RMAF 2013: Sony is stylin’







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Sony is making a big play in the high-resolution audio space, leveraging both their expertise and deep background with SACD and the huge library of high-res music files along with their penchant for sweet electronics. Honestly, if anyone can move the needle with DSD and high-res generally, it’s Sony. Whether or not that particular boulder is movable is moot, but put that aside for now.

Because, for now, we have a sweet new head-amp/DAC combo worth seeking out. The PHA-2 High-Res Portable DAC/Amplifier ($599) is rated for cans from 8 ohms to 600 ohms (that is, just about everything) and supports high-res up to and including double-DSD. There’s an auto sensing and auto muting circuit that’s completely transparent to the user, which means, you play whatever you want and it “just works”. Best part? It works fantastically well. I know why Mercer is so hot on these guys — this is a killer head-amp.

It’s async-USB, high slew-rate and is an output capacitor-less design (which may be why it sounds like an open window), and supports connections to both your computer and your iDevices/Android products for pure-digital input. Lithium batteries are good for 6.5 hours digital/17 hours analog of run-time.

Also on display were some desktop units that were announced earlier this year, but I actually preferred the clear, open and neutral presentation that the PHA-2 brought, to that found in the bigger units. Yeah, really. If and when I get an opportunity to get one of these, I’ll spend some more time talking about it, but don’t wait. Go out and catch this. Smashing-good sound.

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About Scot Hull 1038 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.