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    by Published on 05-14-2015 11:39 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface



    The exaSound e12: The little engine that could...change how we think of sub $2k DACs


    George Klissarov of exaSound had an idea that he could take his award-winning e22 stereo DSD DAC and create a lighter smaller (read: less expensive) version that lost none of the sound quality....none! The savings would be in case size, inputs and output parts, removal of the display and an ever so slightly less refined power filter. He told me about it over a year ago and I jumped at the opportunity to hear it. ...
    by Published on 05-11-2015 09:39 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Software
    Article Preview



    The hottest thing to hit HiFi in recent memory is here. It's a software application / service called Roon from Roon Labs. Roon is unlike anything currently available for OS X and Windows in that it enables users to browse their music collections effortlessly and in an incredibly engaging manner. Rather than post screenshots I created a video showing the rich experience that Roon enables. A more thorough article with detailed tips, tricks, and information is soon to follow. ...
    by Published on 04-10-2015 10:01 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Disk Storage,
    3. Speakers,
    4. Wireless,
    5. Music Hub / Controller
    Article Preview



    Those of us who care about music and sound quality, and wish to stream music around our houses, finally have a product that fits the bill. We are no longer stuck with Sonos. The Bluesound ecosystem, consisting of storage, streamers, and speakers is a much needed upgrade over the whole house systems that became so popular over the last several years. Bluesound is a well designed system with components that work together or independently. The Bluesound Pulse is a loudspeaker with built-in streaming capability. The Bluesound Vault is a NAS with built-in CD ripping and streaming capabilities as well as outputs for both analog and digital audio. Control of the Bluesound components is accomplished from a number of devices including a very nice iOS app for iPad and iPhone. Over the course of my review I was very impressed by the entire ecosystem of components and applications. I pushed the wireless capability to its limits and found a couple fairly small quirks / bugs in the apps, but certainly no showstoppers. I highly recommend the Bluesound ecosystem for people looking to sack Sonos and move into something with superior sound quality and for those who are finally ready to jump into the streaming audio water for the first time. ...
    by Published on 03-17-2015 09:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. Headphones
    Article Preview



    The newest product from the long-standing High Resolution Technologies (HRT) is a small one, both in size and pricing. The dSP line consists of two products (estimated $69/each). i-dSP can handle an Apple Lighting connection while the regular dSP is intended for use with a computer (via USB) and Android devices. The i-dSP still requires the purchase of Apple’s Lighting to USB Camera adaptor to work properly, so add another $30 on to the price to get things going in that scenario.
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    by Published on 02-27-2015 09:10 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Digital to Analog Converter,
    3. USB Interface,
    4. S/PDIF (RCA) Interface,
    5. AES/EBU Interface,
    6. S/PDIF (TosLink) Interface
    Article Preview



    I'm starting this review from a unique point of view. I purposely learned very little about the product under review before I started my listening sessions. I know the product is a DAC manufactured by Hegel and it says HD12 DSD on the front panel. I skimmed through the user manual to find out how to enable 24 bit / 192 kHz PCM and DSD playback and at the same time learned it's recommended to use the balanced analog outputs. Other than this information I have no clue how much this product costs, what DAC chip (if any) it uses, or where Hegel positions the DAC in its lineup of products. I don't know if I have an entry level or a flagship DAC. I even disabled the LED display on the unit while listening so I was looking at a small black box that gave me no visual cues that could sway my sonic impressions. Sure, I could have hired an assistant to unbox the DAC and place it behind a curtain until I wrote this review but life is about balance and I think I found a good balance between knowing everything about a product and not knowing anything, including how to use the product. I'm not a fan of blind testing audio components, rather I just wanted to have a little fun while reviewing this component and try writing from a different perspective. In a way I feel like a consumer entering an audio store without too much knowledge and looking for a DAC. The person at the store has told me to have a listen to this product from Hegel and we'll discuss the details after I'm done listening. With this in mind here are my sonic impressions of the Hegel HD12 DAC, followed by some information about the product (that I must look up after writing about my sonic impressions). ...
    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 it’s 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 that’s it. On the other hand, there’s 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. ...

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