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WCES '99


  Ya know, there was a lot of digital toys at the show.  Almost makes me want to digitize my self and let the digital rendering work while i relax and surf around Fiji island.  Even after a lot of P.I. searching, no digital cloning station at the WCES...  yet.  Maybe next year i hope.  Meanwhile, i did see a kinda cloning of the highly rated CEC belt-drive transport by Parasound. Seems the folks at Parasound are now making the CDP-2000 Ultra CD player for $1,495.  It is a top-loading unit with the highly acclaimed belt-driven type CD spinner.  Separate power supplies are used for the transport and the DAC sections.   Two 20-bit processing Burr Brown PCM1702 chips are used.  Still can't seem to wonder why anyone would spend over $1,000 on a CD player when for a bit more they can have 24-bit DVD stuff which also plays CDs.  Hmmm...

A hint, a word, some talk...  It was only a matter of time before i found another clue to solve this case.   Boulder has this new digital to analogue converter ya see.  The 2020 ($34,000) was a fully remote controllable unit using ten of the Boulder 993 gain stages.  In fact it is a four chassis design using separate power supplies for the analog and digital sections.   They claimed total crystal re-clocking eliminates jitter while an eight times oversampling FIR digital filter produces an awesome transient response.  In fact they use five Burr-Brown DACs per channel which they claimed significantly lowers distortion while increasing accuracy.  Hey, at 35 big ones this baby better give it up to daddy.   Too rich for this detectives blood and not quite the information needed to crack this case so i moved on.


Manley Wave

Now it was time to see what all the talk i heard in the alleyway was all about.  Rumor has it this chick called EveAnna makes some great gear so i knew i was on the trail to getting the information my client needed.  Using my keenly trained hearing i secretly overheard EveAnna, the owner of Manley Labs, on the phone telling someone about a new digital processor/analogue preamplifier unit called the Wave.  With gold front faceplate and a seductive sexy large black volume knob this unit looked mighty tasty!  EveAnna was saying how the Wave uses the Ultra-Analogue 20-bit HDCD capable DAC chipset and comes equipped with four digital inputs.  So things sounded normal to me until she also said how the Wave also has four analogue inputs with two being balanced on XLR jacks.  Ah, now we're getting somewhere.  This could be the information that gets me closer to solving this case.  After some more research, i learnt the Wave also has a fully motorized volume control, the entire unit is controllable via a wireless remote control... and it uses tubes.  One 5751 and one 6414 per channel for this stereo unit to be exact.  Now we are really getting hot on the trail.  In addition to all this, three separate, controllable stereo outputs are also included for using in, say, controlling the audio in three different rooms.  Priced at $8,000 it looked like i scored on another key to the puzzle.  Must remember to keep a close eye on this EveAnna chick.  She's a tricky one!  My stomach started to growl so it was time for some grub.


Chord DSC1500E

After a great lunch at the greasy spoon, and trying to digest all that the Manley Labs Wave can do, i came upon this DAC by Chord.  It was also interesting... to the point i was wondering if someone was pulling this Dick's Chord.  What is seen here is a photo of a new 24-bit/96kHz capable DAC that uses not just one chipset like others DACs, but two different user selectable DAC chipsets.  This way the music lover can decide which chipset sounds best for the music they are playing.  Built like a brick bit house, the Chord DSC1500E has four digital inputs, three digital outputs, adjustable LCD display brightness, 256x oversampling, and too many other great features to speak of.  They had this "inside informant "i missed out on meeting.  You can meet 'em by simply clicking here.  Things are really getting interesting in the world of digital.  All these digital products got me that much closer to solving the case.


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