TAS Buyer's Guide to Digital Source Components.

AR-TAS-Hi-Fi+ Guide to Digital Source Components_Cover&Border.jpgA couple of days ago the AVGuide.com website  published the TAS Buyer's Guide to Digital Source Components. It has seven reviews I wrote about digital components spanning over a year's time. A few of the reviews, such as Alan Tafel's USB article, are over a year old.

And this brings me to my principal criticism of what is otherwise a pretty wonderful issue chock full of interesting and well-written reviews. There's no way to tell when each review was written! Some reviews contain information that due to how quickly digital audio is moving forward, is already obsolete. It would have been far better if each article specified on the title page when it was published.

A couple of the reviews in TAS Buyer's Guide to Digital Source Components are so new that they haven't been published in TAS yet, such as my review of Peachtree Audio iDac and Anthony Cordesman's Olive 06HD review.

Also Robert Harley's review of the Berkeley Audio Design's USB interface is brand new. It's also got some cutting-edge findings about the quality of the USB interfaces. Robert found that the USB connection had as much influence on the final sound as the DAC itself. I, too, have been experienced this phenomenon.

But along with Robert Harley's very au-courant review in which he compares the sound of the latest gen of iMac with a six-month-old custom-configured Audio PC, we have Karl Shuster's practically worthless PC audio card review. Why is it worthless? He uses a nine-year old computer as his test unit. Puhleeze. A nine-year-old computer is like using a 20 year-old amplifier with all original parts - it works but does not represent current technology or even the performance of that amplifier when it was all in-spec? Not very likely...

If only TAS had included publication dates for each review in the issue readers wouldn't have to wade through and be confused by reviews with conclusions that may no longer valid due to technological advancements since the review was created. But by all means read Robert Harley's Berkeley Audio USB adapter review and Cordesman's Olive HD-6 reviews. Great stuff.... 

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