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Essential high-end audio news you need to know.
Enjoy the Music.com posts audiophile news virtually every day.
The HiFi Summit Q2 2021 By Joe N
the third time within two years, the audio community has an excellent high-quality online streaming show
resource for 2020, 2021, and beyond! The HiFi
Summit, produced by Joe N Tell (Joe Mariano), brings modern features that are expected when showcasing the best in high-fidelity audio and home theater gear. Excellent seminars and group chat are joined by questions from viewers within their Lobby Discussion and YouTube live
stream. When talking about their very first event, Joe
said, "This is the first online trade show and worldwide conference the HiFi industry has ever
seen. Although we created this in response to COVID-19, we believe this is the future of HiFi trade shows. If
there's doubt, consider how crazy online shopping seemed 20 years ago. We've created a trade show that companies deserve and an expo that consumers will love. Get ready for an entertaining, engaging, and educational time. Although we
can't be together in person, we're glad you're here with us."
---> See our The HiFi Summit Q2
2021 show report.
T.H.E Show 2021 Exhibition Room
Celebration, resolution, and re-commitment to champion audiophile and music enthusiast journeys.
Show Report By Emiko, T.H.E. Show's Director Of Marketing And Social Media
I find myself deleting the opening sentence of my piece,
"It's 7am and I'm drinking coffee in a veritable ghost town." No sooner had I settled into my choice table and chair, in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel, Ralph Sorrentino of CH Precision popped up out of thin air. I swear that man is a
wizard! My second sentence was lined up. "A blazer? Can a blazer style with yoga pants? This is the first time I'm faced with wearing
'real clothes' in over 14
months." You see, I am the Director of Marketing for T.H.E. Show and we are (now were) the first show in the US to open after the pandemic shut down and, if I understand correctly, the first audio show in the world to complete its run from start to finish (Guangzhou did launch before us but we understood it, unfortunately, closed after the first day.) On Wednesday, June 10th, after more than a year of sleepless nights, I packed up my suitcase with
— gasp — real pants and shirts, and double gasp — drove down to the hotel where T.H.E. Show 2021 was about to kick
---> T.H.E Show 2021 high-end audio event report.
Hi-Fi? What's That?
Roger Skoff writes about our hobby and the non-audiophile world.
By Roger Skoff
A woman came to my house yesterday to give me a bid on some planned remodeling. When she came in, she sat on the couch in the living room, in what would be a good spot for listening to that
room's sound system and, noticing the large speakers, she commented "Gee, you must like to listen really
LOUD." When I responded that "No, I like to listen really good", she gave me a look of frank bafflement and obviously had no idea at all what I
meant. Although what that woman said took me aback, it probably
shouldn't have. It was hardly the first time I'd ever run across people with not even the slightest understanding of our hobby. One incident that particularly comes to mind is the time, a few years back, when I went to Canada for the Toronto Hi-Fi Show. At the airport, as I was passing through customs, the young lady Customs Agent asked me why I had come to
---> Hi-Fi? What's That?
Article By Roger Skoff.
GTT Audio Visits Rufus Smith Of
Enjoy the Music.com
Bill Parish visits a longtime audio reviewer in North Carolina.
Article By Rufus Smith
The week of May 24, 2021, I had the pleasure of hosting two of what I consider two of the giants of the industry, Bill Parrish of GTT Audio & Video and Joe Kubala of Kubala-Sosna Research. GTT Audio has been in business since 1995 and has established itself as one of the top retailers/distributors of high-end audio equipment in the US. GTT is currently the distributor and flagship retailer for
Audionet, Kronos Audio, and Mola Mola. In addition, they are a premier dealer for YG Acoustics and Kubala
Sosna. Of course, these companies represent just a fraction of the products they carry, and Bill brings 43 years of experience in the audio/music business to share with his
---> GTT Audio visits Rufus Smith
of Enjoy the Music.com.
World's First In-Depth Review!
MC Audiotech Forty 10 Loudspeaker
This could be your 'forever speaker'.
Call it what you like, but we have to start here. If you can't
get past the way the Forty-10 looks, all the praise in any audio journal will be
meaningless to you. Straight and simple, it is quintessential Mid-Century Modern
design. In terms of where American mainstream home furnishings is today, it is
spot on. In terms of the interior design of people that can afford this speaker,
well, you may need to adjust. The original Eames lounge chair and ottoman is
still available from Herman Miller for $7000 and the knock-off can be had for
less than $1300. Many contemporary Scandinavian recliners will also work very
nicely. Ekornes is not your only option. If you've got a dedicated listening
room (and most people considering a $37,000 speaker will) this should not be a
problem. As a two-way dipole, it needs to be 30" to 40" out from the front wall
behind it. It will have a definite presence in your room.
MC Audiotech Forty 10 loudspeaker review.
North America Premiere Review!
The FinkTeam Kim Speakers
An expansive soundscape you can almost step into to join the fun!
Review By Ron Nagle
it was just another day trolling the internet trying to find something audio
that was new and was just a bit out of the ordinary. That thing needed to be
something cut from a very different cloth. That's when I found the FinkTeam
Kim stand-mounted loudspeakers. Three days later strictly by a serendipitous sequence of events,
my New York Audio Society joined a Zoom meeting with the man behind all of that
Fink-ology. The FinkTeam was formed from the fertile mind of a renowned German
speaker designer named Karl Heinz Fink. There were a lot of questions asked,
some of them not directly concerning the Fink design team. More specifically I
wanted to ask in detail what new thinking went into the Kim speaker design. But
it did not happen, I was only one of many participants at that meeting. But I
came away from that meeting understanding that after years working as a speaker
design expert for other people, KHF decided to design a new speaker adhering to
the things that he values most.
The FinkTeam Kim loudspeaker review.
World Premiere Review!
Verdant Audio Blackthorn 1 Monitor
An over-achieving monitor with a musical performance well beyond its' modest size.
Review By Dr. Michael Bump
I first had the pleasure of meeting Scott
Bierfeldt, President and Chief Designer
at Verdant Audio, at AXPONA 2019 in a
by-chance meeting. I was planning on heading out earlier than expected on
Sunday, as the snow was starting to come down (attendees may recall), and I was
a bit nervous about the six-hour mark. drive home to the cornfields of Missouri.
Nevertheless, the rooms beckoned me back for one more quick tour that morning,
where I happened to walk by a familiar blue glow within the Verdant Audio room.
At the center of a very attractive system were a
pair of stunning Art Audio Quartet 845 push-pull monoblocks. I was familiar with
Art Audio from an introduction years prior to their 50-Watt SET Adagios, and was
aware that Verdant Audio had re-introduced the UK company to the U.S. earlier
that year as the sole domestic distributor. Needless to say, my curiosity was
piqued stepping into the room noting several examples of Art Audio pieces, as
well as the premiere of two monitor designs created by Scott, under the Verdant
Verdant Audio Blackthorn 1 monitor speakers review.
Aavik Acoustics I-180 Integrated Amplifier, D-180 DAC, And S-180
Streamer / Network Player Review
A symbiotic sonic relationship... for
your listening pleasures.
Review By Tom Lyle
high-end audio manufacturer Aavik was nice enough to send me three components
from their entry level-line. I call this gear "entry-level" not because it is a
system priced for those new to the exciting world of high-end audio but because
they are the least expensive components in Aavik Acoustics' 180 / 280 / 580
line. I did not know the price of these three components when they
arrived at my home for review. On looks alone, I assumed that they would cost
much more. About halfway through the review period, I peeked inside the cabinet
of this integrated amplifier. Its innards looked as if they were constructed by
an engineer but also by a visual artist. Its complex yet very neatly arranged
interior was impressive. During my audition of all three components, I determined that
their display and intelligent functionality belied their relatively low price.
Aavik Acoustics I-180 integrated amplifier, D-180 DAC, and S-180 streamer /
network player review.
World Premiere Review!
JERN 11S Compact Loudspeaker Review
A well-balanced speaker that presents a lovely neutral rendition of music.
Review By Robert Jorgensen
What is a
poor reviewer to do when he would rather put on some more music than write on
the review? My wife might say "Suck it up and get on with it". This could imply
that I do not want to say anything but that's not the case. I am just enjoying
the music too much. There is a bit of a backstory here. If I remember well, the first time I saw the JERN Speakers was
a couple of years ago at the ISE Exhibition in Amsterdam. Ole Lund Christensen,
whom I have known for 20 odd years, was banging away on a piece of steel, a
piece of aluminum, and his very heavy cabinets made of a special kind of cast
iron using a little hammer. There is a video floating around on YouTube where he
does it with a piece of aluminum and a piece of his special "Vibrakill" cast
iron. It was very instructive since both the steel and the aluminum
rang like bells and the JERN cabinet just gave a dull thud. As he explained that
was exactly the point of the demo.
---> JERN 11S
compact loudspeaker review.
World Premiere Review!
New Horizon 301 Vinyl LP Turntable Review
A vinyl revival!
Review By Paul Schumann
year of my audio reviewing has had quite a vinyl flavor. Last summer, I reviewed
phono amplifier. This past fall, I listened to the Aric
Audio Unlimited II Preamp with an included phono stage. The turntable I
used with both is the oldest piece of gear I own, a Yamaha P-350 turntable.
Looking at that old piece of gear takes me back to a very different time in
audio and always makes me realize how much time has passed since I purchased it.
Before I bought the Yamaha P-350, my system consisted of my
dad's old Dynaco preamp and amp, a Pioneer tape deck, and a pair of ADS L620
speakers. At that time I was listening to prerecorded tapes or ones I recorded
on friends' systems. Forgive me, I was only 18. I bought the ADS speakers at an
audio salon called Audio Concepts adjacent to the University of Texas campus in
Austin. That place was my gateway to what became high-end audio. It was there I
was introduced to Klipsch, Magnepan, Theil, and Advent speakers. Their main
electronics were Nakamichi and Yamaha.
New Horizon 301 vinyl LP turntable review.
World Premiere Review!
NPS 1260 3D Enhancer Solution Review
A big leap toward reality!
Review By Rick Becker
A recent discussion
in the Audiogon Forum asked "How much reality do you really need? Some of the
If it's on the recording, I want to hear it.
For my critical listening, I want the full Monty.
It's the nature of man to want more or different.
Reality is highly overrated.
Just FYI, "reality" is not really my jam.
Enough to hold my attention.
I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.
If a recording needs a playback system in order for you to
hear it, and every system is different, how do you really ever know what's
on the recording?
...My only ultimate goal is to enjoy music. Reality blah blah-blah.
NPS 1260 3D Enhancer Solution review.
Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 Bookshelf Speaker Review
Looking for a pair of affordable high-performance bookshelf loudspeakers? Your journey might end with the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1
Review By Ian White
do people buy bookshelf speakers? I'm not really convinced that a lot of them
end up on bookshelves, but the marketing nomenclature rules the day. If you don't
have a lot of space and need to place them out of the way on a credenza or
bookshelf, there are no shortage of options in 2021 to fulfill that need.
Bookshelf speakers are also (with some notable exceptions from Sonus Faber and
Wilson Audio) generally on the more affordable side. $500 goes a lot further in
2021 than it did in 2010 when it comes to sonic performance. The $399 Wharfedale
Diamond 12.1 loudspeakers are the real deal. Don't let anyone ever try to convince you that you can't
purchase an audiophile-quality bookshelf speaker for $500. If that fits into
your budget and space requirements – and you love how they sound, that's the only opinion
that matters. And make no mistake, the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1's with the
right amplifier can deliver far more performance and scale than their size might
Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 bookshelf speaker review.
Simaudio MOON 740P Stereo Preamplifier Review
This is a preamp for music lovers.
Review By Sam Rosen
I tend to be a believer in a less is more approach when it comes to my audio
system; find a high end DAC like the Chord DAVE, and use its outputs to drive
the amplifier directly. In my experience putting anything between the DAC and
the amplifier adds noise, colors the sound, and removes the special magic that a
high end DAC and amp can achieve on their own. Of course, this philosophy flies
out the window the minute you introduce a second source like a phono preamp. My
solution to this problem was to swap cables when I wanted to change sources but
I always hated doing it that way. However, for the last few months I have not been doing any
cable swaps, instead I have been sitting back and listening to my system with
the Simaudio MOON 740P preamplifier. It really changed my point of view of what
a preamplifier can do to a high end system.
Simaudio MOON 740P stereo preamplifier review.
LSA Diamond Headphones Review
A revelation in detail and musicality.
Review By Frank Iacone
Sound Audio is a company that Walter Liederman started with the intent to build
world-class speaker designs that are offered at real-world affordable
prices through Walter's retail outlet Underwood HiFi. As an extension of this
LSA began sourcing headphones made exclusively for them under their brand name
manufactured by Kennerton, a world-class headphone company that specializes in
designing and manufacturing dynamic planar drivers. The Diamond has an 80MM
Planar Magnetic Driver that has a frequency response of 10 to 55000 Hz with an
easy-to-drive 105 dB efficiency, making it easy to match with portable music
players and low-powered amplifiers. The Diamond is made using lightweight wood outer cups with
comfortable leather pads. Unique to the Diamond is the headband which adjusts
automatically on the user's head without moving the band. The design makes this
one of the most comfortable planar headphones on the planet.
---> LSA Diamond
stereo headphones review.
Vertere Techno Mat Review
A change almost comparable to a significant cartridge upgrade.
Review By Martin Colloms
Call me a mat sceptic: it's not that I am against accessory mats but rather that I have tried numerous examples on my highly-spec'ed Linn LP12, and so far have not found better than the current thin, designed and calibrated density, black wool felt example Linn provides. I recall extensive tests on the LP12 some eleven years ago
(July Aug Sept 2009 issue) where I even went as far as to check the sound difference for the Linn mat for the normal side up and then when inverted: yes, there was a small difference as felt manufacture involves laying the wool fibres such that there is a graded density with thickness. The
'correct' upper side is a better impedance match in the mid treble for the audio vibrations induced in the LP disc by the speaker-generated soundfield, and also from the stylus tip reaction while tracking the music
---> Vertere Techno Mat
for turntables review.
Editorial By Art
Dudley Of Listener Magazine
By the time you read this my daughter
will be four years old. This morning I took Julia to preschool, but when we got there I realized
I'd forgotten to bring her lunch, so I told the teachers I would return with it later
on. I went back at noon, brown bag in hand, and walked into the classroom just as everyone was settling down on the big
story rug for a big story. When Julia saw me her face lit up and she shouted, "Daddy!" She jumped up and ran to me
and gave me the biggest hug ever, in history. While she was hugging me she continued to say, "My Daddy! My Daddy!,"
and patted me on the back the way she does lately. All you parents out there know what I'm talking about, don't
you? It's hard to stay worried about skating or ringing or jitter or other distortions with vaguely
Christmas-y names when you've got something like that going on. It's hard to get all worked
up about the future of DVD-A or even a good format like SACD when you've got something like that going on.
---> The Intro editorial By Art
Dudley of Listener.
Fi "X" Direct Coupled 2A3 SE Amplifier
From Sound Practices
I could hardly believe my eyes with the "Xu
ad spread out in front of me. First of all, you have to ask "What is it?" The answer is
that it's a stereo 2A3 single amp. Who would have thought? I don't usually get sucked in by slick advertising campaigns, but the second I saw the
ad for the Fi direct coupled 2A3 " X amplifier, I immediately had to own one. As a
homebuilder, I don't often get the urge to whip out the Amex card for store
bought gear but the "X" really hit my button hard. Despite all the charms of the 2A3, "best tube" according to many confirmed triode
nuts, there isn't much perceived desire to own three watt amps yet. People just don't
realize what they can do, yet. Fi's Don Garber has always made 2A3 SEs and I think he always will. Among professional
American amp makers, Don is alone in his unswerving dedication to the ancient 2A3, half-pioneer, half-keeper of the faith,
and half-artisan-a man of many halves.
---> Fi "X" direct coupled 2A3 SE
The Venerable Dynaco Stereo 70
By Dan Schmalle From VALVE Issue 3, March 1994
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
deficiencies A list of interesting modification articles,
reviews and related info is at the end of this article. The two most common areas of
attack seem to be the power supply and the driver stage.
---> The venerable Dynaco Stereo 70
vacuum tube amplifier.
Raidho TD4.2 Floorstanding
Raidho's TD4.2 delivers the meaning of music.
I admit it.
The pair of TD4.2 speakers that have taken residence in my listening room are
the best speakers I have ever had the pleasure of auditioning. They are also the
most massive, most substantial, and at $122,000 to $142,000 a pair,
the most expensive. It was a bit of a humbling experience unpacking these
speakers. This is because getting them out of their crates and into the
listening room required hired help - there was no way I could move these
speakers into the listening room upstairs by myself.
Read our review of the Raidho TD4.2 speakers.
10 Questions For High-End
Featuring James Chung, CEO Of FiiO
Enjoy the Music.com's very special 25th Anniversary we're asking various
high-end audio manufacturers to answer the same ten questions. Their answers may
surprise you! This month we're featuring James Chung, CEO of FiiO. FiiO was established in 2007 and has experience in researching and developing countless portable music products of different types, and sell FiiO-branded products through sales agents worldwide.
Read about James Chung, CEO of FiiO.
10 Questions For High-End
Latour, Audio Division Director
Of Nagra Audio
This month we're featuring Matthieu Latour, Audio Division Director Of Nagra Audio.
In 1951, Stefan Kudelski, a gifted 22-year-old engineer, developed an extremely high quality, miniature, self-contained audio recorder which he named simply the
"Nagra I". Nagra is a Polish word meaning "will record". The interest in his invention was
immediate. The Nagra II and III followed in the mid to late 1950s revolutionizing the world of radio broadcasting, cinema and
---> Read our 10 questions to Matthieu
10 Questions For High-End
Featuring Chris Sommovigo, Designer And Engineer At Stereolab
This month we're featuring Chris Sommovigo, Designer And Engineer At Stereolab.
In 1992 Chris Sommovigo introduced to the world the first truly precision-made 75 Ohm digital coaxial cable under the brand name
ILLUMINATI, and has since designed more than a dozen other digital cables for the market – either for the Illuminati brand, for
Stereovox, or for other brands (such as Kimber Kable and i2Digital). His digital cable designs remain among the most sought after and popular designs in the
---> Read our 10 questions to Chris Sommovigo.
Kiseki Purple Heart NS Moving Coil Phono
The sound of sonic art.
Phono cartridges occupy a reverent place in an
arsenal. The Kiseki Purple Heart NS (new style) moving coil phono cartridge
reviewed here is a good example. Their significance, however, is often under-appreciated by neophytes who
don't understand that cartridges have a shorter lifespan than other
components. The manufacturers are not to blame; after a few years, even the most
robust stylus wears out or the cantilever breaks. The uninitiated – or the
financially strapped – will frequently opt to replace those elements
(re-tipping), but the DNA of a true audiophile relentlessly demands upgrading to
a better phono cartridge. Luckily, a large majority of manufacturers are willing
to credit the purchase price of an older cartridge towards a new one higher up
in their line. That brings us to the subject of this review, the Kiseki
Purple Heart NS moving coil phono cartridge. In November 2014 I reviewed the excellent Kiseki Blue
priced about a thousand dollars less than the Purple Heart. Those who read the
review know that Kiseki cartridges are manufactured by Herman van den Dungen....
Kiseki Purple Heart NS moving coil phono cartridge review.
GamuT Limited Edition Di150 Solid-State Integrated Stereo Amplifier Review
The most transparent integrated amplifier I have ever had the pleasure of auditioning.
Review By Ron Nagle
Let us take a look back to the Enjoy
the Music.com archives. In October of 2006 our friend and colleague
Phil Gold evaluated a three-piece GamuT audio system. That Danish system was
comprised of the CD3 compact disc player, the Di150integrated amplifier and a
pair of L5 speakers. Now more than eight years have passed and we can now listen
to an evolutionary new GamuT Limited Edition version of their Di150 integrated
amplifier. At first glance, both old and new versions of the GamuT Di150
integrated amplifiers look the same. All of the advances are on the inside
incorporating a revised circuit design and higher quality internal components.
This is how the GamuT company answered my preliminary questions. "Concerning
the Limited Edition model, we have improved and refined the output stage for a
cleaner sound with even lower distortion. We are offering this Limited
Edition for the same price as the regular Di150, $11,990."
GamuT Limited Edition Di150 solid-state integrated stereo amplifier review.
Six Reasons Why Subwoofers Are Important For Music
Nick Brown Of SVS
is a lingering sentiment in the hi-fi community that subwoofers are only for
home theater and the benefits to music playback are suspect or even negative. It's
true that lesser subwoofers are not designed to optimally handle the speed,
detail and nuance of certain music, but it's certainly not a steadfast rule. A great subwoofer elevates the listening experience in a way
no other audio component can, into the tactile realm. Below is a list of six
reasons why a properly engineered and tuned subwoofer is important to music
majority of speakers start dropping off at about 50Hz, which deprives you of the
full depth and clarity of bass tones.A great subwoofer will reach down to 20Hz
or lower, right down to the limit of human hearing. This means you never miss a
note and can even feel the lowest notes from something like a pipe organ, kick
drum, bass guitar or the occasional cannon volley from the 1812 Overture, for a
much more immersive experience.
Six reasons why subwoofers are important.
Audiophile Gift 2020 December
Note: We have magazine issues dating back to 1999.
See our archives section for all reviews.