Auralic, a relative newcomer to the audio scene, has taken the hi-fi world by storm in the last few years with a portfolio of front-end equipment that combines audiophile-grade sound quality with foolproof functionality and minimalistic aesthetics. The Chinese company’s latest products—the new Gemini 1000 and 2000 headphone docks, which Auralic expects to begin shipping next month—are so much more than mere headphone saddles. Incorporated into the chassis of each model is a headphone amplifier with a state-of-the-art digital audio converter (DAC) that can accommodate all of the latest high-resolution digital music files, including Direct Stream Digital. The Gemini 1000 produces 1000 milliwatts of power and the 2000 model doubles this, enabling it to drive even the most power-hungry headphones with ease; the two models are priced at $995 and $1,995, respectively.
The class-A amplifier portion of each unit is derived from Auralic’s award-winning Taurus MKII headphone amplifier, acknowledged by many to be among the world’s finest, while the DAC circuitry is based on the company’s equally acclaimed Vega digital processor. While both models employ the same DAC circuitry and design, the 2000 model is available with a gold- or chrome-plated base, where the 1000 model is available with only a titanium-gray base. The main chassis of both models comes in a choice of red, white, black, yellow, or blue lacquers. And with casework by the Swedish design firm KlutzDesign, the Gemini headphone docks make a bold visual statement as well as an auditory one. Leaving no stone unturned, Auralic also incorporated an SD memory-card slot into each model, so that up to 2 terabytes of music can be stored internally, making these super docks the ultimate self-contained listening stations—just add headphones. (360.326.8879, www.auralic.com)