The Biz: Where is Portable Audio Going? An Overview of the New Age DAP Market

The Biz: Where is Portable Audio Going? An Overview of the New Age DAP Market

Editor’s Note: Victor leads us on a trip into the realm of DAPs, with additional insight and commentary by Mr. T. Special thanks to longtime reader and good friend Moe, who helped us fact check and gave us numerous additional resources.

If we look back at the annals of [recent] history, we’ll notice that the most primitive portable audio player was probably the battery-powered cassette player. If you are young like me, then you probably didn’t have much experience with it. Yet, the cassette tape was what put the Sony Walkman on the map. Guys like Nathan at ohm-image probably had one attached to their hips while walking to school.

Continue reading “The Biz: Where is Portable Audio Going? An Overview of the New Age DAP Market”

In Pictures: TEAC HA-P90SD

In Pictures: TEAC HA-P90SD

We didn’t get to listen to it at all, as the operating system froze and crashed repeatedly; turning the power knob to the ‘OFF’ setting couldn’t even turn it off — we had to wait until the battery drained. A very bad sign indeed.

The build quality feels similar to that of the lower cost HA-P50B, with slightly larger dimensions. It would be considered very good for a $299 budget device (as is the HA-P50B), but is starting to show its lumps as a $700 premium DAP device. Worrisome all over.

Better step up your game, TEAC.

Continue reading “In Pictures: TEAC HA-P90SD”

John Franks’ & Rob Watts’ baby, the Chord Hugo

John Franks’ & Rob Watts’ baby, the Chord Hugo

It’s been a busy few weeks for me lately, but I managed to sneak a few hours away from work to attend a local presentation by CHORD Electronics’ head honcho John Franks and lead designer Rob Watts.

By now, most people fixated on the high-end of portable audio have heard of the Hugo. When it first unveiled early this year, the Hugo was touted as a technological revolution in the world of digital signal processing. By using Watts’ own bespoke circuit designs, shoehorned into six different Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGAs, CHORD Electronics claimed phenomenal benchmarks in both measurable performance and subjective perception. Never before had there been a DAC, at only about the size of a portable hard drive, that was able to resolve over 120 dB DNR and drive headphones at <0.001% THD+N. It blew peoples’ expectations away.

Thus, when I learned that both John Franks and Rob Watts were to appear in my neck of the woods at a press junket held by local Taiwanese distributor ACE Audio, I knew I had to attend. Continue reading “John Franks’ & Rob Watts’ baby, the Chord Hugo”