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AIG EQUIPMENT REVIEWS

dCS Delius and Purcell Sampling Rate Converters

dCS Purcell and Delius

“The Delius and Purcell do a few numbers together, too, specifically 192 kHz and 24 bits: the latter is a sampling rate converter (see our last issue’s look at the Assemblage SRC and DAC and MSB 96K DAC)), which takes any digital signal and either up- or down-converts it, while also altering the bit rate up or down. Most commonly, these processes will be of the up variety to take a 44.1-kHz/16-bit signal up to 96/24, or even 192/24, in the process able to introduce noise shaping and dither to further refine…”

Sunfire Theater Grand Processor II - Processor / Preamp/ Tuner

Sunfire Theater Grand II

“Visually identical to its predecessor and very handsome indeed, is the Sunfire Theater Grand Processor II. However, it’s not identical inside, with a streamlined circuit architecture that shortens signal paths and reduces the number of circuit boards. It’s also easier to use, with most operations performed in one setting of the remote control, that for Amp…”

Myryad Home Theater System

Myryad Home Theater System

“Intended to beat obsolescence by being both versatile and modular, the Myryad home theatre system offers whatever combination of 2- and 3-channel amplifiers you need, with a processor that can accommodate up to 7 channels plus subwoofer. The MDP500 provides 9 stereo analog inputs with an additional 7.1 (8, in fact) set for DVD audio or any other format that might come along…”

Rotel RCD-951 CD Player

Rotel RCD-951

“Fortunately there’s nothing non-descript about the sound of this player. Impressed at the very outset by its smoothness and musicality I listened casually to the 951 for a couple of weeks to ensure that it was completely broken in before making any notes or comparisons. Even during this stage it was abundantly clear that this was a lot more CD player than $600 was supposed to buy…”

Assemblage D2D-1 Upsampler and DAC 2.6

Rotel RCD-991

“There’s been both misunderstanding and skepticism about the process of upsampling digital data. In recent months several DACs have appeared which do this data interpolation and bit creation, which is said to provide better sound by creating a 96-kHz/24- bit signal from a 44.1-kHz/16-bit source…”

Redgum Integrated Amp and CD Player

Redgum System

“Redgum is an Australian hardwood that, when finished in a glowing lacquer as on this company’s products, looks stunning. It’s used for the faceplate of both the amplifier and CD player, the latter flipping down to reveal controls and disc drawer. Redgum audio is an Australian company(obviously), based in suburban Melbourne, which makes amplifiers and CD players….”

Rotel RCD-991 CD Player

Rotel RCD-991

“Initial impressions indicated that the family resemblance between the 991 and the 951 was strong, with the former being more musically inclined than its smaller sibling. With a head for detail the 991 came off sounding more refined, making the 951 sound a touch coarse by comparison. Both players sound quite laid back and very smooth, but direct, level matched comparisons confirmed that the 991..”

TEAC CD-RW 800 Recorder

TEAC RW-800

“The TEAC RW-800 has a single tray, recording entirely from external sources, but unlike many other double decks has some interesting features of its own, including microphone inputs on the front panel with their own level controls beside the 1/4″ input jacks. Analog line (RCA) and Toslink and coaxial (RCA) inputs and outputs are provided on the rear panel…”

MSB Link III 96/24 DAC

MSB Link III DAC

“First, let’s look at a common misunderstanding: upsampling is not oversampling. In the case of the latter process, data is multiplied, sometimes with interpolation algorithms operating to provide data that looks more complete and can be better decoded to analog; however, that data is still going into a 44/16 DAC, so a good deal of the oversampling is, in my view, wasted…”

Talk Electronics Integrated System

Talk Electronics Duo

“I think the product names of this company from England are an inside joke about talking about the weather. But, as I joked myself to distributor Angie Lisi the other day, they’re unlikely to call a product, the Downpour or the Monsoon…the Tempest, maybe, with its Shakespearean implications. At the moment they’ve covered Storm, Hurricane, Tornado, Whirlwind and the other meteorological phenomena noted above. How about the cold spring this year, eh?..”

Pioneer PDV-LC10 Portable DVD Player

Pioneer LC-10 Portable DVD Player

“…In listening, this player was outstanding with DVD audio discs like the Chesky Remembrances by Jon Faddis (CHDVD176), the big band sound beautifully portrayed through the player’s 24/96 DAC. I also listened carefully to our Chuck Israels CD, The Bellingham Sessions, Volume 1, and liked what I heard from this disc that I know better than just about anything else…”

Yamaha DVD-C900 5-Disc DVD Changer

Yamaha DVD C900 DVD Player

“This year it’s DVD carousel changers, and next season it will be 100-to-300-DVD jukeboxes, the path already followed by CD. The DVD-C900 handles 5 discs, and has quite a few features you wouldn’t expect on a changer, including 96 kHz audio playback, though it outputs only a 48 kHz digital signal…”

NAD L 40 CD Player/Stereo Receiver

NAD L 40 CD Player/Stereo Receiver

” If the reviews in this issue are any indication, the CD/receiver is the hottest new category in electronics, at least for stereo systems (in home theatre it seems to be multidisc DVD players). The NAD L40 comes without speakers, so I thought a good coupling would be with the wonderful Paradigm Reference Studio 40, though Paul Barton, designer for NAD sibling company PSB might not agree…”

Entech Number Cruncher 205.2 D to A Converter

Entech Number Cruncher

“With Audio Alchemy gone a void was left in the industry. Not only was it that much harder to get high performance entry level equipment, the industry as a whole lost one of its most effective recruiters, few companies being as successful in turning neophytes into hopelessly addicted audiophiles. Thankfully that void has started to fill with companies like Musical Fidelity introducing their X-Series line of small, modular components…”

Pioneer Elite PDR-09RW CD Recorder

Pioneer Elite PDR-09 CD Recorder

“As owner of a PDR-05 CD recorder, I didn’t find too many surprises in its Elite successor, with all the same features and a few more to boot. The main extra capability is that of recording rewriteable CD-Rs, called CD-RWs. These can be erased starting with the last track recorded, or by erasing the whole disc for re-use…”

Audio Refinement Complete System

Audio Refinement Complete System

“Giving the name “complete” to the components in this system of French origin and oriental manufacture reminds me of an old insult: “Everyone wants their life to be complete, and yours is, because you’re a complete (fill in appropriate word).” I suspect the word “complet” has different connotations in French, but I think the whole idea is to get you to buy the whole system…..”

Sunfire Theater Grand Tuner/Preamp/Processor

Sunfire Theater Grand surround decoder

“I thought it was the prettiest thing at CES last winter, and now it’s the prettiest thing in my home theatre room. The Sunfire Theater Grand (I’ve deferred to the American spelling because it’s a product name) has essentially the same chassis and finish of all Sunfire products, a brown burnished brushed aluminum case with rounded corners, with the same recessed window at centre front, and the addition of numerous pinpoint indicator lights, many of which are also control buttons…”

Myryad MI 120 Integrated Amplifier, MC 100 CD Player and MT 100 FM Tuner

Myryad MI 120 Integrated Amplifier

“Myryad Systems came together in the partnership of Chris Short, former owner and managing director of Mordaunt-Short, Chris Evans, a founder and director of Arcam, and David Evans, a veteran of NAD. The M Series components are their upscale line, and handsome they are, as well as very competitively priced for what they are….”

Pioneer Elite DV-09 DVD/CD Player

Pioneer Elite DV-09 DVD/Cd player

“The DV-09 weighs almost 35 pounds, with a great deal more internal damping, bracing, and shielding than any other player in my experience. In addition to dual composite and S-video outputs, it also provides component video outputs (3 RCA). There are also dual stereo analog audio outputs, and optical and coaxial PCM/Dolby Digital/DTS RCAs, with an additional straight PCM RCA coaxial out…”

Arcam Alpha 9 CD Player

Arcam Alpha 9 CD Player

“There’s something special about this new top model from Arcam, and that is the DAC, which comes from their Huntingdon, England neighbour, dCS. Having spent the better part of a week this past summer listening to this company’s professional ADC and DAC gear while recording the Chuck Israels Quartet, I was very curious in August to have a chance to audition the Alpha 9 with its dCS Ring digital-to-analog converter…”


  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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