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Mike in MD

Article: CES 2010 Notes

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Hi Mike - I have the new driver on my desktop ready to load when I have a moment. I did spend some time with my contact at ASUS during the show. ASUS is a really neat company and does have some dedication to high quality audio at reasonable prices.<br />

<br />

Hi Tubesound - The new Bel Canto DACs have a really nice feature set. I listened to the 3.5 at the show but it's really hard to make judgements about sound quality in most rooms so I can't really say much about the new DACs (1.5, 2.5, and 3.5).<br />

<br />

I'm looking further into the Furutech GT40.


Founder of Audiophile Style

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<br />

<br />

Thanks for this report, Chris.<br />

<br />

Perhaps you skimmed over Weiss due to the fact that much has already been written here. Did you get a chance to listen to the DAC202?<br />

<br />

More async USB is a good thing, in my opinion, although apparently the Proton has no new competition, price wise?<br />

<br />

You've got me wondering how that Nagra amp would sound with John Devore's new speaker, the Orangutan.<br />

<br />

<br />

clay<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

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that a new game-changing product will be announced here once it receives it's CES debut? Some CA's guessed at it....any new news??<br />

<br />

Edit: Also, if you owned the original Bossa Nova Soul Samba release, how much better is the Steve Hoffman remastered SACD?

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This was our 16 th CES and a lot has changed of course... but one thing that has not is the ability to say what any 'one thing' sounds like at a show - that is you really can't as it is part of a system. The Weiss room sounded quite nice and no doubt the new DAC was a decent part of that, but then again we were also listening to the speakers, cables, amplification, etc. - not just the DAC and swapping it for somethign else was not being offered up during show hours.<br />

The Furutech DAC was there as part of a headphone system... did not listen as they were not really pushing that. The Le Mans integrated is going to be $1200 and the GT40 is $450 - should have both where soon.<br />

There were though many USB DACs being offered by just about anyone and everyone. Some with Async, some with the other sync, and some with their own version of a sync. I do know of several soon to be releases 196/24 USB DACs to work with any Macs running OSX (since they can already output 196/24 via USB with no issues).<br />

The Cary music server for example will do 196/24 via its USB, but so far it is only happy with a PC and not a Mac.<br />

Of course in the end the USB interface is only a small part of the chain, so going async or not is just the first step.


Dave Clark[br]Editor, Positive Feedback Online

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Clay,<br />

<br />

Over at Audio Asylum there was a post about some new Music Streamers from HRT coming including an 192K HD model. Kevin Halverson is no slouch when it comes to digital design. I'm sure there will be many others too. I imagine it's only going to get better for us consumers.

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Of course that means that there really needs to be 'music' available at 96/24 and at 192/24... of which I can find none that interests me. From what I have read and heard I am in the vast majority.


Dave Clark[br]Editor, Positive Feedback Online

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Maybe so Dave. I'm into mostly Classic Rock and Pop from 60's-70's. I don't see what the holdup is. I wish Audio Fidelity (Steve Hoffman) and everyone else would start releasing some of it on HiRes formats. Maybe just as well since the ADCs are recently becoming as good as they are. So lets get started.

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<br />

I'm with Dave, I've got a 96kHz DAC, that I rarely exercize above 44.1kHz.<br />

<br />

I had it for probably a year before I realized the 48/96k oscillator couldn't lock on, and that was only to play the test files on the Amarra disk. :)<br />

<br />

On the other hand, I would gladly purchase music I LIKE at higher sampling rates IF the music was originally recorded at that rate. I'm a bit concerned that once the 88.2/96k floodgates open, we'll have little way to tell if in fact recordings were originally recorded at such rates (due to misleading advertising).<br />

<br />

cheers,<br />

clay<br />

<br />

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That is where I am at... all my music is 16/44.1 (native) and in speaking to a lot of the people I know in the industry (the musicians I like) they really have no interest in recording at anything higher as in their eyes, there is no market - or at the very least, so small so why bother. But that is my music of interest and I am not really wanting the 16/44.1 stuff redone at a higher rate (can do that here if I want)...


Dave Clark[br]Editor, Positive Feedback Online

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Well it depends who does the remastering. I wouldn't trust a major label. Look how they mastered everything for CD from re-eq'd vinyl masters in the beginning. Now there's quite a bit of well mastered classic rock done by reputable people. I don't see why they can't just master at high sampling rates and just downsample the stuff for CD. Unless it's a licensing thing.

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I've started a sticky thread a couple days ago that asks all AC'ers to report "faux" Hirez to the thread (i.e upsampled redbook lurking as true hirez, for example). We could do something like that here, too (especially with all the insiders we have here like Barry, Bruce, etc.), or send it to me and I'll post. I don't want to create a link to it; it's inappropriate for Chris's forum.

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@ted_b<br />

<br />

I think that is really useful. However, I wonder if a forum is the right format to track that information. Would you consider posting same to Discogs for example? It can be added as notes/review to a release. Similarly to the mini-reviews, they are very helpful for their comments on recording/audio quality, but hard to "mine".<br />

<br />

Nes


Merging NADAC / Theta Compli --> Spectral DMC-20 --> Spectral DMA-250 --> Avalon Ascendant (with tweeter upgrades)

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Yes, there may not be much hi-res digital music available right now, but won't you feel like an idiot in a couple years when there's hi-res overload and your DAC can't decode it? Future-proofing is essential when designing/buying digital equipment.<br />

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Shame to see there aren't more asynchronous USB DACs (perhaps there are more which Chris is waiting to confirm), especially not more at a lower price point. How about the new Wadia or Bel Canto's; are they still upsampling? Also, Chris, could you explain the new stuff from PS Audio a little more?

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I must tell, that I own also a couple of SACDs, that where mastered at 44.1 kHz. This SACDs do have no frequency information, above 22.05 kHz, just a steep brick wall filter. They do sound better than the CD, because most of them are mastered with 24 Bit Resolution, and this, even with the same highest frequency as CD, gives you a much better resolution in time, than the regular CD.<br />

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So I think the same, as soon as the HiRes doors are open, we will be also flooded with upsampled versions of songs, that we already bought. We can just hope, that these are at least from the 24 Bit Master, instead of the regular 16 Bit CD Master.<br />

<br />

Juergen

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<br />

"..but won't you feel like an idiot in a couple years when there's hi-res overload and your DAC can't decode it? Future-proofing is essential when designing/buying digital equipment."<br />

<br />

We seem to forget how long it takes for real change to happen in big industries.<br />

<br />

My DAC (Metric Halo ULN-2) was first released in 2003 and designed much earlier than that. It only supports 96kHz. I still can't buy any of my favorite music in 88.2 or 96k, and precious little is available at all.<br />

<br />

just my opinion,<br />

clay<br />

<br />

<br />

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I would have thought everything would be mastered in 24/96 by now. But as soon as corporporate realized DVD-Audio, SACD wasn't selling too well they stopped everything. Don't forget they're still afraid to release Hires material without DRM.

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Instead of 96 k, I would prefer any integer Multiples of 44.1 kHz, like 88.2 or 176,4 kHz for Recording and Mastering, because this will give you a better sound with the legacy 44.1 kHz CD, because you need only an integer divider, instead of an ASRC, that can’t be as good as an integer divider. <br />

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So I like the way Reference Recordings had done this with 176,4 kHz. If you compare some 96 kHz and 88.2 kHz download files of the original 176.4 kHz files, you will recognize that the 88.2 kHz files do sound more natural, more room, more smooth, sure also depending on the product (soft or hardware) that is doing the process.<br />

<br />

Juergen<br />

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If I recall, Barry Diament commented a while back that sample rate conversion done properly is so good now that you can't hear the difference.

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"Finally, it was great meeting the Computer Audiophile readers who I ran into at the show. I think we need to set something up for Rocky Mountain in October so more of us can meet up :~)"<br />

<br />

I tihnk it would be a great idea to have CA people meet up sometime during RMAF. Perhaps a manufacturer would open their room to possible customers for meeting the night before the show or one evening during the show. Hopefully, you Chris, can come up with a way for us all to meet at the next RMAF. I was there for your presentation last year on the panel and beside the power going out, the audio was terrible for hearing speaking voices at the back of the room. Let me know if you want help making it happen.<br />

<br />

Chuck

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<br />

"...sample rate conversion done properly is so good now that you can't hear the difference."<br />

<br />

Barry also posted that (in his opinion) precious few SRCs can satisfy the 'done properly' condition. If I remember, iZotope 64-bit SRC is (the only?) one that did.<br />

<br />

clay<br />

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"My award for Favorite Sound of CES goes to the new Nagra 300i integrated amplifier with four 300B tubes ... There was no price available for the new 300i."<br />

<br />

Julien Pelchat of Verity Audio guesstimates between $15-20k for the 300i. <br />

<br />

Chris you have a pair of Verity Audio speakers ..How did the Nagra MSA solid state @ $8000 sound with the Veritys @ CES? IYO, what amplification other than Nagra and Audio Research goes well with the Veritys? Any solid state? <br />

<br />

Thanks,


James[br]

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