CEDIA Scene: New DAC/CD Transports from Aesthetix & Simaudio

Disc players,
Digital-to-analog converters
Aesthetix Romulus,
Moon Audio Evolution Series 650
CEDIA Scene: New DAC/CD Transports from Aesthetix & Simaudio

The recent CEDIA Expo show marked the arrival of two new “DAC/CD Transports"--the Aesthetix Romulus CD Player/DAC and the Simaudio Moon Evolution-Series 650 DAC/CD Transport.

Isn’t the term “DAC/CD Transport” just a fancy name for a CD player? In a sense it is, in that all CD player do incorporate both CD transports and DACs, but the name also signifies a shift in emphasis. With the new generation DAC/CD transports the intent is to provides a very high quality DAC with multiple, switch-selectable digital audio inputs (where at least one is geared to accept digital audio data from a computer), while also providing the ability to read/play traditional Red Book CDs.

Aesthetix Romulus CD Player/DAC

Technical highlights for the Aesthetix Romulus CD Player/DAC ($6000) are as shown below:

·      Three SP/DIF and two USB inputs
·      AES/EBU, RCS/Coax, and Tosling standard SP/DIF inputs.
·      Asynchronous transfer mode for USB input, licensed from Gordon Ranking/Wavelength Technologies.
·      Asynchronous transfer mode allows for jitter levels over a hundred times lowere than previous USB solutions.
·      USB capable of class 1 (24 bit/96kHz) operation and class 2 (24 bit/192kHz) operation.
·      DSP-based digital section using Motorola DSP56362 for advanced digital filters.
·      DAC section based on Burr-Brown PCM1792A.
·      Analog section featuring four vacuum tubes in differential configuration.
·      Gain section composed of one 12AX7 tube per channel.
·      Output/buffer section componsed of one 6DJ8/6922 per channel.
·      Zero global feedback.
·      Balanced and single-ended outputs.
·      Volume control (switched resistor design) allows direct drive of power amplifiers.
·      Multiple stainless steel Faraday cages isolate critical digital, analog, and power supply sections.
·      Two transformers, one for digital and one for analog circuits.
·      Multiple regulated power supplies to isolate critical sections. 
·      CD Rom drive is a Teac drive specially designed for audio, Red Book only.
·      CD ROM runs from master clock, located near the DAC. This eliminates the interference associated with multiple clocks.

Note that a DAC-only version of the Romulus, called the Aesthetix Pandora USB/SPDIF DAC will also be available ($5000). For more information, visit: www.musicalsurroundings.com

Simaudio Moon Evolution-Series 650D DAC/CD Transport

Simaudio provides the following description for its new Moon Evolution-Series 650 DAC/CD Transport (~$7000).

The MOON 650D Digital-to-Analog Converter / CD Transport follows in the footsteps of the highly acclaimed MOON 750D. Applying what is commonly referred to as trickle-down technology, we have created a product that yields almost of all of the 750D’s performance, but at a more accessible price-point. True 32-bit fully asynchronous digital audio playback is achieved by the 650D using a fully balanced differential dual-mono design featuring our own M-AJiC32 circuitry (an asynchronous jitter elimination system). Built around the ESS SABRE32 Ultra DAC operating in 32-bit Hyperstream™, the conversion process uses an astonishing 8 DAC’s per channel. The final result is a product that will breakdown all the barriers, bringing you closer to the music than ever before, regardless of how your digital media is stored, be it on a CD, computer, music server, etc.

The back panel features a complete array of digital input (4) and output (2) connections to meet all the needs of today’s ever-widening technologies. The front panel includes a disc drawer for our own proprietary drive mechanism which represents a fifth input. As well, in the coming months, an optional outboard power supply will be made available to further enhance the already astonishing performance of the MOON 650D.”

Significant design features:

·      True 32-bit asynchronous Digital-to-Analog converter.
·      ESS Technology SABRE32 Ultra DAC / Digital Filter (ES9016) working in 32-bit?  Hyperstream™ to achieve unprecedented jitter immunity and low-level linearity via? a patented Time Domain Jitter Eliminator.
·      Digital Audio Signal Processing using M-AJiC32 (MOON Asynchronous Jitter Control?in 32-bit mode).?
·      Four (4) digital inputs (AES/EBU, S/PDIF, TosLink and USB) allowing for a connection? to virtually any digital source.
·      Proprietary CD drive system mounted on our M-Quattro gel-based 4-point floating?suspension for vibration damping, allowing ambient & spatial cues in your recordings? to come to life like never before—the fifth digital input.
·      A virtually jitter-free—1 picosecond—digital clocking system.
·      RS-232 port for (i) full unsolicited bidirectional feedback and (ii) firmware updates?· IR input for external control?.
·      Two (2) digital outputs – AES/EBU and S/PDIF.
·      Fully balanced differential digital and analog circuitry in a dual-mono design.
·      Separate digital & analog power supplies using 2 independant toroidal transformers.
·       SimLink controller port allows for 2-way communications between other compatible? MOON Evolution Series components.?
·      Power supply voltage regulation includes i2DCf (Independant Inductive DC Filtering);?there is one inductor dedicated to each integrated circuit type component (DAC,?Op-Amp, etc.) in the audio circuit’s signal path—18 stages in all.?
·      A very short capacitor-free signal path using a DC servo circuit and proprietary?12dB/octave analog filter.?
·      Four-layer PCB tracings for a dramatically improved signal-to-noise ratio?· Ultra rigid chassis construction to minimize the effects of external vibrations.
·      Accurate matching of the very finest quality electronic components in a symmetrical circuit design.
·      Designed to be powered up at all times for optimal performance.

Visit www.simaudio.com for more information. 

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