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High End 2014: The PS Audio Sprout, or how to get a new generation of audiophiles

DSC01851-2 By Dr. Panagiotis Karavitis How many times have we heard that the hifi scene is dying? That younger people simply cannot afford mega buck systems? Someone should come to the rescue. Someone who understands what younger music lovers need. That someone is Scott, son of Paul McGowan (founder of PS Audio), who pushed for a product designed with the 2.0 generation in mind. PS Audio presented in Munich the “Sprout”, what could be the most interesting and affordable new product of the entire show. It consists of a small integrated amplifier (2 x 50 Watts/ 4Ohms), with built-in MM phono stage, USB asynchronous DAC (up to 24bit/192KHz), with Bluetooth connectivity and additional analog and coaxial inputs. At $799 you cannot ask for more.

This little Swiss army knife will stream music from your phone, drive your cans and the speakers on your desktop. The Bluetooth connection was lighting fast; it took Scott less than 20 seconds to bridge it to his iPhone. The built-in DAC sounded very nice with Audeze’s LCD 2 headphones; in fact, after a couple of tracks (“Missed the Boat” from Modest Mouse, “Audiophile recordings” and Gluck’s “Dance of the blessed spirits” from Naxos), all I can say is that it will sell like hotcakes.

[Editor’s note: I missed this show entry the first pass; my apologies. I know it’s now out-of-order, but hopefully you’ll forgive the lapse.]

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