Audio exhibits are terrific for hearing new parts and systems—of training course they are. But they can also be good for encountering new ideas. In excess of two days at AXPONA, I encountered the identical curious notion from two producers.
Very first arrived the Aurender suite, with a passive display screen of quite a few of the company’s server/streamers and server/streamer DACs, which selection in rate from $6000 (furthermore the cost of storage) for the A 200, just one of three new A-series designs (“A” denotes Aurender products and solutions with an onboard DAC) up to $24,000 for the N30SA, Aurender’s flagship server/streamer that arrives with 8TB of onboard SSD storage in addition an growth slot if you need to have even more storage.
All the DACs in Aurender’s A-collection items can totally decode MQA in other respects, they vary as you go up the line. The DAC in the flagship A30, for instance, is dual mono and makes use of the AKM AK4497 chipset, with discrete linear energy materials. The A30 has a defeatable quantity manage, so you can use it with or without having a preamplifier, and a constructed-in course-A headphone amplifier.
Audio servers are pcs virtually by definition, but pcs are much from excellent for higher-conclusion audio: They’re far too electronically noisy. Aurender’s computer software engineer Eric Shim, who I spoke to during my take a look at, informed me that Aurender comes at server structure from a non-pc level of look at. Aurender is extremely concerned about digital sound and noise reduction, including in the electricity source.
As I examined different Aurender equipment on display by way of clear plexiglass addresses. Shim explained a person, the $24,000 W20SE, as a “legacy products” it has been in the lineup in just one type or an additional for a prolonged time but stays popular with consumers it it was up to date to “SE” position 3 or 4 decades ago. Just one factor that sets it apart from the company’s additional recent items is its battery-dependent ability provide.
Sitting upcoming to the W20SE on the static display was just one of the company’s newer streamer/servers—I’m not confident which one particular it was, potentially the $6000 (moreover storage) N200—in which the power offer looked completely unique. Right here, Aurender was employing an A/C provide, reflecting the company’s hottest wondering. Pointing to the battery supply in the W20SE, Shim said, “which is what you want if you’re definitely into nuance.” Then, pointing to the more recent, A/C supply, he said, “that’s the one particular for top dynamics and slam.” Tends to make perception, I assumed to myself batteries, right after all, are quite quiet—low noise—but battery provides usually can not realize the higher rail voltage that an A/C offer can give.
I experienced left the room and was strolling down the hallway when it strike me: Wait a moment: These were pure electronic parts. Their only output is a electronic signal, whether or not it is really AES3 to USB: no analog output stage in sight. How could the electricity supply have that form of effect on the audio of a purely digital product?
The subsequent early morning, before the opening bell, I met with the people from CAD (Computer Audio Design and style). I remember pretty clearly the time I invested in the CAD home at the 2019 AXPONA I considered that room (with Trilogy electronics and Verity loudspeakers) was amongst the really greatest in exhibit.
CAD was one of various corporations I listened to about that skilled shipping and delivery-connected glitches. The Vivid Audio S12 loudspeakers that they supposed to present arrived shattered, rattling all over inside their containers. Late Thursday just before the Friday opening, considerably of the rest of their equipment—including the Aesthetix Mimas built-in amplifier—had not arrived. (Aesthetix’s Jim White carried a second sample with him on the aircraft. The first shipment arrived in time—barely—and they finished up with two.)
CAD is one of the far more authentic companies on the hello-fi scene, operate by CEO and chief designer Scott Berry, an American expatriate residing in England, with his spouse Isabel. 1 of CAD’s major items is the TDA1543 Mk.II DAC ($12,000), which takes advantage of 16-little bit, 1543 DAC chips—16 of them. (People proficient about electronic-audio heritage will understand “1543” as the designation of a DAC chip introduced in 1989, the Philips TDA-1543.) A Mk.III model of the DAC is forthcoming look for a overview in Stereophile in the following couple months.
CAD also delivers a server—the CAT, which stands for CAD Audio Transportation ($17,500)—which contains SSD storage, automates CD ripping, and outputs knowledge in excess of USB only.
Exactly where some server organizations are employing a lot more computing ability for additional upsampling and DSP abilities, CAD has long gone in the other course, aiming to build a server that does as very little computing as attainable in purchase to lessen the quantity of noise radiated and transmitted more than electrical connections, like, especially, the floor line. Which is why CAD’s other solutions are a specifically grounded USB cable (Berry was showing a new model, cost not yet decided but likely all over $1500 for every meter) and a number of measurements of “Ground Controls), which are passive units for absorbing sounds on the ground line. Ground Controls range in value from $2250 to $29,500. See Michael Fremer’s procedure of the Floor Controls below.
To return to the topic of this submit: As I chatted with Scott and Isabel, anything he reported struck a chord. He was talking about the outcome of the new linear electric power provide CAD has just launched, now equipped with the CAT server and out there as an up grade to preceding customers, on the seem the server creates. The new ability source is produced in the same facility that provides Constellation Audio amplifiers. “It can be remarkable how a great deal variance it makes,” Isabel stated. “It generally surprises me,” included Scott, “how in a wholly digital item does extremely related factors as it would do in an analog device—pace, rhythm, timing—even however there’s only USB coming out of that you can find no analog.”
So there it is: The very same position created independently by two people from diverse businesses (Aurender and CAD) around the training course of 24 several hours: A electric power offer up grade on a purely digital ingredient can achieve a lot what it would in an analog machine.
Cynics, of course, will be cynical. People with open minds will go out and listen for on their own.