CES 2012 Report - Steven Stone on Digital Products

Disc players,
Multi-format disc players,
Digital-to-analog converters,
Music servers and computer audio,
Headphone amps and amp/DACs
McIntosh Labs MV891
CES 2012 Report - Steven Stone on Digital Products

For audiophiles on a budget Lindemann introduced its USB-DAC 24/192 (XMOS) ($990). It supports USB 2.0 from PC or Mac and features a minimum-phase apodizing filter, a fully balanced analog output section (although only with RCA outputs), and an active jitter-reduction circuit based on a combination of PLL and memory buffering.

Adding to its “entry-level” Corona line, MBL showed the C31 CD Player ($9200). It also doubles as a transport through its coax and TosLink digital outputs. The C31 can be connected via a proprietary SmartLink Ethernet connector to other MBL gear for complete ergonomic integration.

PrimaLuna featured its new Prologue Premium CD Player ($3799). With two 12AU7 tubes per channel in its analog section, a M2Tech’s HiFace USB input that supports up to 192/24, and two super-tube clocks for jitter reduction, the Prologue Premium delivers a lot of technology for reasonable price.

Esoteric introduced its P-02 CD/SACD transport ($23,500) and companion D-02 digital decoder ($23,500). The P-02 uses Esoteric’s VRDS vibration-damping system, a new “PLL-less” internal master clock, and four separate power supplies. The D-02 uses eight AKM 4399 32-bit DAC chips for each channel, 32-bit processing, and can upconvert any incoming digital signal by two, four, or even to DSD.

One of the better-sounding rooms at The Flamingo was assembled by Purist Audio Design and featured a trio of new Stah-Tek digital products: the Opus CDT ($37,000), Opus DAC ($35,000), and Audiophile Bridge to Computer ($3500). The CDT features extremely tight parts tolerances and ultra-quiet noise performance. The Opus DAC claims to offer “a new level of musical appreciation.” The Audiophile Bridge supports up to 192/24 via USB 2.0 and has a modified I2S format output via HDMI for the Opus DAC.

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