:: HRT microSTREAMER
High Resolution Technologies have been providing us with a good number and variety of Streamer products over the past couple of years. They have all been globally accepted with high acclaim and solid success. Kevin Halverson would never be profiled as a man who enjoys sleeping on laurels; his latest adventure within the realms of streaming has been more complex and brave than any before. Welcome the HRT microStreamer, a beautifully executed, attractively and competitively priced (UK list price £179 inc VAT) and 24/96 capable USB DAC. Not only, the new microStreamer is a 2-in1 product: a high performance external sound card as well as an excellent sounding headphone amplifier.
The new HRT microStreamer will be available in good time for Season's Holidays and we are certain it will be one of the most sought after products of the kind in 2013.
:: CARDAS CLARIFIER & ANDROID PLATFORM
After a great success with the iOS version of the Clarifier application, Cardas Audio have now made this useful tool for degaussing audio components and systems available for the Android platform, too. It remains a free download and can be found within the Google Play (the iOS version remains available within the AppStore). Make sure you 'clarify' your components and audio systems in regular intervals and be consistently astonished by the beneficial consequences.
:: FINITE HI-FI (ne้ finite elemente)
Over the past months, many questions related to the highly respected German manufacturer of equipment supports and associated products remained unanswered. We are delighted to advise the finite elemente GmbH has changed ownership and has been renamed to developments & design 4U GmbH as of September 2012. Offices and production facility are in the same location as before, soon to be moved to a superior facility nearby. Product portfolio has been renamed to Finite Hi-Fi, as the company offers a wide variety of components related to "hi-fi", albeit not of the same ilk. Further, pagode equipment supports continue to exist in their Signature and Master Reference guise, as are all Cera products. Best of all, the core of ex-finite elemente GmbH executive and production team has remained with the new owners, giving us the best assurance of the highest level of professional conduct and service we have been enjoying over the past decade and a bit. All products are available either from stock (Cera) or to order (pagode) and Audiofreaks continues its unreserved and total support of the new entity and all products as loyally and productively as ever.
:: SOUNDS OF SILENCE
Reading quality and high-end product reviews in the global audio press these days leaves a somewhat unnatural taste, regardless of the writer or a DUT (Device Under Test). Do not concern yourselves, we will NOT open a large container (rather than just a can) of worms here, but a very recent experience with our own reference audio system prompted both the aforementioned thought and something we would like to share.
When discussing the subjective effects of an artificially reproduced music in our homes (aka sound quality of hifi systems) we often talk about treble, midrange or bass; soundstage, imaging and many other, difficult to verbalise, categories of our perception. On rare occasions (far from often enough) we mention distortion and try to understand how it makes everything better or worse (nowhere near as simply as the term suggests). But. do we ever touch the subject of "intersonic silence"? What is intersonic silence? Nothing much, just "making the black blacker". Or, perhaps, "hearing the silence being more silent". What we are addressing here is the inherent noise level within each and every single component of our systems. And with true high-end audio designs, the overall noise floor level should be extremely low, even beyond audibility! Sadly, in most cases it is anything but!
We have always been proud of very low noise levels within our products, as well as their ability to "distort naturally" (read: distort along the lines of harmonic structure of the music itself). Goalposts seemed firmly positioned and life was good. Until very recently, that is. Shortly after installing a new flagship stereo amplifier into our reference system (well before any warm up, let alone running -in, etc) shock and disbelief became the order of the day! The "blackness of silence" through loudspeakers was "so black" that we went to check whether the amplifier was actually on power and operating correctly!!?? Total silence. Not a trace of the habitual, frequency related hum/buzz components through the midrange driver. An almost imaginary, faint inference of an audio circuit noise somewhere deep inside a ruthlessly revealing tweeter. Unbelievable!
Why are we so excited about this? Mainly because the less noise of any kind finds its way to our ears, the more music we will hear from the chosen sound carrier. Oh, and something else. The amplifier in question was a mighty (150W) valve design as was the preamplifier driving it. Not bad. Not bad at all...
:: AUDIOFREAKS CHRISTMAS 2012 TEMPTATIONS
Have a look and enjoy! Usual rules of engagement apply: one of each and valid (strictly) until the last minute of this year (23.59hrs on the 31st December 2012).
On that note (rather than a "bombshell"), we wish you a Merry Christmas and a very healthy, positive and optimistic New Year 2013. Thank you from the heart for being as supportive, loyal and encouraging as you were during the past twelve very challenging and unpredictably difficult months. Here is to better times!!!