The playback application used in the TAD room was Samplitude 10. A Lynx AES16 card provided the digital I/O, using legacy firmware and drivers of course. From the Lynx card to the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC was the same custom cable I've been using in my system since I purchased the Alpha DAC. Having a single HD26 connector and single XLR connector at the opposite end is really nice compared to the stock Lynx cable with all the extra "antennae." As the photos and video show the Alpha DAC was connected to Pass Labs XA 100.5 monoblocks which powered the TAD Compact Reference Monitor loudspeakers. These speakers have stunning build quality as well as sound quality. At around $30k the speakers better offer this level of quality.
Perhaps the "funnest" part of the whole TAD suite was the selection of high resolution music on hand. Recording legend Bill Schnee from Schnee Studio is working on a project with Doug Sax to release high resolution material. You may recognize Schnee and Sax from previous work the two have done notably albums for the Sheffield Labs label. One of the most popular recordings from the Sheffield label was the Drum and Track disc. Bill Schnee brought some new drum material with him that was recorded and mixed live to 2-channel at 24/192 high resolution digital. The drums used in this recoding were a brand new state-of-the-art Yamaha drum set brought into the studio specifically for this purpose. The final product must be heard to be believed. It was fantastic to say the least. Another of my favorites played by Bill Schnee in the TAD room was from Natalie Cole in full 24/192 high resolution. In fact Bill is nominated for a Grammy this year for Best Engineered Album, non-classical (Steve Genewick, Al Schmitt & Bill Schnee, engineers (Natalie Cole) - Still Unforgettable). The current plans are to release this high resolution material on Bluray Disc. I spent some time talking to Bill Schnee about formats and encouraged him to release downloads in addition to a physical format. Options are never a bad thing. Even if this material is available only on Bluray we will all be the beneficiaries of Doug Sax and Bill Schnee's tremendous work to bring true high end sound into our homes. These guys have some great ideas in mind and are really making an effort to bring quality music and sound into the mainstream and expose younger people to great musical experiences. Bill is well aware that kids today are introduced to music that's terribly compressed in every sense of the word and he is really engaged in this effort. If all goes well more labels and artists will jump onboard and we'll see a plethora of high resolution content coming our way. Look for this project to progress in the near future and please support this effort if you are a fan of great quality recordings.
Higher resolution download (44 MB)