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Antelope Audio Zodiac Platinum DAC with 10M Rubidium Atomic Clock Review

ZodiacAntelope Audio is a company originally based in the USA, but is now based in Europe, with the factory in Bulgaria. The manufacture DACs and A/D converters for the pro industry (recording studios). However, they also offer these products in a high end consumer edition. The Zodiac Platinum DAC with an outboard 10M Rubidium Atomic Clock is their latest set of DAC components for audiophiles.

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AURALiC VEGA DAC Review

AURALiC VEGA DAC Review

The AURALiC VEGA DAC is a stylish package that is one of the best sounding and performing outboard DACs available today. The listening tests and bench tests were phenomenal. Wow!

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Bryston BDA-2 DAC

Bryston BDA-2Following on the highly successful BDA-1 DAC, Bryston has raised the bar with the addition of an asynchronous USB input and reduced distortion in their new BDA-2 DAC. Take a look at what I found. The performance is quite a surprise.

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Emotiva Stealth DAC

Emotiva Stealth DACListening to my records one night, I received an email from Susan Johnson asking if I would be willing to review the Emotiva Stealth DC-1. Would I ever! Last year I tried the Emotiva USP-1 preamp and UPA-200 amp in my system and I have been very happy with the combination. Needless to say I was very curious to see and hear this reference piece from Emotiva.

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Meridian Explorer USB DAC

Meridian Explorer USB DACComputer audio is all the rage now, with many people moving their entire digital collections to music servers, and the laptop taking the place of the CD player in many systems. The technologies behind USB DACs have evolved rapidly to where the interface is now on the same level as Coaxial or Optical interfaces. One area that hasn't been addressed as well is the portable audio market, as most USB DACs are rack-sized components that require a wall power supply. This is certainly not a convenient option for those of us that want high-resolution audio on the go.

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Arcam rPac Headphone DAC/Amp and rBlink Bluetooth DAC

Arcam rPac headphone DAC/Amp and rblink Bluetooth DACEverywhere you look established specialist audio companies are getting into the headphone and lifestyle market. These products are smaller, more affordable, and easier to use than traditional hi-fi. They appeal to a new generation of music lovers looking for products that fit their more mobile and computer centric lifestyles. I'm the ideal case study. I spend hours throughout my day listening to music on headphones at my desk. Streaming RDIO, watching videos on YouTube, editing videos, etc. While the built in headphone output on my Mac book Air is good. I've been using external USB Dacs for some time to drive bigger less sensitive headphones. Arcam sent us two of their R series boxes to check out, the rPac USB headphone DAC/amp and the rBlink Bluetooth DAC.

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NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC

 NAD M51 DAC

Most audio component manufacturers have a DAC in their product lineup, and NAD is no exception. However, the NAD M51 is unusual in that it takes the incoming digital PCM bitstream and converts it directly to a PWM bitstream, which is then fed directly to the output. The idea has been around for about a decade, but the technology for implementing it was not fast enough in those early days. Now, with modern technology and techniques, NAD has produced what they call a "Direct Digital DAC", where the digital signal does not go through digital to analog conversion in the normal sense, but converted to PWM at 844 kHz sampling, with 35 bit word length. As you will see with the bench tests, the results are quite amazing, and the price is very affordable.

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Benchmark DAC2 HGC

Benchmark DAC2 HGCI think it's fair to refer to the Benchmark DAC2 HGC as a DAC since that is its official title, or a headphone amplifier but the owner's manual refers to it as a 'Reference Stereo Preamplifier'. Whatever you call it, this little box does a lot. I reviewed it mostly as a DAC but tried out the preamp and headphone functions as well.

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Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus

Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus

Cambridge Audio has been in the audio business for quite some time and one of their more popular products in recent history, the DacMagic has undergone an update. The new DacMagic Plus improves upon the DacMagic by adding support for 24/192 sampling rates.

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Audiolab M-DAC Digital to Analog Converter

Audiolab M-DAC Digital to Analog Converter

On its website, respected British manufacturer Audiolab proclaims the M-DAC is the follow-up to the 8000 DAC, introduced all the way back in 1992. I have gathered that DACs were quite popular in that era because CD players had not become all that good yet. With the market now awash in quality DACs, I guess it is safe to say we are in a DAC renaissance. Here, we review the Audiolab M-DAC, which, at $899, turns out to be an audio bargain.

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Rein Audio X-DAC with USB Input

Rein Audio X-DAC with USB InputUSB DACs are hot items now because you can play music from your computer through them and into a set of headphones or to your main hi-fi rig. Some of these DACs only have a USB input, (no S/PDIF inputs) because their main purpose is for use with a computer. Of course, all computers come with audio ciruitry on the motherboard, and if you have a sound card installed in one of the PC card slots, it may very well have an S/PDIF output. However, their quality is often questionable due to the typically low cost of the sound card. Rein Audio, a German manufacturer, makes the X-DAC, which is a 24/192 DAC with both coaxial and Toslink optical S/PDIF inputs, but also, it has a USB input (24/96) to be used with your computer, giving you better sound quality than you would get from your computer's audio circuit.

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