Another delightful surprise from Ear Gear Expo was located on the far end of the ballroom on a somewhat nondescript table. Ayre Acoustics was the design team behind the recent Neil Young-backed Pono device, this time around they were showing off their newest product called the Codex ($1,795).
The Codex features much of the same internals as the Pono player but also comes with a few upgrades to make it even saucier. The balanced headphone output from the device (pictured above) is a nice touch, however the dual 3.5mm connection means that you will likely have to buy yet another balanced wire setup for your headphones (unless you already own [Sony’s new PHA-3] which shares the same configuration). The dual 3.5mm connections can also be used for simultaneous SE listening by two parties. Both digital converter and headamp, the high res & DSD-friendly Codex takes a step up in the power supply section and also utilizes superior parts overall. Inputs include USB and optical as well as SE and balanced XLR outputs on the back panel.
Despite being a somewhat polarizing product for the mainstream press, the Pono has received some positive reviews by those who listen to high end DAPs on a more regular basis. I’m excited to see what the Ayre team can do with more resources, time and space. They are currently taking pre orders for the Codex and should be shipping by the end of May.