Heed Obelisk da

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Bob Clarke, of Profundo Imports, stopped by today to personally drop off a Heed da DAC. Heed are an excellent hi-fi company out of Budapest Hungary.

At the da’s heart lies the new the Dactil 1.2 DAC card, based on a Wolfson D/A chip and a new Cirrus receiver, and capable of 24bit/192 kHz high resolution signal processing. A deceptively simple module with excellent musical qualities, the Dactil 1.2 manages to scale new heights in the employ of the Obelisk DA’s ‘no compromise’ approach, featuring entirely independent supply rails for its analogue and digital sections.

The Obelisk da accommodates 5 digital inputs: two S/PDIF (one RCA, one BNC), two TOSLINK and one USB. Two outputs are available, one with 1.25V output voltage as direct connection from the converter, while the other one is boosted to 2.5V by a dedicated preamp section similar to the analogue circuit of the PRE, making it an ideal source for fans of passive pre-amps.

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Here’s a REVIEW

Rega Elex-R integrated amp!

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First it was the Elicit returning from yore, now it’s the Elex, one of the first integrated amps Rega Research made more than two decades ago. The 2014 iteration is the Elex-R, based on two highly-acclaimed amps from the current range, the entry-level Brio-R and heavyweight Elicit-R.
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Of course, it’s nothing much like its namesake from the past. According to the Rega literature, the Elex-R is a “sublime blend of the Brio-R design with the power circuits and advanced phono stage of the Elicit-R”. This should certainly make it a tempting prospect for Rega fans who yearned for more power than the former had but who could not quite step up to the latter.

Specifications for the Elex-R are:
- 90 watts per channel into 6 ohm, 72 watts into 8 ohm
- Four line inputs, preamp out and record out
- High-specification integrated phono stage (MM)
- Full-width case with improved heat dissipation
- New custom transformer
- Combined feedback and passive volume control preamp
- Enhanced power supplies for the driver stage
- Dedicated mini remote handset
- $1795
- Coming July 2014

The Young Mothers

Bassist Ingebrigt Häker Flaten recently dropped off a test pressing of “A Mother’s Work Is Never Done” by his band, The Young Mothers. Here’s a concert from a couple years ago. I think they’ve started a new genre of music! These guys will blow your mind wide open! You can buy it HERE. I’ll have it on vinyl at the shop as soon as the wax dries.

BOX!

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The shop is going to be looking spiffy! Anthony Abbate’s Box racks are made next door to DeVore Fidelity in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. In fact, Box makes DeVore’s speaker cabinets! A very nice pairing indeed! I just ordered three of these sweet racks! Here’s a REVIEW.

Soundsmith!

Now on the floor are the incredible Moving Iron cartridges from New York’s Soundsmith! Moving Iron are compatible with Moving Magnet phono preamps. So you get the gain of a MM with the finesse of a MC. Try it, you’ll like it! The Otello, Carmen and Zephyr mk2 are on display.

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The $189 iFi Nano iDSD portable DAC / headphone amp!!

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As I mentioned below, I’m getting in the new “iFi” range of personal hi-fi products. One really cool product and a HUGE fix is the nano iDSD. What is it you ask?

The iFi nano iDSD is full of ‘firsts.’ It is the world’s smallest, portable (only 163g), battery-powered, serious Burr Brown DAC that plays ALL high-resolution formats: PCM/DSD/DXD natively.

With the latest breakthrough True Native® technology from Abbington Music Research, the music format remains unchanged throughout. PCM (32bit/384kHz), DSD (6.2MHz) and DXD (384kHz) via Computer or iPhone/iPad/Android simply sounds stunning; opening up a whole new world of high-end audio quality to a whole new generation of users.

In a palm-sized chassis with an onboard lithium-polymer battery and headphone output, the iDSD is as extraordinary ‘on the go’ as it is in a ‘high-end system’. It handles Computers/Smartphones with aplomb. It even features an SPDIF coax digital output for A/V receivers or similar to offer unrivalled flexibility.

Check out the iFi site here!

I’m back from the frozen tundra!

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Montreal was a blast. A cold blast! Texans aren’t used to frigid temps and slush. I stupidly left my Sorels home not knowing a blizzard was due to hit. We had an excellent time though. The secret is staying underground, i.e.. take the Metro as much as possible. Naturally the first day we walked miles and miles until it dawned on us that there were easier methods.

The Hi-Fi show was an eye opener and I’m glad I went. It seemed many of the people who were on the list weren’t there. What I did see just solidified that I was doing everything, for the most part, right. As usual, there were tons of mediocre $100,000 systems that many of my $5-10K systems completely shred. I met with Claude who owns the shop Son Idéal in Montreal who has been in business for 40 years! What was he auditioning? A Rega RP10 and Harbeth 40.1!

I saw and heard the big Naim Statement / Focal system and was quite impressed, as one should be for a $300K plus system! I wish the presentation was in English, but I got the gist of it. Cost no object, HUGE sound, possibly a substitute for Viagra. I don’t know, I don’t speak French!

Eli and Ofra Gershman of Toronto’s Gershman Acoustics had some of the best speakers I heard at the show. The Avant Garde R-1 speakers ($8K) were something very special. I wish they had the $3K Idols set up…

The one thing that really did stick in my sights was the Tri-Art Audio room. Tri-Art are a Canadian company. I usually poo-poo Class D electronics but these guys seem to be onto something. The chassis are made of Bamboo and are stuffed with wool to help break down vibration. Also, they had an all bamboo turntable that sounded quite good. I’m going to be keeping an eye on this line. They are relatively new to the scene but I like what I heard. A lot!

Also in the Tri-Art room were a new company that are a subsidiary of Abbington Music Research called ifi audio. They make affordable and portable DACs, Phono pre’s and Headphone amps. Look for them on the floor soon!

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