March 2019
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The inconvenient truth about MQA on iOS

By | March 13th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

The email that read “Stream Tidal Masters everywhere: iPhone now supports MQA” called for immediate care. This wasn’t Apple embracing MQA technology directly but an extension of Tidal’s existing MQA support.

Two years ago, Tidal made its repository of MQA ‘Masters’ streamable to anyone subscribing to the company’s ‘Hifi’ tier — and at no extra cost. Nice. The announcement covered Tidal’s MacOS and Windows apps.

Last year, Tidal rolled out MQA support to Android devices and earlier this week, per the aforementioned email, iOS app users were now being invited to the MQA party.… Read the full article

Modern magic: Shanling’s $109 M0 DAP

By | March 5th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

Any accomplished photographer will tell you: the best camera is the one you have with you. A big expensive full-frame Canon is no doubt vastly superior to an iPhone’s in-built camera, but if the iPhone allows you to capture a beautiful sunset while the Canon sits at home on the shelf, which is the better camera at that moment? Similarly, if one stores a megabuck-DAP at home whilst frequently listening via a smartphone when on the go, something has gone awry.… Read the full article

Luxman’s New PD-151 Turntable

By | March 1st, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , |

Luxman PD-151 Turntable

I’ve always been impressed by every piece of Luxman gear I’ve heard. While the price tag is usually pretty spicy, so is the sound it creates. New and up on the PR wheel is a turntable targeted at “a broader range of audiophiles”. The new PD-151 still calls for a hefty wallet at $3,895, but die hard enthusiasts in the market will likely take note.

The Luxman PD-151 enters the line just below the current PD-171A ($6,400), but will not be replaced by the new shiny thing in town.… Read the full article

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Review: Auralic VEGA G1 Streaming DAC

By | February 20th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Auralic VEGA G1 Back Panel

The Auralic VEGA G1 DAC may take a little more explaining than your average DAC review but that’s because the proposition has evolved, just as the digital audio scene has. No longer just a digital converter from USB or SPDIF, the new VEGA is a DAC and streamer. The entire device is controllable from Auralic’s own Lighting DS app or as an endpoint for Roon, and the usual streaming services apply – even the recently launched Qobuz (for the US at least). … Read the full article

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Gold Note CD-1000 MKII review

By | February 20th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

“You’ve got a what?!” said my ex-wife and daughter in unison. My son was even blunter: “Why are you reviewing obsolete technology?”. The object of their ire – Gold Note’s new CD player, the CD-1000 MKII. Did they have a point?

CD sales are struggling whilst streaming is powering ahead. And many with large CD collections have long since ripped them to a computer (haven’t they?) with the donor discs, at best, relegated to aesthetic service? And hasn’t the steady flow of new CD player models coming to market been reduced to a trickle?… Read the full article

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Rotel’s CD11: there’s life in the old digital dog yet

By | February 18th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Global CD sales dropped almost 19% in 2019 whilst vinyl sales grew by 12%. The headline? Vinyl is back. CDs are dying. End of story.

Not so fast. It’s often the most easily digestible narrative that grabs our attention. The numbers behind those percentage point deltas remind us that CDs outsold vinyl 6:1 in 2019; 9.7 million vinyl records and 60 million CDs were sold worldwide last year. It might still be half a decade before we see CD sales fall below that of vinyl in absolute terms.… Read the full article

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A short film about the Innuos ZEN MK3

By | February 14th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

A custom motherboard (not off-the-shelf); a dual linear power supply from one Dr. Sean Jacobs; three asymmetrically aligned feet tuned to the resonant frequency of the chassis to combat microphonics — these are the core ingredients of the ZEN MK3 from Innuos, the middle unit in the Portuguse company’s current crop of server/streamers. Pricing starts at US$2599, €2099, £1899 for the full-width box (black or silver) fitted with an internal 1TB HDD. That’s mid-range 13″ MacBook Pro cash.

For those making use of the ZEN MK3’s in-built server functionality (UPnP, Sonos, Squeezebox, Roon), a larger hard drive might be required.… Read the full article

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exaSound PlayPoint DM review

By | January 29th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

The PlayPoint DM Dual-Mono Converter and Network Audio Server is exaSound Audio Design’s new flagship product that combines a state-of-the-art DAC with a Roon music management network server. I have always been impressed with exaSound’s products having reviewed the e22 DAC in 2014 and the e32 DAC in 2017 (for AudioStream). Both of these DACs were well engineered and delivered first-rate sound at very reasonable prices.

George Klissarov, President of exaSound Audio Design, has decided to chart new territory with the release of the PlayPoint DM by delivering the most advanced DAC that exaSound has ever produced and combined it with a Roon Certified network server.… Read the full article

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By Our Powers Combined! The McIntosh MTI100 Turntable Integrated

By | January 25th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , |

McIntosh MTI100

Of all the products McIntosh has put out in the past few years this has really caught my attention. The classic McIntosh look embroidered onto a turntable, but wait, are those tubes? Perhaps giving a new definition to the term all-in-one for audiophiles, the newly announced MTI100 actually combines a 80 watt/channel (8 ohms) integrated amplifier with a vinyl turntable… and quite a bit more.

Something old, something new.

At first glance some might take pause at the vibration-sensitive source pushed so close to any other component, but it appears as though McIntosh has really thought the execution though.… Read the full article

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‘Engineered by Audio Note’: EVGA’s Nu Audio sound card

By | January 23rd, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

EVGA — among audio circles they barely rate a mention but for those building PCs the Californian motherboards and graphics card manufacturer is much bigger news. For their latest product, EVGA teamed up with Audio Note UK for a most unlikely collaboration.

What gives?

EVGA CEO Andrew Han is a die-hard audiophile who owns vintage Western Electric horns, a dCS digital front-end and Audio Note UK amplifiers. With the latter customer connection in place, Han tapped the talents of the UK company’s Andy Grove to design his NU Audio Card (US$250), EVGA’s first sound card and announced at CES 2019.… Read the full article

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