The Gift of Giving Audiophile

The Audiophile

1209gift.chord150.jpgChordette GEM USB/Bluetooth DAC ($799)
USB DACs are quickly becoming a dime a dozen. The Chordette GEM separates itself with its uber-cool ability to wirelessly grab music right off your iPhone or the Bluetooth device of your choice. It works, and seriously, my Lightsaber app has never sounded so awesome!—SCB

1209gift.stopmaking150.jpgStop Making Sense Blu-ray ($35)
One of the greatest concert films ever made is finally available in high def. Audiophiles will love that the Blu-ray offers two separate lossless quality DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. It has both the original Feature Film Mix, which sounds like the front row of the concert, and a pure Studio Mix without the distracting crowd noises or ambience.—JZ

1209gift.floydtoole150.jpgSound Reproduction: Loudspeakers and Rooms by Floyd Toole ($50)
Floyd Toole, a leading industry expert on acoustics and psycho- acoustics, has dedicated much of his distinguished career to the subject of this book. At more than 500 pages, it looks intimidating, but Toole’s thorough explanations are easy to follow. You’ll come out at the end knowing more about how to squeeze the best sound from the complex interaction of speakers and rooms.—TJN

1209gift.bellari150.jpgBellari VP530 Tube Phono Preamp USB ($399)
The Utah-based Rolls Corporation turned heads in the audiophile community with this bargain-priced phono preamp. It has a line output, volume-adjusted headphone output, USB output, a rumble filter, defeatable RIAA EQ—and one little tube, guaranteed to surround your vinyl with a golden halo. Designed for moving-magnet or high-output moving-coil cartridges.—MF

Ayre Acoustics DX-5 Universal Player (Price TBD)
This new state-of-the-art disc player does Blu-ray, DVD video, DVD-Audio (any PCM format), SACD, and CD (do they still make those?). It also includes a more sophisticated version of Ayre’s acclaimed asynchronous, low-jitter USB DAC. Based on OPPO’s BDP-83 transport, Ayre claims the DX-5 will “unequivocally offer the best BD and DVD picture currently available.” It had better with this price tag.—MFr

Rotel RDG-1520 Digital Internet Tuner ($999)
Your favorite audiophile will be able to get his radio fix with Rotel’s RDG-1520 Digital Internet Tuner. The RDG-1520 provides terrestrial FM and Internet radio capabilities, so you’ll have access to more than 15,000 Internet radio stations. It supports nearly every audio format imaginable, including WMA, MP3, AAC, AU, WAV, and AIFF. The RDG-1520 even streams media from a nearby PC.—DS


1209gift.wadia150.jpgWadia 170iTransport ($379)
Wadia’s 170iTransport bypasses the iPod’s internal DAC and sends a bit-perfect signal to the 170iTransport’s own built-in high-performance DAC or through the unit’s digital audio output to your system’s DAC. The 170iTransport can also access video content on the iPod and provide DVD-quality video through its component video outputs. It turns any iPod or iPod touch into a high-end media server.—DW

1209gift.russoundtouvh150.jpgRussound RNET Touchpoint TCH1 Control System ($599)
Hook up this network-connected device with your Russound multiroom audio installation, and control your zones and source components through your iPhone. The Touchpoint works with any IP-based wireless LAN and serves up friendly customized interface screens that are designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod touch. Functions include transport controls, zone access, volume control, mode settings, and more.—CL

L’Art du Son Cleaning Products ($45 to $55)
An oft overlooked part of obtaining the best sound possible is keeping your media clean. L’Art du Son has you covered with separate cleaners for records and DVD/CDs. The record cleaner is a concentrate that can make up to 5 liters. The DVD/CD cleaner comes in its own spray bottle.—JH

McIntosh MXA60 Executive System ($7,500)
For the audiophile who needs McIntosh sound wherever they are, the MXA60 Executive System commemorates the company’s 60th anniversary with its first standalone integrated audio system. This table- top system features a high-performance 75-watt-per-channel amplifier, a CD/SACD/MP3 player, a vacuum-tube preamp, plus an AM/ FM/RBDS tuner topped off with two-way bass-reflex loudspeakers.—KW