X, but if it doesn't ubuntu (linux) will run on an Intel Mac under parallels.<br />
      <br />
      Here's the installation link:<br />
      <br />
      http://www.simplehelp.net/2007/04/27/how-to-install-ubuntu-feisty-fawn-in-os-x-using-parallels-a-complete-walkthrough/#install<br />
      <br />
      But, did you have a chance to evaluate it?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      The dss 30 is a hardware and software solution. It runs Linux, but they wouldn't say it was a particular distribution. I probed :-)<br />
      <br />
      They were playing anything from the unit, rather a very expensive turntable.
    1. joeljoel1947's Avatar
      joeljoel1947 -
      Hi Chris,<br />
      Well I was trying to track you down, but you were always one step ahead of me. Day 1, visit 1 was the TAD room. Speaking with Dan (DocB) I asked, "Where is Chris?". He replied, "Oh you just missed him, he left here 30 minutes ago!". <br />
      <br />
      Then I scurried off to stop #2 which was the Weiss room because I wanted to meet Kent Poon from Design w Sound. I did, such a nice guy! I asked him, "Did you see Chris?". He replied, "Yep, he was here earlier you just missed him". DOH! <br />
      <br />
      I stopped back at both suites a few more times during the show, but you were still on the move. Oh well, I tried. <br />
      <br />
      I was at CES last year and could not BELIEVE the changes that just 1 year brought forth. I don't even remember seeing 1 PC last year in a demo suite, and this year they were EVERYWHERE! Sonic Studio's, Stellos, Berkeley's, Weiss, MACs, PC's, etc.! I'll go out on a limb and say that one in about 8 or so rooms has SOMETHING computer related going on. Last year, it was the year of vinyl and LP but this year it was the computers! <br />
      <br />
      My 4 biggest "PC Highlights" (no particular order) were:<br />
      <br />
      1) Talking with Winston Ma in the FIM suite. He had the Sonic Studio Amarra going with HRx. What a nice guy he is. Spent a good 15 minutes with my friends and I answering all our questions. The most exciting thing is that shortly he will be offering hi-rez downloads from his site. He said he's working on a "new download technology" to reduce the time on those pesky 2 gig hi-rez downloads. Once he gets that set, its all systems go. "Computer audio is the future" he told us. Coming from HIM, that actually means something!<br />
      <br />
      2) The TAD room. I sat through the demo on Sunday they did w/TAD-Pioneer. I DID spy the "Computer Audiophile" logo on the PC tucked away in the corner! Was that the secret room you were talking about? Anyhow, I forget the name of the recording engineer doing the demo but we heard all kinds of hi-rez PC based material at different sampling rates. Unbelievable sound. Matter of fact, I was sitting right next to David Chesky during the demo and he was raving that this room was the best he heard at the show!<br />
      <br />
      3) Meeting Kent Poon in the Weiss room. Man, what a nice guy too. I had no idea he was as "famous" as he actually is. And young too!! I think I am allowed to say by now that he even sold me his new release, "Jazz Prologue". I had to keep that on the down-low at the show because he didn't bring many. We got to hear the Weiss stuff there and man did you see the HP touch screen they had there? I was talking to the guy that does the software for that thing and he is working on making it "hi-rez" friendly.<br />
      <br />
      4) Chatting with Gary Koh from Genesis. One of my friends here in Michigan is a Genesis dealer and he urged me to go talk to him about PC audio. WOW! I was so impressed with him, I had to go get my friends to come back and meet him too. We actually listened to Kent's release there (Gary knows both Kent and Winston Ma too which was interesting) as he had it too. We were playing around, listening at different sampling rates (including an algorythim or something like that that Gary designed himself!) and just trying to soak in all of Gary's knowledge best we could. He was PC based, using good old Foobar 2000 feeding a Weiss. Great sound and a wealth of information!!!!<br />
      <br />
      5) The Amarra software. Man, I was trying to convince the designer of it to release the software by itself to the general public!!! Now THAT is how a high-rez interface should operate!!! For now though, it will only come with the Sonic Studio interface and the Weiss as well. BTW, Gary Koh from Genesis told me those are the ONLY two interfaces that do a TRUE 24/192 right now in audiophile land anyhow. Everything else that claims 24/192 is sort of taking a 24/44.1 sample and up and down converting it to get where you want it to be. In other words, they are not "native" like the Weiss and Sonic Studio. I was shocked! I asked him to be sure, "So not even the Berkeley?" "Nope" he replied. "Not the Stello?" "Nope" he replied. "Not the "Apogee Rosetta w/Big Ben?" "Nope" he replied. Apparently he has the equipment to measure these things and it looks like we are all being duped. Have you heard anything on this Chris?<br />
      <br />
      OK, that's all for now. It was a GREAT show for me personally because my 2 favorite formats right now had a big presence: open reel and computer audio!!<br />
      <br />
      Joel <br />
      <br />
    1. Purite Audio's Avatar
      Purite Audio -
      Joel Hi, tell me more of the link between Sonic Amarra and Weiss, and the genesis guy what did he mean exactly on two genuine hi-re interfaces? Keith.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Joel - Bummer I just missed you several times! With so much going on at the show it's hard to stay in one place too long. I'm glad you were able to spend some time talking to Winston Ma. He is one of the nicest guys around. I actually installed the Solid State Drive into the MacBook Pro he used at the show. Hi computer based source worked very nice for him. Yes you are 100% correct that the TAD room used the fanless music server that I built. This may sound a little bias, but I think TAD has one of the best sounding rooms at he entire show. I am on vacation right now and haven't had a chance to listen to Kent Poon's high resolution music yet. I don't think my MacBook Air will do his high resolution files justice. I can't wait to arrive home. I've spent some time talking to Gary Koh myself in the past. He really knows his stuff and has done some great things for high end sound. Unfortunately I don't agree with his statement about the Weiss and Sonic Studio DACs being the only 24/192 capable DACs. I think there must have been some misunderstanding on this one. I've also talked to Jonathan Reichbach from SOnic Studio for several months about releasing software only. He does know what he is doing and always reiterates to me that the Sonic package is a complete software and hardware solution. Once one understands all that the Sonic hardware is capable of it's starts to make more sense.<br />
      <br />
      I agree that computer sources were very prevalent and the Tape Project in the TAD room was also wonderful. Plastic spinning discs are on the way out and hopefully faster than we think!<br />
      <br />
      Note: I'll post videos from the show very soon.
    1. joeljoel1947's Avatar
      joeljoel1947 -
      Hi Chris,<br />
      Thanks for the reply!!<br />
      <br />
      Well then I have finally 1-upped you! I have just finished listening to Kent's release. AMAZING! Whats really nice is he gives you BOTH a redbook cdr for on the go and then the DVD-r disc with the hi-rez files. It also makes for a simple comparison between say, a cdp playing the redbook version and your PC doing the hi-rez. You can flip back and forth to get a handle on whats doing what. I had no idea that Kent was as "famous" as he is. He told me he did stuff recently for the Beijing olympics! He's much younger then I anticipated too.<br />
      <br />
      Anyhow, the sound of the Jazz Prologue is beautiful, and very "master tape like". Wide open soundstage. Great dynamics. Silky smooth, no "digital glare" or "hardness" here. The female vocalist is EXCELLENT and reminds me on some of the cuts of jazz vocalist Diane Schurr, one of my favs.<br />
      <br />
      I think in a few days I will send Gary an email on what he told me at the show. I found it very hard to believe too, which is why I asked you. This is the first time ANYONE I've ever met has said something like this. There MUST have been a misunderstanding. He did say that "technically" nobody making a 24/192 DAC is lying because it does actually "upsample" to that bitrate. It's just that it isn't native, based on his experiments. I specifically mentioned HRx, which are at 24/176.4 and he said that natively, only the Weiss and Sonic do it correctly. Anyhow, I will keep you posted on his response. I probably have something goofed up.<br />
      <br />
      Winston is a legend. IMHO, his FIM releases are the best sounding "plastic discs" on the planet. I was SO glad to hear he is going to eventually move to hi-rez downloads. I also snagged an LP of his at the show which I cannot wait to spin. I've never seen an LP before on the FIM label. I tried (again) to convince him to do more on the LP but as he likes to have TOTAL CONTROL of a release, he just doesn't trust sending it off to be pressed by someone else. He really WANTS to do lp's, but its just too time consuming to undertake. You have to appreciate his high standards. Did you get his pamphlet on "The Ultimate Disc" at the show? Amazing stuff, and Gary Koh helped him to develop it.<br />
      <br />
      Sorry I missed you. I plan on going next year and we'll have to set a time and place to meet.<br />
      <br />
      Have fun on your vacation! Can't wait to see your report and pics from the show!!!!<br />
      <br />
      Joel
    1. joeljoel1947's Avatar
      joeljoel1947 -
      Yes, I agree that the TAD room was either the best or second best at the show, period! That was via either the TP tapes or your fanless PC!<br />
      <br />
      So no, you were not bias. <br />
      <br />
      P.S----Did you get to the Magnepan "mystery demo" by chance?<br />
      <br />
      Joel
    1. joeljoel1947's Avatar
      joeljoel1947 -
      The link between the two is only that you can use the Amarra software with both the Sonic and the Weiss. Previously, the Amarra software was ONLY going to come with the Sonic DAC. Its such a wonderful interface, the Amarra, that HOPEFULLY it eventually comes on its own. It makes Foobar and MediaMonkey look like DOS 2.0!<br />
      <br />
      As for the "two interfaces" from Gary at Genesis, it was hard to pin him down or understand exactly what he was doing. He said his laptop had TWO cpu's in it--one to run the PC and one just for audio! With the audio one he created some kind of algorythim where the processing is done in the laptop and THEN it goes out to the Weiss. Of all the different sample rates we tried---44.1/96/176.4/192----the BEST one was the one he made! My friend asked "how do we get that algorythim?" and Gary just sort of smiled like the cat that ate the canary and said "you can't yet". Something is brewing I guess.....
    1. joeljoel1947's Avatar
      joeljoel1947 -
      They have it there mentioned. Sounds like a winner!! When I went to their booth, all I saw was a static display of the 800 so the guys at Stereophile must have gotten "special" treatment!
    1. joeljoel1947's Avatar
      joeljoel1947 -
      Hi Chris,<br />
      I clarified with Gary Koh what he meant about DAC's not being able to do much above 24/44.1. Specifically, he was only discussing USB DAC's connected via the USB port. Here is what he wrote me:<br />
      <br />
      "I said that the USB interface basically ran at a max of 24/48 due to the limitations of the input chipset. The only USB chipset capable of input at 24/192 is from ESS Technology. Many DACs themselves are 24/192, but there is no way to get that resolution into the DAC. The Berkeley is one of the best in this respect. However, to use it with a computer server requires special interface cards as the Berkeley does not have USB or Firewire interfaces.<br />
      <br />
      For example, I have the Stello and the USB input is upsampled, and does not even accept ASIO. Most USB DACs (including the Stello, Benchmark and Apogee Rosetta) are USB 1.0 and use the standard USB class interface in the computer's operating system. These are restricted by max packet size and data rates of the USB interface. Even with ASIO, many USB chipsets are restricted to 48kHz. Stello says that their digital input receiver is "up to 96kHz", but I have not been able to get the computer to output this. Even when I set Foobar to output 24/96 using KS, the system sometimes goes unstable. May be it's because of my bad programming. The Windows USB driver downsamples. ASIO is better, but even then, I have not been able to get higher than 24/48 and stable results. With the Benchmark, I got stable 24/96."<br />
      <br />
      Now, all that said, I was still concerned myself because I use the EMU 0404 USB Dac! As it is USB, I'm not sure what I'm actually getting out of it. I traded a few emails today with Gordon Rankin, as he owns a 0404, and he was a big help. He told me that basically, EMU wrote specialized drivers for USB 2.0 that allow it to run at sample rates greater then 24/96 as long at you actually HAVE a USB 2.0 port. He explained that even though my Dell laptop "claims" it is USB 2.0 in each of its 4 ports, based on his experience, they might actually be USB 1.1, and may not be going above 24/96! As you know, his new USB DAC goes "only" to 24/96 so it seems the limiting factor here is actually the chipset and software written for these bloody USB ports (you see what Gary got above as well for results with the Stello and Benchmark).<br />
      <br />
      I have since sent a question of to EMU, in hopes that they might be able to tell me exactly what is going on for my application. I sure wish they had a "clock" on the EMU that depicted exactly the sample rate that was actually getting to the DAC itself. But that would be too easy, no?<br />
      <br />
      Regards, Joel<br />
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