Audio Player Reviews
- Written by Chris Groppi
- Published on 27 September 2011
Computer audio is quickly becoming the source of choice for high-resolution audio playback. A vast number of products focused on computer audio are available today, but most of the attention is paid to hardware: DACs and computer audio interfaces like the Bryston BDA-1 and Halide Design USB to SPDIF Bridge I reviewed last year. In all our reviews, we forget one key component of the playback chain: the software player. I have complained extensively about the difficulty of getting no-compromise audio playback from a computer.
- Written by Jason Victor Serinus
- Published on 11 August 2011
I was in a bind. CD and product reviews were due at multiple publications, and my Theta Carmen II transport's drive mechanism had failed. I may have bought the used unit directly from Theta Digital's founder and former owner, Neil Sinclair, but that couldn't change the fact that the Carmen II's defective drive was long out of production. With no spare parts available in at Theta's Southern California headquarters, I was in trouble. Paul McGowan came to my rescue by sending a PS Audio PerfectWave Disc Transport. And, wow, does this thing transport.
- Written by Jim Milton
- Published on 25 April 2011
Every so often I get to review a product that sets itself apart from the "other guy" stuff. You know, the mass produced stuff that we often see in the brick-and-mortar stores. The special products are ones that are intelligently designed and built to exacting standards. It's sort of like comparing a Mercedes to a Chevy. Nothing wrong with a Chevy, but just slamming the door on the Mercedes can make you go, "Whoa! Now that's quality"! In this review, we cover the Cary Audio Design CD-500 CD Player.
- Written by John E. Johnson, Jr.
- Published on 27 June 2011
Media servers usually contain a hard drive on which you store your music (ripped CDs). Bryston's new BDP-1 Music Server utililzes USB thumb drives or external USB hard drive. This way, you can carry your music around with you on a thumb drive and use with multiple devices to play the music. This music server is actually a computer with full operating system, and can be connected wirelessly to your iPod or iPad to choose and play albums. In fact, it really is designed to be used that way, so that the server itself can be a low profile component in your equipment rack. In this review, we test the BDP-1 along with Bryston's BDA-1 DAC, which is capable of handling 24/192 bitstreams.
- Written by Administrator
- Published on 09 December 2010
Sony originally came out with the SACD format in 1999. Unfortunately for those of us that invested in the format, mass market support never really came around, though in the audiophile community the format still thrives. The SCD-XA5400ES is one of Sony's latest iterations, and is their current reference model.
- Written by Robert Kozel
- Published on 06 June 2011
Olive Media, Inc. has been in the business of digital music since it was started by Dr. Oliver Bergmann and Robert Altmann back in 2005. I have admired the Olive products for many years and had the opportunity to visit with Robert Altmann at CES 2011 this past January. I really appreciated his introduction to their products and I was especially impressed with his love of music. We recently reviewed the Olive 03HD, and here, we cover the 04HD.
- Written by Robert Kozel
- Published on 28 June 2010
The Marantz tradition has always been about enjoying music. The Marantz SA-KI Pearl is a limited-edition SACD player from the Marantz Reference Series product line. The "KI" in the product name refers to Ken Ishiwata, who is the actual designer of the SA-KI Pearl. Ken Ishiwata has an impressive biography. He fell in love with music as a young man. He pursued a career in fashion photography following in the footsteps of his father. In the late 1970's, Mr. Ishiwata started his career with Marantz. Today, he is an accomplished violinist, audio engineer, electronics engineer, and brand ambassador for Marantz in Europe.
- Written by Chris Heinonen
- Published on 31 May 2011
Of all the gear that I reviewed last year, my favorite component by far was the Squeezebox Touch. Having instant access to all of my music, and high resolution downloads, was just a fantastic thing that led me to listen to far more, and varied, music that before. However, the one thing I always said about the Touch is that while I loved it, I wasn't going to buy one for my Dad since I'd have to install a PC server component, or hook up an external hard drive that I'd have to keep ripping his music to for him. For him, a simple, all-in-one solution would be what I would want.
- Written by John E. Johnson, Jr.
- Published on 19 April 2010
McIntosh has been producing dedicated SACD players for several years, and their latest edition to the line is the MCD500. This iteration has a much lower noise floor than previous models, which allows for the presentation of greater detail in soft musical passages. Our bench tests proved this to be the case, as the measured noise floor was at least 20 dB better than the MCD201 that we tested a few years ago.
- Written by Brian Alvarez
- Published on 30 May 2011
Early adopters live in a world of potential. We latch on to a new paradigm shift significantly ahead of the adoption curve. As such, we're often saddled with legacy methodology or products. Solutions are never simple or straight forward. We push ahead and often have to improvise. Eventually the mass marketplace catches up and products appear addressing our needs. Audiolab markets a CD player called the 8200CD. The 8200CDQ, reviewed here, also contains a built-in preamplifier that can deliver 4 volts RMS through its fully balanced outputs. This eliminates signal loss in cables that would normally connect a CD player's outputs to the preamplifier.
- Written by Adrian Wittenberg
- Published on 07 January 2010
The iPod dock/speaker market continues to grow every year and more high end speaker manufacturers are joining the game. Products range from cheap and flimsy $20 plastic models to higher end models such as the Fatman iTube Red-i that lists for $649. Bowers and Wilkins, renowned British loudspeaker company, has created their own high end iPod speaker dock system called the Zeppelin, which lists at $599, and is the subject of this review.