RED Performance Features Ergonomics Value BLACK Performance Features Ergonomics Value PRICE $199 (Red), $99 (Black) AT A GLANCE (RED) Plus Step-up USB amp/DAC For computers and smartphones Digital volume control on chip Minus No bit rates above 96 kHz No DSD AT A GLANCE (BLACK) Plus Affordable USB amp/DAC For computers and smartphones Analog volume control Minus No bit rates above 96 kHz No DSD THE VERDICT Among AudioQuest&rsquo;s latest round of compact USB amplifier/DACs for headphones, the Red has more fine-grained premium sound, while the Black is a superb under-$100 hi-res entry point. Having made tons of money as one of the pioneers of the premium cable industry, AudioQuest has little left to prove. So it came as a surprise four years ago when the company turned its attention to signal sources and developed the compact DragonFly USB headphone amplifier/DAC with respected audio designer Gordon Rankin. But the move made sense for AudioQuest, whose very existence rides on the proposition that sweating the details can make an audible difference.
Welcome back, my friends&hellip; well, you know the rest. That opening line&mdash;made famous in &ldquo;Karn Evil 9 &ndash; 1st Impression, Part 2&rdquo; from 1973&rsquo;s Brain Salad Surgery&mdash;certainly applies to the re-emergence of the remastered catalog for Emerson, Lake &amp; Palmer, the groundbreaking British progressive trio that defined adventurous recording and outrageous live performance during their 1970s heyday. Actually, ELP vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Greg Lake prefers using the word original instead of progressive to describe the band&rsquo;s signature sound&mdash;and the man does have a point.
&nbsp; Interscope Music ••½ Sound ••••Call me naive, but I think album titles should mean something. When the Black Eyed Peas unleashed their poptastic The E.N.D.
&nbsp; Reprise Music •••• Sound ••••&nbsp;
There are so many Pow! Bang! Ka-chow! buzzwords thrown out by the consumer electronics industry's marketing war chariots that smaller, more important things often get lost or completely overwhelmed in the ground clutter.
Columbia Music •••• Sound •••½ Warner
Silver Arrow Music ••½ Sound •••½ In pop music terms, a span of 7 years ain&#39;t what it used to be.