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HiFiMAN HM-802 Portable High Resolution Music Player Review

802Update: Info on Balanced Amp Card - 7-29-14 - HiFiMAN is probably best known for their headphones and headphone amplifiers, some of which we have reviewed, but they also manufacture portable music players as an alternative to the ubiqutious iPod. The HM-802 is one of several models, including the HM-700, which is less expensive than the HM-802, and the HM-901, which is more expensive. You also have the option of having a balanced amplifier module in the player or the standard unbalanced one. In this review, I cover the model HM-802, with the standard unbalanced amplifier card, as well as with the optional balanced amp card. It plays PCM music tracks up to 24/192 and DSD64, as well as wav, flac, mp3, alac, aac, and aiff files.

 

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Kaleidescape Cinema One Media Server

kaleidescape-cinema-one-graphic-smI am probably in the minority now. I am still a dinosaur that watches almost all of their movies off of physical discs instead of streaming, downloads, or Pay-Per-View. I do watch plenty of streaming content, as it is convenient, but I can't bring myself to pay for an inferior quality product that I download compared to buying a disc at the store. Now after spending a month with the Kaleidescape Cinema One Media Server, I can see a future, one that is very close, where I won't buy a disc again. I see a reality where convenience and quality are not mutually exclusive. What does the Kaleidescape do that has managed to change my mind about this? A lot.

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WideaLab Aurender S10 Music Server

WideaLab Aurender S10 Music Storage and Playback SystemLike most people I have some pet peeves. When I shop for televisions, I am always hoping to find one without speakers. I have a dedicated theater with speakers and electronics that are leaps and bounds ahead of what I could possibly get in a TV. I don't need speakers; I'll never turn them on. I don't want them! Simply having them adds cost, complexity, and size to my TV. I don't want to pay for what I won't use!

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NAD VISO 1 AP AirPlay Music System

NAD VISO 1 AP AirPlay Music SystemNAD introduced its own iPod dock, the VISO, last year at CEDIA. As one would expect from this high-end company, little expense was spared in its design as it sought to bridge the iPod, and other digital music players, with quality amplification and speakers while keeping it all in a compact package. With the proliferation of AirPlay streaming, it made sense that the second generation product should include this super-convenient feature. Hence, we have the VISO 1 AP, the subject of today's review. Where last year's VISO required you to chain your iPod to the unit, the AP lets you keep your iPod in your pocket so you can control your music from anywhere within reach of your WiFi network.

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Channel D Pure Music High Resolution Music Server Software

Channel D Pure Music High Resolution Music Server Software

Computer audio is quickly becoming the source of choice for high-resolution audio playback. A vast number of products focused on computer audio are available today, but most of the attention is paid to hardware: DACs and computer audio interfaces like the Bryston BDA-1 and Halide Design USB to SPDIF Bridge I reviewed last year. In all our reviews, we forget one key component of the playback chain: the software player. I have complained extensively about the difficulty of getting no-compromise audio playback from a computer.

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Parasound Halo CD 1 Player

Parasound Halo CD 1 PlayerThe Halo CD 1 is a flagship CD Player from the well regarded, San Francisco based, Parasound. CD Player? Surely I mean 'DAC with Transport'. Nope. CD player, put your CD in, music comes out. No, you mean it's part of a server system, the data is stored for later retrieval by a computer system. Well, only if you count the internal buffering and Intel ITX computer running Linux inside the CD 1. In implementation then the CD 1 is quite modern, it's a computer, dedicated to CD playback only. In practice, it's an old fashioned (and in this case, that's good) CD player.

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PS Audio PerfectWave Disc Transport

PS Audio PerfectWave Transport for the Audiophile

I was in a bind. CD and product reviews were due at multiple publications, and my Theta Carmen II transport's drive mechanism had failed. I may have bought the used unit directly from Theta Digital's founder and former owner, Neil Sinclair, but that couldn't change the fact that the Carmen II's defective drive was long out of production. With no spare parts available in at Theta's Southern California headquarters, I was in trouble. Paul McGowan came to my rescue by sending a PS Audio PerfectWave Disc Transport. And, wow, does this thing transport.

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Marantz PM6004 Integrated Amplifier and CD6004 CD Player

Marantz PM6004 Integrated Amplifier and CD6004 CD Player

Marantz has a long history in Audio, dating back to the 1950's with Saul Marantz in New York, then with Phillips in the 80's and 90's and now under D&M Holdings along with Denon and McIntosh.

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Bryston BDP-1 Music Server and BDA-1 DAC

Bryston BDP-1 Music Server and BDA-1 DAC

Media servers usually contain a hard drive on which you store your music (ripped CDs). Bryston's new BDP-1 Music Server utililzes USB thumb drives or external USB hard drive. This way, you can carry your music around with you on a thumb drive and use with multiple devices to play the music. This music server is actually a computer with full operating system, and can be connected wirelessly to your iPod or iPad to choose and play albums. In fact, it really is designed to be used that way, so that the server itself can be a low profile component in your equipment rack. In this review, we test the BDP-1 along with Bryston's BDA-1 DAC, which is capable of handling 24/192 bitstreams.

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Emotiva ERC-2 CD Player

Emotiva ERC-2Emotiva continues to occupy an interesting space in the audiophile realm. It is now possible to get an entire two channel or five channel system consisting almost entirely of Emotiva products, CD player or DAC, a preamp, a variety of amplifiers from one to five channels, a pre-pro on the way and interconnects. The Emotiva ERC-2 is a two-channel CD player with balanced outputs for low noise transfer between the CD player and your preamplifier. At $449, this is a player to reckon with.

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Olive O4HD Music Server

Olive O4HD Music Server for the Audiophile

Olive Media, Inc. has been in the business of digital music since it was started by Dr. Oliver Bergmann and Robert Altmann back in 2005. I have admired the Olive products for many years and had the opportunity to visit with Robert Altmann at CES 2011 this past January. I really appreciated his introduction to their products and I was especially impressed with his love of music. We recently reviewed the Olive 03HD, and here, we cover the 04HD.

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