April 2017 New Gear
Object-based surround sound has advanced the art of home theater sound but at the cost of yet another set of speakers. Enter Integra’s DLB-5, which provides a simpler path. The 3.1.2-channel system comprises a passive soundbar, wireless subwoofer, and svelte 5 x 50-watt receiver that supports Internet Radio, several streaming services (including Tidal, Spotify, and Pandora), and more connectivity options than you’ll need: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Blackfire’s FireConnect, and DTS Play-Fi (due via a future firmware update).
Prepare to Duck: The DLB-5 is one of only a few soundbars equipped to handle Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based soundtracks. Two of its six drivers fire upward, “heightening” the theater experience by bouncing carefully placed overhead sounds off the ceiling. The receiver has four HDMI inputs and supports 4K/high dynamic range (HDR10) content and expanded (BT.2020) color. Price: $1,200
Integra • (800)-225-1946 • integrahometheater.com
Denon AH-D7200 Headphones
Everything about these headphones screams “audiophile”: luxurious (real) walnut earcups, shaped to lend the headphones a “warmer, more speaker-like sound,” not to mention reduce resonances and reflections; self-damping 2-inch “nano-fiber” drivers with compliant surrounds that allow the diaphragms to move in an “accurate pistonic motion without distortion” and without flexing; a “floating jack” design to prevent the transmission of mechanical noise; oxygen-free copper wiring; and a detachable cable, fitted with a machine-cut metal plug. All this in a structure that weighs less than 14 ounces.
Supple Pleasures: The earcups are suspended on ergonomically curved aluminum hangers and fitted with ear cushions made of memory foam covered in soft synthetic leather that’s almost as soft as the sheepskin leather encasing the headband. Recliner not included. Price: $999
Denon • (201) 762-6665 • usa.denon.com
Korg DS-DAC-10R DSD Recorder
Fans of vinyl who want to archive LPs in digital format, take note: Korg, world-renowned maker of keyboards and synthesizers, has introduced a portable recorder that converts treasured analog recordings into DSD (Direct Stream Digital) or 192-kilohertz/24-bit PCM files. The DS-DAC-10R features a built-in moving-magnet (MM) phono preamp and an “audiophile-grade” headphone amp.
PC Required: The magic begins when you connect the 10R to your PC via USB and load AudioGate 4 software, which performs standard RIAA equalization or lets you choose one of five other EQ curves (important for recordings made before 1954, when the recording industry adopted the standard curve). The device uses the same A/D converter used in Korg’s MR-2000S 1-bit studio recorder and supports 2.8- and 5.6-MHz DSD recording and playback. Price: $599
Essence (distributor) • (727) 580-4393 • essenceelectrostatic.com
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo modestly calls its first Ultra HD Blu-ray player the “new standard in home theater.” Considering four of its players grabbed Top Picks honors in five years, we’re listening. The heart of the UDP-203 is a quad-core MediaTek chip (OP8591) that supports 4K at up to 60p and decodes HEVC, H.264, VP9 4K, and Hi10P for broad compatibility with user-generated content. The player supports wider color gamut (up to Rec. 2020) and both flavors of HDR processing: Dolby Vision and HDR10.
Audio Aspirations: Besides playing CDs, DVD-Audio discs, and SACDs, the UDP-203 boasts a 32-bit DAC that supports 192-kHz/32-bit PCM and DSD playback. Connections include an HDMI 2.0 input, dual HDMI outputs, and a 7.1-channel analog output. An optimized laser mechanism facilitates “super-fast disc loading.” Essential in the Age of Instant Gratification. Price: $549 [See our review here]
Oppo Digital • (650) 961-1118 • oppodigital.com
Mass Fidelity raD Wireless Multiroom Speaker
The Core speaker we reviewed (and loved) last year now has a little brother. Dubbed raD, for the “radial dispersion” technology it uses to produce an arc of sound, the speaker squeezes four 1.5-inch drivers and a 3-inch woofer into a rubberized enclosure one-third smaller than the Core. Like its big brother, raD creates a 5-gigahertz network for up to eight linked speakers (no app required), supports aptX/Bluetooth 4.1 streaming, and is powered by an 8-hour lithium-ion battery (the Core’s battery lasts 12 hours).
Take It Outdoors: Unlike the Core, which is designed for indoor use, raD is IPX5-rated for water and shock resistance, making it suitable for use on the patio, in the kitchen, or in a bathroom. Connections include a minijack input and a USB port for charging mobile devices. Price: $189
Mass Fidelity • (800) 367-0596 • massfidelity.com