Audionet Ship VIP ‘High-End’ DVD-Audio Player

The Audionet VIP ‘high-end’ DVD-Audio player finally began shipping this week. The VIP (which stands for Versatile Integrated Player) is equipped with a proprietary digital output using the IEEE-1394 Firewire interface which enables a direct connection between the player and suitably equipped HighBit-Data hardware from the Audionet range, an upgraded MAP for example.

Formats supported by the VIP include DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, CD-DA, CD-R (including MP3 discs) and the player boasts integral 5.1 decoders, complete with analogue outputs for MLP, Dolby Digital and DTS. According the information supplied by Audionet; “…the processing of audio data is achieved via with our digital filter technology with asynchronous clock decoupling. This eliminates harmful clock flank swaying.” Here at HFR we think that must have lost something in the translation!

D/A conversion for the front three channels is performed using 24-bit, 192-kHz multibit delta-sigma DACs while the rear channels are limited to 24-bit, 96kHz. Some confusion has surrounded the sampling rates supported by the VIP, largely due to the preliminary specifications published by Audionet, but Volker Wischniowski, hardware engineer and software developer at the company informed High Fidelity Review that: “…to be precise, the VIP supports sample rates of 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz and 192kHz.

Volker went on to explain that “…the internal bass management comprises the usual configurations with small and large speakers and bass re-direction to the front speakers or subwoofer”. These parameters are available in ‘expert mode’ where extended operation is configured. “For easy and quick set-up users also have ‘5.1 mode’ where all speakers are set to small with the subwoofer output enabled and ‘2-channel mode’ which provides a two-channel downmix.

On-board time alignment can be performed on Dolby Digital and DTS material, the values being 0ms and 0.5ms for the centre channel and 0ms, 5ms, 10ms and 15ms for surround channels. There is no time-alignment for DVD-Audio sources.

The aforementioned bass management options are available for Dolby Digital and DTS whereas a separate DVD-Audio setting affords more simplistic options.

The VIP chassis, constructed from an unusual mixture of amorphous granite, steel and low-resonance MDF is based upon the widely acclaimed ART v2 CD player, the transport itself being isolated from the remainder of the chassis and therefore free from unwanted vibration.

Video performance has not be left behind; the VIP uses a 10-bit video DAC and is able to output progressive scan NTSC and progressive scan PAL, one of the first few machines capable of doing so, provided the optional progressive scan card is installed. HFR Note: the forthcoming Arcam DV88 Plus (Ј1,000) is soon to become the first Macrovision® certified region two DVD player with 625p progressive scan.

The VIP is supplied with Audionet’s COM remote control, an ‘intelligent’ learning device that can control up to ten individual components. The COM provides a mixture of hard buttons and a touch-screen panel for the most frequently used device commands. Also in the package is a copy of Audionet’s first DVD-Audio jazz sampler disc entitled ‘Standards No.1: Retold’ performed by the Hamamura quintet, a group of five musicians who met at the Berklee College of Music, Boston. They include Masako Hamamura (piano) Jeremy Stratton (double-bass), Dominik Doppler (drums), Guido Rьckert (saxophone) and singer Skadi Lange. The disc includes a wide range of audio options, on the DVD-Audio layer there is a 192kHz 24-bit two-channel mix and a 48kHz 24-bit 3/2.0 multi-channel mix, while on the DVD-Video compatible layer selections include 96kHz 24-bit PCM stereo, 48kHz 16-bit PCM stereo and 3/2.0 Dolby Digital.

VIP highlights include:

  • Laser system Semiconductor laser, 650nm and 780nm wavelength
  • Intelligent sampling technology
  • Switchable oversampling filter
  • Switchable digital outputs
  • HighBit-Data interface
  • Four bass management settings for multi-channel DVD-Audio
  • Top-loading, MDF and granite chassis construction
  • Separate voltage supply for transport and D/A converters
  • Decouplied digital and analogue circuits
  • COM universal remote control

Specifications (subject to confirmation):

  • Frequency response 0 – 85kHz (-3 dB)
  • THD + noise 0.0006 % (typical)
  • Signal to noise ratio > 110 dB
  • Channel separation > 110 dB
  • Analogue outputs: 6 Ч RCA, 2 Ч XLR balanced, gold-plated
  • Digital outputs: 2 Ч coaxial electrical (75ohms RCA), 75 ohms, 1 Ч AES/EBU (110ohms) 1 Ч Audionet HighBit-Data
  • Video outputs: 1 Ч SCART, 1 Ч YUV/RGB + H/V sync, 1 Ч S-Video, 1 Ч composite
  • Dimensions: 430mm Ч 110mm Ч 360mm (W Ч H Ч D)
  • Weight: 20kg
  • Finishes: brushed aluminium with black printing or black anodised aluminium with white printing. Display: red or blue

The Audionet VIP is available now, priced at Ђ5,000 within Europe.

News story updated 16/09/2002.