• Searching For Sound, CES, Peachtree Nova

    Here is a quick update about what's happening at Computer Audiophile. My endless effort to find the best sound quality currently available and to write about it here on Computer Audiophile continues this week with a trip across the country. Next week the search for "that" sound moves to Las Vegas and the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. Somewhere in between these two trips I'll publish my full review of the Peachtree Audio Nova. A very nice integrated amp with a plethora of digital inputs including USB.



     

    Two things music servers have enabled recently are great sound for a great price and sound quality previously unobtainable via a traditional audio system. The second item is what I'll be pursuing this week. Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009 I travel to hear what may be my new reference computer audio related "component." I can't spill the beans as to what exactly this "component" is just yet, but I will publish a complete article(s) very soon. I expect an official announcement about the product will be made at CES next week. Based on many conversations, with colleagues I trust, over the last couple months I have very high expectations for this component. It's not cheap compared to other components with similar functionality, but the sound quality and engineering behind this piece are said to be on a completely different level. I don't like to use the phrase, "said to be" as it's unverifiable second hand information for the readers. I'm OK with the phrase now as I'll be listening to this piece Tuesday evening and reporting back very shortly. So far the limited speculation in the forums about what this product may be has been incorrect :~) Not only will I be listening to this new component, but I'll be doing it on a system that also ups the ante in high end audio. This system is very impressive based on design and specs I've read thus far. Again, no details yet but a complete report will come shortly. Sorry for the teaser. I'm looking forward to getting the information to all the readers as soon as possible.

     

    Next week the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show takes place in its usual home Las Vegas. I'll be there covering the event and publishing updates to the site in real-time similar to what I did during RMAF this year. No waiting for show reports or recaps. The CA readers will have the information as soon as it's available. Product announcements, pictures, and perspective will be available here on the front page every day of the show. Let me know if you want me to cover something specific that you've been waiting for.

     

     

    Finally, I've nearly completed my listening sessions with the Peachtree Audio Nova integrated amp. Readers should expect a full review early next week. It's a really great piece that's incredibly versatile.

     

     
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. Dave Clark's Avatar
      Dave Clark -
      You tease.... perhaps we will also run into you at CES... arriving Wednesday and leaving Monday.
    1. manisandher's Avatar
      manisandher -
      "... but the sound quality and engineering behind this piece are said to be on a completely different level."<br />
      <br />
      The only thing I can think of is a Pacific Microsonics (Berkeley Audio Design and/or Euphonix) Model Three.<br />
      <br />
      Now that would be something...<br />
      <br />
      Mani.
    1. DSD_mastering's Avatar
      DSD_mastering -
      I'll be there again playing my DSD/DXD mastering files at the Venitian 29-335 with JPS and Usher.<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      Regards,
    1. Chris_Johnsen's Avatar
      Chris_Johnsen -
      Is it the new NAIM rig?
    1. Part-Time Audiophile's Avatar
      Part-Time Audiophile -
      C'mon Chris, it's been 5 days ...???
    1. DSD_mastering's Avatar
      DSD_mastering -
      Actually the "Secret Component" will be the new Blue Smoke Entertainment server. It's going to blow everything else into last year! <br />
      <br />
      Stay tuned!<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      Regards,<br />
    1. manisandher's Avatar
      manisandher -
      "Everything"? Really?<br />
      <br />
      Mani.
    1. ted_b's Avatar
      ted_b -
      I'll definitely pop over to the Mirage to hear the new version (penthouse with Rockport).
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      High guys - The article about my trip is up on the front page.<br />
      <br />
      Also, I am very skeptical about the Blue Smoke server. Blue Smoke (from here on abbreviated as BS) is advertising the playback of SACD and DVD-A. SACD in its native format on a music server is not going to happen. DSD I can see no problem but SACD? BS also mentions DVD-A for the first time ... People have been playing back DVD-A on music servers for years.<br />
      <br />
      "Recorded and Stored full bit-rate SACD/DVD-A" is the claim. Then below BS mentions DSD to PCM playback. This is nothing new. Converting DSD to PCM isn't worthy of tooting one's own horn. I really wish BS would be more forthcoming with information instead of hiding behind a smokescreen. I've asked BS for information before and BS hasn't been willing to provide any details.<br />
      <br />
      Here is a link to the BS claims<br />
      <br />
      http://www.bluesmokesystems.com/<br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Ted - Shoot me an email at the show and I will do my best to meet up with you. You know how shows go, frantically trying to meet everyone and fulfill all obligations before the weekend is over!
    1. DSD_mastering's Avatar
      DSD_mastering -
      Yes, they will be playing our DSD files there.<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      Regards,<br />
    1. nottlv's Avatar
      nottlv -
      There were some very positive reports about the Blue Smoke server during last year's trade shows, but when I checked it out, it seemed to me to just be a rebadged and tweaked $2000 Hush PC with a SSD running Windows Vista Media Center selling for $8000. Maybe I was missing something.<br />
      <br />
      The SACD thing sounds interesting. I'm guessing they mean playback of DSD files (of which there are a handful available--the selection is way worse than say hi res PCM, which itself has an extremely limited number of titles); I would think ripping a SACD would violate the DCMA. There are a few companies in Europe that developed mods to universal players that would tap into the unencrypted DSD datastream and convert that to hi res PCM, but that happens before the encryption occurs and perhaps skirts the DMCA because of that. There is a free DSD-to-PCM plugin for Windows Media Player; I'd assume this is what they are using on DSD files.
    1. lapporte's Avatar
      lapporte -
      Chris,<br />
      <br />
      I am sorry if you have gotten the wrong impression regarding the Blue Smoke Systems Black Box. First regarding DVD-A, we did not mean to imply that we are the first to support DVD-A. It basically got lumped in to our message about SACD. We can now capture the digital audio directly from an SACD player and store it in our server. As far as we know, we are the first to accomplish this. If not, we apologize and look to you for further information.<br />
      <br />
      As for DSD playback, this is new to the Black Box and utilizes the ful DSP support as well as hardware advances in which The Black Box supports. We are playing the Puget Sound DSD files with tremendous success. You truly have to hear it to believe it.<br />
      <br />
      To the last point, we are not in any way "hiding behind a smokescreen". We are at The Mirage in the Penthouse Suites, E-50 and anyone and everyone is invited to stop by. In fact we have attempted on multiple occassions to set up a time with you to stop by and show you what we are doing. Invitations were sent out in the last few weeks and we have specifically attempted to contact you by both e-mail and phone to arrange an appointment.<br />
      <br />
      While we are named Blue Smoke Systems, there is no smoke and mirrors here. We invite you to call us (our cell phone is (847) 977-0220) any time to set up an appointment.<br />
      <br />
      We look forward to hearing from you, and to you hearing the latest upgrades to The Black Box. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.<br />
      <br />
      Regards,<br />
      <br />
      Ron Lapporte<br />
      Blue Smoke Entertainment Systems
    1. animallover's Avatar
      animallover -
      Thanks for the update!