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Audioquest DragonFly USB DAC

Audioquest DragonFly USB Dac“This is a product that may look a little like a Dragonfly, but one that soars more like a Dragon flying, as seen in various special-effects-heavy Hollywood films of late. It’s a friendly beast, too, easy to set up and use with any computer of today’s normal specs for USB digital audio output. It can be used with headphones, powered speakers or as your computer output into an audio system. I had mine going in 10 minutes through Windows 7 in my new Quad-core i7 laptop PC.

NAD C 446 Digital Media Tuner: NAD Goes Media Mad!

NAD C446 Digital Media Tuner“Digital audio in its many variations seems to yield new categories of product constantly, this new product from NAD a case in point. It will snoop for music files in your computer via its wired or wireless networks, receive AM and FM broadcasts, and search the internet for transmissions of all sorts, from faraway radio stations to specific podcasts, and send all of these directly to your high end audio system via 24-bit/192-kHz DACs (caveat coming) via RCA jacks, or by direct digital feed (Toslink). It also has a Data Port for your MP3 player when you add the appropriate dock and cable.”

Anthem MRX 700 A/V Receiver - An Anthem That Is More Than Patriotic!

Anthem MRX 700 A/V Receiver“Before I delve into the installation, a little more info about the MRX 700. It is the top-of-the-line A/V receiver from Anthem, and sports a polite and tidy front panel with a brushed black face. All the basic buttons are present to navigate, but, as with most A/V products you need your trusty flat screen TV to set everything up. A nifty thin sliding door reveals easy front access for a USB input, headphone jack, and RCA audio/video jacks…”

CEntrance DACPort

Dacport - detail“Headphones are hot these days. And, like much of the rest of the high end, headphone prices have been smashing through one upper price threshold after another. It was not very long ago that a $1,000 pair of headphones was exceedingly rare, the purview of Stax and a scant few other esoteric models. These days, when shopping at the upper end of the spectrum anyway, a grand is more like the starting point, with plenty of models in the fifteen hundred and up range…”

Tivoli Audio Networks Radio with FM - Internet Radio in Style & Stereo

Tivoli Networks Internet Radio“We’ve reviewed several Tivoli products in the past, and always been impressed at their style and substance in terms of performance. Well, there’s no letdown here in this attractive, well engineered package. The Networks Radio is more than just that, a small audio system that offers a built-in Wi-Fi capability that allows you to tap into your computer’s music and podcast files. It also has wired ethernet, USB computer access, and AUX analog audio inputs, plus another “Mix In” that allows combining your computer audio output with any other input…”

Tangent Quattro Mk II Internet/FM Radio

Tangent Quattro Internet Radio“In Canada these days, we see jurisdictional battles between on-air broadcasters and specialty-channel carriers like cable and satellite, with the traditional former crowd now screaming for carriage fees when their signals are re-broadcast on such services as Rogers cable or XpressVu and Star Choice satellite distribution systems. Of course, the cable and satellite folks claim they are doing the broadcasters a favour, and don’t want to ante up any dough at this time just because conventional broadcasting is suffering advertising losses because of the recession. Whatever happened to the truism that a TV (or radio) channel was a license to print money?”

Sanyo R227 Internet/FM Radio Plus

Sanyo Internet Radio“I used to listen to shortwave radio at the cottage on a nice little Panasonic portable, the supplied antenna strung around the cottage’s Douglas Fir beams. It was fun more than a few years back to tune into other cultures and their music and news. But along the way to this century something changed, even evolved, and the shortwave cultures became a babble of propaganda, Jesus, and jabberwocky…”

Sonos Digital Music System

Sonos Wireless Music System

“The real jewel of the system is the remote, or as Sonos calls it, the Controller. Ipod owners will be immediately comfortable with the Controller, the 3.5 inch full color screen and scroll wheel menu system making it feel very much like a large Ipod turned on its side.”

Roku SoundBridge M2000 Network Music Player

Roku Labs M2000 Network Music Player

“Like the Creative Soundblaster Wireless Music system the SoundBridge is a digital link between your audio system and your computer, designed to stream audio files over a home network. Unlike the Soundblaster the SoundBridge can do this wirelessly or via Ethernet connection and features a large display right on its face instead of on the remote…”

Creative Sound Blaster Wireless Music

Creative Sound Blaster Wireless Music

“This is the kind of product you’re likely to start hearing more and more about in the coming years as computers make greater inroads into home audio. If it hadn’t been clear already, the success of Apple’s Ipod and Itunes player/music store have driven home an unmistakable trend: Commercial music is not going to be bound to a physical carrier forever, and there is already a large and growing group of people listening to their music as files on computers and portables instead of on little silver discs…”

Audio ReQuest ARQ-1 Home MP3 Player

Audio ReQuest ARQ-1

“While a myriad of MP3 players have been unleashed on the market in the past year, the Audio ReQuest ARQ-1 distinguishes itself as the only one designed exclusively as a home audio component. This could mark the genesis of a significant new product category, and an important test of whether consumers are ready to embrace MP3s in a domestic environment…”


  Outside the Speakers

    Random Thoughts on the Music Mask
    NPR on Whether Audiophiles Still Exist
    Audiophile Grade Mics?
    CDs Sales Die, LP Sales Fly
    Some High End 'Phones from CES

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