CES 2008: Will the Bel Canto Ultra-Dock persuade audiophiles to get iPods?

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Talk to an audiophile – the kind of person who spends more on their speaker cables than you do on all your gadgets put together – and they’ll often be a bit sniffy about iPods. Who wants to listen to compressed digital music when you could be playing vinyl on a £10k hi-fi?

Bel Canto hopes to win them over with its new product the Ultra-Dock, developed in partnership with Sonic Focus. The latter’s DSP engine claims to upscale and refine compressed digital tunes to 7.1 channel / 96kHz / 24-bit quality, making an iPod dock designed to fit into the most expensive home audio setup.

“Our challenge is going into this audiophile market, which is quite conservative,” Bel Canto’s Michael McCormick told me. “We’re trying to say c’mon guys, have some fun. We’re aiming to get it out within the next quarter, and we’re looking at $2k for the price point.” I should point out, the model on display (pictured above) isn’t the final design.

Bel Canto website

CES 2008 Special
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Stuart Dredge