I am currently listening/evaluating the Hegel HD20 DAC. This DAC from Norway provides a preamp for directly driving power amps, or line level out to a separate input stage. Note: A specially designed coaxial input claims to corrects impedance issues normally found on digital RCA connectors. Stay tuned for a full review.
While hearing lots of different hi-fi stereo setups is tons of fun, it really grabs me when a demonstration allows listeners to discern sonic differences in audio equipment and formats. Several companies (Sony, Hegel, and Kimber) provided demos that allowed show goers to get a better grasp of different technologies. This type of informative listening session creates a better trust with potential customers.
Walking into the Hegel room at T.H.E. Show Newport was certainly fun, informative, and worthwhile. Rather than just hearing more music, we were treated to a full description and demo of the electronics. Music certainly played a roll, but it was used as a tool to show the differences in their various DACs (digital-to-analog-converters). This kind of demo can leave a lasting impression on our short audio/sonic memory.
Sony demonstrated the differences between PCM and DSD digital audio in an effective setup consisting of Meitner and Mytek DACs. While sonic differences between the DACs certainly exist, it was more startling to hear the 24/96 PCM vs the DSD. The DSD wins, every time! I am certainly looking forward to more USB DSD DACs in the future!
Kimber Cable did a fantastic demonstration of their Isomike recordings. The exhibitor demonstrated how the unique baffle of the Isomike allows four omni mics to pick up the full recorded event (4.0 surround). Both the directionality, and the space/depth of the recordings were rendered very well. To further prove the baffle’s effectiveness, we were treated to a race track recording. The wizzing by of race cars was quite realistic! I left with an excellent understanding of Kimber’s production methods.
It’s easy to jumble all the sounds of a hi-fi show. When trying to recall room after room of audio gear differences, I must always consult my notes… Except when a demonstration is done so well that it leaves a lasting sonic impression.
-untill next year!