November 2018
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A short film about the ALLO DigiOne Signature for Raspberry Pi

By | November 13th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

If bits were just bits, high-end streamer manufacturers would be snake oil peddlers and their (many thousands) of customers deaf dopes. Experience tells us otherwise: that not only do digital sources sound different but there exists a substantial audible delta between the very best-sounding digital audio sources – like the Innuos’ Zenith SE – and the worst – hello Raspberry Pi. Furnishing us with the ‘why’ are experienced digital audio engineers like Gordon Rankin.

Closing the Pi’s sound quality gap on the big boys are third-party manufacturers like France’s ALLO Digital whose terrific DigiOne HAT add-on directly connects to the Pi’s 40-Pin socket to pull digital audio upwards to output via S/PDIF with reduced amounts of jitter and/or electrical noise. … Read the full article

Mytek teases Brooklyn Bridge streaming DAC

By | November 5th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

On my office desk sits a most well-connected DAC — a book-sized slab of electronics with options for MQA, DSD, analogue or digital volume attenuation, Apple remote control hijack, single-ended or balanced outputs; on the rear panel for connection to an amplifier (like the Mytek Brooklyn Amp) and on the front for driving low- or high-impedance headphones. Heck, it even has an MM phono stage. That DAC is the Mytek Brooklyn Plus. US$2195. Review here.

If I want to stream digital audio to the Brooklyn Plus, I must call on a third party device for hook-up to one of the Plus DAC’s numerous digital inputs: USB (hello Sonore microRendu), coaxial (hello ALLO DigiOne), TOSLINK (hello JustBoom DigiHAT) or AES/EBU (hello AURALiC Aries G1).… Read the full article

Pause for thought: Apple’s 2018 Mac Mini

By | October 31st, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

The king is dead. Long live the king? Apple first introduced us to the Mac Mini in 2005 but updates to the headless Mac platform stalled in 2014. Four years later, with some pundits doubting the Mac Mini’s long-term viability, Apple has announced a refresh where a Space Grey chassis (with the same footprint as earlier models) houses a choice of 8th-generation 6-Core or Quad-Core CPU, up to 64GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory, a quad of Thunderbolt 3-compatible USB-C ports, HDMI 2.0 and optional 10Gb Ethernet.… Read the full article

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Innuos adds Spotify Connect, invites mainstreamers

By | October 25th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

Spotify. To hear snobs tell it, the Swedish streaming service has no place in the hi-fi world. According to this outmoded idealism, the high-end audio is a party where Spotify’s lossy (Ogg Vorbis) encoding doesn’t get you past the velvet rope.

Thankfully, an increasing number of high-end audio manufacturers are showing us that they firmly disagree.

We’ve already seen the likes of AURALiC, KEF, PS Audio and Sonore / Small Green Computer add Spotify Connect support to their hardware over the past few years.… Read the full article

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Chord’s Hugo M Scaler gives us what hi-fi shows do not

By | October 21st, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Keeping it honest: comparisons are the cornerstone of a good hi-fi review. Why? Because comparisons are also the cornerstone of the consumer decision process. Our decision trees tell us that it isn’t enough for us to enjoy the sound of a piece of audio gear in isolation. We also want to know if we might better enjoy something else.

In short: no A/B, no conclusion. No conclusion, no sale.

At the 2018 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Chord Electronics took up residence in the Marriott Hotel’s tower – demonstrating the Hugo 2 TT (info here) with the TToby amplifier (info here) and loudspeakers – and in the CanJam area where the Hugo 2 TT fired directly into headphones.… Read the full article

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Auralic – RMAF 2018

By | October 12th, 2018|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

There is always something interesting brewing with Auralic at audio shows, this year at RMAF was no different. The digital component and amplifier company partnered with YG Acoustics which is fast becoming something to look forward to as we make our way across the show circuit.

We really got a sense of the big show ponies from YG at T.H.E. Show on the west coast this year in the form of the Sonja XV Jr. but the Hailey 1.2 loudspeakers ($42,800/pair) on display in the Auralic room also fit the bill nicely.… Read the full article

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The talking heads of RMAF 2018: Gordon Rankin

By | October 12th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , |

The USB stick, handed to me early Saturday morning by Wavelength Audio’s Gordon Rankin, detailed the five new models being shown at RMAF 2018: the Duetto v5 8w 300B amplifier, the (flagship) Crimson HS3x ES9038 USB DAC, the Cosecant HS3x ES9038 USB DAC, the Brick N2 Hybrid NOS Ladder DAC and, most newsworthy of all for this commentator, the Ethernet Spacelator — an optically isolated, dual-clocked repeater ($TBC) that sits between streamer (or streaming DAC) and network.

Rankin’s USB stick elaborated: “The input side of the circuit goes to a really high-quality reclocker, this is then converted to a digital parallel interface that is optically coupled in both directions to the clean side reclocker.Read the full article

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Bryston – RMAF 2018

By | October 11th, 2018|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , , |

By Eric Shook

Bryston is a Canadian company with a proven history of offering products that famously stand the test of time. The team from Bryston assembled one of their newest six-channel, actively-driven, and DSP-controlled stereo speaker systems. That may sound confusing at first, but to relax and listen to this all-Bryston offering is to live in a field of sound that is comfortably measured and precise.

Active speakers are not what they used to be, and honestly this is a good thing.… Read the full article

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Sonicorbiter v2.7 comes to Sonore streamers/servers

By | October 9th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

Small Green Computer has announced the availability of Sonicorbiter v2.7, the latest – and reportedly greatest – operating system for all Sonore Rendu series streamers (microRendu, ultraRendu, Signature Rendu SE) and the sonicTransporter server.

Causing the Small Green Computer coders refer to v2.7 as the ‘greatest’ OS to date is the addition of: 1) Resilio Sync which “gives customers the ability to easily sync their music files on their computer with their sonicTransporter series servers”; 2) HQ Player to the SonicTransporter and 3) Roon-less Tidal to Rendu streamers where users can now repurpose Linn’s Kazoo with Tidal login to talk directly to any Sonore endpoint.… Read the full article

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The talking heads of RMAF 2018: Katie Springer

By | October 7th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Astell&Kern is not only about to introduce a new portable audio player in the SP1000M but is in the process of reworking the firmware on many of their existing models to add a pseudo-app store that allows users to optionally add streaming services such as Spotify, Soundcloud and Pandora to their player. Along for the ride come native interfaces – including Tidal – and offline support.

Also coming to Astell&Kern players in the next few weeks is MQA support. It is not restricted to locally-stored files (on a microSD card) but adds Tidal streaming and Tidal offline mode to the deal.… Read the full article

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