Audio Player Reviews

McIntosh MCD600 SACD/CD Player Review

Built with the same quality that all McIntosh products are known for, and the ubiquitous chrome, glass, and green and blue lights that are distinctive features of their products, the McIntosh MCD600 SACD/CD Player is like no other disc player in the consumer market today.

Brennan B2 Review

The Brennan B2 is a new, unusual, and I think, a rather useful kind of product. The Brennan B2 can be thought of as kind of a personal jukebox… insert your CDs into its built-in drive, and the Brennan rips them to an internal hard drive, catalogs them, and makes them available for playback.

NAD Master Series M50.2 Digital Music Player

NAD Masters Series M50.2 Digital Music Player Review

What is the NAD M50.2 Digital Music Player? A handsome computer exclusively for music; it has software, hardware, storage, a touch-panel screen, a CD drive, and connects to the internet - Steve Jobs couldn’t have envisioned it any better. It combines the legacy NAD M50 Digital Music Player and the M52 Digital Music Vault into one all-digital component.

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Xiaomi Mi Box Review

The product category of “media player” continues to grow and cross over with media streamers and media servers. “Smart” apps, once the realm of “smart” TVs, are now the primary feature in media players, game consoles, HDTVs and almost every other device that connects to your home entertainment system.

Pono Portable Music Player Review

We've been waiting for the PonoPlayer for a long, long time. Neil Young was first pitching this thing on Letterman in 2012. The kickstarter campaign, which raised nearly 15x the initial goal of $800,000 ended on Tax Day 2014 with delivery promised by October.

Tidal Music Streaming Service Review

Tidal Music Streaming Service is the first CD quality (1411 kbps) music streaming service offered in the U.S. With over 25 million tracks in their catalog, they offer a wide variety of musical genres, in addition to curated Playlists and Music Editorials. For the video minded, they also include a catalog of 75,000 music videos, most of which are in HD resolution.

DIY Media Server and DVR Review

Chris Eberle's most recent Technical Media Server review, he explained many of the options available today for media servers, streamers, and NAS systems, including the option to build your own "home-brew" media server. In the current article I'm going to go into the details of one such system – mine! In addition to being a full-blown media server, this system is also my HD-DVR, and it is pretty easy to set up and operate. Moreover, this system allows me to record most high definition shows from my cable subscription totally DRM-free. I've done all this without a single piece of hardware from my cable provider. Want to learn how I did it? Read on!

HiFiMAN HM-802 Portable High Resolution Music Player Review

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.

 

Kaleidescape Cinema One Media Server

I 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.

NAD VISO 1 AP AirPlay Music System

NAD 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.

Parasound Halo CD 1 Player

The 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.