There's no doubt that there is wonderful convienience features in our Personal Computers and iPods. Nearly everyone uses a Computer or iPod at some point to listen to music. Programs like iTunes allow flexibility to store one’s entire music collection on the hard drive of a where the entire musical library can be organized and easily played. But, if you put your computer into your main listening system (after you use a cheap mini-plug to RCA cable of course), the performance, timing, pitch, accuracy isn't quite there. The music doesn't match up to our CD player in performance... much like how our CD player didn't match up to our turntables a few decades ago. So, are we doomed to lose performance with every technological advancement, eventually until we are listening the musical equivalent of YouTube videos compared to HDTV? No.

Enter the new Digital to Analog Converters by Ayre and Wavelength Audio. These DACS both use USB Inputs from your computer. The DAC then converts the Digital signal to Analog, and outputs analog audio outputs (RCA and XLR on the Ayre QB9) to your preamplifier or receiver.

When you plug your computer into your high performance music system, you are using the computer as the master audio clock The D/A converter must lock onto the signal coming from the computer and reconstruct a new master clock using a variable-frequency oscillator, which will result in: jitter. Many USB DACS use D/A converters that can produce good sounding music, but result in high levels of jitter. The solution comes from the TAS1020B chip created by J. Gordon Rankin of Wavelength Audio. The  TAS1020B reduces jitter, while still using the USB "adaptive" transfer mode. But this wasn't enough. By using "asynchronous USB transmission, allows the audio clock in the D/A Converter does not need to be synchronized with any of the computer clocks. The result is the external D/A converter's jitter is as low as a single-loader CD Player! This configuration is used in Wavelength Audio DACS and the new Ayre QB9.

The Ayre QB-9 uses Wavelength Audio’s new “asynchronous” USB technology called Streamlength software. The Ayre QB-9 is such a great performer because it is an external D/A converter box that has the critical master audio clock right next to the D/A chip itself, without resorting to a non-standard interface. The QB-9 works great with both Macintosh and PC systems, and all kinds of standard playback programs like iTunes, WinAmp, Windows Media Player and more. The Ayre QB-9 offers many other features that make it worthy of the multi-award winning Ayre name. Fully Balanced analog circuitry, zero-feedback for a natural sound with the correct pace and timing cover the performance of Ayre. The USB receiver section is isolated from the rest of the audio circuitry, keeping noise-generating switching power supply isolated from the music system. “MP” minimum-phase digital filters for tonal accuracy and musicality finish up the complete package for the Ayre QB-9.

Wavelength Audio also has a series of USB DACS that offer serious performance for computer based systems. The Wavelengh units can communicate bit sizes (i.e. 16 or 24 bits) and sample rates (i.e. 44.1K, 48K, 88.2K and 96K) to and from the computer. Like the Ayre, all of the Wavelength units use asynchronous USB mode. Wavelength (local to Cincinnati) offers the models Transcendental, Numerator, Denominator, Crimson, Cosecant and our most poplualr: Brick. Brick was given a Class A rating by Stereophile.The Wavelength Brick uses custom code to support USB ASYNC mode. The Brick has a very low jitter central clock that runs the entire audio section.

Come in and see the Brick by Wavelength and The QB-9 by Ayre in our store. These items are two of our very exciting new products. We will be glad to demonstrate the stunning performance that these DACS offer.

New on Display:
Ayre QB-9
Wavelength Audio Brick

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