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The 2024 Florida International Audio Expo's Happy Hour
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Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors Florida Intl Audio Expo 2024.
Occasional Column: The Musical Point
systems are communicators - not just modes of communication.
Article By Jules Coleman
The audio community is a community – actually, many
overlapping and intersecting ones. Like other communities, its members share
norms, support and encourage excellence in one another, celebrate achievements,
mourn losses, welcome new additions, and more. Communities communicate. This is
an obvious truth; perhaps even a banal one. It's not always bad to be obvious or
banal, however. After all, 'obvious truths' come in two varieties: those so
obvious they require no defense or argument in their favor; and those that are
obvious only after the argument for them has been made. And while many
banalities are simply that, the history of ideas is basically a catalog of great
works expanding on apparent banalities.
Occasional Column: The Musical Point Of View.
The Things That Stand Out
As we start a new year for this publication,
it's time to offer some perspective
about the things that inspire us for 2024.
Editorial By J. Martins
Following my previous reference to the
Urbanista Malibu, the world's first self-charging wireless speaker using
an integrated Powerfoyle membrane that charges the battery whenever
exposed to indoor or outdoor light, Exeger, the developer of the
Powerfoyle technology, is now top of mind for 2024. We will attend
Exeger's press conference, selected to be part of the Official CES 2024
Media Days, which is in itself a significant honor and a sign of the
impact this Swedish company is having on the technology world. Exeger
has also announced a strategic partnership with Tymphany, one of the
largest OEM / ODMs of speakers and audio systems in the world, to
produce a self-powered speaker that will be unveiled at CES 2024.
---> The Things That Stand
hi-fi+'s 2023 Product Awards
We highlight the finest products we've reviewed during 2023.
Editorial By Alan Sircom
Our annual Awards issue is also the last issue of the year. So
it's hard to avoid trying to take stock of the events of that year and make some predictions for the year
ahead. Looking at those dozens upon dozens of pages of awards on our 'flat plan' (the colour-coded map of all the pages in a magazine) points to one overarching conclusion about the audio world; we are living in a golden age; right here, right
now! That golden age might not be reflected in sales figures (the audio market of half a century or more ago was shifting a lot more boxes than today), but in terms of performance and scope, our forefathers would be shocked at the near-limitless potential for high-performance sound
---> hi-fi+'s 2023 Product Awards.
Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2023 Show Report
CAF 2023 premium luxury audio event coverage.
Capital Audiofest (CAF)
is the Northeast's favorite audio show! CAF started out in 2010 as a very casual show and has evolved into a well-organized and well-attended event that most everyone in the audio industry knows
about. CAF is recognized as a fun, friendly and family-oriented show, where you often see families strolling from room to room listening to music, auditioning gear and browsing the multiple bins of vinyl records, CDs and accessories in the Atrium Marketplace. In the evenings we have live music in the bar and special live performers in the Theater, and local distillers offering
tasting. During the
event will be wonderful live music plus Enjoy the Music.com in once
again sponsoring the
Thursday night vendor / press party with live music and free drinks!
---> Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2023 Show
Dan Clark Audio E3 Closed-Back Planar Magnetic Headphones Review
The bar is raised.
Review By Gary Alan Barker
DNA I was treated to a transformative experience at CanJam SoCal 2023 in the
form of a preview of what was soon to become one of my favorite Headphones, and
in all likelihood the best value in a headphone period, the Dan Clark Audio E3
Closed-Back Planar Magnetic Headphone. As soon as a production sample became available I was sent one
for review. Since the Dan Clark Audio ETHER C Flow was my first
reference headphone, and the Dan Clark Audio STEALTH is my favorite
non-electrostatic headphone, I found the idea of reviewing what amounts to the
updated replacement of the ETHER C Flow to be very exciting. These headphones
employ an all-new fifth-generation planar magnetic
driver featuring new diaphragm materials combined with highly optimized V-Planar
knurling and an all-new tensioning system for a more uniform and consistent
performance, lower distortion, and enhanced consistency.
Dan Clark Audio E3 Closed-Back Planar Magnetic Headphones Review.
FiiO Q15 Desktop / Portable Hi-Res Music DAC And Headphone Amplifier Review
An overachiever that exceeded my expectations.
Review By Tom Lyle
FiiO Q15 desktop / portable Hi-Res Audio and Hi-Res Music DAC and headphone amplifier
(headamp) is a small device that well earns its' category. One can call it a
portable device. Still, it is a bit heavier than your average DPA (Digital Audio
Player, at first popularized by Apple's iPod device) that weights 305 grams
(about half a pound). Many might consider it more at home when used as part of a
desktop system. Some of the features of the Q15 should be
familiar to anyone who has had some experience with portable listening devices,
but the Q15 goes far beyond what most would expect from this device. It is
priced at $399 and is at the top of the FiiO Hi-Res DAC / headphone amp line. Spoiler Alert: Audiophiles should consider the
FiiO Q15 a stone-cold bargain.
FiiO Q15 Desktop / Portable Hi-Res Music DAC And Headphone Amplifier Review.
Lejonklou Boazu Stereo Integrated Amplifier Review
Enjoying music presented intact, in balance, and fully rendered.
Review By Jules Coleman
A while ago, I was on a call with Don Better, an audio industry veteran,
proprietor of Don Better Audio in Cleveland, and accomplished musician. Don has
a great ear. When Don Better talks, I listen. During the conversation, I asked
if he had heard anything new and impressive. Without hesitation, he mentioned
Lejonklou electronics, at the time a brand entirely unknown to me. Don is not
prone to hyperbole, and so my interest was piqued when he characterized
Lejonklou as 'solid-state Shindo.' Having previously owned full Shindo systems
for over a decade, I put Lejonklou on my short list of components to look into. Just prior to the 2021 global health event, during what is
euphemistically referred to as 'downsizing,' I had settled into listening to the
Auditorium 23 Solovox open baffle speaker as the centerpiece of my go-to
Lejonklou Boazu Stereo Integrated Amplifier Review.
OAD UP1 MM/MC Phono Stage Review
The simplest things are often the truest.
Review By Greg Borrowman
Jon De Sensi, the founder, owner and lead designer of the all-Australian,
Melbourne-based brand OAD UltraFidelity has been exceptionally busy of late,
bringing to fruition models that have been in the pipeline for many years,
including the Vajra power amplifier and Padma preamplifier, which I have
previously reviewed for Australian Hi-Fi magazine. The OAD UP1 reviewed here was apparently designed as a direct
result of requests from De Sensi's network of hi-fi retailers, though he told me
that most of the pressure came from the owner of a famous salon in Melbourne. I
know who it is, but I've been sworn not to name names! The design brief that underpinned the development of the OAD
UltraFidelity UP1 stated that it be affordable and have sufficient flexibility
to accommodate any moving-coil cartridge on the planet. According to De Sensi,
in the more than three years the UP1 has been available, many hundreds have been
sold and so far....
OAD UP1 MM/MC Phono Stage Review.
Capital Audiofest 2023 Bonus
Videos By Greg Weaver
Join the audio analyst Greg Weaver for his must-see bonus CAF 2023 videos.
Video By Greg Weaver (a.k.a. The Audio Analyst)
First up, we hear from CEO Valerio Cora and Vice President of Sales Allan Haggar at the revitalized Audio Research Corporation. Thanks to Greg's fast-thinking, he was able to get them to take a break from the Capital Audiofest 2023 show to sit down to talk about the recent ownership
changes. Val has great plans for Audio Research Corporation that will provide growth of this time-honored iconic American electronics manufacturer. This is some very interesting, and exciting, information.
Capital Audiofest 2023 Bonus Videos By Greg Weaver.
Chad Kassem Discusses Steely Dan's
Aja UHQR Vinyl LP
An exciting recording and reissue discussion with
Fagen, Grundman, Schnee, Kassem, and Kaplan.
Video By Acoustic Sounds
Thanks to Analogue Productions owner Chad Kassem, we're bringing you this curated video discussing the new UHQR 45 rpm vinyl LP release of Steely Dan's legendary
Aja recording. We get a rare opportunity
to hear behind-the-scenes info! We also enjoy learning more about the classic Steely Dan
Aja on UHQR clarity vinyl. Within the video, none other than Donald Fagen reminisces with award-winning recording engineer Bill
Schnee, mastering engineer Bernie Grundman, and the Tracking Angle's Fred Kaplan, plus Analogue Productions' own Chad Kassem. Steely Dan enthusiasts
rejoice! Bonus video as Bernie Grundman revisits Aja. We're especially overjoyed to present the below video with legendary audio engineer Bernie
Chad Kassem Discusses Steely Dan's Aja UHQR Vinyl LP.
StereoNET's Mark Gusew Interviews Bjorn Bengtsson Of Nordost
Magazine reviewer interviews Bjorn Bengtsson Of Nordost.
Video By StereoNET
Within the below
video, Mark Gusew caught up with Bjorn Bengtsson, Product Specialist at Nordost during the
StereoNET Melbourne Hi-Fi & AV Show. Enjoy the Music.com would like to humbly thank your host Mark Gusew as he takes us onto a journey with Bjorn Bengtsson, who provides expertise about cables, tweaks and much
more. We'd also like to thank StereoNET's Marc Rushton and Clemente Meulio for
their excellent camera work, which was later edited by Clemente Meulio. StereoNET would like to give special thanks to Australian distributor, Advance Audio for facilitating the interview and their ongoing support.
StereoNET's Mark Gusew Interviews Bjorn Bengtsson Of Nordost.
What Is Important To Men And My Readers
I don't buy records for background music.
Editorial By Herb Reichert
My first wife used to have this Madison Avenue market research job, and her main assignment was to do surveys-to find out what women wanted and what men thought was
important. Not surprisingly, she discovered that women desired economic security and
status in the community way more than sex or power or even love. Shockingly, sex
was usually seventh or eighth on the woman's list. What really surprised me, though, was what men claimed was important to them.
I mean, yeah, sex was always at the top (usually number one or two). But incredibly, right there on the top of the list next to sex and way ahead of money or power or even fame was music. I am not kidding you. And this wasn't only in
rock-till-ya-wear-dentures America, no sit.
---> What Is Important To Men And My Readers.
Guerrilla Tactics For The Audiophile Home
You find yourself staring at an amazing jumble of audio
The first time you find him in the kitchen wearing your
frilly apron and baking a newly spray-painted amp chassis in the oven you think it's kind of cute. You keep an open mind
despite the fumes and try to sympathize with his need for a hammered metal look finish. Then on a dark night you stub
your toes on that same chassis lying in the middle of the living room floor and you think, Not so
cute. Might as well face the truth. For every audiophile in the world, there's an afflicted spouse, housemate or friend. And,
sooner or later, we all must learn the guerrilla tactics necessary for survival in the audiophile
home. Your favorite sewing scissors have once again mysteriously disappeared. You must confront him immediately. And
remember, please, none of this wimpy you-wouldn't-happen to-have-seen
my-scissors-anywhere type stuff.
---> Guerrilla Tactics For The Audiophile Home.
The Venerable Dynaco Stereo 70
Article By Dan Schmalle From VALVE
Said to be the most popular tube
amplifier ever made, the Dynaco Stereo
70 has been around for over thirty-five years. Its early popularity was due to a reasonable price
coupled with good quality iron and a sound seemingly liked by all. A simple circuit consisting of a then new
RCA 7199 sharp cutoff pentode medium mu triode driving a pair of 6CA7 / EL34's per
channel, with a GZ34 / 5AR4 for B+ ,
made for an easily built, easily adjusted kit It has also been a platform for more modifications than any other
piece of gear made. The mods have ranged from simple recap jobs to full redesigns
ala Joe Curcio and Audio Research. Some examples of kit built mods are shown on this
page. All the mods are naturally done to correct perceived deficiencies in
the original circuit and so tend to group around said
---> The Venerable Dynaco Stereo 70.
Rogue Audio RP-7 Tube Preamplifier Review
A very flexible and fantastic high-end vacuum tube preamplifier.
Review By Tom Lyle
It was about a decade ago when I last reviewed a component manufactured by Rogue
Audio. I distinctly remember my time spent with that preamp because I was very
impressed with its sound quality. But when I un-boxed their new RP-7
preamplifier it looked as if it was made by a different company. As good
as their older component looked, the Rogue Audio RP-7 seemed as if its fit and
finish was light years better than the older unit. Of course I'm exaggerating a
bit, as I don't remember the older unit looking so bad. Plus I didn't have the
older preamp in front of me to compare the two, and I certainly don't remember
the older component looking bad, but I was very impressed with how modern
and stylish this new rectangular black box looked. After I connected it to my system and switched its power on, I was even more impressed with the preamplifier's appearance when it's blue LED display lit
Rogue Audio RP-7 Tube Preamplifier Review.
Line Magnetic 218ia Tube
Int. Amp. Review
A single-ended triode integrated amplifier for everyone!
Review By Paul L. Schumann
Back in the
1990s, there was an explosion of interest in single-ended triode (SET)
amplification. This was spearheaded by two great Japanese designers, Hiroyasu
Kondo of Audio Note and Nobu Shishido of WAVAC. Both men designed and built
stunning SET amplifiers that were just as much works of art as electronic
components. We're talking hand-wound silver-wire transformers and custom-made
coupling caps. While they were indeed quite wonderful, they were also on the pricey
side. You could still pick up a soldering iron and if were brave enough, make
one of your own. Audio Note and Bottlehead still sell reasonably-priced kits.
But what if the smell of fresh solder makes you queasy? What are you to do? I first became aware of Line Magnetic a few years
ago when I noticed on line that a new audio salon here in Austin started
carrying their equipment. Their prices seemed right. I wanted to drop by and
listen. It was always on my "to do" list.
Line Magnetic 218ia Int. Amp. Review.
Focal Utopia Headphones Review (2022 Version)
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 Review (2022 Version).
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.
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.
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.
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
Aavik R-180 Phono Preamplifier Review
To Invent: It seems as if Michael Borresen was born with a special passion for tinkering and inventing. With his smallest phono preamplifier Aavik R-180, he impressively demonstrates this once again.
Review By Michael Lang
Finally, something different!
That was my first impression when taking a look at the new devices from Danish
manufacturer Aavik. They are more compact than what we are used to from hi-fi
and high-end and have only three buttons, but feature numerous curves and a
housing that is not bursting with aluminum. The value of a device is not
measured by its looks and its weight at Aavik. Instead, the design is
Scandinavian in its straightforwardness and simplicity – not wholly without a
reason, though, as we will discover later. In addition, a large display with red letters, which of course
can be dimmed or switched off, is to be found. It even allows older listeners to
recognize the selected settings from a distance. By the way, the two larger
models R-280 and R-580 are characterized by the same simplicity.
---> Aavik R-180 Phono Preamplifier Review.
Nucleus+ Core Unit And XLCR Power Supply Review
Roon: A Short Story
Martin Colloms has become a Roon convert – Here he charts his path to
'Roonification'; using the company's Nucleus+ Core unit.
Review By Martin Colloms
I'd encountered Roon music playing and cataloguing software on a few occasions, as well as its predecessor, the Sooloos music storage and handling system, with its attractive graphical presentations of tracks, artwork and music cataloguing. Acquired by Meridian some years ago as the heart of its streaming solution, Sooloos was later spun off as a separate company, eventually becoming Roon in 2015. But the heart of the system has remained: an informative, easy to use music management system, based on extended metadata and intelligent cataloguing of content. It has seen several iterations bringing it to the present level of refinement – in fact to a level where I felt that I just had to try it
Nucleus+ Core Unit & XLCR PS Review.
Great Audiophile Gift 2023
Audiophile Gift 2022 December
Audiophile Gift 2021 December
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