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Article: CA Bits & Bytes Volume 3: 2012 CES, Upcoming Reviews

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A prototype is displayed- lit up but not connected. Very nice and as you expected, it does a lot. They're calling it a digital media bridge. Price will be between $14-$15,000 I believe that they said with availability in Q1-Q2, perhaps as early as February. The size is same as other REF chassis.<br />

<br />

DAC portion based on DAC 8 with same drivers. Analog section is all tube based on Ref5SE. The unit is not a preamp but does have a combination of analog and digital attenuation ( avoids loss of critical bits). <br />

<br />

Will accept pretty much everything digital- streaming DNLA/ UPnP, etc via RJ45 ( the person I spoke with did not know what the control app, etc. would be), USB2HS, AES, SPDIF, etc..it has a dedicated USB-type "iPod" port as well as a front panel USB port, presumably for USB sticks. Ability to up sample to 176.4 or 192. Wireless Ethernet built in, Internet radio, RS232 control<br />

<br />

Supposedly, the 3.5" TFT front panel will display some metadata from certain sources. The tube analog section should be awesome but I guess that I'm maybe a bit disappointed that there does not seem to be any major updates to the digital section over the DAC8 (although that is very good except for maybe the possible Mac driver issue that people report).<br />

<br />

It certainly is very interesting and I'd very much suggest that Chris put this on his list to see and report on.


Tidal Audio Agoria Loudspeakers; VAC Master preamp; Merrill Audio Christine preamp, Merrill Audio Jens & VAC Renaissance Phono Preamps;   Bricasti M28 & Merrill Audio Element 118 Monoblock Amplifiers; Sonore Signature RenduSE Optical network player; Bricasti M12 Source Controller/ DAC; Spiral Groove SG-2 TT with Centroid Arm & Transfiguration Proteus Diamond Cartridge; Ampex ATR-102 Reel-Reel with Merrill Audio Master tape head preamplifier; Ansuz signal and power cabling and power distribution; Symposium Isis racks 

INDUSTRY AFFILIATION: Dealer- XtremeFidelity.net (VAC,  Bricasti, Merrill Audio,  Sonore, Ansuz, Synergistic Research & others)

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I too would have hoped the DAC portion would have been different or the driver issues addressed at the very least.<br />

<br />

We will see. There seems to be many gimmicks in the unit, something unusual for ARC. Personally, I don't see the reason for a unit like that to have to display metadata on the unit and streaming??, well we will see.<br />

<br />

More importantly, I guess they aren't listening to their customer base which is a somewhat disappointing. dCS did listen as we are seeing with their DSD solution. ARC it seems are not addressing the numerous calls from their endusers about the need to use a Wavelink solution for a Mac based server or the better results with a Windows solution and the inability to use a PK90 USB solution because of a failure to address the driver issue. <br />

<br />

I don't want to pre-judge, so I will wait for their take. Also, if they are going to introduce a "new" reference DAC, one would think they would address 32 bit and higher sample rates as well as DSD as competitors are starting to do.<br />

<br />

Thanks again. <br />

<br />

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The QOL is a stereo field editor. You can achieve the same exact results with a Rupert Neve Portico 5014 which will allow you to create the effect from 0 - 100% at a much cheaper price. If you have an analog console you can create the effect in a DAW by using the M/S algorithm. <br />

The QOL DOES increase voltage by more than .1v<br />

You can read more about it here:<br />

<br />

<br />

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?4384-Stereo-Field-Processing

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Even though the upcoming ARC Ref DAC seem to have all the bells and whistles, I too, am somewhat disappointed. <br />

<br />

The unit looks quite chunky and the puny display looks like the MF M1Clic, It doesn't even match the REF5 display in size. Looks weird in an all ARC system.<br />

<br />

I still don't get why they don't just offer a killer Class audio 2.0 USB asynch input and let the user decide his/her preferred way to get bitperfect audio to It. That way, Mac and Linux would be compatible at least. And there are a few solid Windows drivers out there already. <br />

<br />

Bravo to them to have one digital input of each type but I still don't get why companies don't offer at least 2 coax and 2 toslink. Its not an ARC thing per see but with CD, DVD, AppleTV, Squeezebox lying around It would be great if those "cheap" devices could all be upgraded soundwise when one buys a great DAC for big $$$. Classé got It with their CP-800 at least.<br />

<br />

I don't even own ARC or can afford It for that matter, hence why It is completely gratuitous here but that is one company I lust after for sure and It pissed me off so I can only imagine those who can afford the stuff such as Priaptor. I would be disappointed too.<br />

<br />

End of rant.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />


Arcam rDAC / Oppo BDP-83 / NAD 315BEE / Totem Arro

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While the majority of users here don't appreciate UPnP; it does appear to me that in the wider audiophile market streaming does seam as accepted or even more than direct computer links via USB. There does seam to be vastly reduced market for tweaks via USB cables etc. which may be a good thing... Perhaps it's the one-box player vs transport and DAC of the past all over again!<br />

<br />

Eloise


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Where do you guys look up for updates, pictures of the CES?<br />

<br />

There is Stereophile/AudioStream and Soundstage that has daily coverage but other than those?<br />

<br />

Socrates site was amazing for RMAF but alas, he is not at CES...<br />

<br />

Any suggestions?<br />

<br />

Thanks!<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />


Arcam rDAC / Oppo BDP-83 / NAD 315BEE / Totem Arro

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That's the one I meant by Soundstage...<br />

<br />


Arcam rDAC / Oppo BDP-83 / NAD 315BEE / Totem Arro

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Here's a taste. Much more coming, but time goes so fast here at the show.<br />

<br />

<center><img src ="http://www.computeraudiophile.com/files/P1000681.jpg"></img></center><br />

<br />


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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And is priced/configured exactly right for those of us with a nice DAC and need a decent streamer.


Macbook Pro/MacMini/dCS Debussy/Cambridge 650BD[br]Vitus Audio SS-010/Living Voice OBX-R2 Speakers/Ultrasone Edition 8 phones[br]Airport Express/Meridian AD88[br]

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Where is Warner Music / Atlantic?<br />

<br />

They would make a "huge announcement" at CES 2012 about high resolution audio. Physical media and downloads. Is this their active-agressive promotion approach they were talking about last summer in the press?<br />

<br />

I haven't heard anything yet? What's wrong? Did they already gave up their plans, because there's only interest in cheap docks and streaming from the cloud?<br />

<br />

I'm really confused right now.

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I love my ARC stuff and really want to buy a REF DAC, BUT, if it is built on DAC 8 USB, it is kind of non-starter. I am not sure that a 15K DAC, without the ability to do DSD over USB or 32/384 is going to make a tough sale, regardless of tube analogue. <br />

<br />

DLNA media streamer, usb stick inputs and front display just doesn't seem like and ARC REF product to me<br />

<br />

I will TRY to keep and open mind and see what it ultimately turns out to be, BUT......

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Priaptor:<br />

<br />

I completely share your view. I realize it is early to tell, but this product seems to be too full of bells and whistles and far from what an ARC product has been about in the past with a more simple and purist approach. I agree on the USB in the front and also fail to understand why you would want features such as internet radio on a US$ 15.000 product. I hope ARC knows what they are doing! <br />

<br />

However, it all is going to come down to how this sounds so like you I am trying to keep an open mind. They should focus on resolving the USB input issues that have been raised in this forum and use a driverless approach such as the Wavelink. I also would have hoped for DSD as I understand that the chip used by ARC may already be DSD capable. We'll have to wait until this becomes available to hope to have a chance to audition it to see wether this is truly at the level of other ARC Ref products!


Mac Mini (2012) SSD / Lampizator Big 7 / ARC Preamp + Amp / Martin Logan Speakers and Subs.

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Perhaps ARC is exploring the same methods as Linn and Naim have to great effect... The Internet radio and iPod interface come "free" with a lot of such hardware. <br />

<br />

Eloise


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Are the rumors that Warner/Atlantic and Universal gave up their high res. plans true? <br />

<br />

Was really looking forward to the CES announcement but read on another board that Warner gave up their fight :(

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ARC other than the huge amount of money I have invested in my system, but I have already made my concerns known to people at the top of the food chain of ARC. No commitments or comments from them but they do know where I and others like me stand.<br />

<br />

Just releasing a REF product is not enough in the digital domain where others are competing for the same business unless that REF product offers the best of what ARC is best at and incorporates what their competition is offering.<br />

<br />

As to the Naim and Linn approach that is another matter and ARC is not the type of company that tries to be all things to all people. <br />

<br />

ARC should stick to what they are best at, and while I am hopefully optimistic, I am not that optimistic based on what they showed at CES.

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<em>As to the Naim and Linn approach that is another matter and ARC is not the type of company that tries to be all things to all people.<br />

<br />

ARC should stick to what they are best at, and while I am hopefully optimistic, I am not that optimistic based on what they showed at CES.</em><br />

Have you thought that perhaps ARC feel they can get the best results this way...<br />

<br />

My comments about Naim and Linn were just to demonstrate that UPnP is a valid option. Until you actually hear the ARC Ref DAC you really can't comment!!<br />

<br />

Eloise


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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