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Breaking the Sound Barrier

High-resolution audio takes your sound system supersonic. We test the best disc players and fight the format war.
Steve Morgenstern
From the Print Edition:
Alec Baldwin, May/June 2004

(continued from page 3)

Of course, trading in your wheels for the sake of making nice to your ears is a bit extreme. Alternatively, you can upgrade your car audio system to accommodate DVD-Audio. Alpine, a leader in high-end car audio, introduced its "ultra-premium" Alpine F#1Status line in January, which includes the DVI-9990 DVD-Audio player plus the PXI-H990 surround-sound audio processor required to fill your car with multichannel music. Add in a TME-M770 in-dash monitor and you're in for $5,300, before amps, speakers and subwoofers. By comparison, Pioneer's AVH-P7500DVD, which supports DVD-Audio and video playback and includes a seven-inch touch-screen display, is a bargain at $2,700.

Finally, for those of us who enjoy listening to fine music while chained to the computer all day, there's a DVD-Audio solution at hand. Creative Labs offers enhanced audio cards for PC users, the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 and Audigy 2 ZS series (priced from $100 to $250) that reproduce DVD-Audio discs (sorry, no SACD) with perfect clarity. Even notebook computer owners can get into the act (if your notebook has a DVD-ROM drive) with the Audigy 2 NX ($130), an external box that connects to the laptop via the USB port. You can route the Audigy output through a surround-sound stereo-

system receiver and speakers if you like, or just add a set of high-end computer speakers. I have two favorites here, the Logitech Z-680 and the Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1, each of which runs $400.

Steve Morgenstern is a freelance writer living in New York. He often writes on technology topics for Cigar Aficionado.


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