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Audio Note UK launches Cobra integrated amp with DAC

By | November 12th, 2019|Categories: Av2day|Tags: , , , |

Audionte's latest integrated amp-cum-DAC.
Audio Note UK’s latest integrated amp-cum-DAC is called Cobra.


Audio Note UK has launched its latest integrated amplifier with built-in DAC.


Called the Cobra, the integrated amplifier is in production now and will be released in the market early next year.


The interesting feature is the built-in DAC which uses a Philips TDA1543 chip. These days, the latest DACs use chips which can handle PCM up to 32 bit 384kHz and DSD up to DSD 256, but Audio Note UK has eschewed the trend to use the latest chips for a blast from the past.… Read the full article

SPL Phonitor XE Headamp/DAC Review

By | November 10th, 2019|Categories: Innerfidelity|

I mused a while back in my Ether 2 review what it meant for something to be ‘the best,’ at what it does. Moving beyond the, frankly, intellectually lazy idea that ‘it’s all subjective,’ I came to the conclusion that with regards to audio, ‘best’ is something that exists as a topic of conversation between the zeitgeist and manufacturing capabilities of the time.

As with all people however, we learn and change. I’m no longer convinced the equation is quite that simple, or at least I’d like to complicate the idea I put forward in that review by re-examining the criteria or personal taste that I left out of that piece.… Read the full article

Audio Note DAC 5 Special Review: The $43,500 Question

By | November 10th, 2019|Categories: Audiostream|

When I was growing up my father spoke to me about the danger of hyperbole – I was 11 or 12 years old at time. I bring it up because that moment popped into my consciousness again as I was transcribing the listening notes from my time with the Audio Note DAC 5 Special.

The Neoteric Listener – The AURALiC VEGA G1 Streaming DAC

By | November 7th, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , |

“Is it live or is it Memorex?” If you’re old enough to remember that ad for audio cassettes (hell, if you’re old enough to remember audio cassettes) you also remember that nobody had trouble answering the question. I don’t care how astounding your Nakamichi Dragon cassette player happened to be, nobody ever walked into your listening room and said, “Hey! Where’s the orchestra?!”

To be honest, I’ve had much the same experience with DACs. An invisible hand may drive DAC marketing, but there are plenty of audible fingerprints on digital sound reproduction.… Read the full article

Just In from CAF (Part I): Audio Note UK DAC and Cabling, Acapella Audio Arts Music Server, Integrated Amplifier, Loudspeakers, and Cabling, HRS Equipment Rack

By | November 7th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Veteran Palo Alto, California distributor Audio Federation presented a system that included large horn-loaded speakers and Audio Note UK gear, two of my favorite things.

Staged by Cornelia and Michael Davis, the beautiful-looking Audio Federation assemblage consisted of the Acapella Audio One music server ($6875), Audio Note UK DAC Five Signature ($98,355), Acapella LaMusika integrated amplifier ($110,000), new 93″ tall, 450lb Acapella Audio Arts Campanile 2 loudspeakers ($66,500/pair) with an updated spherical horn midrange (95dB at 8 ohms), and Acapella and Audio Note UK cabling.… Read the full article

ifi Zen DAC

By | November 7th, 2019|Categories: AV Hub|

iFi has released a full-featured high-performance desktop USB DAC, the iFi Zen, that retails for less than $200. [Pictured above: click image to enlarge]

The iFi Zen USB DAC’s digital section is based around a Burr-Brown (Texas Instruments) DSD1793 DAC that supports PCM and DXD data up to 24-bit/384kHz, as well as DSD from 2.8MHz to 12.4MHz (DSD256). ‘Thanks to  the ‘True Native’ design of the DSD1793’s decoding process, PCM and DSD take separate pathways, which enables DSD signals to remain bit-perfect in their native form, right through to analogue conversion,’ said George Poutakidis, of BusiSoft AV, which distributes iFi in Australia.… Read the full article

Tekton Moab, McGary Audio SA-2 Integrated Amplifier, Exogal Comet DAC and Ion Power DAC, Anticables

By | November 6th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

I like speakers with dark wood finishes. My friend Sphere loves speakers painted red. My partner “bb” prefers blue ones that match her room. Tekton Design makes speakers in these and many other colors and finishes. Tekton speakers, though, also have many tweeters, which gives them a distinctive look.

I always get happy seeing Tekton Design’s principal Eric Alexander. I’ve reviewed two of his speakers (the Pendragon and the Impact Monitors), and I am a fan of Eric’s “tweeter arrays;” they deliver a precise and seamless midband that must be heard to be appreciated.… Read the full article

Legacy Audio Studio HD Loudspeakers, Rogue Audio Sphinx v3 amplifier, NAD C658 network player/preamp/DAC

By | November 6th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

It pleases me beyond words when modestly priced audio components overperform immodestly.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, dealer Now Listen Here (‘A Tenacious Sound Store’) put on a spectacularly immodest, mind-expanding demo, using only humble components. Picture a big atrium room with a pair of $1795/pair Legacy Audio Studio HD loudspeakers driven by the new Rogue Audio Sphinx v3 (tube/class-D) integrated amplifier ($1595)—this in turn driven by the NAD C 658 BluOS™ network player/preamp/DAC—which, I feel certain, played a big roll in making this little rig sound refined, big, powerful, extroverted.… Read the full article

Joseph Audio Loudspeakers, Unison Research DAC and Amplification, Balanced Audio Technology Phono Stage, Feickert Turntable, Schick Tonearm, My Sonic Lab Cartridge

By | November 6th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

On the last day of the show, loudspeaker designer Jeff Joseph showed no signs of slowing down. Remote in hand, he bounced around his room like the proverbial battery bunny, welcoming attendees, switching his rig between analog and digital playback, and generally smiling his way through it all.

Jeff’s rig included a Feickert Firebird turntable ($12,995), Thomas Schick Tonearm ($2290), My Sonic Lab Signature Gold Cartridge ($8995), Balanced Audio Technology VK-P12SE phono stage ($9995), Unison Research CD Due DAC ($4995) and Unico 150 Integrated ($6495), and his Joseph Audio Perspective2 Graphene Loudspeakers ($14,995/pair).… Read the full article

MC Audiotech Forty-10 Loudspeakers, VPI HW-40 Turntable, Luminous Audio Arion Phono Preamp, Pass Labs XP22 preamp, Wolf Audio Alpha 3 Music Server, PS Audio DirectStream DAC, Parasound A23 Amplifier, Symposium Foundation Rack

By | November 5th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Two friends whose taste and hearing I respect—and who visited every room at this show—told me they thought the $35K/pair MC Audiotech Forty-10 loudspeakers made the best sound at CAF. No question, these almost five-feet tall decorator-friendly midcentury-modernᡃlooking beauties sounded even better they look, and they look very nice.

At first, I thought they sounded like electrostatics, or maybe a planar-magnetic. Even after listening at some length and talking to the designer, I did not yet understand that the Forty-10 did not use electrostatic drivers.… Read the full article