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The Premium Audio Experience Is 'Fire' As We Enter 2023
More luxury events, more equipment, and most important more music lovers.
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin
we wish the challenging past few years farewell, I predict 2023 is the year of
increased growth and maturity within the luxury audio sector. With more
manufacturers and new product launches than ever within the history of high-end
audio, this great expanse provides music lovers with an amazing array of choices
to satisfy their aural desires. During 2022, luxury hi-fi shows were in full
swing all around the world. Furthermore, the great strength of our industry
shines brightly as used gear prices have been on the increase too. Like luxury
cars, timepieces, etc, the proof is always showcased within the used marketplace
as new developments take the forefront in technical and artistic prowess. We all know the past few years have brought many
challenges from supply chain and parts availability plus slow shipping and other
---> The Premium Audio Experience Is 'Fire' As We Enter 2023.
Exploring Uncharted Waters
A combination of technical skill and critical listening are key.
Editorial By Robert Harley
High-end audio never runs out of surprises. Just when you think that the industry has addressed every possible source of sonic degradation, along comes a new technology, product, or design technique that elevates musical realism to the next level. This steady stream of unexpected innovation in unlikely places is one of the enduring sources of fascination with high-performance
audio. I'm referring to products that produce an audible improvement by addressing phenomena that one would think would be settled science or that would make so little difference as to be insignificant. For example, the Shunyata Altaira system that is the subject of this
issue's cover story addresses a phenomenon that I'm sure very few of you considered to be significant — noise on the chassis of your components.
---> Exploring Uncharted Waters.
Goodbye To 2022
A year of recovery and recuperation, and yet it hasn't been without progress.
Editorial By Rebecca Roberts
And just like that, you are about to tuck into the last
Australian Hi-Fi issue of 2022.
It's been a year of recuperation for much of the world following the disruption of You Know What, though price hikes are seemingly everywhere you turn and, for many industries including hi-fi, supply
hasn't fully recovered — as hi-fi dealers across the country are bearing witness to and determinedly grappling with. Fingers crossed that 2023 will be a year of more
'normality' in that respect. This year hasn't exactly been bereft of good times for the industry, mind you, or indeed of
---> Editor's Lead-In: We Say Goodbye To 2022.
We Celebrate hi-fi+ Awards 2022
Plus the early defining moments within my audio life.
Editorial By Alan Sircom
It's the combination of our Awards issue and the last issue of the year that makes it all but impossible not to be a little reflective, and while there is a lot to be extremely upbeat about in audio (at least the world is going in the right direction when it comes to music replay!), any such reflective moments can easily hit a sad
note. For me, one of the early defining moments in my audio story was listening to a system I thought remarkable... and just slightly out of my league at the time. Back in the 1980s, I auditioned a system that comprised a Nottingham Analogue turntable, a Croft Acoustics pre/power amplifier combo and a pair of ProAc Tablette loudspeakers.
---> We Celebrate hi-fi+ Awards 2022.
From Ideas To Manufacturing
We're unlike anything else in the audio
Editorial By J. Martins
If you are holding a printed copy of this issue of audioXpress or reading it on a screen, you have
probably already noticed that this publication is unlike anything else out there in the audio industry.
This publication was originally born from what was considered once a very niche market segment of
people who preferred a hands-on approach to audio systems and reproduction, and liked to modify and
(hopefully) improve existing equipment, as well as design and build their own gear from scratch. That
spirit inspired the late Edward T. Dell, Jr. (1923–2013) to devote decades of his life to the DIY audio passion, leading
to the creation of hallmark publications including
Audio Amateur (1970), Audio Electronics, Glass Audio, Speaker
Builder, Multimedia Manufacturer, and finally audioXpress, starting in January 2001.
---> From Ideas To Manufacturing.
Boulder 866 Stereo Integrated Amplifier Review
A true standard of excellence.
Review By Robert S. Youman
The journey continues. In pursuit
of the finest in high-end audio stereo integrated amplifiers, last month I
auditioned the Aavik I-580 from the Audio Group Denmark. The I-580 certainly
deserved its position as the flagship integrated within the Aavik lineup, but it
has just recently been upstaged by the new Aavik I-880. Stay tuned, as I will
have an opportunity to review the I-880 early on in 2023. Next up is the
esteemed Boulder 866 integrated which is the focus of this review. Following
that, it seems that I will also have some time with the Vinnie Rossi Brama
integrated and the D'Agostino Progression integrated. Hang in there with me
folks! Without question, 2023 is going to be a fantastic year for integrated
Boulder 866 Stereo Integrated Amplifier Review.
On the Road Again: Featuring Greg Weaver's Home Audio System
The New Apartment Lounge's Maurice Jeffries visits the Audio Analyst at home for the third time.
Report By Maurice Jeffries
would we do without the much beloved road trip? The promise of exploring parts
known, and better yet completely unknown, especially in the wake of the Covid
Pandemic, strikes many like as perfect balm to months of virus-driven isolation.
So, when my dear friend and fellow audio miscreant, Greg Weaver (known to many
of you as the audio analyst, famous for his scrupulously detailed show reports
and recent highly informative and entertaining foray into the fractious world of
YouTube audio reporting), teased with the promise to hear a tantalizing array of
new gear, to tussle with a new puppy (a 100 lbs. Great Dane named Stella), and
most importantly, to reconnect face-to-face, I leapt into action.
Featuring Greg Weaver's Home Audio System.
Interview: Andrija Curkovic Of Hi-Fi Media
The advantage of today's audio is easy distribution of music.
Interview By Wojciech Pacuła
this occasion we exchanged a few words about the Internet and printed press with
Andrija Curkovic, editor-in-chief of Hi-Fi Media — and not
coincidentally. The magazine run by Andrija moved to a digital platform two
years ago, after 25 years of being published in print. As you will read below,
the reasons were similar. However, just like the Positive Feedback magazine,
which had also been published in print for a long time, he succeeded, in
exchanging the material world for a virtual one. Andrija Curkovic, editor-in-chief of the online Hi-Fi
Media magazine, tells Wojciech Pacula about the transformation as well
as his first musical and sonic fascinations, audio in former Yugoslavia and
---> Interview: Andrija Curkovic Of
Focal Utopia Headphones Third Edition Review
After six years on sale, Focal's flagship headphone receives a comprehensive
revision, drawing on the company's speaker expertise to stay competitive.
Review By Ed Shelly
the point when Focal's commitment to the headphone category stepped up a gear.
Up to then, the company had been content to produce relatively affordable
models, contesting the newly created 'nomad' category of headphones that could
be used both at home and on the move, but the release of three considerably more
expensive models marked a shift upmarket and much of the credibility that
underpinned this was supplied by the flagship. As well as making use of the
Utopia name for the first time on a headphone, Focal also employed beryllium for
a driver material.
Focal Utopia Headphones Third Edition Review.
World Premiere Review!
LessLoss BlackGround 10X Power Base Review
A breakthrough technology that minimizes ambient
EMI in the listening environment with stunning results.
Review By Rick Becker
is a scientist who thinks about electricity beyond the wire. He's up there in
that class of audio savants with Ted Denny of Synergistic Research, the late
Jack Bybee, Rick Schultz of the former High Fidelity Cables, and likely a few
others. A look at his website will tell you a lot about him. To call him an
engineer borders on insult, but he's one of those, too. He works with an actual
electrical engineer at LessLoss, Vilmantas "Vil" Duda, who presumably keeps
Louis from violating any laws of physics. Like other innovators in high-end
audio, Louis has developed a legion of followers. One of them in Germany is
responsible for tuning me into LessLoss. I was grateful for the opportunity to review
his Firewall 640X, Firewall for Loudspeakers, Entropic C-MARC Power Cord, and
Bindbreaker footers back in March 2022.
LessLoss BlackGround 10X Power Base Review.
FiiO FH7S In-Ear Monitor Review
Great dynamics, impact, timbre, tonal balance, soundstage, and resolution.
Review By Gary Alan Barker
seems to improve their art with each new offering, and the new FiiO FH7S is no
exception. Despite being one step down from the top of their hybrid line of
IEMs, the FH7S features the introduction of their new HS18 eartips which are
only 0.4mm thick which I discovered in my video review below provided an
excellent seal and added comfort. The FH7S is a five-driver hybrid IEM featuring one 13.6mm
dynamic driver employing a diamond-like carbon diaphragm and four custom Knowles
balanced armature drivers including DFK midrange drivers, which consist of two
BAs joined together in a resonance canceling configuration.
---> FiiO FH7S In-Ear Monitor Review.
Vintage Audio Series, Episode 1
Amplifiers: Get bang for your buck, not a banged up amp.
Video By eCoustics
eCoustics' seven-part podcast series on vintage audio begins with a look at amplifiers, preamplifiers and receivers. This episode is hosted by our vintage hi-fi experts Eric Pye and Jeremy
Sikora; moderated by Mitch Anderson of Black Circle Radio. Does the concept of investing in a vintage tube or solid state amplifier or receiver sound like a solid path forward? Before you take that blind leap down the rabbit hole, the eCoustics Vintage Audio team explains everything you need to know about brands, features, power ratings, repairs, sound quality, and the long-term viability of your purchase. Don't make mistakes and find yourself in repair limbo -- get the most bang for your buck and don't end up with a banged up
Video: Vintage Audio Series, Episode 1.
hi-fi+ 2022 Product Of The Year Awards Preview
This episode gives you an advanced look at
hi-fi+'s 2022 Awards.
Video By hi-fi+
Within this special episode of Tea Time with Alan and Pete,
hi-fi+ Editor Alan Sircom and Publisher Pete Collingwood-Trewin preview the 2022 Awards issue and reveal the Product of the
Year. hi-fi+ magazine has been a pioneer in the global audio market since the early 1990s. Since the mid-2000s,
hi-fi+ has progressively expanded its platforms to include web, newsletter, digital magazine, social media and YouTube. With a focus on high-performance, high-design audio,
hi-fi+ serves a global audience of more than 300,000 audiophiles.
hi-fi+ 2022 Product Of The Year Awards Preview.
The Audio Analyst's 100th Video!
Our Senior Editor, Greg Weaver, reaches triple digit videos!
This marks the one-hundredth episode of my channel... and so many things have changed since its launch. Join me in celebrating what
we've accomplished, and to see where things are headed over the next six months and
beyond. It has been just over one year since I retired from the world of IT Management and refocused all my efforts on my pursuit and enjoyment of my audio passions. I am incredibly pleased to say that at this point, the channel has built a particularly specific and faithful audience and has received some remarkable feedback and
support. Further, my video production has changed, some feel for the better, and while I had semi-retired my martini, the response to the survey strongly supported its return. I heard you all, and it will.
---> The Audio Analyst's 100th Video!
Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2022 Show Report
CAF 2022 premium luxury audio event coverage.
Capital Audiofest (CAF) started out in 2010 as a very casual show and has
evolved into a well-organized and well-attended event. CAF is recognized as a
fun, friendly, and family-oriented show where you often see families strolling
from room to room listening to music and auditioning gear. You could also browse
the multiple bins of vinyl LP records, CDs, and hi-fi accessories in the Atrium
Marketplace. During the event there was wonderful live music plus Enjoy the Music.com
sponsored the Thursday night vendor / press party with live music and free
drinks for attendees! This year marks the largest CAF to date!
---> Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2022 Show Report.
Magazine: The Intro
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. (John McLaughlin: "Who's heavier, Jeff Beck or Jimmy Page?"
Jack Germond: "I think it's Jimmy Page." John McLaughlin: "Wrong
again. Pat Buchanan, who's heavier...?").
---> Listener Magazine: The Intro.
The Age Of Hyper-Reality
Editorial From Sound Practices
In a nearly incomprehensible essay about our slow and steady drift away from reality
as we knew it towards a fragmentary, unrooted, "virtual" existence, the post modernist
Baudrillard observes that the deep problems of high-fidelity audio illuminate and
embody the core principles of a universal crisis of being in the contemporary
world. Baudrillard outlines a "stereophonic" model of social practice and argues that we have
moved beyond old-fashioned cause and effect related history into a non-linear
quasi-reality grounded only in simulation, the powerful legacy of modern communication
technology and the profound capacities for re-production that our wondrous machines
---> The Age Of
My Own Triode Input MK III
Dan remakes a Dyna MKIII to 'juice his lizard'.
By Dan Schmalle From VALVE Issue 9, September 1994
bad graphic representation of a very pretty amp. Squint to see the Tung-Sol 6550's, new tube
Vitamin Q caps, new bias pot location, and cool
paint job. Some of you may remember that I was
so enamored of the Mklll's I modified
for Chris that I wangled a pair for myself.
As I recall I bought a Fisher 20A,
swapped that and some other stuff for a MkIV, and then swapped the MklV and
a pair of Ampex monoblocks for the Mklll's. Then I swapped a Philco Model
60 cathedral radio for a quad of Tung
Sol 6550 tubes. Then I made my list of parts for
the mod. I ordered polypropylene caps
and metal film and power resistors from
Mouser, and axial electrolytics from Antique
---> My Own Triode Input MK
LampizatOr MM2 Moving-Magnet (MM) Phono
Beautiful to behold and a joy to use.
Review By Brett Rudolph
have always been one of my favorite sources for my playback system. They are
highly customizable, straightforward to use. They tend to offer a great bang for
the buck, especially on the entry-level ones. In fact, you can purchase a more
expensive turntable, start with a reasonably inexpensive cartridge that sounds
great and move into higher performance ones over time, if you wish. Of course,
there is a downside. They do require a bit more care and feeding than their
digital brethren. The two main types of cartridges on the market are moving
magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC). They both have their advantages and
disadvantages. However, as a rule, moving magnet cartridges tend to be less
expensive to date.
LampizatOr MM2 Moving-Magnet (MM) Vacuum Tube Phono Stage Review.
DS Audio DS-E1 Optical Phono Cartridge / Phono Energizer
And DS Audio ION 001 Vinyl Ionizer Review
New heavyweight contenders!
Review By Maurice Jeffries
encounter with DS Audio's fascinating line of optical cartridges and matching
phono energizers (the term that DS Audio uses to describe the outboard power
supply/phono equalization units supplied with each cartridge) occurred at the
2020 Florida Audio Expo Show, held last February in sunny Tampa, Florida.
Musical Surroundings distributes DS Audio's growing line of products here in
the United States. In the Musical Surroundings suite, company head honcho Garth
Leerer and his team put together a swell little system headlined by the
affordable and overachieving Maggie .7 speakers, a stem-to-stern suite of Rogue
electronics, Wire World cables, an eye-catching cobalt blue AMG Giro turntable,
and matching arm, this fronted by an entry-level DS Audio DS-E1 optical
cartridge and matching phono energizer.
DS Audio DS-E1 Optical Phono Cartridge / Phono Energizer And DS Audio ION 001
Vinyl Ionizer Review.
Meze Audio Elite Masterpiece Open Back Headphones Review
Meze's Elite headphones are a heavyweight champion in
Review By Frank Iacone
Antonio Meze leader designer and founder of Meze started ten
years ago with a simple headphone design that took the country by storm. The
year following they began working with Rinaro Isodynamic located in Ukraine whom
for over 30 years had been working on completing their hybrid array technology. Meze's Empyrean was the first to use the technology and
received worldwide awards for best-sounding headphones when it hit the market.
Priced at $2999, and still available, it is regarded as one of the best sounding
and most comfortable headphones. Three years in development the Elite has many of the same
features as the Empyrean with a more refined and new Rinaro designed driver.
---> Meze Audio Elite
Bowers & Wilkins 805 D4 Standmounted Monitor Speaker Review
The latest generation of the British company's flagship speaker series is here; Ed Shelly has set about the smallest member of the range to see what makes it
Review By Ed Shelly
Series has long occupied a unique place in high-end audio. Such is the market
share that Bowers & Wilkins has of the total sales of speakers in this price
category that the models that result enjoy both a ubiquity and economy of scale
nothing else can really match. Insofar as a 'normal' member of the public can
envisage a high end speaker, it's generally the 800 Series that springs to mind.
For those more familiar with the high-end category, the 800
Series still holds considerable interest as a demonstration of design features
Bowers & Wilkins will no doubt trickle down its range in due course and are
likely to influence other manufacturers, too.
Bowers & Wilkins 805 D4 Monitor Review.
World Premiere Review!
Dynamic Sounds Associates Amp I Review
Class-A tour de force!
Review By Greg Weaver
had the pleasure of writing about Dynamic Sounds Associates gear for over 16
years now, with my first take on the original Phono-ONE phonostage appearing
back in November of 2004! Since that time, I've reviewed, or used as reference,
the superb Phono II phonostage (with the Phono III coming on deck soon!), the
I Linestage, and now, I am privileged to bring you the world premiere review
of the exceptional Amp I monoblocks. The engineering mind behind all
these fresh and exceptional designs is one Dr. Douglas Hurlburt, whom I first
met while living in southern Maryland during the early to mid-nineteen nineties.
Dynamic Sounds Associates Amp I review.
Nagra Tube DAC And Classic PSU Power
Sonic glory... worth it!
is a Swiss audio equipment manufacturer that has been in business for over 65
years. Their professional portable tape records were an industry standard for
many decades, even appearing as props in many films and television shows. Their
reputation was rock-solid even before they started manufacturing high-end audio
equipment in the 21st Century. Because of this, and because of the fine high-end audio
components they've been designing and manufacturing since 2012, I suppose there
are many audiophiles, and plenty of non-audiophile, who might add the Nagra Tube
DAC and its matching Classic PSU power supply to their systems without an
audition, or without reading reviews on the subject.
Nagra Tube DAC and Classic PSU Power Supply.
How A Vinyl Record Is Made
We tour Quality Record Pressings / Acoustic Sounds vinyl LP pressing plant.
Enjoy the Music.com presents to you our tour of the Quality Record Pressings (Acoustic Sounds) vinyl LP pressing plant. We join plant manager Gary and owner Chad Kassem as they take us on a step-by-step journey through how a vinyl LP record is produced. As always, in the end what really matters is that you... Enjoy the
How A Vinyl LP Record Is Made.
Audiophile Gift 2022 December
Audiophile Gift 2021 December
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