Category Archives: Released in 2006

Firestone Audio Fubar II USB & Spitfire DACs

Spitfire The Firestone Audio line of products is a refreshing attack on the design style of Hi-Fi equipment – not unlike the world of downhill mountain biking [the world is split into four distinct elements: peat, dirt, sight and sound]. Within the scope of this blog, two Firestone Audio products are particularly interesting: The Firestone Audio Fubar II USB DAC and the Firestone Audio Spitfire DAC. The former comes in a choice of bright red or grey and the latter just in grey.

Fubar II The Fubar II is particularly useful as an external sound card for a PC, sporting a direct USB input as well as Toslink and coaxial inputs, all for a 16bit/48KHz conversion. Big brother Spitfire does not have a USB port but does offer a highly relieving bandaid in the form of a maximum resolution of 24bit/96KHz sampling rate. That makes the Spitfire a brilliant part of a chain starting with 2L’s hiRes Flac downloads.

Incidentally, there is also a Fubar III which has a built-in headphone amplifier.

Yamaha MCX-2000

Yamaha Like a bunch of other devices here, the Yamaha MCX-2000 offers CD ripping, storing and streaming. A total of 16 playback clients, including the server, is supported, letting you access music from its 160GB upgradable harddisk from just about every conceivable location. While it does not appear to support Flac it does support raw PCM letting you record and stream lossless audio.

Unlike most others it can write CDs as well.

Arcus DAR300

dar300 Esteemed Arcus has a potent player in the game of CD ripping audio servers. This one can copy CD onto its internal hard drive, back it up onto a network attached storage and play it back in a number of formats, including Flac and Ogg-Vorbis.

Wireless communication is done using a USB Wifi dongle. Not exactly elegant but at least it lets you move the antenna to higher ground for good reception. Identifying itself over uPnP, other streaming clients can take advantage of the device.

Logitech Transporter


transporter The Slim Devices Transporter followed in the footsteps of the insanely popular Squeezebox that came to appear as pack leader when the first media streamers began popping up. Despite its resemblance with a mid-eighties teenage lamps-are-cool amplifier, it sports some pretty amazing specs, including balanced XLR output and an Asahi-Kasei AK4396 DAC.

On a note aside, Slim Devices must be commended for an outstanding spec-sheet, in terms of writing. Instead of listing all sorts of numbers that mean nothing compared to sitting in front of it and listening, they disclose such little nuggets as physical characteristics of in- and outputs, that remote control commands are discrete and that firmware can be flash updated and many others. Seemingly trivial stuff but fairly interesting if you want to pair the device with what you already own.

D-Link DSM-520 Wireless HD Media Player


dlink_dsm520 The DSM-520 is a neat little media streamer that not only uses a TV connection to present the user with a rich menu system for audio playback, it also uses the TV connection to stream video in 1080i HD quality. Connections include wired and wireless ethernet and digital audio and HDMI outputs and support for surround sound.

In terms of file format it includes Ogg-Vorbis support but not Flac.

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