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Found 8 results

  1. Ayre Codex, Lampizator Amber, Schiit Yggy, exaSound e32, and Ayre QX-5, DAC Comparison -A Short Story The following is more of a catharsis than a comparison of some very exciting DAC products on the market today. These writings are somewhat of a warning to others more than a recommendation of one product over another; attempting to discover audio nirvana can tail spin quickly. Over the course of two months I auditioned the Ayre Codex, Schiit Yggdrasil, Lampizator Amber II, exaSound e32, and Ayre QX-5 Twenty, in my home, in my listening room and with my speakers. But that was not the original intent. Each piece of succeeding equipment arrived as the result of me continuing to read reviews in magazines and forums, even after making my final purchase decision. Hence my warning, purchase it and enjoy it, as there is always some other or new gear that alleges an improvement to your current setup, and chasing nirvana can take you places you were never prepared to go; especially if you find and prove the reviews to be true and accurate. I went down a similar path several years ago when I read every review I could find and attempted to evaluate an amplifier for my system and finally chose the Classe CT-2300; but that’s a story for another day. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this particular DAC journey started three years ago when my wife surprisingly encouraged me to keep my Martin Logan powered electrostatic Vantage speakers after I replaced them with the Magnepan 3.7i’s. Apparently she liked the eclectic and artistic look of the Vantage’s even if she couldn’t hear the difference between the two. That left me with two systems. I kept the Logan’s in the den and ran them with an old Pioneer integrated I had sitting in the garage. When the 60” Samsung went out in the den the warranty company let us replace it with a wall mounted 65” LG OLED. I then felt the den’s system was deserving of something better in the audio department to match the level of video performance the OLED provided. As a consequence, and in usual fashion, I made a visit to my local Magnepan dealer in contemplation of replacing my Classe CT-2300 two-channel amplifier. The dealer recommended that I improve my source instead of looking for a new amplifier and he insisted that I give the Ayre Codex a try for consideration. I resisted because I already have a headphone DAC and amp from Schiit Audio. Reluctantly I took the Ayre Codex home for an audition. I am embarrassed to admit that I thought the Oppo 105D was a contender against the Codex in the boxing ring of sound quality. I admit, and by these writing you will soon see, that I am an audio enthusiast and not a true audiophile. I had previously been very satisfied with the sound of the 105D and enjoyed the two-channel improvement in sound it provided over my Marantz AV7005 pre-processor. I was confident this was an act of futility but he was adamant I would hear a noticeable difference in the sound quality. I took the Codex home for audition, more so to prove him wrong and to validate my 105D purchase, than to really consider and contemplate the purchase of a separate DAC to add to my system. Secretly I had my heart set on upgrading to mono-blocks as they have always appeared to me to be the ultimate design for amplification. So I gave the little Codex a listen, and to my amazement he was right. The Codex was extremely musical. More detail, better sound staging and more air, no pun intended, than I had ever experience in my humble system. It took me a little while to justify the purchase of the Codex because it almost rendered useless, the upgraded components that gave the 105 an auditory advantage over the 103 (especially since I now use an HDMI extractor to pull high-rez audio from my disc content). But the overall sound quality was a considerable improvement and a step, or two, or three above the Oppo and well worth the purchase. All would have been well and good, had I only stopped there. For whatever reason I was not content with stopping there but, it was if I was hearing my library for the first time. Track after track, I would hear something I had never heard before. It was exciting and very enjoyable but I could not help but think that maybe I sold myself short. If that much of an improvement can be had with the small and semi-affordable Codex, could I have possibly left some sound quality on the table by not investigating all of the top players at a similar price point? While scouring the web, I would listen to the Codex pouring out involving and almost new samples of music as I attempted to listen to, at least a clip of, everything in my collection and on my playlists. In reading, I ran across the Schiit Yggy and felt I hadn’t given my purchase enough investigation as I already owned the Schiit Lyr/Bifrost headphone amp/dac combo and I have been very pleased with that combo, with my HiFi Man HE-500 planar-magnetic headphones. So I quickly sent off for the Yggy. I then read about the Lampizator Amber II and decide to include this unit for deliberation as they both afford a 15-day and 7-day trial period respectively. I will anchor the remaining portion of this monologue by stating the unscientific analysis and assessments that follow are with my speakers, my system, in my home and with my collective ears, as I did confer with couple of buddies for their opinions. There were so many variables that several different outcomes could have easily resulted if the experiment had been conducted under different conditions, i.e. different interconnects, power cords, speakers, amplifiers, etc. That being said, here is how things transpired. Since I purchased the Codex first let’s start there. The Ayre Codex comes in at $1995 and makes a very attractive offer considering the price to sound quality factor. If I were to apply a numerical value to the overall sound quality I would assign it 85 out of 100 with all things being equal. But that’s where things get convoluted; everything isn’t equal. There are so many variables when comparing and contrasting these products, but surely I thought the one constant to compare would be the sound quality. Yes sound quality of one consistent point of comparison but with what format and through which input? So I compared the sound, in general, with as many different inputs as possible but focused on the USB inputs for direct comparison. The numerator in this equation is price. This all started as an attempt to get the maximum amount of sound quality at a predetermined maximum price point. But in an effort not to leave any discernable amount of sound quality on the table, my budget range was exposed to scope creep. My fear was possibly spending $500 short of something that was sonically outstanding. Conversely I also want to avoid spending $500 too much with no audible advantage. The Codex basically made everything sound pretty good, very appealing sound regardless to the recording. It was not overly analytical but just detailed enough providing a very good sound stage. It leaned towards the warm side with the emphasis on the midrange. It comes in a form factor that screams headphone amp/dac, until you link it into your two-channel big rig. It is very versatile for the price with the ability to serve as a pre-amp, DAC, and headphone amp, but it’s volume control does not include a remote. That would normally not be a problem except it had a better sound as a stand-alone pre-amp versus being connected via the XLR inputs into my Parasound P5 pre-amp. So anytime I wanted to adjust the volume I had to eject myself from the couch to make an adjustment or to mute it to take a phone call. A plus included the ability to see the sample rate illuminated on the dimmable LCD screen, from my listening position, without the use of my telephoto SLR lens (more on that later). Also, I wish it had a few more inputs as one USB and one optical SPDIF provides limitations when attempting to integrate it into a hybrid multi source, Home Theatre / Two Channel , combo system. And although it had an impressive and formidable form factor with high quality buttons and knobs in a densely packed rectangular case, the unnerving part is it’s required to stand upright without the option to position it horizontally. I never had it to fall but that was a byproduct of my pesky phobia that caused me to treat it like a piece of delicate crystal. From the pics you can see that I don’t have a formal audio rack to house my equipment, but I care for each piece greatly none the less. I never tried it but I read the Codex also doubles as a balanced output headphone amp. Back to my point, this unit screams headphone amp/dac combo until you plug connect it to your big system via balanced outputs preferably, but single ended RCA is available as well. If it had a remote I could have stopped there (I’m trying to convince myself, not you), but I did not. I ordered the Amber and the Yggy and both were in production delays so I was content with the Codex until I received a strange email from DHL stating the Amber was enroute from Germany, so the excitement started to build. Because of the 7-day trial I stayed home to meet the delivery man and got the burn in process started right away. 72-hours later with the Lampizator Amber II running into my Parasound P5 preamplifier via RCA, I enjoyed an improved and a different sound presentation. But at an MSRP of $2925 USD/ $2500 Euro (the conversion rate was 1.17 at the time of my purchase but it’s a little less now) it really challenges the price to performance ratio when I assign an overall sound quality rating of 88 out of 100. I must admit this tube based format provided an almost exotic sound. It had a nice tube bloom, a warm and inviting sound bordering on mesmerizing. Unfortunately on certain tracks and after extended listening sessions the bloom would vacillate towards smearing. I also felt the Amber lost some sound quality due to the lack of balanced XLRs. The Amber is the entry level model to the Lampizator family of DACs. The base price is $1800 Euro and I went with the upgraded $2000 Euro, Tube Rectified version. I figured that it is a tube based DAC after all, so why not go tube all the way? I also added DSD256, to the tune of an additional $500 Euro MSRP, to help future proof the purchase. Afterwards I realized the Amber had the least chance of surviving this comparison as it was inadequately equipped without balanced XLR outputs which would cost an additional $1,000 Euro, and no pre-amp volume control, another +$1,000 Euro. Therefore the Amber was forced to use my Parasound P5 that possibly limited the overall performance. The Amber II owner’s manual has a section under COOPERATION WITH THE PREAMP that reads, “The DAC with volume control should sound audibly cleaner and more direct without any preamp between the DAC and the amp. The preamp, however good, will veil a lot of the DAC’s natural clarity, speed and directness.” I am now not 1000% confident that statement is completely accurate but I did believe it then. What I heard thru the Parasound P5 cosigned that declaration. I thought, if that is a true statement, why would you sell a product with an inherit drawback? And if you did sell it with this perceived flaw, one would expect that caveat to be posted clearly on the company website, and not on page 20 of the owner’s manual. Even with the Amber relegated to run thru my P5 I still enjoyed that tubey sound. The majority of my listening includes female voices and the Amber presented a very sexy sound. I was completely seduced by the sound of those tubes. That is until the Yggy arrived. I would be very happy with the Amber today, even without the volume control, if I had never heard the Yggy. The Yggadrasil by Schiit arrived at the end of the burn in period for the AMBER so I rushed to get it past the burn in period for a quick evaluation to make my final DAC purchase selection. Each time I peeked into the oven to sneak a listen to the Yggy there was an increasing sense of revelation. It eclipsed the Amber after 48 hours of burn in but I didn’t give it any really critical listening until it had run for a 100 hours. Gobs of detail is the major characteristic of the Yggy. I could see into the music much further and clearer than ever before. That allowed for a visceral and engaging experience, more lifelike. But I wasn’t ready to give the checkered flag to the Yggy because the Yggy lacks DSD support. The Yggy’s sound quality surpassed the Amber in PCM mode but not when attempting to resolve DSD, so that was concerning to me. The Yggy also has a formidable form factor with USB, Coaxial, BNC and AES/EBU connections, and although I didn’t test the BNC or the AES/EBU I read the sound quality may perform better thru these inputs. The Yggy did lack a headphone connection, which was a moot point for me, but like the Amber it was relegated to working thru the P5 as it has no volume control. Ultimately I hung onto the Amber II, past the 7-day trial, wrestling with the final decision and thinking the Yggy couldn’t improve that much more. When I contacted Schiit to obtain the return merchandise authorization, they gave me 15-days to have it arrive at their facilities, so that unfortunately gave me more time continue the side-by-side evaluation. They say timing is everything and I feel all of these products need a proper 30 day trial period to give them a thorough burn in and a relaxed evaluation but in either case I feel 7 days simply isn’t enough. What further complicated things was the inclusion of a PASS LABS 250.8 two-channel amplifier. I read the 250.8 was a good match for my Maggie’s and Reno HiFi has a 15-day trial so I plunged the credit card down deeper into the abyss. 72-hours later I was intoxicated by the voice of sirens singing to me thru my Maggie’s. This audio addiction had begun to produce the euphoria I had only read about but never personally experienced; at least not in my listening room. Was this real, was this Memorex, or was I a victim of ACTUALIZED REALIZATION ; meaning, just because you are listening to $17k of stereo equipment you think you hear $17k of sound quality. If it is a placebo please don’t bring it to my attention because I am loving every minute of it! But in the silence between each sound track I begin to sober. It seems I encountered a sound quality vertigo of sorts. There were simply too many moving parts as I tried to evaluate if the improvement in sound came from the 250.8 or the extended burn in time of the Yggy and the Amber, or again, was it Actualized Realization? It took hours of critical listening to recalibrate my ears and my mind to the improved quality of sound I now enjoyed. I fully reassessed the three DACs again, including another listening session with the fellas, and we concluded, yet again, that the Codex was an outstanding product worthy of anyone’s system, the Amber was one sexy and captivating sound but the enormous level of musical detail in the sound coming from the Yggy won first place over the others. Despite the lack of DSD decoding I ranked the overall sound quality of the Yggy at 91 out of 100 and at $2300 it was the current pound for pound champion. So now I had a dilemma that only got worse. I had the Amber II past the evaluation period when in fact I preferred the sound of the Yggy over the Amber. Ouch! So I posted the Amber for sale on Audiogon, despite the fact that I have never sold anything on Audiogon. I have bought some pieces on Audiogon but I have never been a seller, but oh well, this has been a totally new experience for me so this will just be another leg of the journey. And since I was already this far down this rabbit hole, I took another plunge which at the time seemed safe enough. The inclusion of the PASS LABS 250.8 into my system followed with the purchase of the exaSound e32 DAC from Canada, both with 15-day and 30-day trial periods respectively. I learned of this combination while reading about the award from Jonathan Valin of The Absolute Sound at the AXPONA Chicago Show (2015), awarding the BEST SOUND (cost-no-object) to: Magnepan 3.7i driven by Pass Labs and sourced by exaSound. The e32 arrived in a box that led me to believe they shipped it too soon and forgot to include the unit in the shipping container as it felt like a completely empty box. I peeled open the shipping material nervously to find a small, attractive, silver, rectangular unit weighing in at less than 2.5 pounds. My immediate reaction was this thing does not have a chance. Ironically, during this evaluation process, the size and weight seemed to have an indication on the relative sound quality. I know nothing about the interworking of DAC technology, I only know what I hear, but it defies conventional logic that something smaller and lighter than all of the competitors would be the sound quality champion. To my surprise and utter amazement the e32 blew away everything I had heard previously. It is everything you can imagine, detailed, nuanced, warm, dynamic, electric, viscerally engaging and basically more life-like above all the others. I rated the sound at 93 out of 100. Finally, I found my price for performance sound champion. Fortunately I arrived to this conclusion before that 15th day deadline I was given, so I rushed the Yggy back to the Schiit warehouse. At last, I had my final decision and I was so satisfied with what I was hearing, or so I thought. With my final DAC selection solidified I redirected my energies to evaluating the Pass Labs 250.8, and I matched it against the two-channel Ayre VX-5 Twenty, which is a review for another day. But in doing so, my local Ayre dealer recommended that I consider the Ayre K-5xeMP preamplifier, as I had to disconnect the e32 from the amplifier to connect the Marantz AV7005 for home theater viewing. This cumbersome process bother him, but I was completely ok with it. I was also convinced that directly connecting the DAC to the Amplifier produced the best sound and performance, just like the Amber owner’s manual suggested. I reluctantly agreed to audition the Ayre pre-amp, but the greatest motivating factor was based on my inability to see the LED display on the e32. If I could move the volume control to the Ayre Pre-amplifier I wouldn’t have to use my SLR telephoto lens to read the current volume level. For some reason that really bothered me, perhaps because it emphasized my mortality and aging eyes. For smiles and giggles I interjected the Ayre K-5xeMP with Audience AU24 XLRs downstream for yet another amazing but incremental improvement. The pre-amp gave darker blacks and more ease to the sound, adding control and enhancing the musicality and realism to the sound. I was really moving in the wrong direction with this leg of the experiment. The original intent of this study was to find the optimal arrangement, getting the greatest result within a limited budget. However, experiencing the step up in sound with the pre-amp and high priced interconnect inspired me to try to discover just how good this system could sound, and the education would have a minimal cost of tuition, so I forged forward. It also would give me something to strive for in the future, or not. I wanted to know and understand where to place the demarcation point for the sound quality diminishing point of return. Regrettably I was so impressed with the K-5xeMP ($5,600 MSRP) that I continued my research and decided I simply must audition it’s bigger brother the KX-5 Twenty ($9,950 MSRP) and for more smiles and giggles I want to hear the QX-5 Twenty Digital Hub/DAC/Pre-Amp ($8,995 MSRP). I did what I had to do to get my hands and ears on one. I did the math and moving the budget up this far should provide exponential gains in sound quality, right? It did not; not at first, at least. The QX-5 had a better sound quality but not befitting the 3x price tag. The e32 and QX-5 Twenty were virtually neck and neck. Granted the QX-5 did not yet have its requisite 1,000 hours of burn in to perform at 1000% but I had past the first 100 hour check point and I felt I should hear more separation between the two units. I headed back to my local Ayre dealer confused and befuddled. His conclusion was I improved the system so much with the 250.8 and the KX-5 Twenty that I was now exposing weak points, namely the interconnects. We replaced the Tributaries and AU24 XLRs with all AU24 SX 1m XLRs ($2,400 MSPR each) and boom, the performance of both the e32 and the QX-5/20 made noticeable leaps forward! The QX-5/20 outpaced the e32, but not by a 3x margin as the price points require. I had finally reached a noticeable diminishing point of return. The musical experience enjoyed by this system with the $9k Ayre DAC, $8k Ayre Pre-Amp, with $4,800 of Audience interconnects was as close as I have ever been to audio nirvana. The musical experience now astounds me, stops me mid-sentence, as I attempt to listen to my music playing in the background while I keep my head down buried in work. With this system there is very little work being done in my listening room, as I am constantly drawn from the attention of the laptop screen to the performance on the virtual stage in this room. I was amazed that I could actually hear what the sound engineer intended for me to hear in the pans of sounds and placements of the instruments in their respective places on the sound stage. This sound was 3d, it was audibly holographic. On some classical tracks I could close my eyes and hear the dimension of the sound hall, however deep and wide; it was an optical illusion for your ears. If they were to make virtual reality glasses for your ears this would be it! It made me realize how music has the ability to live on thru history and how the artist didn’t make the music just for the fan of their day, but for the fans of my day, and for the music fans of tomorrow. But while I’m listening, I am transported back in time, I am there with them now; it was as close to sounding real as I have ever heard. There is so much information included in CD quality music I almost felt the QX-5/twenty was reconstituting the music. At one point I was starting to accuse the QX-5/20 of using some type of technology or algorithm to reconstruct the music into something completely brand new. My reference tracks now provide information that before wasn’t present and currently didn’t seem possible. It was as if the QX-5/20 was remixing the sound. The musical experience was phenomenal, but at those price points I would personally demand nothing less for my hard earned dollar. I simply didn’t expect it to actually perform that well; I thought this was just something rich guys purchase just to brag about how much they have spent. The sound quality rating deserves a 100 out of 100 in relation to anything I have ever heard both in and out of my personal listening room. But the reality is,there has to be something better, but at what price? And then, once you find that, I am sure there is something even better than that. So realizing this cannot be the end all, be all, ultimate in sound, (or is it) I would assign it a 98 out of 100. Hearing this sound experience and being blown away by it and then understanding it is so far beyond my financial means I was disheartening until I did the math and realized I was enjoying 95% of this sound quality for a fraction of the price with the e32. Hearing the holy grail of sound made me appreciate just how close to heavenly music I was getting from the e32. It appears exaSound put all of the production money into the sound quality with a limit on the investment into the form factor. The e32 is handsome and attractive to the eyes but it lacks the tactile feel of exquisite craftsmanship, which is not a problem for me, just an observation. The feel of the buttons, the sound they make when pressed, the contrast on the LCD screen aren’t consistent with the amazing sound this little piece of dynamite makes. I’m sure the pictures of my system support my philosophy that it’s all about the sound, the look has virtually no influence on my purchasing decision. The e32 also screams headphone amp/DAC until you connect the XLRs into your big rig. It is actually a compliment to exaSound, for me to be shocked by the sound that comes from such an unassuming form factor. It’s as if they literally did more, much more, with less, weighing less than two and one half pounds. It comes in a small and light package but the sound is gigantic and the performance is oh so powerful. It’s the best DAC I have ever heard that is less than $9k. Here is another challenge with this comparison, when you interject a high end pre-amp into the equation it’s difficult to determine who is the true star, the DAC or the pre-amp. Without question the KX-5 Twenty pre-amp is a star, if not the star. I have never enjoyed listening to my music at average to below average volumes, as much as I have with the KX-5/20. I usually rock out with the volume even if it isn’t rock music. The KX-5 Twenty does what it is supposed to do, in as much as it amplifies the source to the next level without coloration or interference; the higher quality of source material, and the higher quality of the DAC, will result in higher quality and better sound performance, point blank and period. But when you compare DAC to DAC as standalone units, e32 vs. QX-5/20, the margins diminish somewhat when they are interconnected directly into the amplifier. The differential diminishes even more when you use more affordable interconnects. I wish I could re-run the whole experiment with all the DACs running thru the KX-5 Twenty, I am sure the Amber owner’s manual would be proven wrong. The KX-5/20 is one marvelous piece of equipment and allows everything connected to it to reach it’s full potential. In conclusion, I just read what I wrote, trying to tie this all up and lock it down and move on with my life. Then I did the math…. I did the math again…. Ok, so the math doesn’t quite compute. I tried to interject numbers into sound because I crunch numbers for a living. It’s like trying to grade cars on the quarter mile time alone to determine the overall value of the vehicle. That math doesn’t compute. Here is what I was trying to illustrate with the computational values: • You would do well with any and all of these contenders • Great sound quality is universal with each of the products included in this evaluation • Cost Is No Object only applies to 1% of the population and I’m not in that category, are you • If your budget is limited to $2,000 buy CODEX before they stop selling it or accounting informs them to raise the price; expect that to happen soon and mark my words when it happens • If $2,300 doesn’t break the bank and resolving your sound in PCM only isn’t a deal breaker get the YGGY and don’t look back, but realize they allow for upgrades so the future has promise • If you can afford it, and have a penchant for the exotic, and or like to tinker and roll tubes, jump on the AMBER and enjoy yourself and don’t look back • If $3,500 is in your budget and or you ultimately want the best sound for the least amount of money, buy the e32 before they add features you don’t want and or need, or charge more to add a form factor that doesn’t improve the sound quality • If $5,500 is in your budget you may want to spring for the exaSound e32 and Play Point combo as that is a closer match for the QX-5 Twenty Hub, and if you do let me know how they compare as I ran out of time before I could make that head to head comparison, and it’s half the price with higher sample rates up to DSD256 and 32 bit PCM • If cost is no object, or $9k is in your maximum budget, or you simply want the best possible sound quality, buy the QX-5 Twenty; and my recommendation is to push the budget another $8k and marry it with the KX-5 Twenty, and if you compliment the remainder of your system accordingly with a full loom of AU24 SX interconnects and speaker cables, you just might experience an eargasm, every nite, with every track, for years until your hearing starts to fail I am sure everyone reading has a similar story. We should all go to therapy together; my name is M. James Scott and I am an Audio Addict. But writing this short story has helped me in my 12-step program to find a cure to audio alcoholism. The exaSound e32 prevailed victorious in the performance to price category and the Ayre QX-5 Twenty as the ultimate winner in sound quality, price notwithstanding. But again, I would be interested to know how much closer the e32 could close the gap if it’s sister component PlayPoint was included in the shootout. My 30 days is up with the e32 so I guess I will never know; that is if my therapy continues to be effective… http://ayre.com/ http://www.lampizator.eu/Fikus/WELCOME_TO_LAMPIZATOR.html http://www.schiit.com/home https://exasound.com/default.aspx A Short Story by M. James Scott
  2. There are three audiophiles in Calgary that would like to discover the differences between USB cables. We have most of the gear needed to run two streams into an Ayre KX5/20 pre but are missing a second Codex. We are using microRendus, LPS-1 power, FMCs, and QNAP NASs. If you have a Codex to contribute or live near Calgary and are interested in the experiment please reply.
  3. I'm at the Munich High end show this week hanging out with the guys from Ayre. They are running the QX-5 demo in their booth using our new server. Our new server has a quad core i7, CD ripping and dual Ethernet, plus 5TB of internal storage. In the picture your can see we have the sonicTransporter attache to the Roon Ready QX-5 using a Cardas Ethernet cable. This configuration works and sounds great! To show case different a network player option we are running the Ayre Codex using a microRendu in DLNA mode.
  4. Ayre Codex Headphone Amplifier/DAC/Digital Preamp AVAILABLE WITH HEADPHONE CABLE BUNDLE 30% OFF CARDAS BALANCED HEADPHONE CABLE of Your Choice With Purchase “I don't know if it's due to the "zero negative feedback" design or the killer digital filters Charlie Hanson dreams up, but with file resolutions of PCM up to 32/384 and DSD128 the Codex is just plain musical. Can't wait to get one up here for a long hard listen.” – Tyll Hertsens, innerfidelity.com Built in Boulder, Colorado, the Codex is Ayre’s most affordable and versatile product. It performs equally well as a stand-alone headphone amp, DAC and digital preamp. As a headphone amp it offers the latest state-of-the-art technology for which Ayre Acoustics is so well known. This includes featuring dual 3.5mm mini jacks that can be configured for balanced mode headphone listening, a fully-balanced signal path throughout the analog circuit that provided a whisper quiet background, Ayre’s exclusive diamond output circuit and a audiophile grade linear AyreLock power supply. When combined with their zero negative feedback design and minimum phase digital filter, the Codex provides pure musicality that is almost hard to believe and unheard of at its price. The Codex can also be used as a standalone DAC with fixed output and/or as a standalone digital preamp if you need a volume control. Whether being used as a headphone amp or as a part of a high performance home stereo, the Codex is an astounding achievement and is already one of our choices for product of the year. If you’re looking for a headphone amp or a new DAC, the Codex will definitely make a great addition to virtually any system. Ayre has been designing products like this for over 20 years. Listen and experience what Ayre and your music are all about. Output Level Headphone or Preamp Modes 7.2 volts balanced, 3.1 volts single-ended Output Level DAC Mode 4 volts balanced, 2 volts single-ended Input USB - PCM 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz, 352.8 kHz, 384 kHz (up to 24 bits), DSD64, DSD128 Optical input (Toslink) Dimensions 2.25"W x 9"D x 5.25"H (5.5 cm x 23 cm x 13.7 cm) This product qualifies for Free Shipping and 5% back when you register for Club Ciamara Membership Rewards Program 1.844.CIAMARA (1.844.242.6272) High End Audio Store NYC - Experience Ciamara
  5. [video=youtube;CYQrzU-srSE] Ayre Codex headphone amp/DAC/digital preamp video review courtesy of the good folks at Head-Fi TV. For additional information on the Codex or any other products from Ayre Acoustics, please visit us here or here High End Audio Store NYC - Experience Ciamara1.844.CIAMARA (1.844.242.6272)
  6. December Newsletter(Click above for link to full newsletter Double Club Ciamara Rewards Points Holiday Special + EMM Labs DA2 Flagship DAC Trade-in OFFER! For the remainder of the year, earn Double Rewards Points (10%)back on every purchase through our Club Ciamara Rewards Points Holiday Promotional. Be sure to register for our Club Ciamara Membership Rewards Program so you can start earning store credit on every purchase. We're also pleased to announce that we're now offering up to $7500 in trade-in credit towards the purchase of EMM Labs Flagship DA2 DAC. This is easily one of the best DACs available and an awesome way to take your digital playback to new heights. Finally, don't forget to check out our specials section for great deals on equipment, as well as, special component/cable bundles from some of our more popular products. As always, we offer FREE SHIPPINGon all purchases over $99 and the ability to try just about anything we sell in the comfort of your own home for up to 30-days. HOT PRODUCTS ENIGMAcoustics Dharma D1000 Hybrid Electrostatic Headphones($1190) ENIGMAcoustics has really gone all out with their Dharma D1000 Headphones. From the lightweight, sleek aesthetic to the innovative design and proprietary SBESL technology, it is one of our favorite headphones and one of the best we’ve heard. Lumin D1 Network Music Player ($2,000) - SAVE $150 on Sbooster Audiphile Power Supply Get close to the performance of the Lumin T1 for a fraction of the price when you add the Sbooster BOTW Audiophile Power Supply Since its release no other line of network music players have received as many awards as the Lumin line of music players. Lumin has taken what they have learned and applied it to what is now their most affordable player yet, the D1. Lumin’s D1 Network Music Player is based on their original and highly regarded, A1. It contains the same “no expense spared” development and technology of the A1, which provides unmatched and award-winning musicality, with minor differences that allow it be more affordable - all while taking extraordinary efforts to not compromise the sound quality. Reducing the size of the chassis and removing the HDMI output help reduce costs without losing music quality, and using an auto-ranging power supply offered the biggest savings for the least compromise. The Lumin family of players will playback everything from high-res to more popular formats: DSD LOSSLESS: DSF (DSD), DIFF (DSD), DoP (DSD); PCM LOSSLESS: FLAC, Apple Lossless (ALAC), WAV, AIFF; COMPRESSED (LOSSY) AUDIO: MP3, AAC (in M4A container). Sbooster Ultra Power Filter for Uptone Audio Regen ($100) The SBooster Ultra for the UpTone Audio Regen USB Hub is their first switch-mode power supply add on based on active filter technology. Compared to the passive SBooster Single Unit you will get with the Ultra an even greater crispness, tightness, distinctness and focus. Last but not least your Regen will run a lot cooler which has a positive impact on the overall sound quality. With the Sbooster Ultra Filter, you get high performance, as well as an economical upgrade for your Regen. Ayre Acoustics Codex Headphone Amp/DAC/preamp ($1795) 30% OFF CARDAS BALANCED HEADPHONE CABLE of your choice with purchase The Codex, manufactured in Boulder, CO is equally at home as a stand-alone DAC, DAC/Preamp combination, or Headphone Amplifier/DAC. Encased in a sleek, elegant chassis and equipped with the latest Ayre technology, Cardas Balanced Headphone Cable for the Codex One of the features that really separates the Codex from the competition is its ability to be used in balanced headphone mode. This feature has the ability to elevate the performance of your headphones beyond what you thought was possible. We feel that this is such an important aspect of the Codex that we're offering you the chance to purchase any one of the specially constructed balanced headphone cables from Cardas for 30% off! These cables have been specifically designed for the Ayre Codex (and Pono) and are available for a wide variety of the most popular headphones. It is important to note that not all supported headphone models are listed on our or Cardas' site, so please contact us if you have any questions regarding your headphones' compatibility with one of the Cardas models. Auralic Aries Mini - 20% OFF CABLES WITH PURCHASE ($549) One of this years most anticipated products has finally begun shipping.For those that don't already know, The ARIES MINI is a wireless streaming node designed for connecting to your existing home audio system. It not only has shared all software and hardware functions coming from original ARIES, but also equipped with additional high quality analog output and optional hard drive slot for anyone whom don’t want to invest for a dedicate DSD DAC and NAS drive. We don't know any other device from any manufacturer that can do what the Aries Mini can at this price. EMM LABS DA2 TRADE-IN OFFER EMM LABS DA2 - Next Generation Flagship DAC is HERE! (call for pricing details) For a limited time, trade-in your existing DAC and receive up to$7500 in credit towards a DA2. Not all DACs are eligible, so be sure and contact us to see if you have a qualifying product. This is a very limited time offer, so don't miss out on this great opportunity to own one of the world's finest DACs. Ed Meitner of EMM Labs proudly previews the DA2, his successor to the much beloved DAC2XThe DA2 is EMM Labs next generation flagship DAC. Re-designed from the ground up, Ed Meitner has once again created a DAC that significantly moves the bar in terms of transparency, accuracy and overall sound quality. NEW PERSONAL AUDIO PRODUCTS Cardas A8 Ear Speaker($300) After months and months of waiting, Cardas has finally launched their follow-up to their award winning EM5813 Ear Speakers. The Cardas A8 Ear Speaker features the world's first Ultra Linear, Contour Field, Dual Magnet Driver - an entirely new dynamic driver with no permeable core, delivering deep bass, strong midrange, and soaring highs. A8 users who want to use other playback devices, such as the balanced output on an Astell & Kern, Pono, or Ayre's Codex headphone amp, can purchase a separate cable specifically for that purpose. STAX SR-L700 Ear Speakers ($1400) STAX SR-L500 Ear Speakers ($700) STAX SRM-353X Headphone Amplifier ($925) STAX SRS-5100 Headphone System - SR-L500 + SRM-353X ($1650) The first SR-Lambda series was introduced 36 years ago and it has further developed into a new-generation SR-Lambda with its newly designed enclosure - the new SR-L700 and SR-L500 advanced-Lambda series Earspeakers. The SR-L700 and SR-L500 feature the same hand selected thin-film diaphragm that is used in their flagship SR-009. The SR-L700 also utilizes fixed electrodes machined through three-layer stainless etching using heat diffusion has been used for its sound element. These techniques result in an incredibly well-balanced headphone that produces rich deep bass, delicate high frequency and soothing mid-range.The SRM-353X is the exclusive driver unit (amplifier) produced to drive STAX electrostatic Earspeaker headphones. Thanks for taking the time to take a look at this month's newsletter, if you have any questions feel free to contact us here, in our LiveChat or at 844-242-6272 Happy Holidays! High End Audio Store NYC - Experience Ciamara1.844.CIAMARA (1.844.242.6272)
  7. November NewsletterClick above link for full newsletter FALL SPECIALS EDITION This month we've got tons of specials to tell you about. Whether you're looking for a new system or considering upgrading an existing component, we've put together some very attractive packages that will help you get your system to where you'd like it to be. To start things off, we've got a new SPECIALS SECTION on the site. This is where you'll find all of our ongoing sale items, packages and factory authorized specials. This season we're offering a number of cable/equipment/Roon software packages from some of our more popular products from Auralic, Luxman, Ayre and Lumin. We're also going to begin offering double Rewards Points, which will allow you to earn 10% back on every purchase through the holiday season, so be sure register for our Club Ciamara Membership Rewards Program to start earning store credit on every purchase. As always, we offer FREE SHIPPING on all purchases over $99 and the ability to try just about anything we sell in the comfort of your own home for up to 30-days. Thanks for taking the time to take a look at this month's newsletter, if you have any questions feel free to contact us here, in our LiveChat or at 844-242-6272 1.844.CIAMARA (1.844.242.6272) High End Audio Store NYC - Experience Ciamara
  8. ROON – The Ultimate Tool for the Music LoverComputer Audiophile Review and Video Every once in awhile a new software program comes out that re-imagines the way you can enjoy your digital music collection. ROON is exactly that type of program and is specifically designed to help you experience your music like never before. ROON transforms files and streams into a music collection that you can enjoy everywhere. Most people have ripped CDs, downloads and streaming services across multiple devise and users. ROON brings it all into a single music experience beautifully connected by rich images and a host of information. ROON introduces you to a world of information for your collection with album covers, artwork, artist and composer bios with up to date new releases- all while noticing trends in your collection to suggest other tracks you may enjoy. You can even use Focus Mode to organize your collection in different ways based on how you want to view it. All of these features provide Audiophile quality playback, with Direct Path and Signal Mode features. From earbuds to Hi-Fi DACs to network players, listen in one room or around the house with AirPlay, with more streaming formats to come. It runs on a windows computer or Mac, with the capability to be controlled from another computer or tablet (android or iPad). Not only does ROON do all of these things, but also does so while providing an amazing user experience that is both intuitive and visually stunning. We’re really digging ROON and even more excited to offer you a lifetime subscription for 25% off, 50% off or even completely FREE with the purchase of one of the following DACs or any component we sell (some restrictions apply). These offers are a great way to get into computer audio or to take your existing digital playback system to the next level. Recommended 25% off ROON offers* Ayre Codex DAC/headphone amp/preamp The Ayre Codex can blend seamlessly between working as a stand-alone DAC, DAC/Preamp combination, or Headphone Amplifier/DAC. It’s got a sleek casing that is filled with Ayre’s latest technologies that allow the versatility of being used as a serious home stereo set-up or a basic desktop headphone system. The Codex also features a high-quality analog power supply, which is almost unheard of at this price. The Codex offers an outstanding value that is sure to impresses even the toughest critic. All of its features and versatility make the Codex a perfect fit for ROON. Auralic Vega DAC The Auralic Vega is a wonderful Digital Audio Processor t has Flexible Filter Mode, which has six built-in modes, a linear phase filter, a minimum phase filter, a slow roll-off filter, and several noise filters for native DSD conversion. To maximum usage of these filters, VEGA lets you customize according to different formats, tuning sound best to personal preference. The VEGA also has the Femto Master Clock. This gives the DAC and Up-Sampling circuit an ultimate clock with minimized jitter and low phase noise. It utilizes a crystal oscillator that is aerospace quality, and generates a master clock with extremely low jitter at 82 femtoseconds by also using an ultra-low noise linear power supply and temperature compensation technology. Recommended 50% off ROON offers* Luxman DA-06 DAC “The music made by the Luxman DA-06 is rich, resolute, refined, and oh so smooth. Regardless of my music’s pedigree, I found myself enjoying entire album’s worth upon album’s worth, getting sucked into their sounds and moods to the point of being completely lost in tunes. I cannot think of a higher compliment to pay a piece of hi-fi gear.” - Michael Lavorgna, Audiostream June 2013 (Full Review here) Luxman’s DA-06 DAC is one fine piece of gear and one of the most musical we offer at any price. Advancing the state of the art, the Luxman DA-06 can handle up to 24/192 though its AES and S/PDIF inputs, and up to 2x DSD via USB and there are user-selectable filters for both PCM and DSD. Digital inputs are upsampled and processed at 32/384 and there are USB, SPDIF, AES/EBU and Toslink inputs on the back. DSD files played back on the Luxman DA-06 have a musicality and fluidity that we rarely hear from digital playback ever before. Its smooth and rich presentation is never etched or harsh. We can listen to this piece for hours and hours without the slightest hint of listening fatigue. Bricasti M1 USB DAC “The Bricasti M1 USB DAC is a state-of-the-art design offering impeccable performance and a wide selection of digital reconstruction filters so that you can fine tune its performance to both your preference and the personality of your system.” - Frank Berryman, Ultra High End Review The Bricasti M1 digital to analog converter is a dual mono design; there are two completely isolated channels, each with its own dedicated linear power supply, D/A converter, DDS clocking, and analog circuitry. This design insures that analog cross talk is virtually non-existent, that the necessary power requirements for each channel are well met and isolated from each other and the digital processing is isolated, having its own power supply. With their twin DAC design, using the stereo ADI 1955 D/A converter in a mono configuration optimizes the dynamic range for each channel. The M1 also includes Bricasti's own proprietary filter technology, further opening new territory with what is achievable in a modern D/A reference. Recommended FREE ROON offers* Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC RS "The Berkeley Audio Alpha DAC Reference redefines what we can expect from digital playback" - Robert Harley, The Absolute Sound The Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series (RS) is easily one of the top performing DACs in todays very crowded market. Let’s face it, as good as hi-res files can sound, most of our collections are made up of standard Red Book (16/44.1) files. This is where this DAC shines above the rest. By using multiple filter options and ultra-low phase noise precision clocking, it has the ability to extract every last detail and nuance of the performance. EMM Labs DAC2X “The updated DAC2X may provide the best DSD playback I can remember hearing in my system, but it also shines with PCM as well." - Chris Connaker, computeraudiophile.com (Full Review Here) Re-introducing the EMM Labs DAC2X – built with the award winning reference technology in the XDS1. The DAC2X features the latest generation MDAT2™ up-converting DSP, MFAST™ jitter removal system, MCLK™ master clock and Ed Meitner’s hand built 5.6Mhz proprietary discrete dual differential D-to-A converters. MDAT2™ works by taking all digital audio (PCM and DSD) and does real-time transient filtering and up-conversion to 2xDSD (5.6Mhz/6.1Mhz) before being sent to Ed`s proprietary custom made 2xDSD (5.6Mhz/6.1Mhz) DACs (MDAC modules) for conversion to analog. *Please note that these special offers with Roon cannot be combined with any other offer. Also, these offers were simply recomendations, so contact us if you are interested in packaging ROON with something else on our site. Buyer will receive code for ROON via email after purchase is complete and product has been delivered. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to Live Chat, Email, or call us at 1-844-242-6272 and we’ll be happy to help! Want more exclusive offers and a chance to earn rewards? Create a FREE Club Ciamara Membership Rewards Account. Don’t forget that most orders include free shipping! Click here for details. 1.844.CIAMARA (1.844.242.6272) High End Audio Store NYC - Experience Ciamara
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