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

Back at the Venetian, Arcam unveiled a trio of products in its budget line as well as one more up-market DAC. The rLink DAC ($150), drDock ($200), and rBlink Bluetooth DAC ($150) cover all the variations on digital connectivity, while the FMJ D33 ($3500/aprox) promises the ergonomics and performance of a much higher-priced unit. The FMJ D33 uses a low-resonance case, massive power regulation, and even sub-regulation to achieve better than a 110 dB signal-to-noise figure.

High Resolution Technologies have also been busy dreaming up new products. In addition to the HeadStreamer USB DAC ($139.95) and LineStreamer+ A-to-D ($349.95), HRT unveiled its HDMI Streamer ($249.95). The HDMI Streamer has two HDMI inputs, an analog output, and one HDMI output, and supports up to 192/24 bit rates. The HeadStreamer supports 96/24 via USB 1.0 and delivers 103dB A-weighted signal to noise. The LineStreamer was created so LP enthusiasts could transfer their favorite vinyl easily into a digital format. It encodes analog to digital at 96/24 and has one USB output

M2Tech showed a pair of new devices, the EVO Clock ($499) and EVO DAC ($499). The EVO Clock was designed specifically to interface between the M2Tech HiFace and EVO DAC for improved performance. It has two clock outputs and is capable of frequencies up to 384kHz. The EVO DAC uses a Burr/Brown chipset, supports up to 192/24 via S/PDIF, 192/32 via I2S, and 96/24 via TosLink.

Simaudio displayed two new digital products, the Moon 380D DAC ($3900) and MIND ($1250) intelligent network device. The 380D is a true 32-bit DAC that uses a Sabre ES9016 chipset and supports 192/24 via USB 2.0 as well as S/PDIF. The MIND supports streaming from any UPnP drive or network storage device and supports up to 48/16 via its wireless connection.

Bel Canto demonstrated its latest DAC 3.5VB Mk II ($3995) and uLink ($795) 192/24-capable USB interface as the front end of a system featuring Joseph Audio Pearl 2 speakers ($28,500). Using an ST fiber connection between the USB converter and the DAC not only insures galvanic isolation, but also allows the computer and hard drives to be positioned many feet away from the rest of the system.

Stello showed its U3 USB 192/24 Link ($495), which also supports up to 192/24 via USB 2.0 and outputs S/PDIF and AES/EBU simultaneously. With technology similar to its Eximus DAC, the Stello U3 offers a high-quality, reasonably priced USB-input path.

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