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HiFiMAN HE-400 Planar Headphone and HM-601 Slim Portable Player

HiFiMAN HE-400 Planar Headphone and HM-601 Slim Portable Player

HiFiMAN was founded in 2007 by Dr. Fang Bian, a man with a passion for portable audio. His love for music and sound quality is immediately present in his HiFiMAN products. HiFiMAN has been known for producing some very well regarded planar magnetic headphones, like the HE-6, but up until now, those reference headphones required a lot of power.

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D-Wings Cable Management

D-WingsAll of us have had to deal with cable management in our audio and home theater systems. What we usually end up with is a tangle of wires that look like a mess. There are a number of cable management systems out there, but they most often involve tubes through which you pass the cables. D-Wings, marketed by UT-Wire, represent a completely different, and much easier to use, cable management product.

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Rein Audio X-DAC with USB Input

Rein Audio X-DAC with USB InputUSB DACs are hot items now because you can play music from your computer through them and into a set of headphones or to your main hi-fi rig. Some of these DACs only have a USB input, (no S/PDIF inputs) because their main purpose is for use with a computer. Of course, all computers come with audio ciruitry on the motherboard, and if you have a sound card installed in one of the PC card slots, it may very well have an S/PDIF output. However, their quality is often questionable due to the typically low cost of the sound card. Rein Audio, a German manufacturer, makes the X-DAC, which is a 24/192 DAC with both coaxial and Toslink optical S/PDIF inputs, but also, it has a USB input (24/96) to be used with your computer, giving you better sound quality than you would get from your computer's audio circuit.

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Synergistic Research Tesla Series AC Power Conditioner and AC Power Cables

Synergistic Research Tesla Series

Moving can really suck. On top of everything else, it seems like I always lose stuff, at least temporarily. Eventually, that lost pair of shoes will turn up in a box labeled "towels," but it had been a few months since the move and I was still looking for some of the magic of my system.

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Bryston 10B-SUB Active Stereo Crossover Network

bryston-10b-sub-crossover-teaserIf you have a home theater system where your bass management isn't as flexible as you would like it to be, an outboard crossover network could solve your problems.

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Wireless HDMI Round Up

Wireless HDMI Round Up Now that our TVs are thin enough we often want to hang them on a wall, and manufacturers keep pushing the limits of thickness year after year. CES this year saw the advent of OLED TVs that are just millimeters thick as they no longer need backlighting systems, and serve double duty as a cheese slicer with their razor-thin profiles.

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Sony HMZ-T1 Self-Contained Virtual Reality 3D Viewing Glasses: First Look

Impressions of Sony HMZ-T1

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Accell UltraCat HD HDMI Extender

Accell UltraCat HD HDMI ExtenderDuring CEDIA 2011, one technology that caught my attention was HDBaseT. It provided a solution to the all too familiar cable clutter problem. Below is a picture that I took at their booth which shows a set of cables whose signals could all be transmitted over a single Cat5e/6 cable at distances up to 100m.

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Marc Audio Premium Line RCA Interconnects

marc-audio-premium-rca-interconnects-teaser

Marc Audio started its business of marketing quality audio cables in its on-line store only two years ago. They did not have all of their products available at the time of launch, so we reviewed what they had, as they became available. These included the Reference Line and the Signature Line. The Reference Line is their most expensive cable, but at $870/meter-pair for the RCA interconnects, they are not all that pricey compared to many other cables out there. The Signatures are their mid-priced cables ($549/meter-pair for RCA interconnects). Now, Marc Audio has introduced the Premium Line, which is their least expensive line of cables, at $158/meter-pair. Their construction quality - and more importantly - their performance, belie their very reasonable price, and I think they are one of the best values in cables out there.

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Velodyne vPulse In-Ear Headphones (Earbuds)

Velodyne vPulse In-Ear Headphones (Earbuds)With the prevalence of portable music players to the point that you must be from Mars if you don't own one, there is a huge aftermarket for high quality earphones (headphones is the category, with over-the-ear headphones, on-ear-headphones, in-ear headphones, in-ear-earphones, and in-ear earbuds being the specific type of headphone one is referring to). Velodyne, renown manufacturer of subwoofers, not to be left out of this trend, has released a set of in-ear headphones called the vPulse....and best of all, they sound like Velodyne all the way . . . a.k.a. very, very good.

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CEntrance DACMini USB DAC

CEntrance DACMini

CEntrance is a Chicago based company with engineering in the US and Moscow, Russia, design in Holland, and manufacturing facilities in Asia but final assembly in the US . Let's just say 'multi-national'. They got their start in pro audio making microphone/guitar pre-amps with analog to digital converters, the MicPort Pro and AxePort Pro in amazingly small packages. Designed to plug inline on the microphone or guitar cord with a USB output (the units are powered by the USB connection) they provide the smallest possible recording studio, enabling musicians to plug a microphone or guitar 'directly' into a computer as if they were plugging into tape deck. Here, we review the CEntrance DACMini.

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