Arcam FMJ D33 SuperDAC: Underneath the glam

Some stellar news for you music lovin’ gadget fiends here, Arcam (who really, really enjoy the fact they are based in Cambridge) has introduced its latest and highest performing Digital to Analog Converter to date; the Arcam FMJ D33 SuperDAC at a cost of er…just £2000. Don’t worry, it’s awesome, and it can certainly work out the way you’ll want it to.

Arcam-FMJ-D33

Totally compatible, The 6.2kg, 433 x 370 x 110 (W x D x H) D33 looks to transform sound on the Mac, PC, iTunes, alongside hi-res files, CD, DVD, Blu-ray, set-top boxes and more, giving each source a level of performance that is engaging. These are bold, yet do-able ideas.

What’s the crack? Well, this new model uses the latest high-end dual Burr Brown PCM1792, 24bit / 192kHz converters (one per channel), twin toroidal (circular) transformers in the power supply and state-of-the-art 4-layer printed circuit boards. Sexy stuff, eh?

The D33 features an asynchronous USB input offering the convenience of computer-based music (PC or MAC) and the ability to enjoy the very latest 192kHz ultra high-resolution recordings with decent quality. Two coaxial and two optical inputs plus a professional-grade AES/EBU connection complete the line-up so everyone can take advantage of the D33’s clear performance upgrade. Worth the dosh, innit?!

What’s really cool here is that, underneath the glam, you can certainly see that Arcam’s thirty five years’ worth of audio engineering experience has really been focused in on the D33, and they should most certainly be proud of how it’s come out. Users are without question going to see the benefit of the 0.5w standby power consumption and duplex RS232 control interface (which is suitable for custom installation).

Wait… hang fire, there’s some more… phew; the filter position with both LEDs off is a “bypass” mode that misses both the FPGA filters and instead uses the stock filter in the Burr Brown DACs according to the user’s choice. For the other two, they are handled in a FPGA and are minimum-phase digital filters with a fast, slow and roll-off. Both of these filters seek to remove the pre-ringing on transients found in normal digital filters – smoothly does it Arcam, smoothly does it. Indeed, the fast roll off filter redistributes the energy from any pre-ringing until after the transient. Although this causes greater post-ringing than the standard digital filter, it results in a much more natural sound as there is no pre-ringing in live music; and we can definitely dig that.

To conclude, and leave you to get reasonably excited… this grand piece of kit (complete with a sizeable multi-stage regulated power supply, stealth mat and sound dead steel construction as well as the full IR and RS232 remote control), is available and on demonstration at Arcam Concert Dealers right now. ‘Av a gander.

For more information visit the official Arcam website: http://www.arcam.co.uk

Father’s Day: Gifts for gadget geek dads

Father’s Day is on June 21, and the good news is that gone are the days when you poor dads had to look delighted when you unwrapped yet another tie, pair of socks or cufflinks. In these high-tech times, there are loads of ideas for dads, whatever your budget. So, if you’re looking for your own dad, or are a dad hoping to drop a few heavy hints, we hope we have something for everyone.

vertical-vinyl

Feature packed and compact, the X-HM50 Micro Hi-Fi system from Pioneer has a CD slot, if Dad has not managed to upgrade to digital music just yet, but if he’s a bit more ‘down with the kids’, the built-in iPod Dock will let him listen to his tunes from his iPod or iPhone and control them from the comfort of his sofa with the remote control. The system also has two powerful 50-watt speakers and a DAB/FM radio tuner for listening to the football. The price? £299. More at http://www.pioneer.eu/uk/products/42/202/227/X-HM50-K/index.html

If he loves his car and his iPhone, Oxygen Audio is offering a chance to integrate the phone with the car stereo with its O-Car, which makes the phone the central control unit for the stereo system. The integrated head unit lets you control functions through the iPhone’s touch-screen. The iPhone fits directly into the system and offers four 55W amp links to the car’s speakers so that you can listen to music via the phone’s iPod, and make and receive hands-free calls or pair with a Bluetooth headset. Find out more at www.oxygenaudio.com.

SQOOM

If you think dad should start taking care of his appearance, perhaps he’ll be persuaded by this latest techno-beauty product, which comes from Germany. SQOOM is a skin treatment system that is being sold online at Harrods and claims to make the skin look, brighter, tighter and more radiant. The handheld sonic device delivers specially developed gels into the skin, using a mixture of ultrasound and ionisation to massage deep into the skin. A number of gels are available to treat problems such as sports injuries, acnes, dry flaky skin, and scars. The device comesi n black or silver and costs a rather eye-watering £529 for a set including two gels. But hey, surely your dad is worth it? Buy online at www.harrods.com

For anyone who has an iPad a chance to turn it into an 80s arcade machine must be tempting. Step up the iCade, which lets you choose from 200 original Atari games – nostalgia-tastic! The price? £79.99 from www.firebox.com. Another goodie from the same site is Vertical Vinyl. It will play all of dad’s old records, and this record player will also save valuable space in the living room. Again, it comes in at £79.99.

If you’ve got considerably more to spend – just short of four grand to be exact – how about treating a cycle-mad dad to the latest in bike technology? Just released is the a new range of high performance electric bikes, including a special model called the Storck Cosworth EFV – the result of an ongoing partnership between Cosworth and the German bike manufacturer. This carbon-fibre bicycle sports a Shimano Deore XT groupset and hydraulic disc brakes alongside a high performance 250W motor, which produces 60Nm of torque, powered by a 25.5V Lithium polymer battery. Ian Hughes, UK distributor for Storck Bicycle said the product launch was hugely exciting for Britain’s bicycle industry. “The timing is perfect for this innovative product to be launched to the market. There has been enormous growth in the use of electric bikes in mainland Europe, and the time is right for the product to take off in the UK,” he said. Find out more at www.cosworth.com

Cycling is always fun, but the good thing is that some big boys’ toys can make rather tedious jobs more enjoyable too. That’s why Karcher has come up with The Beast, its most powerful pressure washer to date, which will have dad itching to clean the car, the patio, anything at all in fact – don’t stand still too long, that’s all we can say! The K6 features Karcher’s famed “Plug ‘n’ Clean” system with in-built regulation for the quickest and most practical way to apply detergents. Simply select the right detergent for the job, slot it in and get cleaning. “The Beast” can deliver a huge 150 Bar maximum pressure, which is approximately 40 times as powerful as a garden hose, and costs £499. See www.karcher.co.uk for more

Pioneer CD Tuner DEH-9300SD

When bad really means good and dope means cool, it’s no surprise that we seem to have adapted to using things that are labelled for one thing but do something entirely different. It’s a funny thing this world we live in. Pioneer, no slouch when it comes to innovation, has launched a flagship version of its new in car CD tuner, the DEH-9300SD and positively revels in telling us about all the other things this CD tuner does other than playing CDs.

Pioneer-CD

There’s an SD card port (which is also SDHC compatible) discreetly hidden behind the front panel which will play a host of file formats including WAV, WMA, AAC and of course MP3, a front loading USB input which will, once it is connected via an optional CD-IW cable, play your iPod/iPhone music and charge it at the same time. Marvellous.

And the good stuff just keeps on coming. The DEH-9300SD’s built in software has a music browser function which will automatically read the music from all the connected media and list it alphabetically by artist, album, track or genre. Not only that, it will also let you tag music on your iPod or iPhone as you listen to FM, so you can buy your tagged tune and download it when you’re next online. To take this cutting edge technology even further, you can use the ‘App’ mode to listen to sounds and music from your apps including internet radio, as long as the app supports analogue radio output.

The DEH-9300SD with its built in MOSFET 50×4 amp, 5 band graphic equalizer and full dot OEL display is a generous piece of kit for any car audio devotee, but what of the humble CD? Fear not, for buried deep in the bowels of the DEH-9300SD, behind the flip-open front panel (so no one will spot you being so retro), the CD slot lies waiting for its disc. Sadly, I fear it is for a long wait.

The DEH-9300SD and the smaller DEH-8300SD are available from January at Pioneer Car Audio Dealerships.