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Elevating Everyday Sound

Brent Butterworth

Many experts consider the Super Audio CD format to be the finest audio technology yet created. Esoteric Audio’s SA-50 not only plays SACDs, it also upconverts sound from ordinary CDs into the high-resolution Direct Stream Digital format used by SACD. Those with extensive collections of CDs will rejoice to hear their cherished old discs approach the quality of more modern technologies. The $5,000 SA-50 also has digital inputs, so it can perform the same upconversion magic with digital audio signals from, say, a computer or a satellite -TV tuner. It even has a computer-friendly USB input. An internal digital volume control allows the SA-50 to be connected directly to an amplifier; no preamplifier is needed. Esoteric packed all of this impressive technology into an elegant, understated chassis that even an interior designer might not want to hide in a closet. (323.726.0303, www.teac.com/esoteric)

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