Friday, June 22, 2007

Red Wine Audio iMod revised

Red Wine Audio now offers audiophile hardware modification for the newer 5/5.5 Generation iPods. According to RWA's web site, iMod is required because iPod experiences sonic degradation from the cumulative effects of non-audiphile grade stock components that are directly in the line-out signal path. In effect, preventing iPod's Wolfson DAC reaching its full potential.

With the 4G iPod modifications, RWA takes the analog output (line out) signal from the iPod's Wolfson DAC chip and sends it directly to the unit's 1/8" headphone jack via high-end Black Gate Non-Polarized NX-Hi-Q coupling capacitors. However, the 4G iMod is intended only for use with a high-quality headphone amp or a hi-fi system as it converts the headphone jack into a dedicated line-out jack, and therefore, the iPod can no longer be connected directly to headphones.

The 5G/5.5G iMod is a little different as it leaves the headphone jack unaltered. RWA could not Black Gate caps into the newer and slimmer 5G/5.5G iPods, so the analog output signal from the Wolfson DAC chip is sent directly to the unit's dock connector pins. Drawback is that you need ALO Audio iMod Dock Cable, as ALO has found a way to install the Black Gate caps in the dock plug of the cable itself. See ALO Audio's website for more info.

Dynaudio MC15s speakers

From Dynaudio's comes new small desktop computer speakers, model MC15s (approx. €1200/pair). These active minis feature two integrated 50W amplifiers, the matching subwoofer is Sub 250 MC. Various CES 2007 and Stereophile HE 2007 show reports highlighted sound quality.

You can see them at video here.


Chord RED Reference CD player

General public talks about MP3 and yet the audiophile companies keep pushing the Red Book CD boundaries. The latest high-end and stunning CD player comes from British Chord.

The single-box RED is based on Chord's Blu and DAC64. It employs a Philips CD Pro 2 transport mechanism (installed at 45 degrees), which is re-clocked using a highly accurate crystal oscillator. Upsampling rates are 44.1kHz, 88.2kHz, or 176.4kHz. As for the signal conversion to analog, I quote Chord's web-site: "Based on the DAC64 the digital signal is converted from 176.4KHz to analogue audio using 1024 tap filtering and 64 bit digital signal processing core. This is followed by 64 bit 7th order noise shaping, 2048 times oversampling rates and improved pulse width modulated elements. This gives much better measured performance, better detail resolution with a smoother more focused sound quality. The DAC also features RAM buffer technology that sequentially takes in all the data, re-times, it then sends it out giving jitter free operation. Digital data from other sources can also be fed into the RED via the optical or AES balanced XLR connections."

Friday, June 01, 2007

Musical Fidelity 550K Supercharger

Now we know the reason for MF's (once again) excellent marketing campaign, i.e. 1st June 10:10 am announcement. MF 550K Supercharger are monoblocks amplifiers that use the kW550 power amp circuit in a low gain configuration. The 550K Supercharger is connected to the system just before the loudspeakers. All you have to do is disconnect the existing loudspeaker cable from the loudspeaker. Connect that cable to the Supercharger’s input. Connect the Supercharger’s output to the loudspeaker and connect the Supercharger to the mains.

The 550K Supercharger is a natural product extension to enforce MF's current mantra: if a hi-fi system is to be realistic, it should be able to achieve realistic peak levels at a normal listening position, i.e. a top quality hi-fi system should be able to deliver a 110dB peak. MF maintains that during the last 10-15 years we have lost dynamics in music reproduction as current loudspeakers are less efficient as speakers of 80's and 70's.

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