High End 2013

Just when you thought it was all over for high-rez on disc, EAR Yoshino has built what looks like a very serious attempt at re-establishing SACD. The Acute 4 (top, €3500) is a CD/SACD transport with a soft vacuum-fluorescent display and polished-chrome fascia. It has just two digital outputs on XLR connectors: a standard AES/EBU and the company’s own Acutelink. The latter allows DSD to be sent natively to the matching DAC 4 (€6500). This is more than a converter. It has volume control, one analog input and six digital inputs, including Acutelink and USB. The output stage uses four PCC88 tubes and custom-designed transformers, while the digital decoder uses a pair of bridged mono Wolfson WM8741 DACs.

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