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It’s funny. The Aletheia dac-1 DAC has received several public outings in the UK, usually in The Right Note’s rooms at events like the National Audio Show at Whittlebury Hall in September last year. The rooms have almost universally won praise for good sound, even from some of the more cynical forum elements who fail to believe anything unless they can find it in an A-Level physics textbook from the 1950s. Of course, the good sound can’t be due to something as left-field as a NOS converter, especially one that represents a synthesis of all the RFI, EMI and microphony-countering technologies Vertex AQ has amassed over the years... can it?
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Following a chance meeting with Franco-Japanese hi-fi journalist Jean Hiraga in Tokyo (whose article I translated for Hi-Fi News the following year), I can fairly be accused of starting the whole connecting cables thing going way back in 1976. Little did I realise what a can of worms I'd opened up, or that, 35 years on, I'd be spending some thousands of my own pounds on Vertex AQ's latest HiRez Moncayo speaker cable.
Like the other reviews in this issue this is a system review - but it's a system review with a diference. Say the word 'System' to most people interested in hi-fi and they'll start mentally ticking off a source, amplifier and speakers. They might even get as far as the cables, but the lion's share of their attention is definitely going to be directed at those boxes full of electronic components. But, in the same way that you cant listen to an amp without giving it a signal and connecting it up to some sort of speakers, you can't listen to electronics without providing power, signal transmission and some kind of physical support. So, if the speakers are just as important to the notion of 'System' as the amplifier, then so to are the other elements such as cabling. Yet all too often, despite recent realisations of the impact that these elements have on overall performance, they are dismissed as peripheral or mere ancillaries, despite their fundamental role in the great scheme of things.