DACmini and 192kHz over SPDIF

We recently learned that some DACmini CX units in the field don’t always achieve proper lock on 192 kHz when used over SPDIF. This doesn’t happen with every unit, but several customers experienced this and wrote in to let us know. We really apologize.

We have a fix for this issue. If you are experiencing uneven or improper lock on 192kHz over SPDIF, please let us know and we will repair your unit for free.

CEntrance at CES 2012

If you are planning to attend CES next year in January, read on. The plans are in — CEntrance will be exhibiting at the CES show in Las Vegas in January 2012.

This year once again CEntrance will be part of The Home Entertainment Show (THE Show), and as last year, our booth will be located in the basement of the Flamingo hotel, right at the foot of the escalator. Its a great spot — impossible to miss. This year next to our booth in that excellent location will be our good friends from Headroom. It will be fun!

THE show features Hi-Fi companies and is a great alternative to the traditional CES locations at the main pavilion, or the Venetian. THE show is held at the relaxing Flamingo hotel, which is simple to navigate and easy to experience gear first hand.

Please stop by our booth at the Flamingo Hotel to say “hi” and to listen to our growing number of Hi-Fi products — DACport, DACport LX, DACmini CX, DACmini PX and our brand new MasterClass 2504 Desktop Speakers with Coaxial Transducer Technology.

Needless to say, we are very excited about CES 2012!

DACmini PX Drives HE-6

One customer at the recent Rocky Mountain Audio fest came up to our booth to test the DACmini PX with his planar magnetic headphones from Hi-Fi Man, the HE-6. now we need to say, that these particular headphones are known to require a power amplifier to drive them to acceptable levels. Their efficiency is not very high.

Well, this customer was delighted to see that DACmini PX did the job admirably. He connected the headphones not to the front 1/4″ headphone output, but rather to the speaker outputs in the back, using a special break-out cable with banana plugs. We were initially concerned that subjecting the headphones to 25W per channel of raw audio power may be dangerous, but HE-6s held out pretty well and provided our customer with several minutes of listening pleasure and a smile of appreciation. He plans to post about it on head-fi.org. here is a picture of DACmini PX with HE-6 headphones, driven from the speaker amp in the back.

DACmini PX drives all kinds of headphones, including HE-6

Staff Additions

I returned from Japan and what do we see? A large number of accumulated orders and a hard-working team, doing their best to send them all out on time.

We recently received more orders than we expected. And this means that we have a problem, which is usually referred to as “the good problem to have”. Still, not a walk in the park if you don’t have enough people to make products and ship them out to customers.

DACmini PX has just been released, DACmini CX is gathering momentum, DACport LX with the accompanying Reserve Series RCA Interconnect cable is gaining traction. All of those things contributed to an increased flow of orders, so we felt overloaded and needed to do something to fix the situation.

I’m happy to announce that CEntrance just added to its production staff in US to help us build product and also beefed up its marketing team to help us communicate with customers.

In the result, you will see our extended presence on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets. We may add contributors to this blog, as well, which will be fun as it will add more points of view. So, good things are coming at CEntrance and we are very excited about that.

Meantime, I’m planning to take some time off next week, to recharge and get ready for some new, exciting stuff. Updates may be sporadic during that time, but we will have some very good news when I return. Something we can’t talk about quite yet…

Tokyo Headphone Fest

Wow, the Tokyo Headphone fest is growing! Many more companies are making headphones. Many more companies are making headphone amps. Many more companies are making headphone accessories, such as ear muffs, cables, holders, connectors, etc. It seems that Japan is quickly getting back to business after the March earthquake — business is booming. Companies spent more money on trade show booth displays and brought in good-looking people to help attract customers. I couldn’t pass up the photo opportunity at the Soul by Ludacris booth, which was located right next to CEntrance.

Beatutiful people at the Headphone fest, and I'm not talking about the guy in the center :)

It was Halloween, when Japanese girls dress up more extravagantly than normal. These two lovely ladies were advertising a photo album titled “Headphone girls” by a local photographer. What a great thing to sell at the Headphone fest!

Headphone girls showing off the new photo album

On a technical note, I’ve purchased this power adapter from Eneloop, which is a Sanyo company. This little white box is basically a Li-ion battery with a USB output. It’s a great complement to our DACport, and allows to play music from iPad through DACport on the go, powering both in the process. What a great idea for only $50.

External power supply charges iPad, powers the CEntrance DACport

A Week in Asia – Taipei

When you arrive at the Taipei airport you see a giant word “Taipei” made up of computer motherboards. While some would think that this is high-class art, I felt that in this country engineers have decidedly won. And indeed, everything that has to do with engineering is done really well.

Turns out, motherboards are an excellent building material

The high speed rail connects the cities along the Taiwan island. This train was fast and rather quiet. We need more trains like this in America.

It felt like 300 km per hour, but there was no way to check

The Taipei fish and fruit market is a busy, loud place. You hear screaming from every corner – that’s how the local merchants attract customers to their tables.

The gifts of the sea are plentiful, as evidenced at the Taipei street market

Passion Fruit is a local favorite. The merchants can’t seem to bring them fast enough. The inside is white with tiny black dots and it tastes like a tart watermelon, if such thing is possible.

Passion fruit is a favorite all over Asia

A Week in Asia – Hong Kong

This was a short stop to visit suppliers and have a drink with friends. The view below is of the harbor – taken from the commuter boat. Of course the camera in the phone doesn’t do it justice, but I’ve found that taking a professional camera on business trips is not possible – it’s too large and too heavy. So at this point I’m looking forward to getting an iPhone 4GS, but first Apple needs to fix the battery drain issues… After that — it’s a phone, it’s a camera, it’s a personal assistant! Can’t wait…

A view of the beautiful Hong Kong harbor

A Week in Asia – Southern China

On the way to Tokyo to attend the Headphone show, we made several stops in Asia to see friends and colleagues. CEntrance is not just a product manufacturing company – we maintain a busy engineering consulting practice as well. In this capacity, CEntrance helps other companies design new products and bring them to market faster. At this point we have over 130 consulting clients and some of them are located in Asia. While we cannot reveal their names, we can certainly talk about the countries they are in.

First stop was in China. Over the weekend, a friend arranged for a bike ride in the mountains. After weeks of hard work in the office this was quite a treat!

A bike ride in the mountains was a refreshing change from work-work-work

We passed some breathtaking views in the mountains as we crawled up hill, panting and sped down hill, in an exhilarating ride.

The mountains offered breath-taking views during the ride

People and animals coexist peacefully in Southern China. I was greeted by a friendly pack of chickens, which for a city boy was quite a treat…

Meeting the chickens during the stop in the mountains

Off to the Tokyo Headphone Show

Travel seems to be non-stop this month. First it was Toronto, then Denver and now Tokyo. Too many shows, too little time… Your humble servant is off to the Far East to meet with customers this week and attend the Tokyo show next week. There may be a break in postings, due to crazy travel. But once we return – a lot of exciting news!

RMAF was Fun and Exciting

Rocky Mountain was a great success. We met up with friends, got to expain our technology to countless visitors to our booth and learned once again that CEntrance products are well-respected and in high demand.

Many customers took the time to stop by our booth to say “thanks” for the DACport they bought last year. They described how they take their DACport everywhere – they use it at work, while traveling and for listening at home. A lot of DACports are in constant service, as it turns out, improving the listening quality for people everywhere.

But CEntrance doesn’t stand still. This year we premiered DACmini PX, which will no doubt cause the same levels of customer satisfaction. Here is a happy person holding one up for the camera of Tyle Herstens, who writes for one of Stereophile’s sister publications:

More info here: