StereoLife Magazine - Displaying items by tag: dac

Denon DA-10

Until recently Denon's catalog centered on devices almost exclusively dedicated to usage in stereo and home cinema systems - amplifiers, players, streamers and micro-systems. The offering was supplemented with accessories and a wide range of headphones, very interesting headphones, we have to say. However the increasing trend pushing many sectors towards mobile devices caused also a change in the catalogue of this Japanese company, causing an avalanche of propositions with different purpose. So last year we saw a few novelties, like the CEOL series of systems, the Envaya speaker looking like a lady's purse, the elegantly sleek soundbar DHT-T110 or the HEOS wireless speakers. But Denon seems not to be stopping there, as they recently presented their first DAC/headphone amplifier. This device is not only small, but also looks splendidly placed on a desktop.

Marantz HD-DAC1

Marantz is a company which managed to successfully penetrate the area of home cinema, receivers and modern streamers while preserving audiophile roots and an aura of exclusivity at the same time. It seems that they've found a recipe how to balance between the world of modern technologies and this what is proved, classic and desired by the lovers of high-quality sound. If you are interested in the gear from previous ages, and if you like internet profiles with vintage audio, you have surely seen loads of Marantz's equipment there - beautiful amplifiers, tuners with backlit scales and oscilloscopes, CD players with massive trays and advanced optics, all in metal, wood and glass. No wonder that in times of omnipresent plastic a retro fashion came back, bringing stereo equipment to where it should be.

Audio Show 2014

Audio Show in Warsaw is by far the biggest exhibition of audio equipment in Poland and perhaps the second biggest in Europe, after the High End in Munich. This year's edition was announced to be the largest in history and it turned out that these news were not exaggerated. To cope with the growth of the whole event, the rooms were divided into three zones - analog, head-fi and cinema - so the fans of these specific topics could quickly find interesting presentations. If you want to get the idea of what Audio Show looks like, imagine three large hotels filled with hi-fi equipment and thousands of people rushing inside them over just one weekend. It's vast, but also very interesting and satisfying for audio enthusiasts.

Lab12 HPA

In our reviews we often describe the latest products of well-known brands, and so they are eye-catching devices, regardless of their functionality and price range. This time we decided to test something very rare - a tube headphone amplifier made in Greece. Although Lab12 is quite successful and presents its products at international exhibitions, the company is pretty much unknown in the audiophile world. On the web there were just a few coverages, and one review written by Matej Isak from the Mono and Stereo magazine with whom we collaborate. The company is situated in Athens, and beyond the home market its products are distributed in four European countries. They are Hungary, Norway, Switzerland and Poland. In the catalogue we find a power cord and five boxes for different uses - preamplifier, DAC, power amplifier, headphone amplifier and a passive preamp with source selector. All combine classic design and valves - even the DAC output stage is built around the tubes.

Opera Consonance Don Giovanni

Chinese manufacturer of audio electronics, known for its tube components, introduces a small DSD player which can also be used in the car. Don Giovanni is equipped with a 12-V power supply with the option of connecting it to the car cigarette lighter. Customer can also use their mobile phone as a remote control through the Wi-Fi adapter. Photos by Opera Consonance.

Diesis Audio Evento 20-11

After years of research and development Diesis Audio decided to design a hybrid-integrated amplifier. You have to admit that it looks awesome. Evento 20-11 uses a preamp based on two E88CC NOS tubes. Further down we have an oversized power supply in the power amplifier section allowing the delivery of 80 W at 8 ohms with high current capability. All of this in a beautiful non-magnetic cabinet. Italian company also offers the option to add a phono stage or a DAC card. Photo by Diesis Audio.

High End 2014

The largest exhibition of audio equipment in Europe is behind us so we are getting back to normal operation. Before this happens, we wrote a small summary of the whole event. The form of our reports is forced by the size of the exhibition. Even before exploring the MOC halls we came to the conclusion that it's impossible to see it all, but we tried nevertheless. We could of course focus on ten, twenty or thirty rooms with the most anticipated new stuff or just the most expensive equipment, but what kind of report would it be, if you have hundreds or thousands of companies and you only pick a few dozens? So we hope that our gallery at least allows you to catch the climate of High End and see some interesting devices. For now all the photos have been posted, also on our profile on Instagram. If you are interested in our impressions of the exhibition, if you were out there somewhere or you want to go to Munich next year, we hope it would be an interesting lecture.

Hegel HD25

In a relatively short time Hegel gained the status of the audiophile brand. It would seem that designing a big amplifier with shiny tubes and bright power meters is the best way to enter the market in such a spectacular way, but it's not the only one. It is hard to deny that many people still buy audio gear with their eyes, and the thickness of the wallet doesn't always go hand in hand with good taste. Norwegian devices have always been extremely modest. Matt fronts with at most two knobs and display do not promise anything revolutionary. But remember that sometimes the inside of device is the most important part.

Peter Bartlett - Cyrus

Some audiophiles claim that one of the fundamental principles when selecting hi-fi equipment is simple - if you are going to buy a speaker, amplifiers or cable, check out how big is the factory where it's built - the bigger it is, the better the equipment. I honestly don't know where this comes from, because Bentley has a much smaller plant than Toyota or Nissan, but I would rather drive a Continental GT instead of an Auris or Juke. Smaller, highly specialized factories are able to chase or even outrun big corporations. Some say this may happen with speakers or tube amplifiers - stuff that doesn't need innovative thinking, but when it comes to streamers or digital amplifiers, large manufacturers will always be ahead. But is that necessarily the case?

Primare DAC30

Scandinavians have a sense of style. Simple forms and raw materials appeal to customers looking for timeless elegance. Primare is one of the manufacturers who designed their own looks long time ago. The brand exists primarily as a manufacturer of amplifiers and CD players, however it has relatively quickly introduced new DAC3 converter and NP30 network player. You can also buy an integrated amplifier and later extend its functionality with network functions or DAC with USB input, thanks to optional extension cards. The outer design of scandinavian devices resists any changes. I have no idea when the first unit looking like this appeared on the market, but I know it must have been a long time ago. Despite this, Primare's products still look fresh and modern. Over the years they introduced minor modifications, but some marks remain intact.