High-End Audio / Audiophile
/ Immersivephile Hi-Fi Equipment
Reviews And Think Pieces
Doing What's Best For The Luxury Audio Community
A heart-to-heartfelt wish as there's much work to do!
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin
it has been quite some time since writing an article, I'd like to first thank
all our readers for your patience in product delivery over the past year. Supply
constraints combined with various factory closings globally over the past year
have been a challenge for many of us. While many of us stayed home, we took much
joy, and a careful listen, to our luxury audio systems. With many of your
wanting to upgrade your gear, there were many companies I spoke with who were
simply inundated with orders. As someone who gives close attention to the luxury
goods market for decades, the health of the industry also rests on the used
marketplace. Am sure many of you have seen the rise in asking prices for
pre-loved gear. This, imho, reinforces the value of high-end audio products.
Doing What's Best For The Luxury Audio Community.
The Problems Of Hi-Fi Supply And Demand
We aren't out of the woods just yet.
Editorial By Alan Sircom
As we slowly clamber out of two years of varying degrees of isolation and privation,
it's time to take stock. The pandemic has taken its toll on society at large, although in fairness many parts of the audio world fared better than expected. Like any hobby or pasttime that kept yourself within the your own four walls, audio became one of those things people bought with the money they
didn't spend on holiday travel. As we peered into the homes of people on Zoom calls, we often saw hi-fi peering back at
us. The problems audio faced were not ones of demand; they were ones of supply. And they still hold to some extent.
---> The Problems Of Hi-Fi Supply And
Remembering Max Townshend
Max long held an ambition to design the whole audio chain.
Editorial By Martin Colloms
Once encountered, never forgotten, that indefatigable Australian, Max Townshend – who passed away on December 31st, 2021, aged 78 – was a major force in our audio industry for many years. With a long career first in industrial electronics, and then in audio, he could engineer with a broad
brush. Fascinated, even obsessed by music and sound from an early age, he came from a musical family who encouraged his interests, and – aged just 10 – he was helping Guglielmo Marconi's former assistant, Australian Ernest Wishshaw, by reading colour codes on resistors. Ernest was now manufacturing valve audio amplifiers, which were Max's first experience of high-fidelity sound, and he was immediately hooked.
---> Remembering Max Townshend.
The Editor: Bits Is Bits?
There's still much to be discovered.
Editorial By Robert Harley
The Wadax Reference Server I
review in this issue raises some fascinating questions about the fundamental
nature of digital audio. Unique for a server, the Wadax has three front-panel
controls that allow the user to adjust the amplitude and shape of the digital
waveform that represents the music. These controls don't change the digital
ones and zeros, but rather introduce an analog-like variability to the digital
bitstream — a radical concept. Digital audio was supposed to work perfectly or not at all; removing
analog-like variability was its raison d'être. Yet early on it became
apparent that identical bitstreams could sound different if the digital samples
were put back together with even the most miniscule timing errors — jitter.
---> From The Editor: Bits Is Bits?
AXPONA 2022 Show Report
Audio Expo North America 2022 Show
(Audio Expo North America) 2022 took place from April 22nd through 24th at the The Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.
Sit, relax and surround yourself with the best in high-end audio equipment and gear by visiting
AXPONA's 130+ Listening Rooms. Attendees were encouraged to experience rooms by listening and comparing the superbly designed, high performance systems and components from some of the
world's most prestigious manufacturers. In all, hundreds of global manufacturers, retailers, and brands gathered at
AXPONA 2022 to showcase the newest high-end products and services to
---> Audio Expo North America 2022 Show Report.
CanJam Singapore 2022 Show Report
Don't forget to buy a t-shirt.
CanJam Singapore 2022 Show Report By Kok Chieat Wong
As Singapore opens its borders to international travelers, CanJam was the first here to embrace the physical attendance of
Head-Fi community and music lovers from all around the globe. Thanks Ethan and the team for the challenging work to bring another CanJam to Singapore. After two years of hiatus, we are glad to see many brands, distributors, and dealers taking part in the
show. Did you get your "CanJam Singapore 2022" special t-shirts?
---> CanJam Singapore 2022 Show
Salon Audio Montreal / Audio Fest
2022 Show Report
audio gear and more in Canada!
Audio Fest 2022 Coverage By Rick Becker
The Salon Audio Montréal / Audio Fest 2022 celebrates its impressive 33rd edition of its popular annual meeting.
Located in the heart of the City of Montreal, a multitude of listening rooms and
thousands of music lovers enjoy nearly 100 exhibitors, who represent more than 300 brands of products from the world of
high-fidelity luxury audio.
---> Salon Audio Montreal / Audio Fest 2022 Show
Florida Audio Expo
2022 Show Report
The Florida Audio Expo (FAE) 2022 took place February 18th through
20th at the newly refurbished Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore hotel.
Attendee enjoyed the opportunity to experience 12 floors' worth of products from the world's leading audio brands.
Live streaming feeds were available for those who could not attend in person,
which featured sights and sounds during this event including interviews with industry experts throughout the weekend on the FAE's YouTube channel.
---> Florida Audio Expo 2022 show report.
Hi-Fi And Music Industry News
Essential high-end audio news you need to know.
Enjoy the Music.com posts audiophile news virtually every day.
Are Music Streaming Services Starving Your Favorite Artists?
@thathifigirl takes a hard look at how much musicians earn when their songs are streamed.
Video By Emiko
You might think paying $9.99/month for a Spotify or Apple Music subscription is enough for all entities involved to make a pretty penny. The hard truth for musicians is they
don't even make a penny when one of their songs are streamed. Just how little is paid to artists per stream may surprise
you. How much is paid to musicians per stream varies by music service and a number of other factors. On average revenue earned by musicians from streaming is around $0.004 per stream according to a number of industry sources we cross
---> Are Music Streaming Services Starving Your Favorite Artists?
Kronos Kronoscope RS And Discovery RS Tonearm Overview /
Desjardins, Bill Parish,
and Enjoy the Music.com Senior Editor Greg Weaver.
Video Report By
many manufacturers smartly doing their own videos, this month Enjoy the
Music.com is showcasing GTT Audio's Episode 56 featuring Kronos Audio launch of
their Discovery RS and Kronoscope RS high-end audio tonearm. Here we have Louis
Desjardins of Kronos Audio, Bill Parish of GTT Audio & Video, plus our very
own Senior Editor Greg Weaver discussing these new tonearms. I'd be remiss if I
didn't mention one of the audiophile community's longstanding writers, Rufus
Smith, who changed from a VPI top-line turntable to the Kronos Discovery and he's
extremely happy with the sound results.
---> Kronos Kronoscope RS And Discovery RS Tonearm.
Wells Audio Commander Level II Tube Line
The Commander is in a club of one.
Review By Sam Rosen
A little while ago I reviewed the Wells Audio Cipher. I asked Jeff Wells, the
owner of Wells Audio, to tell me more about the Cipher, and he more or less
described it as his preamp circuit, with a single fixed input coming from the
DAC. I was so impressed with the smooth analog nature of his DAC that I asked
him if I could review his preamp. A few months later, a Commander Level II
arrived at my door. The Commander Level II is Jeff Wells' mid-range preamp. The
standard level I, sells for $3999, the level II (my unit) sells for $9000, and
the Level III sells for $18,000. Each version has the same base design and
circuit, and each upgrade introduces higher end and more expensive discrete
parts into the build process. According to Wells Audio these improvements lower
the noise floor, increase the dynamic range, and dramatically improve the
Wells Audio Commander Level II Tube Line Stage Review.
LSA VT-70 Vacuum Tube Stereo Integrated Amplifier / Headphone
Best of both worlds!
Review By Gary Alan Barker
is one half of a two-part article, the other half can be found on our sister
site HiFiAudio.Guru. Over the last few years after our good friend Walter
Liederman took over control of LSA (Living Sounds Audio), LSA has introduced a
host of amazing new products for both the Loudspeaker and Headphone market the
latest of which is the LSA VT-70 Tube Integrated Stereo Amplifier/Headphone
Amplifier. Having recently reviewed their LSA Discovery Warp One Stereo
Amplifier and being a huge fan of tube amps, I was more than pleased to find out
I would be given the opportunity to listen to and review the VT-70.
LSA VT-70 Vacuum Tube Stereo Integrated Amplifier / Headphone Amplifier Review.
Dali Katch G2 Wireless Bluetooth / 3.5mm Input
Early thoughts on the Dali Katch G2 wireless
loudspeaker is definitely a surprise for $499. Perhaps one of the biggest of 2022 so far.
Review By Ian White
never knows when true beauty is going to reveal itself; it can come in many
forms and when it is layered over something of real substance — the impact on
your soul and life can be profound. The past few years have been hard. A lot of
alone time. Music has helped soothed the soul; along with poetry, movies, and
the desire for some joy. The $499 (USD) Dali Katch G2 is one of the
most joyous and impressive components I've been able to try in many years. Dali is now distributed by Lenbrook Americas and that raises
the stakes for this particular portable Bluetooth loudspeaker. Lenbrook is the
parent company of NAD, PSB, and Bluesound and delivers far
greater access to retail opportunities for this new speaker going forward.
Dali Katch G2 Wireless Bluetooth / 3.5mm Input Speaker Review.
World Premiere Review!
Synergistic Research Atmosphere Excite SX
Achieving higher sound quality from mid-priced
Review By Rick
Last night I finally took on the challenge of cleaning out the
top drawer of my filing cabinet — the one marked "Audio". With the vengeance
of Marie Kondo I pulled out the fat hanging folder labeled "My Stereo". Over the
next three hours I divvied it up into "My Stereo" (current), "Old Stereo"
(inactive), "Former Stereo" (sold off), and one for "Turntable." One piece of
paper, one brochure, one sales receipt at a time. There were little block
diagrams of systems built and dreamed of over the years. Print-outs from my
years surfing rec.audio.high-end newsgroup. A letter to John Hellig of Musical Designs
documenting my trip to CES in Chicago in 1993.An obituary letter of the death of
my friend John Barnes of Audio Unlimited in Denver. Linda had warned me that
papers would be the hardest part of decluttering. Those five inches of file
space were a deep dive into my three decades of being an audiophile, and almost
as many years as a writer.
Synergistic Research Atmosphere Excite SX Cables Review.
Best Integrated Amplifiers Below $3000
We've been listening to a lot of integrated amplifiers over the past 12 months, and these four are some of the best below $3000.
Review By Ian White
In our first collaboration video with
Tarun, A British Audiophile, we picked our best budget integrated amplifiers priced under
$1000. But what if your budget can be stretched a little further? We have listened to a wide range of amplifiers between $1000 and
$3000 over the past 12 months and while a number of other integrated amplifiers in this range were very impressive including the Rotel A14MKII and Cambridge Audio CXA61 — we were quite smitten with the
following.... The Ragnarok 2 continues Schiit's mission of offering American-made equipment that is both modular, well designed, and affordable.
---> Best Integrated Amplifiers Below
World Premiere Review!
Entreq Olympus Infinity T Ground Box And
Ground Cables Review
A flight of fancy or Grounded in reality?
Review By Paul Schumann
so lucky to be married. Not only is my wife the love of my life, but she is
also, definitely, the more grounded one. While I can start getting more
philosophical about aspects of my life, she never lets me go too far down that
path. Her practicality has always steered our marriage through some difficult
times, and for that, I am extremely grateful. It hasn't always been easy
with various challenges and a mid-life career change, but she has always been my
rock. Luckily, her level-headedness also helps me with my condition
of being an audiophile. There have been times in the past when I became fixated
on a piece of gear, only for her to step in and ask me if I was really
Entreq Olympus Infinity T Ground Box And Entreq Eartha Ground Cables Review.
Canton Vento 100 Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review
Canton's new flagship of the high-class Vento series shows how it's done.
Review By Tom Frantzen
Canton's Vento series is something like the manufacturer's
House of Lords. This is where high-tech, quality and nevertheless high
quantities meet. Above that, only the Canton Reference class sits – the Vento
Reference class, mind you. Every few years, the developers from the town of Weilrod
incorporate their Formula 1 technologies, used and proven in the Reference, into
a new Vento series. This trickle-down concept now ensures that the Vento 100
clearly distances itself from the previous top speaker of the old Vento series,
the 896.2. Strictly speaking, the Vento 90 rather serves as the successor to
that one. The new top-of-the-line speaker has undoubtedly grown, and in more
ways than its height.
Canton Vento 100 Floorstanding Speaker Review.
A Fabulous Variety Of Furutech Reviewed
Much more than 'just' accessories... and worth every dollar
Review By Bob Grossman
of this review is a lineup of Furutech products. It includes interconnects,
speaker cables, and power cords assembled with their bulk cable lines, along
with the PowerFlux-NCF 18 factory-made power cords, the GTO-D2 NCF(R) Power
Distributor, and the GTX DR NCF duplex outlets. The premise of the bulk cables
is to offer a more economical approach for the DIY assembly of Furutech cables
using their wire designs with Furutech termination plugs of your own selection.
Scot Markwell, President of Elite AV Distribution assembled the cables for this
review to the lengths needed for my stereo. While every audio system needs cables to connect components
and power supplies, it can be a complicated range of choices based on cost,
design, and various product lines from the many cable manufacturers in the
A Fabulous Variety Of Furutech Reviewed.
TWS In-Ear Monitor (IEM) Review
Review By Gary Alan Baker
year I gave the Noble Falcon Pro True Wireless IEM a well-deserved Headphone.Guru
2021 Product of the Year Award because it was the most convenient, most
comfortable, and best-sounding True Wireless IEM I had been given the
opportunity to listen to. Now, Noble has one-upped themselves by offering the
Noble FoKus Pro True Wireless IEM, a true audiophile quality multi-driver,
hybrid IEM bringing Bluetooth and True Wireless to a whole new level. Designed by the "Wizard" John Moulton
(AU.D. CCC-A), one
look at the Noble FoKus Pro True Wireless IEM tells you that this is a much more
refined, much higher-end product than the Falcon Pro.
Noble Fokus True Wireless In-Ear Monitor (IEM) Review.
Ten Misconceptions About Loudspeaker Spikes
Clearing up misunderstandings regarding loudspeaker
Article By Norman Varney
I have been working
professionally in both the sound and vibration, and consumer electronics
industries for decades. As an acoustical engineer and manufacturer of mechanical
vibration isolation products, I feel compelled to address the misconceptions of
incorporating spikes (or any rigid materials) with loudspeakers and/or other
audio equipment. These misconceptions do not exist in the sound and vibration
industries, and are very rare in the pro audio world, however they are very
prevalent in the audiophile world. There are many physical, acoustical, and perceptual
disciplines involved here- we are only going to address the primary ones, and in
only a general way, meaning we won't discuss the secondary or additional
attributes that may come into play. There are some key concepts of physics to be
---> Ten Misconceptions About Loudspeaker Spikes.
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 By Art Dudley.
A No-Nonsense Line Conditioner
Article By Mike Van Evers
From Sound Practices
I hope that it comes as no great surprise that line filters will improve the sound of
your audio system. I'm not going to try to prove it to the skeptics. I'll just nod in
agreement and congratulate them when they do discover the benefits of less noise
filling up the blank spaces in their music. Line filters have been around in commercial
use for several decades, primarily for keeping RFI/EMI out of computers and other digital
equipment. Tice, API, and others have made versions that are application specific for audio that, according to many
thousands of users, do a good job. I have been making line filters for several years. Until May of this year, they were
just another "something else" that I researched and then built. They were used in recording
and playback systems for pro audiophile recordings. Other people had heard
improvements, but I hadn't taken the time to do a serious 'before and after' listening test.
---> A No-Nonsense Line Conditioner.
Listening impressions of some collectible equipment.
There, I hope that helps keep anyone from getting to upset, because I'm going
to be honest about what I thought of some very highly touted equipment. Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to
audition a Marantz 7 preamp and 8 power amp which were consigned to me. Both pieces were in excellent electronic shape and very good to excellent cosmetic
shape. The preamp had been checked out and a new filter cap installed by Audio Classics, the guys in
New York who sell all the Mac stuff for huge prices. Both units had been freshly
re-tubed with ARS tubes, and were driven daily by their owner, a high end audio dealer. The output tubes in the
amp appeared to be relabeled GE 6CA7s, but I won't commit to that. So I got the stuff home and listened to it.
---> Rare Birds... VALVE
Radio Shack's Realistic System 200 Review
Tremendous features and an
Review By Mark Rochlin
Today I received the most amazing unit to evaluate, the
Realistic System 200! New for 1988, this unit represents a new peak of the Tandy
/ Radio Shack line and continues the tradition of quality and value that makes
Radio Shack famous and guarantees their continued success. Their System 200's
ingenious design revolves around both sonic excellence and ease of use. Styled
in a custom made faux walnut-looking rack with matching speakers, this unit will
enhance the style of your living room. Radio Shack has taken the unique approach
of enclosing the entire unit within one single chassis. This allows them to invest
into their system where it counts, the internal electronics.
Radio Shack's Realistic System 200 stereo review.
Exotic Automobile Manufacturer Offers
The Audiophile Car
Audiophiles no longer need to
hibernate at home!
Review By Steven R. Rochlin
For decades audiophiles have been stuck to
the confines of their homes to reach musical bliss. In these, usually, darkened
rooms they would toil away tweaking and tuning looking for the next nirvana. It
brings me great joy to announce the very first auto manufacturer to satisfy the needs
of audiophiles worldwide. This next generation vehicle will suit both those
looking for style and substance. It is no secret that home audio is doomed from
the beginning with lackluster alternating current. This problem is exacerbated with
the use of dedicated power lines, power filters, regenerators, and balancers.
The Audiophile Car, or TAC for short, removes this entire exercise by being 100%
---> Exotic Automobile 'The Audiophile Car'.
From The Editor's Desk
My Memo To The Industry
In this age, optimism like that is a revolutionary act...
I just want to be inspired.
By Steven R. Rochlin
Have had this
article in my head for a long, long time. What you are about to read will have
one of two outcomes. These consist of:
1. We all work together to inspire people to
enjoy the music to its fullest.
2. We stay happily in our comfort zone, perhaps
never truly reaching our potential.
What spurred me writing this are some personal
realizations. Long story short is that while Enjoy
the Music.com has done so very much for so many, I personally have
failed to achieve my goal. Due to this site I wonder how many people have we truly
reached into discovering the joys of music through higher quality audio
equipment. How many people hear the music as the artist(s) truly
intended when in the recording studio? Hearing music with the same
passion and inspiration as when it was created.
---> My Memo To The Industry.
My Memo To The Industry Part II
The future is in your hands.
By Steven R. Rochlin
Almost feel like one of those old-timey AM radio announcers from back in the
1920's. As you remember in our last episode of Steven R. Rochlin's 'Jerry
Maguire' moment, it spawned an outline for
bringing high resolution music and the supporting hardware to the
masses... What the hell was I thinking? Needless to say my e-mail inbox and discussions at a variety of high-end audio shows commenced. There were also talks with those who I feel have a very exciting
'chess board'; perhaps the best within this targeted consumer electronics industry! Never one to be a
'one trick pony', let's start yet another discussion shall we?
---> My Memo To The Industry Part II.
Avantgarde Acoustic Duo XD Hornspeaker
Blow Up! – With the Duo XD, Avantgarde Acoustic shows what horn technology and a perfectly matched active woofers... are able to do to the sound.
Review By Matthias Böde
Yes, you have read the measurement results
from our lab correctly (in case you checked them): For 94 decibels of sound
pressure at a distance of one meter, this speaker needs just 0.07 Watts of
power. Seven Watts would be somewhat normal, 0.7 Watts already a sensation –
but 0.07 Watts reads like a typo. It is completely true though! This is made
possible by the large horn at the top end of the Duo XD, coming from the
specialist Avantgarde Acoustic, based in a small town in the Odenwald mountain
range in southwestern Germany. This horn is connected directly to the amplifier
without any intermediate crossover and visually symbolizes the phenomenal
efficiency with its huge opening of 67 centimeters.
Avantgarde Acoustic Duo XD hornspeaker review.
World Premiere Review!
AGD The Audion MKII Monoblock
The Audion MkII takes this prized monoblock to the next level.
Review By Rick Becker
To be a
successful manufacturer it is imperative to know when to draw the line on
product development and call it ready for production. The problem is most
designers know the creative process can go on indefinitely. Technology rarely
stands still. What is cleverly called "passion" often can be arguably described
as an obsessive-compulsive addiction to perfection. Those who cannot draw the
line and commit to even small-scale production become artisans of serial, unique
products, no two of which are alike. A clever way to avoid this trap is modular
construction. Alberto Guerra was thinking several chess moves in advance
when he came out with his stunning Vivace monoblock Class D amplifiers with GaN
---> AGD The Audion MKII
monoblock amplifier review.
Audiophile Gift 2021 December
Audiophile Gift 2020 December
Note: We have magazine issues dating back to 1999.
See our archives section for all reviews.