Al said: At $599, the rPlay costs 20 times as much as Google’s puck-like Chromecast Audio -- but when you use the Arcam to listen to Tidal or Spotify, or stream music from a media server on your computer or NAS, your ears will tell you that the difference is worth the money.
The gist: Hi-rez streaming the Arcam way.
Vade said: I know several audiophiles who spurn any prepackaged server/network player, preferring to optimize their systems’ sound by tweaking the system parameters; if that’s the way you feel, the DAC9’s very good sound quality and gorgeous looks make it an easy recommendation.
The gist: The Linux limitation is the big issue with the DAC9.
Al said: At $3799, the Polaris is hardly a budget option. But if your expectations for an all-in-one audio component are high, it won’t disappoint you.
The gist: Feature-rich streaming integrated at a reasonable price.
Award: Reviewers' Choice
Uday said: The Aurender A10 is a fantastic product that brings Aurender’s already proven and well-regarded server technology to a broader market, while including a high-quality preamp and DAC.
The gist: Now you get a DAC with the proven Aurender server.
Philip said: What I can say is that the QX-5 Twenty is a beautifully designed, well-built component that could easily anchor a state-of-the-art sound system for years to come.
The gist: Classic Ayre sound in a modern digital source.
Philip said: A BCD-3 isn’t cheap, but if you’ve spent the last 25 or so years amassing a library of CDs, you’ll want to hear them sound their best. The Bryston BCD-3 can deliver that.
The gist: Yep, they're still making these, and this is a good one.
Doug said: EMM Labs’ DA2 Reference is exceptional: Rather than strike a balance between musicality and detail, it provides both without limitation or compromise.
The gist: The best DAC Doug has heard.
Award: Reviewers' Choice
Garrett said: If you’re in the market for a new SACD/CD player, I urge you to audition the K-05X. Its excellent build quality, proprietary VRDS-Neo transport, powerful processing, sleekly sculpted looks, option to upgrade by adding an external clock, and, last but hardly least, its outstanding qualities of sound, confirm it as an absolutely solid choice.
The gist: This I gonna replace Garrett’s Cary player.
Garrett said: Hegel Music Systems has produced fine-sounding audio equipment at fairly moderate prices for many years now, and their new Mohican is no exception. It’s a wonderful player of Compact Discs that should be seriously considered by anyone with a large library of them who’s in the market for a dedicated player.
The gist: A good candidate for your last CD player.
Hans said: Oppo Digital’s Sonica DAC can serve as a lovely digital centerpiece for the systems of progressive audiophiles.
The gist: A ton of DAC for the money.