HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Alas, unlike last week’s 7500 word MacBook Air review, there’s no big article today. The plan was to release more details of the Objective Desktop Amp (ODA) by the first day of winter but I’m still waiting on a few key hurdles (mostly related to the ODAC) first. So the days will be getting longer before that happens. For now, here are a few updates on assorted topics. (photo: Andrew Magill)
INTERESTING BENCHMARK ARTICLES: As I’ve shared many times, I have immense respect for John Siau at Benchmark Media—makers of the DAC1. I've had the pleasure of discussing audio in person with him and he’s artfully navigated (much more so than me!) the objective/subjective line in audio. He genuinely understands what matters, what doesn't, and why. John’s talents are not only apparent in his products but, unlike most commercial designers, he's also written several excellent papers, presented at Audio Engineering Society conferences, and provided detailed measurements of Benchmark gear. From my perspective, he’s equal parts academic, engineer, audiophile, and enviable entrepreneur. If you’re at all into understanding why measurements matter, you might want to check out two of his most recent articles. I do recognize he’s not completely unbiased but I believe most of what he has to say in the papers is relatively objective and easily verified:
COMING ATTRACTIONS: Here are some articles to look forward to in the coming weeks:
- FiiO E10 DAC Review – With any luck this will be up by next Wednesday.
- ODA/ODAC Update – As mentioned above I hope to make some good progress on the ODA and ODAC and should have a more details to publish in the first few weeks of January.
- Audiophile Beliefs Update – Somewhat in the vein of the Benchmark articles above, I still receive a lot of questions about various audiophile beliefs. They include balanced audio, bit depth, USB vs S/PDIF, output impedance, high resolution formats, jitter, tube amps, single-ended (SE) amps, and correlating measurements with blind listening tests. I won’t try to tackle all those topics in a single article, but I would like to elaborate on at least a few of them sooner rather than later. For some of these the best I can do is shine a bit more light on a fuzzy topic, for others there are some widespread myths that can be put to rest.
- Clip Zip Review – My poor Clip Zip hasn’t even been unboxed yet. I’m really curious how it compares to my trust Clip+. If the battery has any charge left when I unbox it at least I’ll know it can be safely stored for many months. ;)
- USB Pro Audio Interfaces - I’ve been testing various interfaces ranging in price from around $100 to $400. All, theoretically at least, are capable of 24 bit operation over USB. In such devices most of the money goes into the recording hardware, but I thought it would be interesting to see how the DACs in these devices measure up for playback. It’s rare to see them tested for playback-only performance. Most results available are from RMAA, and on top of RMAA’s usual limitations, they’re typically loopback tests of the combined A/D and D/A performance. The dScope allows breaking out out just the playback performance and measuring it in ways RMAA cannot.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL: I hope everyone gets to relax with some good music and enjoy at least a few days away from work, school, etc. I need to go see how the elves are coming along with those hand carved ODA enclosures….