As you are reading this, either the holiday season will behind us or soon over. So, as we welcome the New Year it's likely that at least some of us have read our share of 2016 "Best Of" lists. I avoid these lists the best (sorry) as I can, as am more interested in what's ahead for 2017. As an audiophile, I feel that 2017 is promising to be quite an exciting year! For many, January means it's time for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where there will be many high-end audio manufacturers and distributors in attendance that will attempt to prove to all that yes, 2017 is indeed going to be a very exciting year.
This year's CES also means that Enjoy the Music.com fourth annual CES live stream will be broadcast worldwide. If you have ever watched a live stream with our own Steven R. Rochlin hosting, you know that those who haven't seen one owe it to themselves to watch. If this year's live streams are anything like the past events, then we are all in for quite a treat! As of this writing there are over 20 companies that are taking part. Not all of us will have the pleasure of attending this year's CES, and these live streams are likely to be the next best thing next to being there. Of course all live video segments will be recorded, and then remastered for on-demand viewing within our February issue of the Review Magazine.
Not only that, but Enjoy The Music.com's official high-end audio Press Center for CES 2017 features the industry's only fluid list that will enable all to read press releases from a host of high-end audio, audiophile, and Hi-Res Audio manufacturers.
In this month's issue of Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine I have the pleasure of reviewing Dan D'Agostino Master Audio System's Momentum Lifestyle integrated amplifier. That's a mouthful, isn't it? Enjoy the Music.com reviewing a $50,000 200 Watt per channel integrated amplifier with on-board DAC and wireless streaming capabilities is akin to Car & Driver Magazine featuring Ferrari's latest model. I suppose a small number of their readers will purchase the Ferrari that they feature. Yet the bulk of the readers of Car & Driver must settle for imagining themselves in the driver's seat of this Ferrari when reading about it. The same is true of this Dan D'Agostino integrated, as there might be only a few readers who will consider purchasing this Dan D'Agostino component. I hope you will enjoy reading about this very impressive Dan D'Agostino component, as I tried my best to make one feel as the reader is in the driver's seat (if I may coin a phrase) of the D'Agostino MLife, taking it for a test drive. It is quite a performer. Kudos to Dan D'Agostino and his team for manufacturing what I consider the ultimate integrated amplifier, and one heck of a lifestyle component. Vroom.
Within my review way back in 2012 of the flagship Grado PS-1000 (now replaced by the PS-1000e, which is my reference) I spoke of the audiophile community's disconnect between the price of headphones and other types of audiophile gear that they either own or aspire to own. And so here we at the beginning of 2017, and the number of headphones in the same price range of the top-of-the-line Grados are numerous, which is obviously a reflection of not only the increase in popularity of headphone, but an increase in audiophiles who have come to realize that yes, a great set of headphones are a worthwhile investment. This month Dave Hanson reviews two headphones from ZMF, the Atticus and Eikon. The cup enclosures of these headphones are constructed from wood, and according to ZMF have a "unique and organic sound". Both models are available in cherry or can be upgraded to padauk, and as reported by Mr. Hansen they are very much worth their asking price. They are both good looking headphones, that's for sure, and at a starting price of $1300 for the Eikon and $1000 for the Atticus, they both should be considered in the affordable price range by any serious audiophile headphone listener.
This month also features Enjoy The Music.com's partner magazine HIFICRITIC reviews of a new speaker by Totem, their two-way Sky, and two features by writer Ander Everar. The Totem Sky is a compact "bookshelf" speaker that sells for under $2000 ("bookshelf" is obviously a reflection of its size. I want to have a small talk with any audiophile who positions their speakers in a bookshelf rather than on a decent pair of stands). I've always been impressed by Totem speakers, a company that doesn't manufacture new models very often, as they obviously only release new models after steadfast consideration.
Also, appearing via this month's HIFICRITIC is a piece entitled "Networking Opportunities", written by Ander Everar, where he "explores the best solutions to network audio listening". Perhaps I should pay close attention, as I'm in the age group that finds this subject a bit daunting. Yes, I can set up audio traveling via my home-network and have streamed music with a component that can read this signal residing in the local ether. But that's about it. In this short article he explains the ins and outs of what to one can do, should expect, and shouldn't expect with these signals.
In addition to this essay, Ander Everar presents us with Google Chromcast Ultra And Chromecast Audio where he tells us about a small puck that in his words "could revolutionize audio". "We'll see", you are probably thinking. Well, if you are already familiar with Apple's Airplay, you should sit up and take notice of what is happening in the non-Apple world. This is a very interesting piece, where he discusses the benefits of Googlecast, and how several manufacturers are already onboard with Googlecast Audio, including Bang & Olufsen's B&O Play brand, LG, Philips and Sony, and others such as Harman, JBL, Polk and Onkyo are soon expected to launch compatible models. Ander Everar owns a Naim unit that he's been using with Googlecast, and explains how he plans to exploit its compatibility with a small Googlecast puck.
Regular readers of Enjoy the Music.com should be well aware that I'm just scratching the surface here, since every issue of Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine is always packed with loads of audiophile joy.
Happy New Year, peace, love, and happiness.