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Unlike our reviews from in Germany and in Poland which are shared via translation, John Darko's Australian website is in English already to not warrant any syndication. The following review thus appears exclusively on 6moons. For those curious about John's latest writings on, the above banner links directly to it. - Ed.

Reviewer: John Darko
Financial Interest
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Source: 2010 Mac Mini, Logitech Squeezebox Touch, Pure i20 iPod dock, MacBook Air
DAC: Audio-gd Reference 10.2, Schiit Bifrost, Metrum Octave NOS Mini [on loan], PSAudio PerfectWave MKII [on loan], CEntrance DACMiniPX [on loan]
Amplifier: Audio-gd Reference 10.2 as preamp, Audion EL34 Sterling, Sansui AU-417, Burson HA-160
Loudspeakers: ProAc Tablette Reference 8, Zu Omen standmounts
Headphones: AKG K-702
Cables: QED A-B USB, 2 x Black Cat Silverstar digital interconnect, WLM Lyros interconnect, WLM Stratos speaker cable
Stands: Open frame 50cm high unknown brand, Atacama Nexus 6i w/atabites
Review Component Retail: $599

When it comes to attaining from a digital front end a sound that's not anaemic or lifeless, one cannot simply dismiss the game as done and dusted, flick the hand and quip about "just ones and zeroes". The arrival timing of those ones and zeroes to your DAC chip will impact what you hear. These timing variations are known as jitter and the accuracy of data timing depends upon an oscillator (data clock). There is no real-life perfect data clock but it is possible to improve upon clock accuracy to hold back jitter's audible degradation. Steve Nugent at Empirical Audio is a firm believer that the clock is the single most important thing in digital audio. His new Synchro-Mesh follows advances made with Hynes regulator tech in both the well-established Pace Car USB reclocker and Off-Ramp USB converter.

But enough already with USB. Why should computer users have all the fun? The Synchro-Mesh aims to bring the Squeezebox/Sonos brethren in from the cold. It's a single black box powered by a switch-mode PSU and it's here to reclock your S/PDIF: Toslink, coax and 75Ω BNC - one each on both input and output which are galvanically isolated. Yours for US$599.

"The Synchro-Mesh is a resampler/reclocker with digital inputs and digital outputs. It typically inserts between a digital source device such as a CD transport or Sonos and drives a DAC, SS receiver or digital processor. It has coaxial BNC, coaxial RCA and Toslink optical inputs and outputs. It accepts incoming sample rates from 44.1 to 192kHz and resamples to either 44.1 or 96kHz depending on the configuration ordered. It utilizes the same low-jitter clock used in the standard Off-Ramp as well as an Empirical Audio-designed Hynes regulator. For typical sources like Sonos, Apple TV or a CD transport, the Synchro-Mesh improves the jitter in the audio stream and results in better imaging, detail rendering and dynamics. The Synchro-Mesh has 16/24 bit-depth settings which are chosen on power-up. Generally we recommend 24 bits if the DAC will accept this.The Synchro-Mesh provides a significant step-up in sound quality for most digital sources. The Sonos for instance becomes very pleasant to listen to all day long without fatigue."

My two Squeezeboxen haven't seen much daylight these past twelve months. They've been boxed up in a cupboard whilst I've enjoyed superior aural nourishment from a 2010 MacMini running SqueezeSlave—a command-line Squeezebox software emulator—into an Audiophilleo or JKSPDIF. Not even some minor mods to the Audio-gd digital interface could bring it up to par with those two rulers of the budget USB converter roost. Close but no cigar Kingwa! Maybe his V2 with Tenor USB chip will be better? Still, that digital interface was previously the only way to lift up a Squeezebox Touch's digital output out of the ordinary.