LATEST ADDITIONS

Ed Selley  |  Oct 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Cyrus DAC X+ Plenty of inputs, but no USB – and is the sound starting to show its age, too? Cyrus currently offers two DACs, this and the DAC XP+ (the latter also includes a preamplifier). You might think this one has some preamp functionality, given the presence of what looks remarkably like a volume control on the front, but the rotary knob is actually used for set up functions, including the rather appealing option to name the inputs to something relevant. And if you hanker after a built-in preamp later, you can always return your DAC X+ to the Cyrus factory for an upgrade to XP+ status. Cyrus has always been good at this upgrade thing, of course.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Electrocompaniet PD-1 With or without the proprietary wireless link, this new addition to Electrocompaniet’s range has us wired! The only full-size hi-fi component in this group, the PD-1 has something even bigger to live up to in Electrocompaniet’s reputation. It’s a relatively new addition to the company’s range, part of the ‘Prelude’ series and as such is relatively modest. The specification is decent if not outstanding, with four digital inputs – two electrical and one optical S/PDIF plus USB. Oh, and RF.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Lavry DA11 Pro from start to finish, but does the sound really match up to the internet buzz? Lavry is a pro-audio company which shows little (if indeed any) sign of interest in the audiophile world, but that doesn’t stop the audiophile world being interested in Lavry. The company’s DA10 DAC became something of a cult success (HFC 341) and the DA11 builds on that success by adding a couple more features. The most immediately useful of those for most Hi-Fi Choice readers, we suspect, will be the USB input. It’s actually good for 96kHz sampling, though it may not work that way straight out of the box and Lavry’s recommendations for computer set up are worth following.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 27, 2011  |  0 comments
M2Tech Young DAC Sample rates and word-lengths that you can’t even buy yet are great, but what about day-to-day sound? Every so often a hi-fi component comes along that really does stand out from the crowd. In this case, it’s a question of sample rate. We’ve seen plenty of DACs that can accept sample rates up to 192kHz via dedicated digital audio interfaces, and quite a few that can handle 96kHz via USB. Italian manufacturer M2Tech has expanded the envelope considerably, however, by offering USB-connected sample rates up to 384kHz and support for 32-bit digital words into the bargain.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Moon 300D Externally, this is Moon at its most typically unpretentious, but is there a dark side? here’s seldom much about Moon products that stands out a mile externally – which is not to deny them their smart and individual appearance. This particular member of the team has a largely typical specification, with two coaxial and one optical S/PDIF inputs and a USB socket, while analogue output is available both balanced and unbalanced. Differences are more apparent inside the unit, where Moon has carefully separated analogue and digital parts of the equation. A digital circuit board, largely populated with surface-mounted components, receives the digital input, applies digital filtering and converts it to analogue, forwarding the output to an analogue board beneath.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 27, 2011  |  0 comments
NuForce DAC9 Well equipped and smart in a retro science fiction kind of way – flexible too! This isn’t the only DAC in the group to include a headphone output, but it makes more of a point of it than most, and fair enough, adding as it does a dedicated volume control and both flavours of headphone jack, 6. 3mm (quarter-inch) and 3. 5mm. The latter, incidentally, also functions as an input, an optical digital input to be precise, in similar manner to some computer sound cards and portable audio devices.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 22, 2011  |  0 comments
Flexible friend Richard Black finds the new Audio-Technica ATH-ES10 small enough for music on the move and big enough for sound adventures at home Portable is a vague term applied to headphones. Clearly even the chunkiest models are portable if you’ve got a big enough bag handy, while many would baulk at carrying anything bigger than an in-ear model. The ATH-ES10 isn’t quite pocket-sized, but it’s small enough to fit in a small briefcase or handbag; with the earpieces rotated it’s about 25mm-thick. We’ve spotted plenty of cool dudes wearing similar-size models on the street, and for the audiophile (or indeed audio professional) on the move, maybe expecting to spend quite a lot of time in trains, planes and hotels, it looks a practical proposition.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 13, 2011  |  0 comments
Cambridge Audio NP30 Small and attractively priced, but have corners been cut on performance? A simple, unassuming little box, in keeping with the rest of the Sonata range, the NP30 keeps things simple on the input and output front, without actually scrimping. There is wired Ethernet (the one interface common to every device in this group) and a wireless connection via the supplied antenna, plus front and rear-mounted USB sockets for local media players. Output is analogue on phono sockets, or digital electrical and optical. In addition to the obvious functions of playing from local media and the computer network, various internet streaming services are accessible via UuVol, Cambridge Audio’s platform for streaming content.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 12, 2011  |  0 comments
Cyrus Stream X The digital-only output may restrict the appeal, but Cyrus’s latest has some nice features to it Cyrus offers a range of three Stream devices, of which this is the simplest, offering as it does just a digital output. It’s Stream XP includes a DAC and hence analogue outputs, while the flagship Streamline goes the whole hog and includes a power amp and speaker outputs. For the purposes of this review we alternated between Cyrus’s own DAC X and a Cambridge Audio DacMagic, the latter keeping the total price more in line with the rest of the group. In terms of features, this streamer is rather out on a limb in present company.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 11, 2011  |  0 comments
Neo Matrix Richard Black discovers a small, inexpensive DAC from newcomer Matrix that offers much for the audiophile for very little outlay Diminutive DACs are very much the fl avour of the moment – just look at the widely varying models from Cambridge Audio, Arcam, Lavry, Benchmark and so on. Many of these are aimed fair and square at the computer audio world, with hi-fi -fl avour inputs (S/PDIF etc. ) almost an afterthought and indeed the idea of adding quality to computer audio via a USB digital audio interface is thoroughly sensible. This unit is no different.

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