Headphone Amp/DAC Reviews

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Geoffrey Morrison  |  Mar 31, 2013  |  0 comments

There is no audio company in the world more revered, feared, disputed, or discussed than Lirpa Labs.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Mar 14, 2013  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,299 At a Glance: DAC, headphone amp, preamp for digital sources • Asynchronous USB input • Makes your audio files sing

The Wadia 121 calls itself a decoding computer. While the term DAC (digital-to-analog converter) also fits, Wadia understands that nomenclature is destiny. This product just may be destined to change forever the way you hear high-resolution music files, signaling a new chapter in audio history that no audiophile can afford to ignore.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Feb 13, 2013  |  0 comments

I think you can file most video enthusiasts into two broad categories: Purists and Bestists.The Purists want accurate color, bit-for-bit accuracy from Blu-ray, original aspect ratios, and so on. Bestists want the image to fill their screen, and to see a picture with hyper-detail (and maybe hypercolor). Which brings us to Darbee’s Darblet video enhancer. While a Purist might dismiss the Darblet as something a Bestist would want, I couldn’t say for sure that both camps won’t be curious. It is … interesting.

John Sciacca  |  Feb 13, 2013  |  0 comments

Between increasing your system’s audio channel count to 9.1 or 11.1 and upgrading to a bigger, brighter, or even higher-resolution 4K video display, there’s no shortage of ways to take your home theater to the next level. And while such improvements can certainly add excitement, the basic home theater experience still pretty much remains the same.

The thing that most home theaters can’t do is put you into the action, literally letting you feel what is happening onscreen. The sliding of gravel under the tires. The rock and sway of a boat. The thud-thud-thud of a jet being riddled with gunfire. Providing that experience is the role that D-Box fills.

Daniel Kumin  |  Dec 25, 2012  |  0 comments

Back when A/V was just “A,” Yamaha was among the first to elevate the receiver from dormroom necessity to Serious Audio Component. Brand Y then negotiated the transition to audio-plus-video smoothly, and today remains one of the leading purveyors of the all-in-one home theater centerpiece.

John Sciacca  |  Dec 25, 2012  |  0 comments

Remote controls can essentially be clumped into three categories: low-, middle-, and high-end. At the low end are DIY models that offer basic “all-in-one” control functions and are meant to replace lost or broken manufacturer-issued remotes. High-end models require professional programming and provide powerful automation features, IP and RS-232 control, and radio-frequency operation.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Dec 03, 2012  |  4 comments

Audio Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $99 (reduced from original price of $249; version 1.2: $149)
At a Glance: Size of USB thumb drive • Up to 24/96 resolution • Minijack analog out

The AudioQuest DragonFly USB digital-to-analog converter ($249) and the B&W Society of Sound music download service ($59/year) arrived in my listening room at about the same time. They were made for each other: B&W’s 24-bit FLAC files gave the DAC a better chance to strut its stuff than any CD-quality or lossy audio file at my disposal. And the USB DAC enabled the high-resolution files to do an end run around the awful soundcard in my PC.

Michael Berk  |  Nov 13, 2012  |  0 comments

Futureproofing. It's a concept that appeals to consumers, but for various reasons most manufacturers have shied away from products that enable people to extend the useful lives of the gear they already own.

The brand-new Griffin Twenty ($99, out today) is a refreshing exception to the rule.

Michael Berk  |  Nov 08, 2012  |  0 comments

The Blue Note label has, over the course of its history, managed to put out some of the most challenging, beloved, and genre-defining records in jazz. Now a new Blue Note app brings that rich heritage to your tablet.

Daniel Kumin  |  Oct 16, 2012  |  0 comments

When we first looked at iPhone/iPod touch remote control solutions in our September 2010 issue, the concept was novel enough that we were unabashedly gushy. There was only a bare handful of remote control apps, and the variety of angles by which they attacked, mostly success- fully, the ever-vexing problem of how to operate an A/V system without losing any marbles (and then throwing them, hard, at expensive components) was truly cool.

Michael Berk  |  Sep 17, 2012  |  0 comments

Hitachi's drive division has established a beachhead among thrift-conscious media professionals with it's G-Tech line. The long-awaited G-Connect, however, is a vastly different type of product - a portable wireless media server, meant for the iOS accessory market. It's a cool little box, packed with features.

But what, exactly, is this thing? And who is it for?

John Sciacca  |  Aug 23, 2012  |  0 comments

While there are multiple ways to get TV programming — broadcast, cable, satellite, telco (Verizon FiOS/AT&T U-verse), or over the Internet — I’ve received mine via cable for as long as I’ve been a member of the TV-consuming public.

Michael Berk  |  Jul 19, 2012  |  0 comments

We've long been fans of CEntrance's portable USB DAC/headphone amp, the DACport; in an expanding market of bus-powered USB DACs, the venerable unit (along with its streamlined sibling, the DACport LX) remains a favorite of, and reference for, many reviewers of portable audio gear. Now they've gone ahead and put out a complete two channel system, of all things - the Audiophile Desktop System.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jul 17, 2012  |  0 comments

There’s some debate among vinylphiles about whether USB phono preamps need to exist, but I for one am glad they do. When I bring home my latest haul of vinyl from Amoeba Records, I love being able to plug a laptop straight into my NAD PP 3 to make quick MP3s of albums I like so I can listen to them on my smartphone. (Sacrilege!) It’s easier than making an analog connection, and it bypasses the lousy analog-to-digital converter built into my laptop.

With the Zphono-USB, Parasound brings new versatility and features to the USB phono pre concept.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jun 06, 2012  |  0 comments

Aah, summertime. Lather on sunscreen, pump up the bike tires, and you’re almost set. What’s missing? Music! And we’re not talking about those antisocial earbuds that cocooned you through the dark winter. We’re talking about actual speakers that you can take along with you on outings.

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