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Micromega unveils digital music streaming solution

Ian McMurray 2 June 2010
Micromega unveils digital music streaming solution

Importer/distributor Absolute Sounds has announced the UK launch of the AirStream WM-10 from French audio brand Micromega. Described as a ‘wireless DAC’, the AirStream WM-10 is designed to enable simple transfer of audio files from a computer to a hi-fi system, while ensuring the best possible sound quality.

The AirStream WM-10 combines a high-quality DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Converter) and a built-in WiFi receiver. The unit is designed for placement within a hi-fi or AV separates system, like any other source component. Audio data may be streamed wirelessly from a PC or Apple Mac to the AirStream WM-10, whereby the signal is converted to analogue and fed to the user’s amplifier via the unit’s audiophile-quality output stage and high-grade cable connectors.

The new solution also uses the WiFi 802.11n standard, specially optimised for music reproduction. Micromega has coined the term WHiFI in order to differentiate it from other WiFi specifications, which are designed for multiple forms of data as opposed to purely audio. Apple’s AirPort Express technology forms the basis of WHiFI, with the WiFi 802.11n standard allowing extremely fast data transfer rates to ensure faithful reproduction of the entire musical message. It also delivers a 100m wireless listening perimeter, ensuring seamless streaming from anywhere in the home.

To further raise performance, Micromega has applied a sophisticated linear power supply incorporating a low-bandwidth R-CORE transformer, which acts as a natural line filter, together with a low-noise, fast-response linear regulator. This is said to improve sound quality significantly compared to the low-cost, electrically noisy switch-mode power supply that is common to standard AirPort Express modules.

Micromega has also paid attention to the ‘master clock’, which synchronises the digital data that is

streamed to the device. To combat jitter, Micromega has designed a 25.000MHz clock with a dedicated low-noise power supply. This power supply has its own winding on the secondary side of the R-CORE transformer, combined with sophisticated regulation. This solution ensures that the main and clock power supplies are entirely separated, reducing jitter and eliminating the harsh time domain errors associated with low-quality digital decoding.

The AirStream WM-10 is designed to operate seamlessly with Apple iTunes – the most commonly used music management application. It can also be used with other software such as Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil, while music can be streamed directly to the WM-10 from music streaming websites.

Ricardo Franassovici, founder and MD of Absolute Sounds, commented: "It’s amazing how capable the AirStream WM-10 is – not simply in relation to other wireless music streaming devices, but also when compared to high-end digital sources that are usually assumed to be superior. We compared the WM-10 to several highly regarded and considerably more costly CD players, and with good

source material it is undeniably their equal. This Micromega component signals a whole new era in musical fidelity, content access and ease of use in the field of high-performance audio."

As with Micromega’s CD players and amplifiers, AirStream WM-10 is made in France and available in either black or silver.

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