Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2012 • Hot Product

Since The Audio Beat launched three years ago (at the 2009 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, in fact), we've received more than a little e-mail from readers inquiring about Stahl-Tek digital gear, which readers have favorably compared to everything from Esoteric to Zanden -- heady competition indeed. This was our first exposure to the brand, and, after listening, we're impressed and intrigued.

New from Stahl-Tek is the Ariaa ($12,900), a 24-bit/192kHz DAC with volume control and internal master clock. Inputs include the ubiquitous S/PDIF, AES/EBU and asynchronous USB along with I2S, which connects in Stahl-Tek's preferred method: via an HDMI cable.

As his name suggests, Michael Stahl is the lead designer of the entire Stahl-Tek line. He's shown with the Opus CDT transport (top, $37,000), soon-to-be-available Opus server (middle, no price), and Opus Prime DAC (bottom, $40,000).

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