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High Fidelity in Many Formats


Enjoying great music reproduction in your home or on the road is available in a variety of formats with the right solution for every budget. Here are a few interesting offerings.


Bowers & Wilkins Z2 Wireless Music System

There are a number of options for streaming music into various rooms, and B&W has a few solutions of its own, from the iconic Zeppelin Air to the full range A7. The new Z2 connects easily to Apple’s Air Play and includes a Lightning dock for the iPhone5 or newer iPod. I found the sound remarkably rich for a relatively small footprint. $399.95 at Apple and other B&W retailers. (www.bowers-wilkins.com)


AudioQuest DragonFly USB DAC

Digital to analog converters are a vital step in converting the computer code to natural sound. Like everything else, not all DACs are created equal. Some are simple circuits, like those that reside in computers and ordinary music and video players, that just get the job done. On the other hand, serious audiophiles might spend thousands (Esoteric has a nice one for $23,000) for a serious component DAC. AudioQuest, a company that produces audiophile cables, finds a very happy medium with its DragonFly, a very nice DAC the size of a thumb drive. Its diminutive size allows use in a home system cabled to a preamp or receiver, or take it on the road with your laptop and headphones. And the $249 price is easy on the budget. (www.audioquest.com)


Oppo BDP-105 Audiophile Disc Player

My brother bought a Super Audio CD a few years ago and discovered that only a few players would accept the disc. Most simply took it for a spin and spit it out. The SACD format, like DVD audio and Dolby True HD, can be quite good, but how many machines do you need for various discs? The solution is the Oppo BDP-105, a multitasking machine that handles everything from Blu-Ray 3D video to every audio disc format, and does the job brilliantly. Everyone who has tested this $1,199 player has given rave reviews and I lend my two thumbs way up. (www.oppodigital.com)


Meridian DSP7200 Loudspeakers

Meridian is a British company that not only develops audio and video standards, but also produces ultra high-end components. I spent a little time auditioning a pair of DSP7200s, the company’s nearly line topping (DSP8000 is top) active speaker system. Each 121-pound speaker can be piano finished in your choice of more than 270 colors to best express your style. Although $35,000 for these beauties is substantial, the sound is just as impressive. And since they have their own 920W power onboard, you won’t have to budget for amplifiers and cables. (www.meridian-audio.com)    BRIAN DOUGLAS



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