Mytek Shipping Record Quantities of New Brooklyn MQA DAC; New Upscale Manhattan II MQA DAC Ships in August 2016

Both models, each offering high quality Phono Preamplifier & Headphone Amplifier, on display at Munich’s 2016 HIGHEND Show

Munich HIGHEND, May 5th, 2016 — Mytek Digital , the second MQA licensee after Meridian to ship an Audiophile DAC with MQA™ technology, will be showcasing the MQA-capable Brooklyn DAC, and showing an advanced prototype of the more upscale MQA-capable Manhattan II DAC to be shipping in August 2016.

MQA is a revolutionary end-to-end technology that captures and delivers master quality audio in a file that’s small enough to stream or download. And because it’s fully authenticated, the listener can be sure they are hearing exactly what the artist recorded and approved in the studio.

Both the US$1,995 Brooklyn and US$5,995 Manhattan II DACs decode all MQA files, in addition to all other formats, including PCM 384k/32bit and DSD256. Both Mytek models each uniquely include a very high quality Phono Preamplifier and Headphone Amplifier for added convenience and less “Audiophile Clutter”, cabling and expense.

The new reference-level MQA-capable Manhattan II, to be announced at the Munich HIGHEND Show, will use the same digital engine (micro, USB, MQA) as Brooklyn, but will be offering superior performance because of more chassis space and best available component parts (new motherboard with latest Sabre chip, 7x size dual Linear Power Supplies: oversized 50VA analog, 50VA digital), better analog attenuators, etc.

The Manhattan II will be available in three finishes: Silver, Black and Gold. MSRP: $5,995 US/Worldwide or €5,995 (VAT incl.) in EU.

Current Manhattan owners will be offered an upgrade to Manhattan II for $995. Upgrade requires replacement of the motherboard, and can be performed by Mytek’s Brooklyn, NY office, Mytek EU Office in Warsaw and importing dealers in Asia and Japan. (Details to come.)


The currently-available Brooklyn DAC is a reference USB DAC with MQA decoder, 384k PCM and DSD256, line and analog phono preamplifier and a reference headphone amplifier. It integrates digital streaming/ playback and vinyl analog playback for reference listening on headphones and speakers.

• Conversion: Up to 384k, 32bit PCM, native DSD up to DSD256, DXD, 130dB Dynamic Range. MQA Hi-Res Decoder: built in certified hardware MQA™ decoder

• Digital Inputs: USB2 Class2 (OSX, Linux driverless, all formats), AES/EBU (PCM up to 192k, up to DSD64 DOP), 2x S/PDIF (PCM up to 192k, up to DSD64 DOP), Toslink/ADAT 2x S/PDIF (PCM up to 192k, up to DSD64 DOP), SDIF3 DSD up to DSD256

• Clock: Mytek Femtoclock Generator™, 0.82ps internal jitter, Wordclock Input and Output (allows stacking multiple units for multichannel operation, includes mch DSD and MQA)

• Analog Outputs: RCA, balanced XLR, simultaneous, 50 Ohm impedance.

• Headphone Outputs: Reference High Current, High transient Headphone Amp, 500mA, 6 Watts, 0 Ohm out impedance. Dual headphone jacks, designed to drive hard to drive headphone. Balanced operation available with optional Mytek 1/4".4 pin XLR adapter.

• Built-in Attenuator: 1dB steps, choice of analog attenuator, 32-bit digital attenuator, or purist relay bypass.

• Built-in Analog Preamp: Line level input or hi-end Phono M/M (47kOhm), M/C input (90 Ohm), relay switchable, relay controlled.

• Audio Interface Function: All digital inputs can be routed into computer via USB2. Allows connection of external digital sources such as CD Players and digitizing ADCs.

• Remote: Included, universal remote capable

• Firmware: Upgradable via USB Control panel

• Worldwide Power Supply

• Optional DC/Battery Power input: 12VDC

• Dimensions: Width = 8.5” x 8.5” x 1.74” (216 x 216 x 44mm)

• Finishes: Silver or Black

• Weight: 4 lbs, 2kg

• Warranty: 2 years

For Mytek artwork, please click: download



Mytek Releases MQA Firmware Update For New Brooklyn USB DAC

New York, April 12th, 2016 — Mytek Digital has announced the release of the MQA™ firmware update which enables the new Brooklyn DAC/ Headphone/ Preamplifier to decode all MQA files — in addition to all other formats, including PCM 384k/32bit and DSD256. After Meridian, Mytek is the second MQA licensee to release the firmware update with the MQA technology.

MQA is a revolutionary end-to-end technology that captures and delivers master quality audio in a file that’s small enough to stream or download. And because it’s fully authenticated, the listener can be sure they are hearing exactly what the artist recorded and approved in the studio.

As of April 12th, the MQA enabled firmware is available for download at and can be installed by current Brooklyn DAC owners. The new firmware enables full MQA listening experience with MQA files available for download from various high-resolution music download sites.

Full details are at:

Later this year, availability of high-resolution music streaming services using MQA format is expected.

In a move that is rather unusual in a $2,000 DAC, Mytek has engineered the very affordable Brooklyn DAC to also include very high quality Phono Preamplifier and Headphone Amplifier.



AURALiC Debuts New ALTAIR: A High-Quality Streaming DAC


AXPONA: Room 304

Fully-Featured DAC and Streamer developed due to market demand

Gardena, CA, April 11, 2016 — AURALIC North America Inc. and its parent company, AURALIC LIMITED, is introducing the new ALTAIR Streaming DAC. The ALTAIR can act as Home Music Center with more than 15 input sources including:Streaming Inputs: Network Shared Folder (NAS), USB drive, Internal music storage (optional), uPnP/DLNA media server, TIDAL and Qobuz streaming, Internet Radio, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Songcast and RoonReady; Digital Inputs: AES/EBU, Coaxial, Toslink, USB device to computer, 2 USB host for storage and DAC, RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11b/g/n/ac Tri-Band WiFi.

Xuanqian Wang, AURALiC’s president & CEO, said: “The new ALTAIR is both a high quality streamer and DAC, and was designed based on feedback from dealers for an exceptional yet convenient-to-operate Digital Source unit at an $1,800 - $2,000 price point.

“Some may consider this as a combination of VEGA and ARIES or the upgrade version of ARIES MINI with digital input. However, the ALTAIR is definitely a Line Extension, and not replacing the ARIES MINI, or AURALiC's award-winning VEGA DAC or ARIES Streamers — which represent the highest level of sound quality.

The ALTAIR Streaming DAC utilizes AURALiC’s award-winning Lightning technology. Launched in 2014, Lightning is the audio industry’s first streaming technology that supports DXD and Quad-Rate DSD playback through a WiFi network. It also offers several new and advanced features such as Gapless Playback, On-Device Playlistand Multiple-Room functions, as part of AURALiC’s ongoing program of offering regular upgrades that download in the background.

Memory Playback, the latest feature added to to the Lightning streaming technology, allows ALTAIR to fetch and cache the entire track in its memory or system storage in advance to improve the sound quality, and also play locally without the need of network data transfer.

Using Lightning DS, you can also stream TIDAL, Qobuz and listen to Internet Radio at any time. ALTAIR’s AirPlay, Songcast and Bluetooth functions provide alternative ways to stream your favorite music from Apple Music, Spotify and other service providers through your smartphone or computer.

ALTAIR’s streaming function, operated by AURALiC Lightning DS control App, is available on iOS platforms right, now with Mac and Windows version in development. It is also compatible with other 3rd party OpenHome or UPnP control software for playback.

ALTAIR also works as a RoonReady endpoint to use with Roon software, bringing you a new way to discover and listen to music. The unit’s other inputs include AES/EBU, Coaxial and Toslink, and a USB connection to computer working as standalone USB DAC.

When purchasing an ALTAIR from a dealer or AURALiC, you can add an optional 2.5-inch HDD or SSD for internal music storage, turning the ALTAIR into a full function Music Server. Or, you can always buy an ALTAIR and install the storage yourself.

Cosmetically, the new Altair shares the same size enclosure as the VEGA DAC, including a 512x64 pixels OLED Display (although the content is different from the VEGA). A headphone jack is located on the front panel.

The ALTAIR, with all its top quality features and performance, has a MSRP of $1,899. Shipment will commence in June, following the Munich HIGHEND Show.


    • AURALiC Tesla Platform
  • ALTAIR is powered by AURALiC's proprietary Tesla hardware platform that includes a Quad-Core Coretex-A9 processor running at 1GHz, 1GB DDR3 onboard memory and 4GB system storage. The Tesla platform has a calculation ability of 25,000 MIPS, more than enough to decode a vast spectrum of audio formats, including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA.


    AURALiC has chosen this platform for its flexibility and long term support consideration. Future features planned include DSD Upsampling, Room Acoustic Treatment and MQA support. All these features can be delivered through automatic online updates without user’s attention.


    • Femto Master Clock
  • The dual-frequency Femto Master Clock inside the ALTAIR is specially designed and optimized for its ESS Sabre DAC chip: with one frequency for playing music with a sampling rate which is the multiple of 44.1K, and a second for 48K, making it possible for ALTAIR to be able to lock on with highest clock precision (equal to VEGA’s ‘EXACT’ mode) at all time without dropouts. The Femto Master Clock, which is powered by a 9uV extremely low noise dedicated power supply, has a very low phase noise performance. It not only has a dramatically low phase noise, which is only at -151dBc/Hz level, but also an excellent 100Hz offset noise level which is only -115dBc/Hz. Driven by such a high performance clock, ALTAIR can bring you vivid music with natural detail and solid sound image.



    • Linear Power Supply
  • With more and more DACs at this price range starting to use switching power supplies, AURALiC insists on using high performance but costly Purer-Power™linear power supply technology on ALTAIR. With this technology, the dirty AC power firstly goes into a power purification module, and the DC current and noise from both within and outside audio frequencies can be reduced by as much as 90dB. The purified AC power is then feed to a high quality transformer, with a specialty iron core made to AURALiC’s specifications, and unique wiring to ensure zero vibration and very low noise to avoid impacting the sensitive audio electrical circuit.


    Compared to the conventional switching power supply which generates wide-band noise that is hard to eliminate, AURALiC’s discrete component- based power supply feeds the DAC chip’s analog circuit with an astonishing low noise that is below 1uV (1uV = 0.000001V) within the entire audio band, making ALTAIR a perfect tool to re-discover your music with more details in the ‘last bit’ that you may never noticed before.


    • Flexible Filter Mode
  • ALTAIR has four built-in filter modes which allows its user to customize sound best befitting their personal preference. Those filter modes were developed from AURALiC’s well known Flexible Filter Mode in the VEGA Digital Audio Processor, with each containing several digital filters optimized for a corresponding sampling rate. Flexible Filter Mode was developed under AURALiC's subjective auditory sense and objective testing data relationship models, to optimize the listening experience for different music and format. The “Precise” mode exhibits perfect in-band ripple and out-band attenuation performance, while the “Smooth” mode is better for overall enjoyment as it has no 'pre-ringing' effect. The other two modes, named “Dynamic” and “Balance” are optimized for different music formats as well.


    Technical Specifications 

    Frequency Response
    20 - 20KHz, +/- 0.1dB*

    <0.001%, 20Hz-20KHz at 0dBFS

    Dynamic Range
    121dB, 20Hz-20KHz, A-weighted

    Streaming Inputs
    Network shared folder
    USB drive
    Internal music storage**
    uPnP/DLNA media server
    TIDAL and Qobuz streaming
    Internet Radio

    Digital Inputs
    1*USB device to computer
    2*USB host for storage and DAC
    1*RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet
    1*802.11b/g/n/ac Dual-Band WiFi

    Analog Outputs
    1*Balanced XLR (output impedance 10ohm)
    1*Single-ended RCA (output impedance 50ohm)
    1*6.35mm Headphone jack

    Supported File Types

    Supported Digital Formats
    All PCM from 44.1KS/s to 384KS/s in 32Bit***
    DSD64, DSD128, DSD256***

    Output Voltage
    2Vrms at Max. with dynamic-loss-free digital volume

    Control Software
    AURALiC Lightning DS for iOS
    AURALiC RC-1 remote control
    OpenHome compatible software
    uPnP AV compatible software

    Device Display
    512x64 pixels OLED Display

    Power Consumption
    Sleep: <10W
    Playback:  35W at max.

    11''W x 9''D x 2.6''H (33cm x 23cm x 6.5cm)

    7.0 pounds (3.2kg)

    * Tested under filter mode ‘Precise’ for all sampling rates
    ** With optional 2.5-inch HDD or SSD installed
    *** 352.8KS/s, 384KS/s and DSD through streaming and USB only
    *** 32bit through streaming and USB only

    All specifications are subject to change without notice.



Watt's New

This has always been about making amplifiers.


Dick Olsher famously remarked that “The first watt is the most important watt.”  With this in mind, I created First Watt in 1998 as a "kitchen-table" effort, exploring unusual low power amplifiers with an emphasis on sound quality.  I wanted to explore a variety of amplifier designs in what I think of as neglected areas - amplifiers that might not fit into the mainstream and are probably not appropriate to my more commercial enterprise, Pass Labs.

Fourteen years later I have accomplished that goal, but along the way it seems that I have created a commercial enterprise that has outgrown my ability to handle alone.  I tried addressing that by hiring my nephew and son to help, but they wandered off to their own careers (as offspring will do), leaving me with all the work.

Don't get me wrong, I like work - It's good for you.  Building product is fun and keeps me grounded, but production demands are not leaving me with enough time to pursue the vast array of yet-to-be-designed amplifiers.

So I am doing the logical thing, which is to hand the business end of First Watt over to Pass Labs, bringing my three business partners to the table as well.  My relationships with these people stretch back to 1972 with ESS, through the Threshold years and for the 25 years of Pass Labs.

Starting in April, Pass Labs will be building First Watt amplifiers and will also take responsibility for marketing and distribution.  Support and service policies will remain the same.

I will continue at what I do best, the fun part.


Nelson Pass

April 1 (not kidding) 2016



Aurender Newest Software Upgrade Adds Qobuz Streaming & Unique Smart Copy® Uploading

Anaheim, CA, March 12, 2016 – Aurender, a leader in award-winning, high-resolution audio products, announced that their latest downloadable software upgrade [System SW 4.5.58 (5.5.58)] adds several new significant features, including: Qobuz high fidelity streaming, and the company’s unique Smart Copy® function that allows direct music uploading, within their Conductor App, to any Aurender Music Streamer/Player’s internal HDD directly from your NAS or external USB drive — without using a PC or Mac.

These new features are backward-compatible with any Aurender Music Streamer/Player. The Smart Copy process includes all metadata and the copying of either folders, individual files or both from a NAS or attached USB drive into the Aurender. One may select a “target” folder of their choice as the destination for the transferred folders or files.  It is merely a “copy” function, and does not currently allow deletion or name changes; this will come in a future software upgrade.


Qobuz, Smart Copy & all new features are backwards-compatible with any Aurender Music Streamer/Player.


For those Aurender models with two internal HDDs: When the target HDD is full, Smart Copy will copy to the second HDD automatically.

Also included in the latest software upgrade: W20 supports on-the-fly DSD to PCM conversion up to DSD64. (The recently–introduced N10 Music Server has had DSD to PCM conversion since its introduction, and supports up to DSD128.)

To Re-Cap All New Features of Upgrade 4.5.58:

1.     Support for Qobuz.

2.     Smart Copy feature
Copying files and folders can now be done within the app.
You can copy music files from NAS or external USB drive without using a PC/Mac.
Models with two internal HDDs - when target HDD is full, Aurender will copy to the second HDD automatically.
• There is only a copy feature. Not delete or change name. They are in our future to-do list.

3.     W20 supports on-the-fly DSD to PCM conversion up to DSD64.
• N10 has had DSD to PCM conversion since the introduction. N10 supports up to DSD128.  

Additional Improvements:

1.     Improved DAC compatibility.

2.     New DAC: Yamaha DACs work with Yamaha Steinberg driver. Yamaha DACs that require the installation of Yamaha’s Steinberg driver on a PC will work with Aurender. You do not need to install drivers on an Aurender.

3.     AMM (Aurender Media Manager) Ver. 3.2 is easier to use. Requirement to mount NAS drive before using the AMM has been eliminated.
You can mount drive within AMM.

• For Mac:

• For Windows:


Bug Fixes:


1.     Add-to-Next using TIDAL - now a song added doesn’t go to the end of the queue.

2.     W20 stuck after trying to play DSD128 without a USB DAC.

3.     Other bugs fixed and overall stability and usability improved.




If you have any problem with the new software, please utilize Aurender’s Remote Internet Technical Support using your iPad’s Aurender Conductor App. [It’s under (Gear icon) Settings > Help] If your iPad is not configured for email, please send email to



AURALiC Names Summer Yin As North America Sales Manager

Gardena, CA, March 1, 2016AURALiC North America, Inc., the originator of a complete line of high-resolution audio streamers, has named Summer Yin as its North American Sales Manager.


Over the past three years, Ms. Yin has worked up to the position of North American Sales Manager for HIFIMAN Electronics, responsible for all sales, operations and warehousing/distribution duties. Her work for HIFIMAN additionally included reorganizing the sales and marketing for both Canada and the UK.


Before that, Ms. Yin had worked in sales and accounting positions at two U.S. companies, and two Chinese companies.


She holds dual Masters degrees:

·  Master of Science in Accounting, University of Delaware

·  Master of Criminal Justice, University of Maryland/College Park



AURALiC Launches Version 3.0 of Lightning Streaming Platform Firmware, Adding MQA and RoonReady

2016 CES & Gardenia, CA, January 6, 2016 — AURALIC North America Inc. and its parent company, AURALIC LIMITED, are pleased to be the first developer of a complete line of high-resolution audio streamers to offer fully implemented capability for two of the industry’s significant new technologies: MQA decoding and the RoonReady integration.


Both these eagerly-awaited technologies will be demonstrated at the 2016 CES, and will be available soon afterwards via firmware update from AURALiC’s Lightning DS software platform. MQA decoding will be available for all three AURALiC’s streamer models: ARIES, ARIES LE and ARIES MINI. The RoonReady capability will initially be available for the ARIES and ARIES LE model streamers, with support for the ARIES MINI in progress.


As TIDAL streaming is already integrated into the Lightning DS software platform, all three of AURALiC’s streamer models will be ready to handle TIDAL’s anticipated launch of MQA-encoded music.


During the CES, AURALiC will stream TIDAL and MQA exclusively, and will also be demonstrating the RoonReady capability.




Xuanqian Wang, AURALiC’s president & CEO, pointed out that “with ARIES and ARIES LE streamers fully decoding MQA music, they bring the MQA technology to any existing DAC on the market. (The ARIES MINI has its own built-in DAC.)


After more than two years developing and refining the Lightning DS streaming platform, we are building our own eco system, achieving our goal of repositioning Lightning DS from being a hardware control software to a complete music management system, helping people explore their music.


Considering that we first demonstrated a prototype of the Lightning DS at the 2014 CES, we have grown tremendously as THE streaming solution for high-resolution music, making the impossible possible.”


In other important news, AURALiC will make available an iPhone version of its Lighting DS app, with full functionality, soon after CES.


Please visit AURALiC in their Venetian Suite 29-122 during the 2016 CES, January 6 – 9.



Pass Labs Delivering New Xs Phono Preamplifier

2016 CES & Auburn, CA, December 25, 2015 – When an audio company proposes to sell a phono stage with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price in the United States of $45,000, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind would seem to require that they explain and justify such a remarkable price.


Pass Laboratories is pleased to comply…


Pass Labs’ Xs Phono Preamplifier is a dual-chassis, completely dual-mono phono stage (even the outboard power supply is entirely dual-mono, after the single power cord from the wall outlet), designed and built without consideration of expense. NOT because Pass Labs’ engineers disdain affordability. Rather, because Pass Labs’ engineers wanted to build they best-sounding phono stage they possibly could.


So, in the first instance, the Xs Phono was an in-house design exercise, developed over the course of two+ years. Pass Labs’ design team aimed at creating a new reference for what is possible in the demanding discipline of phono-cartridge pre-amplification, where the signals requiring amplification and RIAA compensation are as small as millionths of a Volt.


Lead designer Wayne Colburn commented, “We tend to do well with products that we want for ourselves. Some of it is purely for us to have a reference.” The Xs Phono improves upon Pass Labs’ XP-25 phono stage (US MSRP $10,600) in nearly every way.


Improved shielding (resulting in lower noise), more accurate RIAA compensation, and the use of custom-made capacitors and shock-mounted, gold-clad custom ceramic circuit boards designed for RF applications all contribute to moving the Xs Phono up “into a different league—lower noise, better dynamics, all those things” says Colburn. “It’s a synergy of all the parts.”


The counter-intuitive feature that accounts for most of the Xs Phono’s cost increment over the Pass XP-25 came about only through extensive listening tests. But, first, some necessary background.


One “cultural” aspect that sets Pass Labs apart is its ongoing close communication with longtime “Golden Ear” customers. That communication provides important insights into customers’ wants and needs.


That’s how the Xs Phono’s design team knew that many of the customers for a reference or “statement” phono stage owned more than one turntable, or had more than one tone arm on their turntable. So, from the outset, the design brief for the Xs Phono included inputs for three phono cartridges.


The problem: extensive listening tests revealed there was no method of switching among three pairs of inputs that did not degrade the sound, when compared to direct connections. Confronted with this challenge, Pass Labs’ design team decided that each of the Xs Phono three pairs of inputs had to have its own separate, directly connected stereo phono stage. There are no switches or relays in the signal paths to the hugely important first amplification stages.


The result is that the Xs Phono (including its dual-mono power supply) contains 13 circuit boards. The Xs Phono is, in effect, three separate state-of-the-art stereo phono stages housed in one chassis. Says Colburn, “It seems crazy, but… the fact of the matter was, it sounded best that way. If you want to do the best you can, that is the way to do it.” That feature accounts for a large portion of the Xs Phono’s price.


While the Xs Phono obviously is not for everybody, its creators did discover there was pent-up demand for a no-compromise phono stage from Pass Labs. Xs Phonos have already been sold to customers who wanted a reference-quality phono stage, and they wanted it only from Pass Labs.


One enthralled client said, “It changes the way you listen to vinyl.” Which only makes sense. A no-compromise phono stage of the Xs Phono’s capabilities allows dedicated vinyl lovers to get the most out of the investments they have already made in the rest of their stereo equipment.


Dual-mono power supply for the Xs Phono


Technical Details…


Pass Labs’ Xs Phono Dual-Chassis Phonostage is powered by its dual-mono outboard power supply, the chassis of which has a form factor identical to the Xs Phono’s control chassis. The power-cord inlet connects to two totally independent left and right power supplies, each with its own transformer, filtering, and regulation. The control section has its own regulated power supply as well.


The power-supply chassis connects to the Xs Phono’s control chassis by means of two power cables fitted with PowerCON locking connectors. The power supply’s front panel has an LED indicating operation. In addition to the PowerCON connectors, the power supply chassis rear panel has an IEC inlet and a fuse receptacle. The power supply has no on-off or Standby switch, in that the Xs Phono is designed to remain powered-up at all times. At idle, the Xs Phono’s power consumption is 75 Watts.


The Xs Phono’s control chassis front panel’s layout is graceful and intuitive. Three large knobs control resistive loading, capacitive loading, and gain. Four small buttons provide for input selection, memory recall of settings for all three inputs, high-pass filter (rumble filter), and phono muting. Small blue LEDs around each of the large knobs indicate the settings for resistive loading (11 settings), capacitive loading (6 settings), and gain (3 settings). Each of the four small buttons for function selection has a single LED indicator light. Upon connecting the power supply, the Mute LED illuminates until housekeeping functions are completed.


The Xs Phono allows selection of resistive loading between 30 Ohms and 47k-Ohms; capacitive loading between 100pF and 750pF; and gain between 56dB and 76dB. The active value will always be indicated by an illuminated LED.


The selectable/defeatable high-pass filter or rumble filter imposes a -3dB roll off from 20Hz and below, to remove unwanted sub-sonic frequencies. When the high-pass filter is not engaged, the Xs Phono’s low frequency extension is to below 5Hz.


Unusually, the Xs Phono can output a single-ended (RCA) signal, a balanced (XLR) signal, or both at the same time. This permits, for example, providing a signal to an analog-to-digital converter or a digital-audio recorder at the same time as to a line stage or preamplifier.


Each of the Xs Phono three pairs of stereo inputs is served by a memory-recall function that saves the settings for resistance, capacitance, and gain. Once the optimal settings for a particular cartridge have been determined, pressing the “Save” button makes those settings the defaults for that input, always engaged upon the selection of that input.


However, when a certain recording’s peculiarities require some deviation from the normal settings, the front-panel controls are always active, so temporary adjustments as called for can be made without losing the saved settings.


The Xs Phono is not equipped with remote control, for the logical reasons that a listener has to get up to change the record anyway, and furthermore, in a design that was conceived as an all-out assault on the state of the art, convenience must give way to performance.




The counter-intuitive feature that accounts for most of the Xs Phono’s cost increment over the Pass XP-25 came about only through extensive listening tests. But, first, some necessary background.


The Xs Phono is a product of Pass Labs’ culture, heritage, and philosophy. The Pass Labs’ engineering team has been together for 25 years, while Nelson Pass has been an innovative force in audio-circuit design for 40 years. The Xs Phono is the sum of all that experience.


The Xs Phono is the most intensive design effort in Pass Labs’ 25-year history. Paradoxically for a company that prides itself on simplicity in design and execution, the Xs Phono’s 13 circuit boards contain approximately 1,500 electronic components — resistors, capacitors, diodes, and special Toshiba low-noise Field Effect Transistors (FETs). The dual-mono architecture that starts right after the power-cord inlet and which continues through to the output connectors guarantees the smallest possible amounts of noise and interchannel crosstalk.


The fact of the matter is that such levels of complexity, redundancy, and overkill were necessary to achieve the design goal of creating a new Reference for what is possible in phonograph-record playback. The result is listening to music that emerges from a quieter background and which blooms into a richer, more precise soundstage.


Says lead designer Wayne Colburn: “You are transported into the musical experience. You find yourself just sitting there and enjoying the music. It’s about the musical experience, as opposed to collecting equipment.


Wayne Colburn concludes, “Pass Labs has been around a long time. We stand behind our products. We try to make good products, and especially, to make reliable products. That is important when you are shipping all over the world. We really take care of our customers.



Pass Labs Responds to Demand With New Headphone Amp

Auburn, CA, November 19, 2015 —Since 1991, the name Pass Laboratories has been synonymous with innovative leadership in amplifier circuit design, so it comes as little surprise that what distinguishes Pass Labs’ new HPA-1 Headphone Amplifier from countless contenders in the general onslaught is that the HPA-1 was designed on a “clean sheet of paper” as though it were to be used as a power amplifier.


Pass Labs’ HPA-1 Headphone Amplifier is capable of delivering full-range dynamics across the entire frequency range, even when driving headphones that present difficult loads in terms of impedance, power consumption or both.


Pass Labs’ designers knew that in order to stand out from the crowd, and satisfy their demanding customer base, the HPA-1 had to establish higher standards for audio performance. That has been accomplished first, by the conceptual approach of designing the HPA-1 as a real Class-A power amplifier, and not as an accessory offering only incremental performance gains. Second, by cutting no corners in circuit design, while omitting unnecessary frills. Thirdly, by sparing no necessary expense in execution.


The foundation of the HPA-1’s engineering is a custom, low-noise shielded toroidal power transformer feeding a discreet low noise regulated power supply for the audio circuits.  The importance of the power supply is often overlooked and plays a large part in overall performance of the amplifier. The HPA-1’s amplifier circuits are low-feedback, wide-bandwidth discreet designs employing a J-Fet input stage and a Mosfet output stage biased into Class A-biased direct-coupled output stage. The HPA-1 easily drives headphones presenting loads from 15 to 600 Ohms, particularly excelling on planar headphone designs. The sound is rich and detailed.


The HPA-1 has a single high-quality headphone jack on its front panel, two sets of single-ended analog inputs via RCA jacks on the rear panel, and also a set of switchable “Preamp” line-level output jacks on the rear panel.  There are no compromises with the HPA-1 when used as a stereo preamp and it will compete against contemporary preamplifiers. The rear panel holds the power switch and fuse. Volume control is via a hefty rotary knob connected to an ALPS Potentiometer. The other front-panel controls are three pushbuttons, to select inputs or to engage the Preamp output.


The substantial casework is the customary and well-recognized brushed aluminum shared with other Pass Laboratories products.  Dimensions are 4.5” H x 11” W x 13” D; weight is 14 lbs.


The HPA-1 is available now at US MSRP $3,500.



AURALiC Expands Streaming Market with Affordable ARIES MINI

Gardena, CA & 2015 RMAF, October 2, 2015 — Ambitiously expanding upon its pioneering role in the audio industry for high-resolution music streaming with its Lightning DS Streaming technology and ARIES Streaming Bridge, AURALiC is now significantly extending the potential User Base for music streaming by introducing the all-in-one ARIES MINI.


The highly affordable ARIES MINI offers advanced wireless streaming, including Quad-Rate DSD/DXD, a built-in DAC, plus new and effortless connectivity to a much broader market of consumers  — the millions of music lovers with stereo & A/V receiver-based or powered speaker-based audio systems — not just Audiophiles. The highly compact unit, with its built-in DAC and analog/digital outputs, shares most software and hardware functions with the original ARIES, plus Bluetooth, at a fraction of the latter’s cost.


Priced at only $549, the ARIES MINI also comes with a free one-year subscription to TIDAL HiFi’s® Lossless music library of 35 million tracks — a $240 value. [U.S. and Canada sales, only]


Other potential applications include a higher-quality, multi-room system when paired with quality, powered speakers. The ARIES MINI offers superior performance, plus increased connectivity and functionality over popular [so-called “hi-fi”] wireless multi-room systems.


Music may live on a computer, on the Internet or in the Cloud — even an SSD/HDD installable inside the ARIES MINI. A USB input allows playing from HDDs and thumbdrives. No matter where, the ARIES MINI will discover and stream music easily to an existing audio system at the highest quality.


The ARIES MINI begins a new and evolutionary era for the future of the audio industry,” said Xuanqian Wang, President and CEO of AURALIC LIMITED. “We intentionally set the retail price at an extremely affordable entry point to offer everyone an opportunity to enjoy the convenience and Studio Quality music that modern technology can bring to all.


“Digital audio is changing very fast. The digital audio component is becoming a software-driven product, rather than a static piece of hardware out of a box. Manufactures can add new features, functionalities, ease of use and improve the sound quality by software updates — and it will be almost transparent and extremely beneficial for customers. In the future, you will no longer be buying a “box” or static piece of hardware.


“That is perhaps the most important transition or “education” that consumers have to appreciate about what is going on in the audio industry today. And I’m referring not only to ‘Audiophiles’, but anyone who loves to listen to music. It’s the latter group that will drive our industry’s growth. We want both segments of the market to benefit from our work.”


Ease of Operation & Use

Set-up is extremely easy and uncomplicated, and with its built-in ESS Sabre DAC chip, analog and digital outputs, and optional 2.5” hard drive slot for anyone who doesn’t want to invest in a dedicated DSD DAC and/or NAS drive, it represents an extremely simple way of adding high-resolution music, or accessing one’s own music library, for the millions of existing stereo and AV receiver-based audio systems. Or high quality powered speakers. Even those Audiophiles with a USB DAC.


For those users wishing to access music stored on their PC/Mac or NAS, AURALiC’s iPad app uniquely offers simple, step-by-step setup directions. [iPhone app to come very soon.] The App also supports Songcast, a music distribution service that allows users to map computer’s sound to any Lightning-equipped system and to map sound between different Lightning systems in the house and streaming sound though AirPlay. AURALiC also added Bluetooth support to ARIES MINI, enabling it to access other streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and SoundCloud from mobile device or PC/Mac.


Small, Sleek, Powerful + Free TIDAL

The ARIES MINI is an elegantly sleek, minimalist device, befitting its usage by the average music lover or “Lifestyle” customer, measuring a mere 5.3” W x 5.3” D and 1.1” H [13.5cm x 13.5cm x 2.8cm], and weights 1.1 lbs. [without HD]. Despite its very compact size, there is also internal space for music storage. This is user-installable, and AURALiC may also offer the ARIES MINI with a factory-installed SSD at additional cost.


It is available in both white and black finishes. The ARIES MINI’s small profile and simplicity of operation belies its being the single most powerful wireless High-Resolution music streamer in the world.


As an added convenience, appropriate for a broader spectrum of music lovers, when consumers activate their ARIES MINI through the Lightning DS, they are automatically enrolled in the free TIDAL subscription! [At the end of one year, the user can continue their TIDAL HiFi’s subscription, downgrade to the cheaper $9.99/month service, or discontinue it.]


The Next Generation of Music Systems

The ARIES MINI is an “Evolutionary System”: You are not buying just a “box” — you are investing in an evolving system [For Example: just like an iPhone.] Numerous new features and functionalities have been seamlessly added to the original AURELiC’s streaming system since it was introduced last year. Whenever a new update is available, ARIES MINI will download and install it automatically. For free.


The ARIES MINI can stream Studio Quality music wirelessly via Tri-Band WiFi in virtually any sampling rate, even for the latest Quad-Rate DSD and DXD. It is powered by AURALiC's proprietary Tesla hardware platform that includes a Quad-Core ARM Coretex-A9 processor running at 1GHz, 512MB DDR3 onboard memory and 4GB internal storage. The Tesla platform has a calculation ability of 25,000 MIPS, more than enough to decode a vast spectrum of audio formats, including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA.


By using OpenHome structure which is adopted by U.K.-based streaming solution manufacturer Linn, the ARIES MINI, as well as all other Lightning based products, supports advanced functions such as on-device playlist that allow control software to turn off during play and complete supporting of multi-room, multiple control points — functions that are not part of the legacy standards of the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA).


The ARIES MINI is also compatible with other OpenHome and uPnP AV based control software such as Linn Kinsky and BubbleDS, although those software do not support most of Lightning DS App’s advanced functions such as the online streaming and hardware settings.


Outputs are: high quality analog RCA jacks, Coaxial and TOSLINK, and USB 2.0 High-Speed for compatible DACs. Inputs are: RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet, High-Speed USB 2.0, and Tri-Band WiFi.


The USB and analog outputs can deliver PCM from 44.1 to 384 KHz at 16-, 24- and 32-bit resolutions as well as the latest Quad-Rate DSD and DXD for compatible USB DACs. The other digital outputs are limited to 192 KHz at 24-bit in maximum according to S/PDIF standard.


The Bottom Line: The average consumer now has many music source choices besides having to connect to a NAS system…


ARIES MINI will be available for pre-order starting by October 9th on AURALiC website selected dealers. The pre-order will be deliver by the end of the month.



Aurender Introduces the N10 Caching Music Server/Player

RMAF, October 2, 2015 – Aurender, a leader in award-winning, high-resolution audio products, introduces the N10 Caching Music Server/Player. Designed to be used with high performance digital-to-analog converters, the Aurender N10 is the only Music Player to support on-the-fly precision DSD to PCM on SPDIF and AES/EBU outputs with user-selectable choice of 88.2 or 176.4 output sampling rate. Enjoy DSD files even if your DAC isn’t capable of native DSD playback.

With 4TB of (2TB x 2) internal hard disk drives and one 240GB solid-state drive cache for playback, the N10 is the perfect solution for even the most extensive high-resolution music collections.

The Aurender N10 is equipped with various SPDIF outputs (BNC, AES/EBU, coaxial, optical) and one dedicated USB Audio Class 2.0 output.  The dedicated USB Audio Class 2.0 output is designed to deliver an exceptionally transparent audio signal free of noise, and is shielded from outside electronic interference. When not in use, the power to the USB Audio output can be shut off depending on the USB DAC’s requirement. For network connectivity and file transfers, the N10 comes with one a Gigabyte Ethernet port and two USB 2.0 data ports.

Oven-Controlled Crystal Oscillator (OCXO) for long-term jitter reduction

More advanced Oven-Controlled Crystal Oscillator (OCXO) for the greatest jitter reduction. OCXOs are among the most accurate and stable clocks in use today, and are orders of magnitude more accurate and stable than commonly used ordinary crystal oscillators usually found in computers. Temperature changes cause crystal oscillations to fluctuate, which can lead to jitter in the digital audio signal. Moreover, ordinary crystals are much less stable and lose accuracy over time. In OCXO clocks, a very stable, high-grade crystal oscillator is enclosed in a compartment and kept at a constant temperature to prevent jitter from temperature fluctuations. In conjunction with the OCXO is a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) based All-Digital Phase-Locked Loop system precisely times the digital data transmission reducing jitter to near immeasurable levels.

An All Digital Phase-Locked Loop system (ADPLL) incorporating Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) with OCXO clocks precisely times digital audio data transmissions and minimizes jitter to below negligible levels.

The N10 also has a powerful proprietary CPU board for precise and effortless data processing. Its full-sized chassis provides enough space to layout circuitry with great attention to detail regarding RFI isolation, shielding and audio grounding resulting in improved resolution and soundstage.

4TB HDD Storage with Solid-State Drive Cache for Playback

Two internal hard drives provide 4TB of storage and a 240GB solid-state drive is used to cache music for playback. If a selected song or album is already cached to the solid-state drive, the hard drive will remain asleep. This minimizes wear and tear on the hard drive. By caching songs to the solid-state drive for playback, electrical and acoustic noise resulting from spinning disks, moving heads and motors are also completely eliminated.

Aurender App Packed with Convenient Features for Full-Function Control

Aurender’s award-winning Conductor App turns an iPad or Android (Lite Version) into an extraordinary versatile user interface for Aurender Music Server/Players. All settings and functions of the Aurender Server/Music Player can be easily accessed through the Settings menu, and the Aurender App comes with extensive features to make managing, viewing and playing high-resolution music collections — including TIDAL — a breeze.

AMM and NAS (Network-Attached Storage) Support

If you already have NAS set-up, the Aurender N10 is able to play music stored on NAS devices,

AMM (Aurender Media Manager) software is available for Mac (OS X 10.9 or later) now. Windows version will be available later.

You can run AMM software on your platform of choice, please specify the location of your content on NAS, and it will automatically find the Aurender in you local network and make a combining music database. It's transparent to the user, so once you run AMM, you can select the music with all the meta-data using the Aurender Conductor App without the knowledge of the location of your music files.

Remote Internet Technical Support

Sending a Remote Support Request through the Aurender App allows our engineers to quickly diagnose and fix problems over the Internet.

Available in silver or black finishes, the N10 measures 16.93” W x 3.27” H x 13.9” D. Available now, the N10’s Suggested Retail Price is $7,999.


Compatible Formats

DSD (DSF, DFF), WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, M4A, APE and others

Bit and Sample Rates

SPDIF: Up to 24-bit, 192kHz (PCM); 1-bit, 2.8MHz (DSD64;)USB: 1-bit, 2.8MHz (DSD64); 1-bit, 5.6MHz (DSD128)

User Software

Aurender Conductor iPad App, Android App (Lite Version)

Solid-State Drive

1 x 240 GB

Hard Disk Drives

4TB (2 x 2TB) 

SPDIF Clocking

FPGA-based All Digital Phase Locked Loop

Audio Clock


Digital Audio Outputs

1 coaxial, 1 optical, 1 AES/EBU, 1 BNC, 1 USB Audio Class 2.0

 igital I/O

1 Gigabit LAN, 2 x USB 2.0

PU Board

Proprietary Aurender Boar

ain Memory



Silver or Blac


6.93” W x 3.27” H x 13.9” D/430mm x 83mm x 353mm



Pass Labs Shows New INT-250 Integrated Amplifier at 2015 RMAF

RMAF, Oct. 2, 2015 — Pass Laboratories, Inc., an audio innovator renowned worldwide for its unique high-performance products, is demonstrating the post powerful of its two new integrated amplifiers, the INT-250, at the 2015 RMAF. Both are stunning, flexible, and powerful new members of Pass Lab's family of music-first audiophile components.


Pass redefined the way the audiophile industry perceived integrated amplifiers five years ago when it introduced their first-ever line of integrated amplifiers, which, among other advances, reduced the amount of gain stages normally associated with integrated amps from 6-9 to a streamlined two. The amps' unique topology proved to be the cleanest, most direct signal path possible, and the approach provided superlative audiophile performance in otherwise modest packages.

Now, Pass is improving upon those pioneering integrated amps with new iterations that are both models of electronic elegance. Based on the lauded INT-30A, the 60-watt INT-60 Integrated Amplifier provides wattage with all the finesse and delicacy surpassing its predecessor, and works best with speakers of 87dB efficiency or greater.

The INT-60 builds upon the INT-30A's legendary "You are there" soundstage, offering spectacular realism, even with difficult speaker loads such as electrostatics or planars. The INT-60 features the same power supply and output stages, along with the iconic glowing meter, as found on Pass Labs' Point 8 amplifiers. The new model features Direct Access buttons for the four inputs on the faceplate, a digital level display, plus a Volume Control knob and Mute button. On the back are four line-level inputs, a line-level output, and two pairs of Furutech speaker binding posts.

The new INT-250 ups the wattage from the INT-150's 150 watts to 250 watts per channel. The INT-250 is optimized for greater versatility with speaker loads of 86dB efficiency or less. Like the INT-60, the INT-250 features the same power supply and output stages, along with the iconic glowing meter as found on Pass Labs' Point 8 amplifiers. It too features four line-level inputs, a line-level output, and two pairs of Furutech speaker binding posts. As with the INT-60, there are Direct Access buttons for the four inputs on the faceplate and a digital level display, in addition to a Volume Control knob and a Mute button.

Both the INT-60 and the INT-250 are ideal for reference systems or secondary, superior audiophile systems, and were optimized by Pass Labs' unusually rigorous listening processes using six different sound systems to deliver exceptional musical experiences.

Their dimensions are: 
INT-60: 19" W x 21" D x 7-1/2" H; INT-250: 19" W x 21" D x 9" H.

Price: INT-60 ($9,000) and INT-250 ($12,000).


The INT-250 can be seen in Tower Room 1021 during the 2015 RMAF.