High-End Audio / Audiophile Equipment
Reviews And Think Pieces
Special 25th Anniversary Issue!
Legendary Performance Awards 2020
Enjoy the Music.com celebrates our 25th
Anniversary reviewing high-end audio gear.
Enjoy the Music.com's
Legendary Performance Awards 2020 celebrates the incredible achievements by
high-end audio manufacturers since we've been reviewing gear for over the past two
decades. Unlike our annual Blue Note
Awards, Enjoy the Music.com's Legendary Performance Awards is a
once every 25-year event, so you know it is something very special indeed! We
tasked our extensive staff in choosing products they felt earned an
extra-special mention, which in turn shows the greatness of these legendary pieces
of high-end audio equipment.
Enjoy the Music.com's Legendary Performance Awards 2020.
Looking Back At Enjoy the
Music.com's 25 Years Of Service
As we also celebrate today... and the future.
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin
I initially realized 2020 would celebrate Enjoy the Music.com's past 25
years of being of service to the high-end audio / audiophile community, it
brought a huge smile to my face. As one of the very first web-based sites
online, there's quite a bit of history that was being made at the time. Back
then virtually no print publication had a website. Decades later, virtually
every manufacturer has a web presence (and social media too!). Today, many
enthusiasts within our hobby have their own web page, some of which are
producing excellent articles and reviews too!
Read Looking Back At Enjoy the Music.com's 25 Years Of
High-End Audio And Coronavirus
Music is life!
are (mostly) still on, mountains are on fire, millions are unemployed, and there
is a multitude of "m" words that could make one mad. But there's one "m" word
that makes people happy. And that word is MUSIC. Music has brought a myriad of
marvelous emotions — magnificent memories of a better time, even motivating us
to keep vigil for better days ahead. Speaking for myself, I've seen a definite
increase in music consumption via social media networks, talking to friends, or
just hearing the murmurs when running errands.
Read High-End Audio And Coronavirus.
Make Your Listening Room A Listening Room
Roger Skoff writes about how to enjoy your music more without spending a lot more money.
By Roger Skoff
years ago, a wealthy friend asked me for advice on spending the $100,000 he
had budgeted for a new stereo system. After going through all of the usual
questions with him, like "What kind of music do you like?"; "How loud do you
like to play it?"; "How big is your listening room?"; "When you're listening to
music, what do you listen for?"; and so on, I told him something like: "If I had a hundred thousand to spend on a
system, I'd spend thirty thousand on all of the component..."
---> Read Make Your Listening Room A Listening Room.
We're All In This Together
A bit of retrospective during Enjoy the
Music.com's 25th Anniversary.
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin
a doubt the familiar phrase "Hindsight is 2020" almost feels like it
originated as a message from a future time traveler, which we have profoundly
misunderstood (h/t Steve Hoffman). Looking back during the past 25 years, and
~9000(!) web pages ago, this site was originally launched as a way to easily
answer the many questions he was receiving from others online. Back then, as
best I recall, there were less than a single handful of audiophile sites online.
---> Read We're All In This Together.
The Audio Couple
Husband and wife working together in musical
Article By Nimrod & Theresa Smit
Audio Couple – what do you do? We (The Audio Couple) review audio equipment and
share impressions obtained from various auditions and listening sessions. We
interview local experts and members of the audio community. So please join us on
our journey to get you closer to your music!
more plus watch The Audio Couple videos.
Emiko And Lenny Discuss The High-End Audio Community
Plus how we can help with the effects of
Article By Lenny CoCo Mayeux Of
Video By Emiko Of Enjoy the Music.com
Hello out there! I am reaching out to ask for any assistance you may be willing or able to spare for my home state of Louisiana, and – in particular – for my hometown of Lake Charles, in SWLA (Southwest Louisiana). I know some may have heard about Hurricane Laura that hit the state in August, but the message is not being given the
"urgent need" that it should be afforded, and that is causing some of our most vulnerable citizens to suffer from avoidable circumstances, such as no access to food, water, or shelter from the
---> Watch Emiko and Lenny discuss the high-end audio
community and hurricane Laura.
Pints With Ayre Acoustics:
Ayre Acoustics' Variable Gain Transconductance volume control.
The volume control within your system is one of the most critical parts. It is also the most difficult to get right for many high-end audio
designers. Ayre products are manufactured in Boulder, Colorado. Each component is carefully hand-assembled on-site by a dedicated technician, using only state-of-the-art materials and assembly techniques. Quality control is assured by a rigorous testing procedure, as well as a thorough inspection
Watch Pints With Ayre Acoustics: Volume Control.
How To Properly Place Speakers Within Your Listening Room
Video By Bill Parish Of GTT Audio & Video
In this episode Bill walks you through the process of properly placing speakers in your listening
room. Bill gets into a step- by- step process that was developed 26 years ago and followed
with in all his high-end audio system setups. His setups are proven successes through rave show reports, multiple show awards,
glowing reviews about the GTT showrooms, and the overall sound achieved by any GTT setup
Watch Bill Parish's listening room setup video.
Ken Forsythe, Director Of Market Development At MQA
Ken Forsythe looks back on five decades of musical memories, and the pivotal role music has played in his personal life and career.
Enjoy the Music.com's very special 25th Anniversary we're asking various
high-end audio manufacturers to give us a look into their life filled with music
and delight. Now working to promote MQA, Ken is helping with this breakthrough audio technology that enables music fans to stream the original master recording into their home, car or on their mobile. Working together with the music industry and global hi-fi brands, MQA audio powers the
world's best-sounding music services, videos and consumer devices.
---> Learn more about Ken
Forsythe of MQA.
Receiving the sound waves that are produced by the loudspeakers.
Article By Norman Varney Of A/V RoomService
often ask me how or why I got into acoustics. I got into acoustics before I was
a teenager because of my desire to get closer to the music. I loved music, but I
could hear my room interfering with it and I knew that this was undesirable. I
already understood the importance of set-up from reading books and articles on
the subject. More importantly, I had experienced high fidelity from an
audiophile friend-of-the-family and wanted to achieve some of that experience to
the best of my ability. There is no better influencer than experience.
---> Learn more about room
Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 Loudspeaker
A new and innovative design in speaker technology.
Dr. Matthew Clott
might have to stand on your head for this review because Zoltán Bay turned the
concept of speaker production upside down and inside out when he created the Bay
Radial Speaker (BRS) Tweeter. And when you see the absolutely unique and
creative Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 speaker design ($60,000), you're not going to
be able to figure out how to stand, so just have a seat and enjoy the read.
Maybe have the computer or tablet read it to you while you listen to your
favorite composition in the background.... Be sure to grab your favorite
beverage and have that cute dog (or cat) of yours sit in your lap and snuggle
in; this is gonna be good!
Read our Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 speaker review.
Pass Labs XP-17 Phono Preamp &
Pass Labs X250.8 Power Amplifier
Impressive sound quality that we've come to expect from Pass Labs.
Review By Tom Lyle
For quite some time I've been using a Pass Laboratories power
amplifier, phono stage, and headphone amplifier as references in my listening
room. There were times I thought that some might think I was a spokesperson for
this brand of equipment! I could see how some might get that idea, because not
only do I use three Pass Labs components in my system, I also will tell anyone
who will listen that I consider Pass Laboratories' high-end audio components
the best in their respective price classes. Then again, those who have read my
reviews of other brands of audio equipment will be able to tell that I approach
each review with an open mind.
Read our Pass Labs XP-17 phono preamplifier and Pass Labs X250.8 power amplifier
Core Power Technologies A/V USBe Perfect
A highly engaging musical performance from ripped CDs, downloads, and streams.
Review By Victor Chavira Of Positive
My power conditioner is an EQUI=CORE
300 by Core Power Technologies. Some time ago, the company's assets were
acquired and renamed Core Power Technologies A/V by web-based audio retailer
Underwood HiFi of Hawaii. Underwood HiFi also designs and performs upgrades to
components. The device under evaluation is a USB jitter reducer / power
conditioner called the USBe Perfect. That USB is a less than desirable method
for the transfer of music files is no longer up for discussion. Nevertheless, my
preference for USB is largely that of convenience and habit.
Read our Core Power Tech USBe Perfect review.
Little Dot CU-KIS In-Ear Monitor (IEM)
CU-KIS IEM handled all genres of music well, never being harsh or honeyed.
Review By Gary Alan Barker Of Headphone.Guru
Little Dot was a new name to me, but well known to Frank and well known to the Personal
Audio community as being one of the early voices in the field. The Little Dot
CU-KIS IEM stands as their current Flagship IEM and a shining example of what is
possible in the under $600 Universal In-Ear Monitor market. Founded in April 2006 by Mr. Yu Quan Yang (a long time audio
hobbyist who actually built his first crystal radio at the age of 14) out of his
unceasing passion for music and hi-fi equipment, Little Dot has developed many
popular products and has many loyal users around the world.
Read our Little Dot CU-KIS IEM review.
Grado Labs Gold3
& Opus3 Phono Cartridge
A nice pair of phono cartridges by Grado Labs.
Review By Danko Šuvar Of HiFiMedia
Grado Labs revamped their phono cartridges line, upgrading entry-level Prestige
series to fourth iteration (number 3 as in Black3, Gold3, etc., counting the
first versions without number as the first generation), and upgrading and
rearranging Reference and Statement series into two lines, new Timbre line
(midrange wooden bodies cartridges) and top of the line Lineage series (Aeon3,
Epoch3, and Statement3). Inside the Timbre line, there is now a new model,
entry-level Opus3, made in both high and low output versions (4mV and 1mV),
which also differs in being made of Maple....
Read our Grado Labs Gold3 & Opus3 phono cartridge review.
Novafidelity / Cocktail Audio HA500H
Made by Novatron in Korea.
Review By HIFICRITIC
Best-known for its range of network audio products, the Korean manufacturer has now turned its attention to this valve/solid state DAC/headphone amplifier, with no less than spectacular
results. Made by Novatron in Korea, the Novafidelity line is sold in the rest of the world as Cocktail Audio. The company is known for its range of network audio products, but the HA500H is its first dedicated headphone amplifier / DAC /
preamp. And there is plenty of interest here. First off is the fact that it is a hybrid design and can be operated in either valve (ECC82) or solid-state modes.
---> Read the Novafidelity / Cocktail Audio HA500H
Keith Howard supplements his headphone experience with a kick in the posterior, and find himself shaken by the results.
Review By Keith Howard Of HIFICRITIC
Bolting a low-frequency shaker to his chair gives Keith Howard's headphone listening a much-needed kick in the
a well-worn cliché that headphone listening can never match the sheer impact of
using speakers because only our ears are engaged, not our whole body. In a
soundfield we are subject to music-related vibrations that reach us via the air
itself and via structure-borne sound, conveyed through the floor to where we are
standing or sitting. We may not always be conscious of these vibrations but, the
trope goes, they have a significant effect on our perception of live or
reproduced music – an effect that headphone listening necessarily lacks.
---> Read the Headphone Shake-Up
Noble Zephyr Hybrid In-Ear Monitor
Review By Gary Alan Barker Of Headphone.Guru
It is little secret that
the Noble Katana is my favorite IEM, in fact, it is the best sounding headphone
I have in my possession period, and has only been outperformed by the very best
in electrostatic headphones (which puts them on a par with a minimum $5,000
investment). That being said, the Katana is not the end of the Noble IEM story.
At $1,850 the Katana is no longer even the top of the Noble IEM line (a position
filled by the Noble Sultan, an IEM I have yet to have an opportunity to listen
to, in fact, when I began testing the Noble Zephyr I was under the mistaken
belief that I was reviewing the Sultan).
Read the Noble Zephyr Hybrid IEM review.
AURALiC Aries G1 Streaming Transporter
Polish, software, and beautiful case
Review By Sam Rosen Of Positive Feedback.
When it comes to
streamers, my point of view is simple: software is king. Good software can make
a streamer, and bad software can break a streamer. For example, I have a
streamer that sounds wonderful; however, it crashes at least once a listening
session. For a time I tolerated these crashes, however, with no fix coming from
the manufacturer, and the crashes becoming a consistent part of my audio
experience, my frustration grew. As my frustration hit its peak the AURALiC
Aries G1 arrived for review. The end to end experience with the Aries G1 was eye
Read the AURALiC Aries G1 Streaming Transporter review.
Intro: Listener Magazine
Editorial By Art Dudley
Is Tony Rice the "best" guitarist in
bluegrass music? Before you scold me for looking at the world that way
— stuffing artists into neat
little pigeonholes and ranking musicians the way most people rank baseball players—bear in mind that I don't do it half as
much as I used to. And since kids can be forgiven for thinking like that, I have let
myself off the hook for all those nights I drove around town with my pals, arguing
over whose guitar heroes were the "best," like some adolescent McLaughlin Group in
plaid flannel shirts.
---> Read more of Art Dudley's
intro from Listener.
Fashion Is The Devil
Article By Joe Roberts
From Sound Practices
Vol 2 No 3 Fall 1994
For a while there, triodes were the biggest craze to hit audio in a decade at
least. After years of nothing more exciting than new digital formats, the single ended
amplifier exploded onto the local marketplace and captivated the attention of audiophiles and industry gums. It was different, it was new, it was classic, and it was
HIP. At first, triodes had the ultimate qualification for hipness going on — you
couldn't buy the stuff even if you had the money. You either had to build 'em yourself or import some exotic electronics from a foreign land.
---> Read Fashion Is
The Devil by Joe Roberts.
Triode Amplifier Operating Points
Article By Paul Joppa
From VALVE Volume 2 Number
5 May 1995
How do you choose a good operating
point (supply voltage, current, and load impedance) for a vacuum tube? For ordinary
tubes, used in an ordinary way, it's simple -- you just look it up in your RCA handbook. But suppose you want
to use an unusual tube (e.g. the 6CK4 television vertical amplifier)? Or suppose
you just want to try breaking the rules?
---> Read Triode Amplifier Operating Points?
Berning microZOTL Personal
An uncommonly good deal at under $700!
Review By Dick Olsher
What exactly is a
personal amplifier, you ask? Well, think compact and low power. The name says it
all. The microZOTL generates a "microscopic" amount of power: about one Watt
per channel into a 4-Ohm load, and even less power into higher-impedance loads.
According to designer David Berning, the amp was originally developed as a
high-quality amplifier for bedroom or office use where modest listening levels
are appropriate, though additional uses such as headphone driver, tweeter amp,
computer multimedia speaker, and high-efficiency horns are also possible.
---> Read our Berning microZOTL headamp
World Premiere Review!
Cayin HA-300 Headphone Amplifier Review
Simply ravishing as Cayin dares to dream big with their new flagship amplifier and delivers!
Review By Dave Hanson
300B is a bit of a holy grail when it comes to tubes. Ask any fan of the tube
and they will likely gush about the 300B's ability to shine a warm spotlight
on the midrange, deliver huge bass impact and project a massive soundscape. So
when I heard Cayin was gearing up to release a 300B-driven headphone amp this
year, I was extremely excited. Cayin is one of those companies that has a reputation for
over-delivering on value with every product. Their iDAC-6, iHA-6 and HA-1A Mk2
are all very well-regarded desktop components when it comes to bang-for-buck
Read our Cayin HA-300 headphone amplifier review.
World Premiere Review!
Monoprice Monolith Liquid Platinum Headphone Amplifier
The Legend Returns: Monoprice resurrects a Cavalli Design that captures the imagination.
Review By Dave Hanson
Liquid Crimson was one of Cavalli Audio's most legendary designs. Evolving from
a tube hybrid circuit that first spawned the DIY EHHA, then later the Liquid
Fire and finally the solid-state Liquid Carbon, the $2850 Crimson was an audio
show darling. The details absolutely floored people. The bass impact was
massive. The mids were full and glorious. The treble was sweet and intoxicating.
The stage was wide open. It was a piece people loved to talk about because
it didn't just do everything well, it did it in a way that was special.
Read our Monoprice Monolith Liquid Platinum headphone amplifier review.
LampizatOr Golden Gate 2 DAC
An accurate and unfettered music source for my system.
Review By Matthew Clott
Vacuum tubes versus solid-state are the
Audiophile's version of red versus white wine. Both are lovely and both
have die-hard fans and haters alike. I don't buy into either club
completely, and I don't want to start the next Vacuum Tube Versus
Solid-State war. I have enjoyed and currently own both tube and
solid-state gear, and use both for reviews. That said, years ago I
developed an aversion to tubes in my DAC's, partly due to experience and
partly due to unsubstantiated personal bias (hey, at least I'm honest!).
Read our LampizatOr Golden Gate 2 DAC review.
Allegri+ Preamplifier Review
Colloms undertakes a renewed (albeit brief) re-acquaintance with the
2017-2018 edition of a respected auto transformer volume control.
Review By Martin Colloms
I Had so used (and abused!) my
first edition Allegri passive volume control that the volume wafer
ganging had gone out of alignment and the input and output sockets were
well worn. In the post came a refreshed example, which was first shown
at the September London Indulgence show 2017 and reported by me. It
would be fair to say that this compact auto-transformer line controller
has been completely re-engineered, as it also now has a front panel
3.5mm input socket for portable audio sources.
Read the Townshend Allegri+ Preamplifier review.
Rogue Audio RH-5 Headphone Amplifier And Stereo
A venerable two-channel
company's maiden voyage into headphone audio.
Review By Dave Hanson
The headphone amplification category has grown exponentially
in recent years, and with it, several brands have risen from start-ups to
household names for personal audio enthusiasts: Schiit, Woo, Cavalli, Questyle,
Bottlehead and Eddie Current, just to name a few. One name that has likely
evaded many of those enthusiasts, however, is Rogue Audio. For over 20 years,
Mark O'Brien and Phil Koch have been making quite a name for Rogue in the
world of two-channel audio amplification, where their products are very well
Read our Rogue Audio RH-5 headamp / preamplifier review.
World Premiere Review!
Goldmund Mimesis 11 Digital Hub / Preamplifier And Logos Tower Speakers
Magnificent products that are worthy of the Goldmund name.
now, I am going to resist calling the Goldmund Logos Tower loudspeakers "lifestyle"
products. Sure, there are some who will purchase the Goldmund Logos Tower
speakers and their accompanying Mimesis 11 preamplifier / wireless hub who are
not audiophiles, but simply wish to have the best wireless speaker system they
can afford. But I'm going to resist calling it a lifestyle product because I'm
just as sure there are going to be audiophiles who recognize the Goldmund name
and consider purchasing this system.
Read our Goldmund Mimesis 11 and Logos Tower speaker review.
Note: We have magazine issues dating back to 1999.
See our archives section for all reviews.