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Core Sound HeadLine
Introduction: HeadLine 24/192 Portable DAC, Headphone/Line Amplifier and Source Selector

(Last updated 01/24/2007)

News: HeadLines are shipping!

Have you ever been out in the field and needed to monitor an S/PDIF digital audio data stream but didn't have a portable DAC (digital-to-analog converter)? Have you ever wanted to monitor on headphones instead of speakers but couldn't find a portable DAC that had a pro-quality headphone amp? Have you ever wanted to listen to your favorite analog or digital sound source over a great set of headphones instead of the crummy built-in headphone amp and ear buds that came with your player? Have you ever needed to monitor both an analog source and a few digital sources? Have you ever needed to monitor a source and also drive another device's Line-level input? Have you ever wanted an audiophile quality DAC and headphone amp that's good enough to use in your home High End AV system and also portable enough to take on the road?

Core Sound's new HeadLine does it all!

HeadLine is the first portable, battery-powered, audiophile-quality device that combines a DAC, headphone amp and source selector. It allows you to select between three S/PDIF digital audio sources (two coaxial and one optical) and one analog Line-level source. A switch lets you select whether HeadLine functions as a Line-level DAC, headphone amplifier or both simultaneously. Unlike almost every other headphone amp on the market, it can effortlessly drive both consumer (30 Ohm) and professional (600 Ohm) headphones and in-ear monitors (IEMs). It will operate on a pair of common alkaline nine Volt "transistor radio" batteries for more than five hours. And when the batteries' voltage drops, you can continue listening while you swap them out one at a time for fresh batteries.

HeadLine is designed to be neutral in sound quality and add essentially no sound of its own -- it simply gives you what you feed it, only louder. It accepts 24-bit S/PDIF digital audio data at sample rates up to 192 KS/s. Its performance is outstanding: line-stage noise floor is typically down at -140 dB, separation between channels is typically 105 dB at 1 KHz and total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) is typically down at 0.00055%!

HeadLine is powerful enough to drive speakers. It's a mini power amp rather than a milliWatt earbud driver.

HeadLine provides clear indications about the charge state of its batteries and external power supply. An LED on its front panel glows solid green when running on an external battery pack or AC wall wart. The green LED blinks when running on internal batteries that are in good condition. It turns yellow when the batteries' voltages drop to a point that you should start thinking about changing them. When the LED turnes red and starts flashing slowly, it's time to change at least one battery. As the batteries' voltages drop further, the red LED flashes faster. And finally, when the red LED stays on continuously, the batteries' voltages have dropped below what HeadLine needs to operate per its specifications.

HeadLine optimizes battery life by allowing you to shut down unused functions. If you're only using it as a DAC, you can shut down the headphone amplifier to save lots of battery power. If the Toslink input is not selected, the Toslink receiver is powered down. Also, when running on batteries, the S/PDIF Lock LED turns on for a few seconds when a valid data stream is detected, and then turns off.

Compare HeadLine to the Grace Design 902 ($1700), Benchmark Media Systems' DAC-1 ($975) and Headroom's Micro Line Micro Amp/Micro DAC combination ($600). You'll see that HeadLine ($399) offers audiophile quality performance and more features at a significantly lower price. And HeadLine is portable!

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For pre-sales consulting or to place an order, call Core Sound at 1.888.937.6832 or 1.201.801.0812.

"Core Sound Microphones" is a trademark of Core Sound, LLC
"Core Sound" is a trademark of Core Sound, LLC
"PDAudio", "TetraMic", "HeadLine", "2Phant" and 4Mic are trademarks of Core Sound, LLC
Thanks to HK Audio for use of their open-air concert photo. Mossman photo ©2004 OceanBridge Communcations.
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