CES 2012 Report - Steven Stone on Digital Products

Blog
Categories:
Disc players,
Multi-format disc players,
Digital-to-analog converters,
Music servers and computer audio,
Headphone amps and amp/DACs
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Products:
McIntosh Labs MV891

Other Digital Products

A femtosecond is 1/1000 of a picosecond. The MSB Femtosecond Galaxy Clock produces jitter artifacts that are so minute they must be measured in femtoseconds rather than picoseconds. This $10,000 part can be added to any current generation MSB DAC IV.

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Steven Stone's Best of Show

Best Sound (Cost No Object)

This year I finally “got” Magico, courtesy of the system in Axiss Distributing’s Room. Starting with an HP portable running pre-release Emotion playback software, the signal ran through Solution’s new 590 USB convertor ($4000) via AES/EBU cable to a Solution 540 CD player and then to Solution 501 amplifiers driving Magico Q3 speakers. All wire was from Kubala Sosna Elation series. The system recreated the soundstage on my own 192/24 recording of the Deadly Gentlemen more precisely than any system I’ve heard before. Awesome, a word I rarely use, was an understatement. Gobsmacked would better describe my state after just 30 seconds of listening.

Best Sound (for the lowest price)

I’ve heard the Magnepan 1.7 speakers numerous times at shows, but I’ve never heard them sound as good as in Digital and Analog Co LTD’s room. Starting with a Dell computer running J-River playback software connected via USB to a prototype Calyx Femto DAC/preamp driving a pair of Calyx 500 monoblock amps, my 192 files were served up with all the finesse and brio of a far more expensive system. Cables were from Zen-Sati, and the whole shebang came in under $12,000.

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