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High-End Audio / Audiophile & Music Industry News



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06 / 17   to   06 / 21

Enjoy the Music.com will be on holiday this week. We look forward to posting more industry news and site updates soon! As always, in the end what really matters is that you...  enjoy the music!

 

06 / 15 / 19

AXPONA 2019 Show Report Part 7 By Rick Becker

AXPONA 2019 Show Report Part 7 By Rick Becker
After finishing the third floor on Sunday morning I retreated to my Tracker in the parking lot for my usual lunch consisting of fine road food washed down with sparkling Mt. Dew from a freshly opened bottle. With snow coming down at a steady pace, was glad I arrived early enough to get a parking space closer to the door. Starting at the boardrooms by the main hotel entrance, I first encountered Wilson Audio speakers driven by the new large ARC (Audio Research Corporation) REF160M monoblocks ($30k/pr) in the Knowledge Room.
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06 / 14 / 19

Schiit Ragnarok 2 Stereo Amp, HeadAmp, Phono & DAC

Schiit Ragnarok 2 Stereo Amp, HeadAmp, Phono & DAC
Schiit's new Ragnarok 2 ($1499 standard, $1799 with both modules) is a pretty big deal for the company. According to them, "Ragnarok 2 is our future asteroid shuttle, where everyone zips around in space all the time and it's totally safe and no big deal." While we thoroughly enjoy their humor, Schiit's Ragnarok 2 is one serious piece of gear! Ragnarok 2 is a no-compromise design with an all-new integrated speaker and headphone amplifier, with modular architecture, remote control, and intelligent oversight. It also introduces their Nexus balanced topology for seamless handling of both XLR balanced and single-ended RCA input sources. Producing 60 Watts per channel stereo Class AB @ 8 Ohms (100W @ 4 Ohms), a modular architecture accepts two input modules including phono preamp and True Multibit DAC.

The Ragnarok 2 includes a remote control with switching, volume, and output select. Furthermore Schiit's Ragnarok uses a 600VA potted / shielded transformer aided by over 130,000uF of filter capacitance. Schiit's Ragnarok 2's integrated microprocessor monitors all operational parameters and protects against any fault conditions, including DC and shorts. Specially developed Nexus topology is their unique differential current-feedback topology that handles both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR inputs and outputs without conversion. Dimensions are 16" x 13" x 3.875" (WxDxH) and it weighs 32 lbs.

 

 

06 / 13 / 19

Gryphon Sonett Phono Preamplifier Review

World Premiere Review!
Gryphon Sonett MM / MC Phono Stage Preamplifier
The many joys of listening to analog music.
Review By Tom Lyle
Perhaps there are some audiophiles that may have only heard of the Danish high-end audio manufacturer Gryphon because they have seen their ads in Enjoy The Music.com. Although, there are probably many more audiophiles and music lovers who have heard of Gryphon Audio Designs because they have been around for more than thirty years and have earned a reputation for making some very nice high-end audio equipment. For those who might not be as familiar with Gryphon as some others, a bit of their history may be in order. Briefly, they were founded by Flemming E. Rasmussen, who holds degrees in painting and graphic arts from the Aarhus Art Academy in Denmark.
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KEF Celebrates Father's Day With Big Discounts

KEF Celebrates Father's Day With Big Discounts
Father's Day is just day's away and if you're writing about any last minute Father's Day promotion's, KEF is discounting the dad-approved Q150 bookshelf speaker in honor of the holiday. The Q150 speakers are a great way to get hi-fi sound at a mid-range price, and now they're available for just $299.99/pair, down from $549.99. The remarkable Q Series bookshelf speakers excel when space is limited. Featuring the signature KEF Uni-Q driver array with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) port design, the Q150s deliver detailed natural sound with high clarity and tight bass. Other Father's Day special include the Gravity One portable speaker, down from $379.99 to $199.99. KEF's Gravity One brings Porsche Design to deliver an uncompromisingly luxurious Hi-Fi sound space. Bring music with you everywhere, on business trips, in boardrooms and at home. Always accompanied by high-style and high fidelity. The Gravity One features up to 10 hours of playtime and has a USB port for charging all of your devices. KEF's Motion One in-ear Bluetooth headphones are also on sale, down from $249.99 to $149.99. Precision engineering worthy of the finest wristwatch allows Motion One to provide high fidelity sound within a small in-ear headphone form. Its iconic styling features an aluminum build with a sandblasted anodized titanium finish, contrasted with a black accented silicone neckband. It provides up to 10 hours of play time and can be recharged easily through the USB port.

 

 

06 / 12 / 19

Australian Hi-Fi Magazine May / June 2019

Australian Hi-Fi High-End News & Reviews May / June 2019
This issue of Australian Hi-Fi features audio news and a special visit to British audiophile, ex-Hong Kong, domiciled in Australia, whose home is like an audiophile's Aladdin's Cave. Brian Zolner of Bricasti talks to Jez Ford about his new M5, streaming, and why USB doesn't work as well as it should! High-end audio gear reviews within this issue include Grado GH3 Heritage Series headphones, Mag-Lev Audio ML1 turntable, Revel F228Be loudspeakers, Arcam CDS50 SACD Net player, Bricasti M5 network music player, plus Australian Hi-Fi does a record cleaner comparo.

Within his editorial Death Of A Thousand Cuts, editor Greg Borrowman says, "There's a dearth of live music in Australia, and it's not because we don't have any musicians, or because Australians don't want to hear live music. It's because of politicians, bureaucracy, local councils and the intolerance of ordinary Australians. It's getting so bad that about the only way you can hear live music now is to cough up a couple of hundred bucks to visit one of the 'sanctioned' (as in 'we make a lot of contributions to political parties') commercial venues in your capital city, or hop into your car and drive several hours out into the countryside to attend a music festival... except that in NSW, you won't even be able to that, because the Berejiklian government has introduced new licensing requirements that make it virtually impossible for such festivals to continue." See what's within this issue of Australian Hi-Fi at this link.

 

 

06 / 11 / 19

HIFICRITIC Volume 13 Number 2 April / May / June 2019

HIFICRITIC's Latest Issue Features Shows And Reviews
HIFICRITIC's latest issue features their coverage of Bristol Hi-Fi Show 2019, Munich's HIGH END 2019 show, and reviews of the Wilson Audio Sasha DAW, Audio Research's Reference 160M monoblocks, Bespoke Audio Preamp, Chord Hugo 2, Roon, Fyne Audio F303 budget floorstander, Clio Pocket, Nordost Valhalla 2 cable, Nova Fidelity X45 media server, Leema Sirius, Definitive Technology D9 speaker, and Naim Uniti Nova. In a new 'tailpiece', HIFICRITIC opens a platform for hi-fi opinion leaders, with this month featuring Marantz Brand Ambassador Ken Ishiwata.

Within his editorial, Martin Colloms says, "This is my first HIFICRITIC editorial since taking over the role from Paul. In future I intend sharing this column with our new Senior Contributing Editor, Andrew Everard, and on occasion, with a guest – and the same will apply to our back page opinion piece, now renamed Sound Stage. As you'll see in this issue, we'll be using that back page to draw in opinion and insight from around the hi-fi industry." See what's within this issue of HIFICRITIC at this link.

 

 

06 / 10 / 19

HIGH END 2019 Bonus Coverage: Assorted Photos And Details

HIGH END 2019 Bonus Coverage
Assorted Photos And New Gear
Featuring David Chesky, Mr. Van den Hul, VAC, CH Precision, Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems, Stromtak, Clarus Cable, Audio Analogue, and many more!
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HIFICRITIC Soundstage: Ken Ishiwata

HIFICRITIC Sound Stage: Ken Ishiwata
The term 'Hi-Fi' was first coined in 1947, the year I was born – how's that for a coincidence? It all started with mono LPs, stereo following in 1958, and the technology was all valves until solid-state (or transistors) appeared. Initially, solid state couldn't compare with well-designed tube amplifiers, but step by step improvements were made, and the new technology became popular; speaker engineers changed their way of designing, as you could get more power easily; and manufacturing became easier and cheaper.
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Riviera Audio Laboratories APL-01 SE Pre And AFM-100 SE Monoblock

Riviera Audio APL-01 SE Pre & AFM-100 SE Monoblock
Riviera Audio Laboratories has proudly announced their new top-of-the-line products, the APL-01 SE preamplifier and the AFM-100 SE mono amplifier. Both models have been developed according to Riviera Audio Labs philosophy and are 100% produced in Italy with the best available materials and craftsmanship available. Front and back casings are machined from 70mm solid aluminum, with final finishing requiring 11 processes. The main case consist of three electromagnetically separated section for inputs, amplification and controls. APL-01 Special Edition vacuum tube line preamplifier has zero feedback circuitry and operates in pure Class A for optimum sound quality.

Riviera Audio Laboratories' APL-01 SE features all tube signal circuitry and multi-filtering work together with a solid-state stabilized power supply using a non-conventional parallel circuit. There are two XLR balanced inputs (transformer coupled, mumetal core), five RCA unbalanced inputs, an Aux input and Tape Loop. Analog output includes two XLR balanced and two RCA unbalanced. Front panel control include mono / stereo / reverse control, input switching and volume control.

Riviera Audio Laboratories AFM-100 Special Edition monoblock amplifier produces 100 Watts @ 8 Ohms (200 @ 4 Ohms and 400 Watts @ 2 Ohm) in pure Class A. There is zero feedback amplification circuitry to achieve excellent sound quality. This hybrid design amplifier employs triode tubes, BJT, and MOSFETs. There's an inductive Pi-filter within the power supply, which in total has over 130,000 microFarads of capacitor storage. Transformer coupled inputs (large mumetal core) handle both RCA Unbalanced input and XLR balanced input (true balanced). All products are available in metallic sand gloss or metallic dark titanium matt finish.

 

 

06 / 07 / 19

Bristol Hi-Fi Show 2019 Report By Julian Musgrave Of HIFICRITIC Magazine

Bristol Hi-Fi Show 2019 Report
Brilliant, bustling Bristol: Julian's upbeat view of the 2019 Bristol Show...
Bristol Hi-Fi Show 2019 Report By Julian Musgrave Of HIFICRITIC Magazine
'Brilliant' sums up Bristol 2019 nicely. Last year's show was a tad deja-vu, I felt: it's not that it wasn't still the best UK trade-run show, but we were all treading water. This year there were new exhibitors, a new energy and gems to be found, meaning I got more innocent, giggling joy from the Bristol Show 2019 than from any other show in recent memory. There was even a trend or two to pick up on, but first let's take a cruise round some of the rooms that tweaked the interest of this wandering scribe.
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HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Ed Shelly Of HIFICRITIC Magazine

HIGH END 2019 Show Report
The biggest and best hi-fi show in the world rolled into Bavaria again, and Ed Shelly was there to get the spirit of the event.
HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Ed Shelly Of HIFICRITIC Magazine
It's been 15 years since the HIGH END Show relocated from Frankfurt to the MOC Exhibition center in Munich, and rarely have the fortunes of an event been so positively affected by a change of venue. As a space for an audio show, the MOC is extraordinarily effective, combining spacious halls – for booth and stand exhibitors – with dedicated rooms for larger and more ornate systems. Like all such buildings, it isn't perfect sonically – far from it, its mass of glass and concrete being singularly unsympathetic to the business of great audio. Get past this, though, and the sheer breadth of product on show makes this an unmissable event.
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Crystal Cable / Siltech Scala Speakers And Dream Cables

Crystal Cable / Siltech Scala Speakers And Dream Cables
HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Steven R. Rochlin
Crystal Cable / Siltech came to HIGH END 2019 big with their line of impressive cables and two sets of speakers. Let's first explore the speakers. Siltech's Symphony is a prototype (~$400,000) very large floorstanding speaker. Multiple woofers, midranges and tweeters work together to produce full-frequency sound capable of filling virtually every large listing room with audiophile sound. This large floorstander was on static display as seen above, so never was able to hear the results, yet it looked very impressive!
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Audience forte V8 Power Conditioner Strip

Audience forte V8 Power Conditioner Strip
Audience has announced their new forte V8 Power Conditioner Strip that includes a free Audience high-end power cord ($895). The forte V8 features eight hospital-grade outlets along with RF filtration, making it ideal for users who need more outlets in their audio or A/V system. Audience's forte V8 has an extruded aluminum chassis with a copper buss bar, with the AC outlets being wired to the buss bars in a star ground configuration via high-purity 14 AWG stranded copper wire. Purchasers of the first 100 units will receive a free Audience forte f3 PowerChord AC cord that is 1.75 meters long. The forte f3 PowerChord contains 10 AWG conductors made from 99.9999% pure OFC stranded copper in XLPE (cross linked polyethylene dielectric) with PVC jacket. It's cryogenically treatment process takes a full three days. This cable drains to ground to eliminate stray RF and EMI. It sports C688 Olin Brass contacts. All parts of Audience's forte V8 electric circuit have been cryogenically treated along with Audience's proprietary EHVP (extreme high-voltage process).

 

 

06 / 06 / 19

Furutech NCF Cable Booster-Signal At HIGH END 2019

Furutech NCF Cable Booster-Signal At HIGH END 2019
HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Steven R. Rochlin
If there's one thing we members of the press need to pay more attention too, it is accessories that many manufacturers employ during high-end audio events. Here at HIGH END 2019 in Munich, if one paid close attention, you saw many rooms using Furutech's impressive excellent NCF Cable Booster-Signal. They were so impressive that in late 2017 they earned our Great Audiophile Gift Ideas For The 2017 Holiday Season recommendation.
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Nagra Classic Preamp Review

North America Premiere Review!
Nagra Classic Preamp
For those who have a system that can appreciate its ultra-luculent and musical sound.
Review By Tom Lyle
Nagra is a Swiss company that has a well-established reputation as a leading manufacturer of professional recording equipment. They were founded about 60 years ago, but it wasn't until 1997 that they also started making high-end audio equipment for home use. I was already afflicted with the audiophile bug back when Nagra introduced their first components for the high-end market, and it was then that I knew that I wanted to own one, or, at the very least hear one. I finally have a Nagra component in my system, their very attractive looking Class A vacuum-tube powered Classic Preamp.
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Hi-Fi+ Issue 172 June 2019

Hi-Fi+ June 2019 High-End Audio Magazine
Hi-Fi+ magazine's June 2019 issue has a wonderful competition where you have a chance to win a set of Meze Empyrean headphones worth €2,999! There's also excellent coverage of AXPONA 2019. High-end audio equipment reviews within this issue include Magico A3 floorstanding loudspeakers, Von Gaylord Audio System amplifiers, cables, and loudspeakers, dCS Bartok network digital converter, Vienna Acoustic Haydn Jubilee stand-mount loudspeakers, DiDiT DAC21/AMP212 digital converter and power amplifier, Primare I25 Prisma network integrated amplifier, Arcaydis EB2S stand-mount loudspeaker, Hana MH/ML high and low output MC cartridges, Audiodesk Systeme Vinyl Cleaner Pro ultrasonic record cleaning machine, and a special article about turntable accessories. Hi-Fi+'s Ultimate Headphone Guide this month includes Focal Elegia closed-back dynamic headphone, iFi Audio xCAN portable headphone amplifier/Bluetooth DAC, MrSpeakers ETHER 2 planar magnetic headphone, and Manley Laboratories Absolute headphone amplifier.

Within his editorial Alan Sircom says, "Running a pair of valve amplifiers as the Extinction Rebellion protestors took over parts of Central London gave me pause. Just how 'green' is high-end audio? We leave preamps and DACs running continually, we run power amplifiers that consume more electricity in standby than the rest of the electronics in the home combined, and shipping a pair of extremely heavy loudspeakers around the world can't be good, can it?"

"In fact, we fare better than you might expect" says Alan Sircom. "A significant part of the carbon footprint of a product concerns the frequency of replacement, as frequently the original product ends up as landfill. The average product life cycle of typical consumer electronics is frighteningly short, and that masterpiece of glass and plastic that inhabits your pocket today will likely sit in a drawer three years from now, and then end up in a landfill site on the other side of the world within a decade. By way of contrast, an audiophile still enjoying the performance of a preamplifier built in the mid-1980s is not uncommon. We also learned to 'upcycle' long before it was fashionable, and there is a healthy trade in pre-owned audio equipment." See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi+ Magazine at this link.

 

 

06 / 05 / 19

Focal 40th Collection Celebrates Their 40th Anniversary

Focal 40th Collection Celebrates Their 40th Anniversary
Born in 1979 in Saint-Etienne in France, this year Focal celebrates its 40th anniversary. In tribute to four decades of passion, innovation and excellence in the High-Fidelity sector, the French brand has developed some exceptional products. Focal's Spectral 40th and Scala 40th embodies Focal's heritage and its modern technological advances. With its loudspeakers equipped with the legendary K2 Power cone and its pure Beryllium tweeter, Spectral 40th is a high-performance three-way bass-reflex loudspeaker with an amazing neo-retro style. Scala 40th is a very limited edition (four pairs only) of the high-end Scala Utopia Evo three-way floorstanding loudspeaker. To celebrate its 40 years in business, Focal has chosen to adorn this made in France product with a Black Silver finish. The mirror effect of the side panels combined with the elegant matte Graphic Black front panel gives it an extremely elegant and modern look.

Focal's Solo6 40th professional studio monitors are cutting-edge loudspeakers for creative types, designed to delight composers, sound engineers, musicians and more. The iconic Solo6 Be active studio monitor has been given a black coating and has been stamped as a special '40 year' edition. It's a timeless, very elegant and discreet look for this monitor, which has been designed, developed and made in France by Focal. Behind this brand new finish, Solo6 Be 40th continues to deliver transparency as well as an unrivalled degree of definition and precision of stereo image for its price category. It manages to do this thanks to the Beryllium inverted dome tweeter and the bass/mid speaker driver composed of their 'W' composite sandwich cone!

Focal's Symphonie 40th are very limited in number of this very high-end special-edition collector's case, which has been designed to provide two sensational listening experiences: intimate listening at home with Utopia open-back headphones combined with the DAC & amplifier Arche; and on-the-go listening with Stellia closed-back headphones alongside the high-definition QPM Questyle player. These ultimate sound solutions come in an exclusive numbered case, shrouded in a Macassar ebony veneer.

 

 

06 / 04 / 19

Nagra HD DAC X DAC, HD PREAMP And HD AMP @ HIGH END 2019 Munich

Nagra HD DAC X, HD PREAMP And HD AMP
HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Steven R. Rochlin
While Phil Gold already awarded Nagra a Best Of HIGH END 2019 Award for their room in Munich, I'd be remiss if there was no coverage by Yours truly. Rene of Nagra was his always-enthusiastic self enjoying music with their complete Nagra Audio hi-fi stereo system within their exhibit room in Munich. Nagra has a world premiere of the company's full Nagra HD set-up with the Nagra HD DAC X D/A converter, HD PREAMP as well as the HD AMP (if you have to ask about price...).
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Vitus Audio At HIGH END 2019 Munich

Vitus Audio #Winning At HIGH END 2019
With Their SCD-025 CD/DAC And SIA-030 Int. Amp.

HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Steven R. Rochlin
Vitus Audio, founded in Denmark by music-loving engineer Hans Ole Vitus, believes in uncompromising quality. "Nothing is allowed to interfere with the original sound of the recording; it's all about music." We here at Enjoy the Music.com whole-heartedly agree! High End by Oz in Los Angeles is their newly appointed USA distributor, and together, they have formulated a strategy for re-entering the American market. They plan to include a local service center, secondhand certification, and warranty guidelines as well as general dealer guidelines.
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M2Tech Introduces Their Marley MkII Headphone Amplifier

M2Tech Introduces Their Marley MkII Headphone Amplifier
M2Tech is proud to reveal the new Marley MkII Headphones Amplifier, which is designed to take the intimacy of headphones listening to new heights of pure pleasure. Ease of use was the keyword of this new design. M2Tech's Marley MkII can be operated by its front panel controls, as well as by its IR remote controller, and by Bluetooth using the free app available for both Android and iOS. The front panel OLED display reports all the useful status information and allows you to easily navigate the configuration menu. The Marley MkII drives both single-ended and balanced headphones, by the 6.35mm (1/4") jack and the 4-pin XLR connector on its front panel.

Amplification is via balanced discrete components, plus a FET-input power stage. This high bias, high speed design uses low inductance MELF resistors and Polyester capacitors for bypass and compensation. Up to 10Vrms are available on the single-ended output when driving high impedance headphones, while at least 9Vrms are still available on 8 Ohms loads. The output voltage swing us twice on the balanced output. M2Tech's Marley MkII offers a three-band tone control to compensate the tonal balance changes due to the driver-ear coupling. Purists can of course disable the tone control.

Versatility is also an important feature for a headphones amplifier. M2Tech's Marley MkII headphone amplifier includes both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR inputs, plus a tape output and a preamplifier output (doubling the headphones single-ended output to RCA sockets on the back panel), which allow for driving a power amplifier. 12VDC trigger input and output on 3.5mm jacks are also available. The performance of the Marley MkII can be further increased by powering it with the Van Der Graaf MkII ultra-low noise power supply through the 4-pin XLR supply connector on the amplifier's back panel.

 

 

06 / 03 / 19

KEF Goes Wireless Multi-Room At HIGH END

KEF Goes Wireless Multi-Room At HIGH END
HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Steven R. Rochlin
My Muse / wife Heather truly loves the styling of KEF's LS50 Wireless Nocturne Edition ($2499). With ease of use a given, KEF's LS50 is an easy plug-n-play solution. With over 200 Watts of amplification built-in, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, plus RCA analog and optical TosLink makes these speakers extremely versatile. These speakers share the same award-earning features of KEF's renowned LS50. Wireless features include Tidal and Qobuz streaming, Roon endpoint use, plus multi-room app by KEF means you can setup a few pairs of these throughout your home and control them all easily.
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Mark Levinson No 5805 And No 5802 Integrated Amplifiers @ HIGH END 2019 Munich

Mark Levinson No 5805 And No 5802 Integrated Amplifiers
HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Steven R. Rochlin
Here at HIGH END 2019 was Mark Levinson once again bringing true reference quality gear with their No 5805 and No 5802 (€9000 and €8000 respectively). The No 5805 brings state-of-the-art features and efficiencies gleaned from decades of engineering. Fully discrete PurePath circuitry, Mark Levinson PrecisionLink II DAC, MainDrive headphone power, and potent dual monaural Class AB amplification are the broad strokes. With the No 5805, there are two XLR balanced and one RCA stereo analog inputs. Digital inputs include USB 2.0, S/PDIF coax, and two TosLink optical.
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Hi-Fi World July 2019

Hi-Fi World July Features Reviews & Think Pieces
Hi-Fi World's July 2019 issue features your chance to win a Chord Company Chawline X Loudspeaker cables worth over ฃ500! Reviews within this issue includes the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Edition, Piega Premium 701 loudspeakers, Chord Electronics Etude amplifier, Pioneer UPD-LX500 Blu-ray player, McIntosh C70 and MC2152 tube pre / amp, Advent 201 cassette, Cambridge Audio Alva turntable, and Tellurium Q Din Statement Tonearm Cable. Within his editorial, Noel Keywood says "Not many people are going to be able or perhaps willing to spend ฃ25k on a valve amplifier. But all the same we couldn't resist reviewing McIntosh's fabulous – even monstrous – MC2152 valve power amplifier, together with its accompanying C70 preamplifier. Massively powerful, it moves their heritage forward in fascinating fashion, complete with engaging light displays. Using a unique circuit design pioneered by Frank McIntosh back in the late 1940s, this amplifier uses modern parts to wring fantastic results from valves. Don't miss our exclusive review on p10 to see what McIntosh have achieved and where top-end amplification is alive today." See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi World at this link.

 

 

06 / 01 / 19

High-End Audiophile Review Magazine

Now Online: Enjoy the Music.com's June Review Magazine

HIGH END 2019 Show Report Munich Germany

HIGH END 2019 Show Report (Updated 5/31)
High End Society Munich Germany
HIGH END 2019 show opened their doors and welcomed exhibitors and visitors from all over the world from May 9th through 12th in Munich, Germany. As during the past 19 years, longer than any other North American magazine, Enjoy the Music.com once again reports on HIGH END in Munich.
---> See our HIGH END 2019 show report.

 

 

AXPONA 2019 Show Report -- High-End Audio / Audiophile Event

AXPONA 2019 Show Report (Updated 5/20)
AXPONA 2019 show coverage by Enjoy the Music.com Staff

Enjoy the Music.com's extensive AXPONA (Audio Expo North America) 2019 show report now features more than 250 photos spanning well over 20 pages! There's much more to come, so check back daily for more AXPONA 2019 show coverage!
---> See our AXPONA 2019 show report.

 

 

Audiophile Honor

Audiophile Honor
Roger Skoff writes about "doing it right".
Article By Roger Skoff
I and my HiFi Crazy friends used to joke, years ago, about high-end audio that seemed to involve paying more to get less: We noticed that an ordinary Mid-Fi receiver had all kinds of features, toys, and goodies ("tone" controls, "scratch" and "rumble" filters, a Fletcher-Munson "loudness" control, and seemingly everything else that the designers or marketers could think of to throw in). We also noticed that high-end products usually went off in the opposite direction, offering fewer features as the price went up, with a High-End preamp, for example, possibly having no features at all other than a volume control and a selector switch.
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EXOGAL Computational DAC / PowerDAC Technology

EXOGAL Computational DAC / PowerDAC Technology
The Resounding Difference
Article By Jeff Haagenstad Of EXOGAL

Most people with an interest in audio have heard of Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) and Amplifiers. They've heard of Ring DACs, Ladder DACs, R2R DACs, and Delta/Sigma DACs. They've heard of Class A, Class AB and Class D amplifiers. (Spoiler Alert: We don't use any of those!) They may not know the exact technical differences between them, the relative advantages and disadvantages of each of them, or the reason that manufacturers make the design choices that they make. But there is a degree of common knowledge that creates a fundamental basis for everyone who participates in audio as a business or a hobby.
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Merrill Audio Element 116 Review

World Premiere Review!
Merrill Audio Element 116 Vs. Veritas Amplifier
Comparative thoughts on two premium amplifiers from Merrill Audio.
Review By Dr. Michael Bump
Some of my favorite, albeit rare, audiophile experiences have been what some might refer to as "blind shootouts." Not just A/B sessions with similarly priced, similarly designed audio components, but true variety pack shootouts between significantly varied designs and price points. These experiences have been healthy cleansing reminders for me to avoid listening with my eyes (or my wallet), and keep my ears on the music. In the May issue of Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine, Roger Skoff offers a candid explanation as to why each of us is ultimately the "expert" when it comes to defining the two primary determinates of audiophilia: "What's good?" and "How can you tell?"
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Vanatoo Transparent One Encore Satellite / Subwoofer System Review

World Premiere Review!
Vanatoo Transparent One Encore Satellite / Subwoofer System
Speakers for those who love music.
Review By Matthew Clott
I have become increasingly impressed with the quality of truly affordable audio gear. The newly released Vanatoo Transparent One Encore qualifies under both the impressed and affordable category. There is a lot of technology and features crammed into a rather petite bookshelf speaker with a single cable running to the passive speaker. Within the active speaker is an amplifier, preamplifier, Bluetooth with AptX, active crossover for subwoofer output, DAC, remote receiver and, I'm pretty sure, a blender to make margaritas to enjoy while playing your tunes. Ok, maybe the blender was an exaggeration but these T1E's pack a lot of features and performance for a $599 product.
---> Read More

 

 

Aric Audio Alpha 300B Push Pull Amplifier Review

World Premiere Review!

One of the best sounding tube amplifiers you have (probably) never heard of.
Review By Dwayne Carter

Until last week, I had in my possession one of the best sounding tube amplifiers in the world (from my small world view). Even better, I was fortunate enough to have this amplifier mated with a pair of the most recognizable speakers in the world (Avantgarde Uno Fino). On top of that, my wife joined me in the Audio Room for two(!) listening sessions with drinks in hand. It's true what they say: You never know a good thing... until it's gone.
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Xavian Perla Esclusiva Compact Monitor Review

Xavian Perla Esclusiva Compact Monitor
Accurately reproducing voice in an extremely lifelike manner.
Review By Brett Rudolph
Last year I had the chance to correspond with Daniel at Xavian. The Czech Republic based company founded by Roberto Barletta is known for their cabinetry and the materials they use in their construction. So, it was with great excitement that I accepted the responsibility to review their Perla speakers. It took a few months from the time of that initial correspondence until the speakers arrived at my doorstep. This was partially due to the time it took for them to travel from their origin in the Czech Republic, but that was not the only reason. Sometime between the first contact and when the speakers arrived, the design had been changed and the speakers updated. So, what was supposedly a fairly impressive speaker, or so I have been told, came to me with fairly big shoes to fill, so to speak.
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SVSound SVS SB16-Ultra Subwoofer Review

SVSound SVS SB16-Ultra Subwoofer Review
Purchasing this subwoofer is money well-spent.
Review By Tom Lyle

On the SVS website there's a section titled "Why go dual subwoofers?". Their reasons are simple: Two small subwoofers can fit were one large subwoofer can't, more listening position options, greater headroom, stereo bass which will improve soundstage, plus, the bass frequencies are more difficult to localize. SVS even has a video explaining why two are better than one. For quite a while I only used one subwoofer in my system. This was mostly because I didn't have enough space for two, and please, I am not saying that two subwoofers are mandatory, as I was very happy using only one subwoofer in the corner of my listening room.
---> Read More

 

 

HiFiMAN HE1000se Full Sized Over-Ear Headphone Review

HiFiMAN HE1000se Full Sized Over-Ear Headphone
One More Time, With Feeling: HiFiMAN creates the most powerful, dynamic version of the HE1000 technology yet.
Review By Dave Hanson

When HiFiMAN first released the HE1000 in 2015, it was part of a watershed moment in the headphone industry. The headphone, along with the MrSpeakers Ether, were monster hits at the first CanJam SoCal. If one were to create a written history of planar magnetic headphones, surely it would be divided into periods occurring "Before the HE1000 and Ether" and after. They, along with their subsequent iterations, have largely defined the ultra-high-end market for planar magnetic headphones since. For HiFiMAN's part, the HE1000 represented a new form factor and showcased HiFiMAN's new nanometer-thickness diaphragms.
---> Read More

 

 

Erzetich Audio Phobos Orthodynamic Headphones

 

Erzetich Audio Phobos Orthodynamic Headphones
A serious new contender in town!
Review By Gary Peter Pialisu Of Headphone.Guru
Over the past decade, orthodynamic (also called planar magnetic) headphones have made quite the impression in the world of personal audio. I remember the old days when it was primarily just dynamic headphones like the Sennheiser HD600, or the AKG K701 and electro-static headphones by the folks at Stax. Then a few new pioneers entered the scene with some of the first new planar magnetic headphones to really push these other two driver categories for domination. Erzetich Audio, a newer player in the orthodynamic market space is located in western Slovenia and is solely focused on personal audio. With four headphone amplifiers and two headphones; the Phobos (flagship model; planar magnetic drivers) and Mania (50mm titanium dynamic drivers), Erzetich Audio has put forth quite a solid product offering.
---> Read More

 

 

Unique Melody Mirage In-Ear Monitor Review

Unique Melody Mirage In-Ear Monitor Review
The All-Rounder: Unique Melody Mirage IEM delivers a dynamically explosive, musically intoxicating masterpiece.
Review By Dave Hanson
While IEM makers like JH Audio, Campfire Audio and Ultimate Ears receive heaps of (well-deserved) attention and praise, Chinese manufacturer Unique Melody is one of those audio companies that seem to fly under the radar pretty easily. I'll admit, my own experience with their in-ears was fairly limited, but their stunning new designs, Maven ($1999) and Mirage ($1099) definitely caught my attention.
After reading some initial impressions on the prototypes and a bit of discussion with Unique Melody rep, Lawrance Lee, Mirage seemed like the model that would align more closely with my listening preferences.
---> Read More

 

 

Dali Callisto 2 C Wireless System Review

Dali Callisto 2 C Wireless System
Master Of Contrasts
With their Callisto line, DALI aims to combine tradition and modernity, simple controls and sophisticated engineering. Has it worked?
Review By Julian Kienzle Of STEREO Magazine

Having worked at a HiFi studio for some years, I have often heard sentences of the following kind: "I don't need all those bells and whistles. I just want to listen to my music." And who would blame a customer for being put off by the sheer mass and variety of modern technologies?
---> Read More

 

 

High-End Audiophile Review Magazine

Read All Articles, Reviews, And Show Reports
We have many more reviews, show reports and think pieces than shown above, so be sure to read this month's edition of Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine at this link.

 

 

05 / 30 / 19

FiiO M11 Android-Based Hi-Res Music Player

FiiO M11 Android-Based Hi-Res Music Player
Meeting the needs of those seeking versatility with their hi-res portable music player, FiiO's new M11 ($450) includes 3.5 stereo, plus 2.5 and 4.4 mm balanced headphone outputs. With its support of Bluetooth 4.2, the M11 can transmit the SBC / aptX / aptX HD / LDAC / LHDC formats as well as receive certain formats. High-performance audiophile DACs are a pair of AK4493, with the unit having 3GB RAM plus 32GB of internal storage. There are two microSD slots to achieve upwards of 4TB of storage. For internal processor, Samsung's popular Exynos 7872 is put to good use to keep operating speed fast and seamless. FiiO's M11 portable hi-resolution music player easily plays back music up to PCM 384kHz and native DSD256. Frequency response is from 10Hz to 90kHz (-3dB). A symmetrical USB Type-C connector makes charging the unit fast (2.5 hours for full charge). FiiO's M11 can also be employed as a USB DAC and has USB audio out functionality. Output modes include FiiO Link, Apple AirPlay, DLNA, and Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz). The 5.15" bezel-less color touchscreen has a ratio of 18:9 ratio with 720P resolution. Operating system, is open-source highly customized Android 7.0 Nougat that supports any 3rd party apps, though do note Android Play store is not included so adding more apps will need to be side loaded. Battery life is 13 hours, with 1200 hours for deep sleep standby. The FiiO M11's body is polygonal in style, giving an radically distinctive yet visually arresting aggressive look. Dimensions are 130 ื 70.5 ื15.5 mm and the FiiO M11 weighs around 211 grams.

 

 

05 / 29 / 19

Schiit Releases Four New Preamplifiers

Schiit Releases Four New Preamplifiers
Schiit announced the immediate availability of four stereo preamplifiers, ranging from $299 to 899, as well as a new 'Product Thunderdome' sales model that allows Schiit to bring a wider variety of interesting products to its buyers, without the downsides of a traditional mass buying site model. The four preamps are:

Saga S. Single-ended passive or JFET buffer remote controlled preamp with 64-step relay stepped attenuator, $299.
Saga+. Single ended passive or tube hybrid buffer remote controlled preamp with 64-step relay stepped attenuator, $399.
Freya S. Balanced and single-ended passive or Nexus solid-state gain stage remote controlled preamp with 128-step relay stepped attenuator, $599.
Freya+. Balanced and single-ended, passive, discrete differential buffer, or discrete differential tube remote controlled preamp with 128-step relay-stepped attenuator, $899.

Product Thunderdome is an entirely new idea, where "several products enter, but maybe none leave." It allows Schiit to bring its customers new, cool things more often, and perhaps even to offer one-off special runs in the future — but without making prospects join a group to get the price down, or wait for months for delivery. The products that sell the best continue in the line.

One of the solid-state preamps, Freya S (pictured), is also the first product to feature Nexus, a unique, discrete, current-feedback topology that seamlessly handles both single-ended balanced inputs and outputs without conversion. Similarly, Freya+ is a large advance on the previous Freya, offering complete power-down of tubes when not in use, a motorized potentiometer to track the remote control, and a new differential buffer stage for easier integration with amplifiers that need differential input.

Saga S is Schiit's least expensive preamp to date, and provides an ultra-high-end relay-stepped attenuator passive stage, as well as a two-JFET discrete buffer, for use with a wide range of power amplifiers. Combined with Vidar, it creates a complete preamp and power amp system for under $1000. Saga+ is an enhancement of the original Saga, with a motorized potentiometer to track the remote control and DC heaters for even lower noise. Like all Sagas and Freyas, it also features a relay-stepped attenuator for volume control.

 

 

05 / 28 / 19

HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Greg Weaver

HIGH END Munich 2019
The Largest High-End Audio Show On Earth!
Getting there isn't always half the fun...
HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Greg Weaver
This was to be only my second visit to this sprawling, enormous show in Munich, the largest high-end audio show in the world. While my first visit had come in 2017, a massive project at my day job that forbade all members of the management team from taking any time away from our duties from mid-April (just after AXPONA 2019 in the USA) through June of 2018, had prevented my attendance last year.
---> Read More

 

 

05 / 23 / 19

Merrill Audio Christine Reference Stereo Preamplifier Review

Merrill Audio Christine Reference Stereo Preamplifier
Achieving sound quality competitive with the very best!
Review By Tom Lyle
It's time for me to give it a rest. From this point forward, I'm not going to criticize anyone for incorrectly substituting the term "preamplifier" for "linestage", or vice versa. Basically, a preamplifier is a component that provides gain to send to the power amplifier, and contains an internal phono preamplifier, or even might contain an internal digital-to-analog converter. A linestage is one that has no other functions besides providing gain. Of course, both can switch between multiple sources and provide impedance matching between it and the power amp.
---> Read More

 

 

Wireworld Second Generation Flat Ethernet Cables

Wireworld Second Generation Flat Ethernet Cables
Wireworld Cable Technology has announced the release of their second generation Ethernet patch cables that includes their Chroma 8 Ethernet ($15/meter + termination), Starlight 8 Ethernet ($60/meter + termination) and Platinum Starlight 8 Ethernet ($600/meter + termination). Their patented flat design was developed through listening tests that compared network cables to a local USB stick. These new 'Series 8' cables utilize higher density triple-layer shields and quieter Composilex 3 insulation to maximize audible and visible performance.

The official network cable categories (ie. Cat5/6/7/8) only include twisted pair cables, so these non-twisted twinax cables cannot be rated by those test specifications. However, according to Wireworld, "it is interesting to note that the 100Gb/s (QSFP+) Ethernet cables used in internet server installations are also twinax designs". The patented Tite-Shield design utilized in these cables places the conductors in parallel, with each of the four pairs isolated from the others by dense triple-layer shields. This radical flat design is so effective at isolating noise that replacing only the final cable in the network can substantially improve sound quality.

Two critical areas of performance include the density of triple-layer shields, which reduces both cross-talk and external interference. However, says the company, the controlled listening tests also revealed that internally generated 'Triboelectric noise' was still masking too much quiet musical information. Upgrading from Wireworld's proprietary Composilex 2 composite insulation, used in the original versions, to the newly developed and much quieter Composilex 3, and is said to enabled even finer musical details to be preserved.

The three cables differ only in their conductor materials. The Chroma 8 is yellow with Oxygen-free copper conductors. Starlight 8 is red with silver-clad OFC conductors and Platinum Starlight 8 is silver with conductors made of the most conductive metal available, Ohno Continuous Cast solid silver of 7N (99.99999%) purity. With next generation performance and versatility, Wireworld Series 8 Ethernet cables provide audio/video consumers and professionals with objectively superior network fidelity.

 

 

05 / 22 / 19

Enjoy the Music.com Launches Monthly Audio Gear Contests

Enjoy the Music.com Launches Monthly Audio Gear Contests
Enjoy the Music.com, a longstanding source for luxurious high-end home and portable audio equipment reviews, news and show reports since 1995, is launching monthly gear contests to bring great music to our enthusiastic worldwide readership. Years ago, the site delivered multiple contests that, in total, offered over $250,000 in prizes. During 2012, our High-Stakes High-End Giveaway presented prizes that, in total, were valued at nearly $90,000! This eclipses any other high-end audio giveaway at the time, and to this day still commands the industry's largest contest.
---> Read More

 

 

Win Vanatoo Transparent One Encore Speakers Valued At $599!

Win Vanatoo Transparent One Encore Speakers
Valued At $599!
Enjoy the Music.com is honored to join with Vanatoo for our June 2019 contest. The Transparent One Encore (T1E, $599) series of wireless powered speakers from Vanatoo is your solution for high quality music, movie, and game playback without all of the clutter. Simply plug one speaker into the wall, run the supplied wire between the two speakers, and connect your source, which can be just about anything.
---> Read more and enter for your chance to win!

 

 

McIntosh Laboratory @ HIGH END 2019

McIntosh Laboratory @ HIGH END 2019
HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Steven R. Rochlin
As many of you know from reading my previous review of the MC611 amplifier, my Muse / wife Heather loves McIntosh Labs. A much better formal review of McIntosh's MC611 monoblock amplifier is by our Senior Editor Tom Lyle so read that one instead of mine imho. For me, is the incredibly high sound quality combined with a truly incredible 50+ year lifespan these overbuild products easily reach. For Heather, it is those mesmerizing blue meters (and sound quality).
---> Read More

 

 

WBT PlasmaProtect @ HIGH END 2019

WBT PlasmaProtect For Higher Quality Connection
HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Steven R. Rochlin
During HIGH END 2019 WBT held a very informative press event on Friday afternoon and for a geek like me it was very informative. CEO Wolfgang B. Th๖rner had a wonderfully prepared speech to accompany their informative video. As many audiophiles know, WBT is one of the industry's leading manufacturer of connectors, which are used by Kimber Kable and many other manufacturers.
---> Read More

 

 

Cary Audio SLI-80HS Stereo Integrated Amplifier

Cary Audio SLI-80HS Stereo Integrated Amplifier
Cary Audio's new SLI-80HS ($4495, Heritage Series) maintains the integrity of its previous version with very little feedback, which is said to provide incredible transparency and detail within your music while also providing bass texture and impact. Newly designed solid-state rectification adds excellent pace to the music plus offers improved dynamics and bass detail over earlier versions. A pair of toggle switches select either triode mode producing 40 Watts per channel of pure Class A power, or ultra-linear mode that doubles power to 80 Watts per channel stereo in Class AB. Of interesting note is that Cary Audio has partnered with Klipsch to design a version of the SLI-80 to directly complement their Klipsch's Heritage Series product line. Black Ash, Cherry, and Walnut wood side panels are available as an additional accessory of the new SLI-80HS (Heritage Series) integrated amplifier to match the various finishes of Klipsch loudspeakers.

 

 

EXOGAL HyperDrive Amplifier

EXOGAL Delivers HyperDrive Amp For Their Ion PowerDAC
EXOGAL's HyperDrive upgrade realizes the next level of refinement for the company's Ion PowerDAC. What EXOGAL realized in 2013 was that analog sound was digitized using a process called "successive approximation" where it is sampled fast enough to catch the tiniest detail the human ear could hear. Once EXOGAL realized that, and everyone else had previously missed the point entirely, they took a look at what the company could do about it. This led EXOGAL to the realization that the only perfect approach was to reverse the successive approximation process. And now in 2019 they added a circuit called HyperDrive to the Ion, which increases the regulation granularity of our internally-derived high voltage power supply.

HyperDrive allows them to essentially drive "closer to the guardrails," which gives a performance boost in terms of output power (125 Watts @ 8 Ohms, with a peak output current of 10 Amperes per channel), improved frequency response across the dynamic range of the PowerDAC (5Hz to 22kHz), and better protection from anomalous conditions such as bad mains power, etc. All of their products are built with an open architecture allowing you to listen to the digital music format of choice: local files or streaming. All of their products are made in the USA; designed, sourced and manufactured in Minnesota.

 

 

05 / 21 / 19

McIntosh Announces Their C49 Stereo Preamplifier

McIntosh Announces Their C49 Stereo Preamplifier
McIntosh is proud to announce their new C49 stereo preamplifier ($5000) that is prepared for future of digital music technologies. Their C49 features McIntosh's DA1 Digital Audio Module, which can be replaced by newer McIntosh digital audio modules that accommodate new digital technologies. This will allow the C49 stereo preamplifier to be kept up to date with digital music formats and viable well into the future. The C49 comes with a multitude of inputs.

For analog, it has two XLR balanced, three RCA unbalanced, one Moving Coil (MC) and one Moving Magnet (MM) inputs. On the digital side, it has six inputs housed within the DA1 module: two S/PDIF coaxial, two TosLink optical, a USB and proprietary MCT (for use with McIntosh's MCT series of SACD / CD Transports). The DA1 is powered by an eight-channel, 32-bit DAC that is used in Quad Balanced mode; it supports up to DSD256 and DXD 384kHz for playback of high resolution audio. In total, the C49 has 13 inputs, and each can be given user-friendly names to simplify system setup and control.

For outputs, the C49 has two XLR balanced variable outputs, two RCA unbalanced variable outputs, and an unbalanced fixed output. The outputs are designed for easy use when bi-amp'ing speakers so that neither the highs or lows are inadvertently turned off. Audio sources can be fine tuned via the bass and treble tone controls. The C49 can be seamlessly integrated into a home theater system via Home Theater Pass Through. McIntosh's High Drive headphone amplifier with Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD) is also included.

 

 

Diapason Adamantes V, Micra III Excel & Autunno @ HIGH END 2019

Diapason Adamantes V, Micra III Excel & Autunno
HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Steven R. Rochlin
Coming from Italy is Diapason and their exquisitely styled loudspeakers with real wood cabinets. The company seeks to produce speakers that best convey a flare for design and love of music. Company founder Alessandro Schiavi came together constantly works to attain perfection in acoustic reproduction, and to deliver a musical listening experience capable of resonating with our deepest emotions.
---> Read More

 

 

Gryphon Audio Designs Delivers Best Sound @ HIGH END 2019

Gryphon Audio Designs Delivers Best Sound
HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Steven R. Rochlin
It is no secret that I love Gryphon Audio, as they produce incredibly well-build products that sound incredible! Just as it was during AXPONA 2019, they were showcasing their new Ethos CD player and DAC (€28,800). Breaking the rules of black boxes, Gryphon Audio gave the Ethos a wonderful sense of style combined with the fun of handling physical media. Am truly in love with the visual presence of this modern CD player / DAC, plus it offers top-shelf performance too!
---> Read More

 

 

Vertere Acoustics DG-1 Dynamic Groove Record Player

Vertere Acoustics DG-1 Dynamic Groove Record Player
Vertere Acoustics new DG-1 Dynamic Groove Record Player (€3350) is designed for a less extreme customer: one who is driven by performance but needs almost Plug and Play setup. This customer – from Vertere's research – wants ease of setup and use but not at the expense of future upgradeability. Back to fundamentals involved examining every element of the design, rethinking the way turntables work, and removing every superfluous element that got in the way of the ultimate aim: getting the listener, as close as possible to their music. Advanced microprocessor generated electronic motor drive is said by the company to be their best possible drive system. Fully programmable, via copper/stainless steel shielded motor drive PCB, allows for future upgrades. The platter, able to spin at 33.3 and 45 rpm, is made with high precision machined aluminum alloy with bonded PETG record interface mat and cork / neoprene / nitrile bonded underside resonance control disk. Noiseless and stiction eliminating nylon thread tonearm bearings are each made up of hundreds of three microns thick twined nylon 6.6/6 strands. There's a two layer aluminum alloy / polymer sandwich non-resonant tonearm beam as well. To keep unwanted vibrations away, the low frequency compliant yuned silicone rubber is integrated into the DG-1's isolation system, with bespoke clear precision molded silicone rubber round 'belt' that is stable with temperature and humidity. Also included is a non-resonant clear acrylic dust cover with elegant integrated hinges.

 

 

05 / 20 / 19

Silbatone & Western Electric Vintage Hornspeakers HIGH END 23019 Show Report

Silbatone & Western Electric Vintage Hornspeakers
Setting The Tone For Unavailability
Now also image you're a music lover and want the very best. Since you have nearly limitless funding, why not just create your own company? Go ahead and hire the very best designers, and then have them build the world's most esoteric audio gear. This is what Silbatone is all about. Back in 2002 I was perhaps the first to review their C-102 battery powered preamplifier. In May of the same year I reviewed their JI-300B integrated amplifier. While the preamp was absolutely incredible, the integrated did not fare as well and the company made changes to the design since then.
---> Read More

 

 

AXPONA 2019 Show Report Part 6 By Rick Becker

AXPONA 2019 Show Report Part 6 By Rick Becker
Saturday night was dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings followed by a return to the Hyatt to charge camera batteries. Attending the free concert back at the Renaissance would have been too distracting. I decided to drop down to the bar to cash in my ticket for a free drink and do my homework for the final day of the show. The guy next to me recognized the AXPONA program I brought along and it opened up an hour-long conversation.
---> Read More

 

 

Conrad-Johnson HVA1 Reference Headphone Amplifier

Conrad-Johnson HVA1 Reference Headphone Amplifier
The conrad-johnson design team is particularly excited to announce the release of their latest product, the HVA1 headphone amplifier ($7500). The HVA1 is a reference quality single-ended Class A triode amplifier designed to power low-impedance headphones (around 20 to 32 Ohms). The HVA1 accommodates two line-level inputs, with a power output of 3 Watts into 20 Ohms. The enhanced triode circuit, similar to that introduced in conrad-johnson's flagship GAT preamplifier, employs two 6922 vacuum-tubes. There is one 6922 for for each channel, with voltage gain coupled to a high-current FET buffer stage (source follower).

Each of the two channels is powered by its own independent DC regulator. CJD Teflon capacitors and Vishay resistors are featured in the circuits. The level control is a discrete stepped attenuator constructed entirely with Vishay resistors. The circuitry is housed in a heavy, elegant aluminum chassis dressed with anodized brushed aluminum panels on front, sides, and top.

 

 

05 / 17 / 19

STEREO Magazine

STEREO Magazine Teams Up With Enjoy the Music.com
STEREO, Europe's most respected magazine, partners with Enjoy the Music.com.
Enjoy the Music.com, a significant provider in high-end luxury audio equipment reviews, news and show reports since 1995, is elated to announce our teaming up with STEREO Magazine. As Europe's most respected magazine, STEREO has successfully reached millions of music lovers throughout the world spanning many decades. This new partnership continues the vision of both publications to share in the joys of music and how to best reproduce it within your home, office, and everywhere possible. For nearly 25 years, Enjoy the Music.com is an essential resource for information about the high-end audio industry and high resolution / streaming music on the Internet.
---> Read More

 

 

HIGH END 2019 Show Report

HIGH END 2019 Exhibitors And Visitors Press Release
At HIGH END 2019, held last weekend in Munch, was incredibly successful as they showcased 551 exhibitors from 42 countries (+3.8% compared to 2018), had 21,180 visitors in total (+6.5%), and 8,208 trade visitors from 72 countries (+8.6%). According to HIGH END, whose motto this year was 'Enjoy The Music':

Friday clearly turned out to be the strongest visitor day, drawing several thousand music enthusiasts to the many exhibition stands. Continuously increasing number of exhibitors 551 exhibitors, 67% of whom were international, presented a broad range of products at the HIGH END. Compared to the previous year, the number of companies exhibiting increased by some 3.8%. They came from 42 different countries and the following countries were most strongly represented: the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Japan, Denmark, Switzerland and China.

For the trade experts, it was one of the world's most significant events in the audio industry, for the public it was a unique world of experience – this year again, the HIGH END pivoted on these two areas of interest. Trade visitors In total, 8,208 trade visitors from 72 countries came to Munich. This represents nearly nine percent more visitors compared to the HIGH END 2018. The share of international trade visitors was in fact 75 percent. The lion's share of international visitors came from European countries other than Germany, with a major focus on the following countries: the UK, Italy, France and Switzerland.

We also received numerous trade visitors from Asia and America, however. It is the combination of music presentations, the showcase of the most exquisite lines of equipment, workshops and captivating lectures that have made up the HIGH END for decades, attracting dealers, consumers, as well as representatives from the audio and supplier industry, to the exhibition in Munich....

This year's brand ambassador and special guest of the HIGH END, Steven Wilson, precisely exemplifies this living, professional linkage of technology and music at the highest level. Like no other contemporary musician, Wilson is celebrating outstanding success both behind the microphone and in front of the mixing console. Exhibition visitors were able to experience the outstanding British musician live at an autograph session to acquire his personally-signed special-edition Home Invasion: In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall as a five-LP box set. There was a huge turnout, and a seemingly endless line formed in front of the autograph signing table. Surrounded by his international fan community, Steven Wilson also took time out for a few selfies and a complete walking tour of the exhibition.

HIGH END 2020 will take place from May 14 to 17 within the exhibition area of the MOC in Munich.

 

 

05 / 16 / 19

Ayon Audio, Lumen White, Stromtank, And Sonitus @ HIGH END 2019

Ayon Audio, Lumen White, Stromtank, And Sonitus
HIGH END 2019 Show Report By Steven R. Rochlin
Just as during their debut at AXPONA 2019, Ayon Audio had their sweet looking pure Class A Epsilon Evo Mono vacuum tube amplifiers (€20,000) here at HIGH END 2019. A nice set of KT150 tubes, with very high quality parts and small signal tubes, produce an extraordinarily wide frequency response from 8Hz to 70kHz. Wide bandwidth, Class A power, super clean / transparency... you need to hear these in action to truly appreciate their ability to drive speakers.
---> Read More

 

 

Elly Audio Loudspeaker Review

World Premiere Review!
Elly Audio Loudspeaker
Kickstartin' a very capable and well-designed speaker both sonically and aesthetically. 
Review By Rick LaFaver
Hello again everyone, I have been away awhile both enjoying and surviving the birth of my two daughters but things have settled down to a point where I can have some time in the evenings to pour myself a glass of my beverage of choice and not only put time in with my system, but write about it even. I have missed this so much, but I needed the right thing to come back to from my retirement... semi-retirement... or we'll call it a sabbatical?
---> Read More

 

 

Tencent Music Entertainment Group Q1 2019 Results

Tencent Music Entertainment Group Q1 2019 Results
Tencent Music Entertainment Group (NYSE: TME), the leading online music entertainment platform in China, announced its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019. Revenues were RMB5.74 billion ($855 million), an increase of 39.4% year-over-year. Operating profit was RMB1.15 billion ($171 million), an increase of 22.9% year-over-year. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Company increased by 17.4% year over year to RMB987 million ($147 million). This past quarter's results is nearly double the paying users as compared to the same quarter is 2017 (28.4M versus 15.3M). "We started 2019 with solid first quarter results and strong growth," stated Mr. Cussion Pang, Chief Executive Officer of Tencent Music.

"Our businesses recorded healthy growth rates driven by product innovation, content diversification, and technological advancement. During the past few quarters, we constantly expanded our online music subscriber base while steadily increasing our subscriber retention rate. As our users increasingly consume music content through streaming services, we are riding on this trend to gradually transition into a pay-for-streaming model over the coming years. We also strengthened our market leadership in music-centric social entertainment by focusing on product innovation and enhancing user experience through data analytics. We remain committed to investing in the provision of premium content as well as innovative product features. We believe that these investments will significantly enhance the level of user engagement for our services and sustain our long-term growth going forward."

 

 

05 / 15/ 19

Nordost Cable @ HIGH END 2019

Nordost Cable @ HIGH END 2019
By Steven R. Rochlin
During HIGH END 2019 in Munich Nordost gave us a preview of three new products. Valhalla 2 Tonearm Cable +, QPOINT Resonance Synchronizer, and a special sneak peek of their QSOURCE Linear Power Supply. Nordost's Valhalla 2 Tonearm Cable + is $4,999.99 for 1.25 meter length ($625 each additional 0.5 meter), QPOINT is $749.99, and Q source is $2,499.99 (accompanying QSOURCE DC Cable is $259.99 for 1 meter, add $50 for each additional 0.5 meter). In fact Nordost cables were within a variety of systems at HIGH END.
---> Read More

 

 

Audio Research Ref160S Stereo Tube Amplifier

Audio Research REF160S Stereo Tube Amplifier
Audio Research has announced their Reference 160S (REF160S) stereo power amplifier ($20,000). This new amplifier is said to distill the astonishing resolution, dynamic impact, musical purity and finesse of the 160M into one beautiful and attainable chassis designed for the music lover in all of us. Following the success of their internationally-acclaimed 160M monaural power amplifier introduced in 2018, the REF160S is a vacuum-tube design with dual transparent power meters that float in front of the eight KT150 output power tubes.

Feature set includes a proprietary auto-bias circuit, switchable Triode or Ultra linear modes of operation, balanced XLR and single ended RCA inputs, plus an output tube monitoring mode. Additionally, the 160S employs a four-layer circuit board, allowing music to emanate from a jet-black background. Power rating is 140 Wpc. Read Enjoy the Music.com's review of the Audio Research LS28 line stage and VT80 power amplifier at this link.

 

 

4-CHerry Amplifier By Digital Amplifier Company

4-CHerry Amplifier By Digital Amplifier Company
The new 4-CHerry amplifier from Digital Amplifier Company produces 400 Wpc of ultra clean power. With four channels of power, it can use used for bi-amplifying speakers or within a home theater system. This helps round out their 2-CHerry, 3-CHerry, 4-CHerry, and 5-CHerry configurations ($2390 to $2990), plus they also offer a KING version of each amplifier ($2890 to $3490). The KING version has gold WBT binding posts, and double rail capacitance on all channels. All models employs the same beautiful faceplate as the MEGAschino (red or black, you choose). Power output is 200 Wpc at 8 Ohms, and doubles to 400Wpc @ 4 Ohms. Read Enjoy the Music.com's review of the MEGAschino stereo amplifier at this link.

 

 


 

Previous High-End Audio News
For previous high-end audio and music industry news click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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