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Nevertheless, he admitted, "For $25, it sounds wonderful." Andreas Koch, who managed the development of the original eight-channel DSD recording console (dubbed the Sonoma) and went on to found Playback Designs, created the Sonoma Syrah server as part of a multichannel system, to be used in tandem with up to three of his company's Sonoma Merlot stereo DACs ($6500 each; see elsewhere in this edition of "Recommended Components"), with a separately available Playback Designs USB-XIII Digital Interface ($2500) acting as a master clock. The AR player offers WiFi capability and comes preloaded with Tidal and Spotify apps, but lacks a digital input. It comes with 64GB of internal storage, and its microSD slot accepts storage cards of up to 128GB. Compared to the same DAC running v.1.2 firmware, the upgraded DAC presented JVS with more vividly saturated tonal colors—"I was so impressed by the degree of color saturation that, to fully bask in the sound, I turned the lights out"—and, in place of dryness, "an iridescent clarity to timbres and textures." The multifunction Ovation MP 8.2—it combines in one box a CD player, a streamer, a file player, and a USB DAC—will be remembered by AD as the product with which he learned to love streaming, in particular hi-rez recordings from Tidal: "My streaming experiences with the MP 8.2 would, in the end, comprise the greatest single impediment to my saying goodbye to it." The BCD-3 is built around the AKM AK4490 DAC chip—two per channel, in differential mode—and uses a metal-encased disc transport from the Austrian company StreamUnlimited, healthy supplies of which Bryston claims to already have on hand for future repairs. All three are stereo-only machines. Music sounded obviously—frighteningly—more refined, more spacious, and more natural through the N1A. Of his measurements, all of which incorporated the Rossini Clock, JA wrote that the Rossini Player offers performance that is "about as good as can be gotten from a thoroughly modern digital audio product." When used with Cardas Neutral Reference interconnects, the PS1 offered an "extended, open, and agile" sound, said AD who declared the PS1 an "insanely high value." 5 & 7 WWW), Luxman D-06u: $8495 (Vol.40 No.5, Vol.42 No.3 WWW), MBL Noble Line N31: $15,400 Rotel RDD-1580 $799 If you’re in need of a high-quality DAC capable of PCM audio up to 192kHz/24-bit at an affordable price (and who isn’t? (Vol.39 No.5 WWW), Kalista DreamPlay One: $43,000 Listening to CDs and even a CD-R through the N13, JA was impressed by the "sheer tangibility" of the MBL's sound, noting that, with its Min filter engaged, the N31 "gracefully reproduced" one "overcooked" track, and that the differences among its three filters was "greater in degree than with other DACs." For example, we replaced the Yahama CD-N301 with the Marantz CD6006. Offered, per Stereophile policy, a chance to comment on the review, de Paravicini felt that there must have been something wrong with the review sample, and submitted another, though not in time for comments based on the second Acute Classic to be included in the review. Time to add Ayon's Stealth, Stratos and Sigma dacs? (Vol.41 No.2 WWW), Melco N1A: $2499 $$$ (Vol.41 No.9 WWW), LG V30 MQA-capable smartphone: $799 A brilliantly executed display screen is integrated within the player's frontmost structure, and incorporates soft-touch buttons for controlling the DreamPlay One's basic functions; the screen also assists in choosing from among the player's six user-selectable digital playback filters, differences between which AD found to be "the smallest real differences . Measurer-in-chief JA wrote that, apart from a trace of power-supply ripple, "the Kalista DreamPlay One demonstrates good audio engineering." The Esoteric N-01 is among the growing number of digital-source components that can decode and play MQA files in addition to DSD and ultra-high-resolution PCM. Following his listening tests, HR praised the Mohican's coherence and "simple, unobstructed clarity," while noting that it didn't communicate natural textures as well as some contemporary standalone DACs. (Vol.40 No.12 WWW), PS Audio DirectStream Memory Player: $5999 The latest Marantz CD player extends the brand’s long-running golden streak. Is there any difference between Macintosh V. VI and LE? Marantz CD6006 UK Edition. with DSP and/or EQ (!!!). AD concluded that the Bryston BCD-3 "offers very good value for the money. The Legacy Monitor HD is a "B" level speaker, but the write up was mostly negative. Stereophile Editors, in your humble and professional opinion, which of the following full range loudspeakers would you say are the best in this price range: (Vol.41 No.9 WWW), Hegel Music Systems Mohican: $5000 Best buys. The best Blu-ray players are ones that can handle Blu-ray disc playback, DVD playback, CD playback, and support for hi-res audio and 4K content. England and Wales company registration number 2008885. In the March 2019 Stereophile, KR described his efforts at pressing the Nucleus+ into service as a multichannel server. Yamaha CD-S300BL Natural Sound CD Player YAMAHA: 9.9: GET ON AMAZON: 2: Cambridge Audio DacMagic AXC35 Single-Disc CD Player with High Performance Wolfson DAC and Remote Control Cambridge Audio: 9.7: GET ON AMAZON: 3: Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Home Theater Streaming Blu-Ray Player Sony: 9.5: GET ON AMAZON: 4 (That said, the BCD-3 does have AES/EBU and S/PDIF digital-output jacks, for use with an outboard DAC.) Kal summed up the Prodigy X: "Another evolutionary step in an already distinguished line." He noted that "the Alpha 3 never blinked, blanked, or unceremoniously rebooted itself; it worked silently and reliably." The Merging+Player can handle PCM up to 24/352.8 and DSD64, and has the processing power to do so with or without EQ—although KR mused that it could benefit from more horsepower, "if only to improve the user experience." In comparing the sound of the DirectStream Memory Player to that of his PerfectWave Transport, RD noted an improvement in CD playback that, ironically or not, reduced "the margin of superiority of DSD over CD." (Direct-connected network players must offer a hardware-based means of controlling playback.) (Native DSD playback was okay.) After testing the Luxman D-06u, JA wrote that, "in many ways, [it] offers excellent measured performance," though he was puzzled by anomalous noise-floor and jitter results, the latter in comparison to Luxman's ostensibly similar DA-06 processor. In testing the second sample, JA noted some improvements in measured performance, including noise components that were 6–10dB lower, output voltage that was lowered to the correct, specified level, and slightly lower harmonic distortion. 2 & 3 WWW), Métronome CD8 S: $11,500 ★ Its integral D/A processor is based on the 32-bit AK4497 chipset from AKM, referenced to a voltage-controlled crystal-oscillator clock (an external clock can also be connected via a BNC socket). Indeed, the Merging+Player is essentially that very DAC plus a player in the same box, said box now enhanced with a pair of USB inputs. . JVS loaded up his review loaner with plenty of hi-rez files—for over 100 of those files, he had both MQA and PCM versions—and listened through Audeze and Thinksound headphones. While some people are happy enough using their smartphone to play their favorite tunes, music enthusiasts usually want something that provides a little better sound quality.

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