Audioengine D2 Wireless DAC Price Drops

D2 24/96 Wireless DAC Sender.  D2 connects wirelessly up to 100 ft. with solid wireless performance.

D2 24/96 Wireless DAC Sender.  D2 connects wirelessly up to 100 ft. with solid wireless performance.

Big news about the D2 24/96 DAC -- Audioengine has reduced the retail price $100, from $499 to $399.  They also dropped the cost for the D2 Receiver Kit $75, from $325 to $275.  So if you've been waiting for the prices to come down on these items, that would be now.  This the time to get what you want because there will probably not be another price reduction coming on these items for some time.

Think of the possibilities.  

I work with a laptop on my lap, not at a desk.  So I use a D2 to send music wirelessly from a side table, across the room from my easy chair workstation, to a pair of Audioengine A5+ Powered Speakers and an S8 Powered Subwoofer.  The cost for this setup has dropped by $100, desk or no desk.

There are advanced applications where the D2 really shines -- AV setups and Whole House Music.  You can send and receive the same stereo program without loss of music quality to as many as three D2 receivers.  Each D2 is a Sender and Receiver Pair.  The D2 performs very well as the basis for whole house music with 3 audio zones or as the Front and Rear speakers in a multi-channel AV installation.  Even the S8 Subwoofer (with LFE) can be driven if you select at least one pair of A5+ Powered Speakers, which have an Output for a Sub.

The wireless channels are similar to Wi-Fi and rock solid reliable without dropouts or noise and a range of up 100 feet.  I've used my D2 to transmit music flawlessly through 3 steel-reinforced concrete walls.

You'll also save $75 each on any Add-on D2R Receiver Kits you need to complete your advanced setup.  So again, the time is now.  Shop iHi-Fi (an authorized Dealer) and receive the same factory warranty and money-back, 30 day audition period as from Audioengine.  I will personally provide setup support and suggestions on how to achieve the very best sound from your setups.

Carpe Diem!

iHi-Fi.com is your online high-end audio store.  Shop from anywhere in the USA without leaving home.  Receive expert advice and audition whatever you buy with return and refund privileges. All the computer audio gear at iHi-Fi.com delivers exceptional to stunning performance at value prices. Authorized Dealer for Audioengine, Acoustic System International, Bravo Audio, and HighEnd Novum.   Custom Audio Furnishings design, manufacture, distribution and sales.

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Does Anti-Vibration Really Improve Audio?

Two of four Round Small Fat Dots from Herbie's Audio Lab.  Easy peasy.  But will the music sound better?

In my unending quest for ever-higher levels of musical authenticity, once in a while I discover something that makes a gigantic improvement.  This is a most rewarding moment for any audio enthusiast -- when you realize the whole game has suddenly changed for the better.  Then we want to re-play all our most familiar and favorite music to see how it sounds with the new improvement in place.  We note things we never heard before now found in familiar recordings.  For your sake, I assume you know what I’m talking about.

Usually, such a quantum leap in sound quality comes with a major (read expensive) change, like a much-improved audio component or maybe new speakers.  This is the story of how I recently enjoyed a Moon-landing leap in music quality with a modest Hi-Fi system.  It only took about 15 minutes to set up. The effort was simply adding a dozen small, drop-in parts.  Four each under the left and right speakers and the subwoofer.  For a skinflint like me, the best part may be the paltry cost -- $111.  In the world of audiophilia, that’s like, almost free.  

Now every measure of music quality I know how to describe has improved so that overall the music sounds marvelously better and more real.  I feel bewildered when this happens because I steadily enjoy fabulously authentic audio as the baseline for daily listening.  On that plateau, it’s hard to think audio could get better.  Then some unexpected confluence of fortunate events resets my baseline. I do the Snoopy dance while I challenge the new improvement with every great recording I can queue up.

A couple weeks into this audio system “tweak,” I’m still finding new things in familiar recordings.  I’ve been listening to a set of Audioengine A5+ Powered Speakers for quite some time now.  There’s an Audioengine S8 Subwoofer sitting between them, handling deep bass.  These well-reviewed speakers serve the music up fresh and tight for a cost that’s only a fraction of their performance.  A MacBook Pro feeds them music through an Audioengine D2 DAC.  These are all-time best buy powered speakers and widely recognized for quality sound.

My main music sources are all digital at this point -- streaming content from Spotify using the Ogg Vorbis file format, which is audibly superior to what I heard from MOG.com when it was alive or ever from Qobuz.com.  I also have a library of selected 24-bit recordings on local hard drive.  I moved beyond physical media a few years ago and never looked back.  So much is available streaming now it’s like a flame to a moth.  There are many sources for 24-bit recordings now and even DSD is available.

The gigantic mix of music on Spotify crosses all genres and runs from pedestrian to superb quality in performance, recording and mixing.  It’s an ideal test bed for a new audio system addition.  There you can hear exactly the same music I tested with and find your own gems for $10 per month Premium or even listen for free if you prefer.

I tend to listen “by the artist.”  If you want to repeat my experiment, I suggest Adam Hurst, renowned Cellist, “Elegy” and other albums; Fabrizio Paterlini, Pianist, “Art of the Piano” and more; Mo Foster, Bassist, “Bass Themes” and the rest.  These artists each have a special knack for capturing emotion in engaging performances.  Emotion equates to teasing instruments and stretching performances to the limits of expression and nuance.  Foster especially helps explore the bass realm.

A very welcome remedy happened under the subwoofer.  Before the change, it was wildly uncontrolled at any appreciable volume.  I had to keep the volume too low because the bass tended to break up into wretched noise and booming at higher volume.  It would even levitate slightly and scoot around the floor.  I was rather disappointed with it.

The special Extra Thick Hush Puckies in place under the Audioengine S8 Subwoofer -- see the text.

With anti-vibration treatment, the sub not only stays put, it now pounds out fast, clean bass all the way past the limits of tolerable volume.  It’s a night and day difference.  Now I can enjoy the bottom end of every piece I listen to rather than lopping it off for safety’s sake.  

This transformation came from placing a set of four Herbie’s Audio Lab “Extra-thick Hush Puckies” under the plastic cones that come with this down-firing unit.  Steve Herbelin made me a special set of Puckies with larger-than-usual spike receivers to fit the S8’s blunt cones.

The A5+ Speakers sit on cinder blocks (to ground them properly) while I wait for my new iHi-Fi IsoVybra Speaker Stands to be fabricated. I thought these  speakers already sounded great but I was intensely curious to see if anti-vibration treatment would make great even better.  The left and right speakers each received four Herbie’s Audio Lab round “Small Fat Dots.”  No question, great can get better.

With the anti-vibration treatment in place, I hear many subtleties that were buried in long-familiar recordings.  Musical detail and clarity are markedly improved.  True timbres ring without distortion.  “Speed” is also improved, making notes audibly crisper with sharper attack and decay and more discernable sustain.  Bass passages now walk tall and sing out boldly and transparently on Foster’s “Bass Themes” album.  Hurst’s somber overtones in the low range come through, darkly brooding in the depths of grief. 

Soundstage now reaches new dimensions.  My listening room is 16 ft. wide, 14 ft. tall, and 18 ft. deep -- not a small volume.  The L and R speakers are 8 ft. apart and my listening chair is about 9 ft. from the center between them.  The soundstage was smaller before treatment.  It now fills a full 120-degree arc when a recording supports that, extending well past the speakers laterally.  The vertical angle is about 60 degrees.  Instruments have better focus and are more discernibly located.

In summary, my answer to the question asked in the title of this post is most assuredly a resounding “Yes!”  If you like to cry while listening to opera, anti-vibration is the mod for you.  If you love rousing rock-n-roll that makes your hips move or wild, Gypsy violin, you need this “tweak,” no matter what gear is in your audio system.

I believe in the anti-vibration products from Herbie’s Audio Lab enough to include some of Steven’s components in every piece of audio furniture I make at iHi-Fi.  Steven Herbelin is competent, deeply experienced, ever-polite and incredibly helpful, providing individualized advice and key suggestions.  Orders ship the next day and arrive promptly.  The products are marvels of molecular science that look ordinary but result from decades of experimentation that make them small, easy to implement, and quite affordable.  Calling Herbie’s a world-class anti-vibration source is an understatement.

Steven does business as I do, with a 30-day audition and unconditional money-back satisfaction guarantee.  For my money, anti-vibration not only works, it’s probably the best buy in all of audio and no system should run without it. 

Now that my speakers have settled down and they finally work as-designed, I’m exploring what happens when I suspend each piece of gear in my whole system on Herbie’s component feet, one by one.  Rationally, I expect not much more potential remains to be realized.  But after what happened with the speakers, I could be wrong -- that blissful kind of wrong I welcome.

Your Thoughts?  Click to comment.

iHi-Fi.com is your online high-end audio store.  Shop from anywhere in the USA without leaving home.  Receive expert advice and audition whatever you buy with return and refund privileges. All the computer audio gear at iHi-Fi.com delivers exceptional to stunning performance at value prices. Authorized Dealer for Audioengine, Acoustic System International, Bravo Audio, and HighEnd Novum.   Custom Audio Furnishings design, manufacture, distribution and sales.

Newest iHi-Fi Audio Rack Images Released

The new cantilevered-shelf  IsoVybra Audio Rack makes your audio system look great and your music sound better.

The new cantilevered-shelf  IsoVybra Audio Rack makes your audio system look great and your music sound better.

It’s like getting sonograms of our second baby.  Today I received the first photo-realistic 3D CAD renderings of the new IsoVybra Max Audio Rack.  This is a critical milestone and a most exciting moment because everyone, from Customers, to Designers, iHi-Fi Associates, and the Media -- can see for the first time just what has been percolating back in engineering.  IsoVybra is another gorgeous Rack that helps your audio system look great and sound the very best it can.

A designer can’t fully appreciate what he’s creating until we can see it “as if in real life.”  Even though I’ve been visualizing this product for months, I’m astounded to actually see my brainchild in the flesh.  Or in the metal and wood, I should say.  The cantilevered shelf suspension achieves a rack that gives maximum visibility to all components.  With components displayed on open shelves, it shows off any audio system to best advantage.  The next renderings will include some component outlines.

Partial Features List: 

Lower Price Points -- with less in basic materials and manufacturing processes, we can make the structurally simpler IsoVybra product line available for lower cost than the high-end Masiv product line with a minimum of compromise.  

Variable Height -- The base model is nominally 48 inches tall.  It can be ordered shorter if you want fewer shelves and a lower profile.  Standard increments of 6 inches include 42, 36, and even 30 inches using the 40 mm profile shown.

Variable Shelves -- from one, to as many as you can fit in, up to a practical maximum of possibly six with really skinny components.  Shelf position is infinitely adjustable vertically on the column.  Several gorgeous and beautiful-sounding woods are optional.  The standard material is Bamboo Composite (like counter top.)  An Ebonized Ash is planned.

Anti-vibration -- Built-in anti-vibration damping at two levels greatly enhances all components’ audio performance.  The shelves are each suspended on molecular-engineered polymer discs that efficiently quash most structure-borne vibration between and among components and coming up from the floor.  The standard feet also contain another special-polymer disc to break the vibration path into the whole rack.

Optional Swivel Feet enable tilt-and-swivel fine screw adjustments to level the Rack perfectly and compensate for floor unevenness while also breaking the path of external structure born vibration.  Any of the feet offered eliminate any need for spikes with carpet or hard floors.

Cable Management -- a groove for cables is built into the front of the Column.  This is best dedicated for signal wiring running between components.  On the back of the column, several cable-tie mounts provide for neat routing of AC power cables.

Mechanical Grounding -- If heavier grounding is desired, weighty materials can be added inside the hollow Base Members.  This lowers the center of gravity and also provides grounding mass to further resist unwanted component movement.  The more still your components and their internal works remain, the more the natural musical qualities are preserved.

Other Options -- planned options include a weighted wood Sandbox that nestles into the Base.  That area could include a Base Shelf or wood Fascia or simply be dedicated to power distribution or conditioning gear and the external component power supplies that have become prevalent with smaller computer audio components.

Black Frame -- the extruded frame components may be ordered in black color rather than natural aluminum.

Kit or Assembled -- three levels of assembly are offered, from a completely dis-assembled kit for the very mechanically inclined, to a partially assembled form, to a near-fully assembled model.  Shelves are shipped separately and slid onto the Frame Column at the final destination.

This Max version of the cantilevered IsoVybra Rack is the largest standard model available.  It’s suitable for the largest and heaviest of legacy-style components.  The IsoVybra product line spans 6 distinct scales that descend through heights from 48 inches (nominal) down through 42, and 36 using the frame shown here.  With smaller frame profiles, heights run from 30 inches, to 24, and even 18 inches for a desktop model.  Development was started at the top.  The smaller models to follow are already in development and will become available in time.

We’ll be releasing initial audio rack production through iHi-Fi’s upcoming crowdfunding campaigns.  The first few of each Audio Rack Model will sell there.  They are instant collectors’ items, each branded with a reserved logo and special serial number series.  Watch for further developments here on the iHi-Fi Blog.

Your thoughts?  Click to comment.

Hi-Fi.com is your online high-end audio store.  Shop from anywhere in the USA without leaving home.  Receive expert advice and audition whatever you buy with return and refund privileges. All the computer audio gear at iHi-Fi.com delivers exceptional to stunning performance at value prices. Authorized Dealer for Audioengine, Acoustic System International, Bravo Audio, and HighEnd Novum.   Custom Audio Furnishings design, manufacture, distribution and sales.