January 03, 2013
| by Grant Clauser
It’s hard to argue with the convenience of digital music services such as Pandora or Spotify and music devices like Sonos or Apple TV, but the built-in DACs and/or amplification of those products may leave audiophile listeners wanting. AudioControl is releasing a new compact Amp/DAC designed to work perfectly with digital sources so streaming audio channels or MP3s can sound as good as possible, but still not take up a lot of space.
The system is called the Rialto 400. AudioControl describes it as a high-powered amplifier with a built-in audiophile-grade DAC. The amp side packs 100 watts per channel (two channels/8 ohms) or users can bridge two of them to use as mono-blocks. Inside is a Wolfson DAC designed to outperform the DACs often built into streaming devices. It features AudioControl’s patent-pending AccuBASS circuitry, which improves bass response lost in most digital compression schemes.
The Rialto 400 looks ideal for homes that use Sonos Connect Amps to power their multi-room audio system. The amp is small, only 8.5 inches wide and 2.9 inches tall, so it’s as easy to conceal as a Sonos Connect. You can connect the system to a your audio source with digital or analog inputs. A 12v trigger for control systems is also provided. There’s also a subwoofer output and a headphone jack for private listening.
A SMART Signal Sensing feature allows the user to prioritize which input to use based on personal preference. When the system is turned on, it is configured to automatically search for the preferred active signal and decipher the appropriate processor needed in communication with one of the system’s digital or analog inputs.
The Rialto 400 will be available in February for $799
Check out AudioControl’s multi-channel architectural amplifiers here.
Read a review of the Sonos Subwoofer here.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.