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Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors
The Pacific Audio Fest 2022 Exhibitor And Media Party
Enjoy the Music.com,
premium audio's highly-celebrated site
for over 26 years and a leader in providing industry news, hi-fi gear reviews, and
luxury show reports is pleased to be sponsoring the Pacific Audio Fest 2022's Thursday night
exhibitor and media party. To be held from Friday, July 29th through Sunday 31st at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport in
exhibitors and members of the media are invited to join us for drinks, music, and good
times. This is a must-attend event for Northwestern music lovers, audiophiles, and hi-fi
enthusiasts alike who live within one of the nation's tech and music hubs.
---> Pacific Audio Fest 2022
A Look Into The Future
Roger Skoff peers into his hi-fi crystal ball.
By Roger Skoff
Have you seen what house prices are like recently? I live in California – the State with
the highest State Income Tax rate; the highest gas prices (the cheapest near my house is well over
$6 a gallon, still cheap by European standards); and, according to Forbes
Magazine, the State that has, in terms of 2022 real estate prices, five of the ten most expensive zip codes to live in in the entire United
States. And, except for the taxes (which might also increase) all of that is likely to change – not at all for the better – very
soon. In an (futile) effort to counter the greatest surge of inflation in more than 40 years, the Federal Reserve, on June 15th, 2022, raised its interest rate by three quarters of a basis point (0.75%). That's the third increase this year, triple the usual rate for such increases, and a strong indicator of more increases yet to
A Look Into The Future.
We Welcome Back Hi-Fi Shows
Plus amplification, speakers, turntables, and more within this issue.
Editorial By Martin Colloms
Shows and concerts are largely recommencing. AXPONA 2022 was recently held in the USA with some success, while the Munich High End show came back after three years away, and Andrew Everard was there to take a look at some new exhibits and unfortunately old trends. And the UK show season is firing up again: the North West Audio Show took place in mid-June, and then we have the 2022 UK Hi-Fi Show Live back at the Ascot Racecourse
Grandstand. Moving into Autumn, the UK Audio Show is at the beginning of October at the De Vere Staverton Estate,
Daventry, while the biannual Audio Jumble audio
'swap shop' follows up its success in May with a return to The Angel Centre in
Tonbridge, Kent on Sunday 2nd October.
---> We Welcome Back Hi-Fi Shows.
We Welcome Back... The World
After a bit of show hiatus, the audio world formally opens up.
Editorial By Alan Sircom
I hope that you are enjoying our new look magazine. The feedback we have received (see Incoming from page 7 of this issue) has been almost universally positive, which is a reassuring sign. Which is why no one wants to kick off the second of these issues with an apology of
sorts. This is my second run-in with COVID-19; one of the perils of living in a densely-populated capital city like London, I guess. Fortunately, now fully vaccinated and boosted, such a brush with the disease is far less physically damaging than the first time, but I have been hit with the frequently-described symptom of
'Brain Fog'. The fact it took three goes to write that and not write 'Bran Frog' shows just how debilitating this (hopefully temporary) condition can be.
---> We Welcome Back... The
The Trouble With Loudspeaker Drivers...
...and radio frequency interference (RFI) pickup by
Editorial By Noel Keywood
The trouble with loudspeaker drive units is they send sound backwards as well as forwards. Long ago they realised that If a cone moved forward, compressing the air ahead of it, this air would race around to the back, cancelling sound – inconvenient. Some bright spark realised this could be prevented by putting the drive unit in a box – which is where we are today. Trouble is that trapped sound causes other
problems. This has concerned KEF for some time – I recall they once had magic charcoal to counteract the problem – but all has gone quiet on that front. Now they have come up with Metamaterial.
It's only for tweeters but certainly has quite an affect, You can read more about it on p11 where we review their new Reference 1 Meta stand-mount
---> The Trouble With Loudspeaker
Pacific Audio Fest 2022
A great weekend of fine audio in the magnificent Pacific Northwest.
The Pacific Audio Fest (PAF) was held from July 29th through 31st, 2022 at the Doubletree Hilton
Sea-Tac in Washington state. There were both new and used record vendors, a special headphone vendors section, plus the North American Luthier showcase too! Want to enjoy music up high,
there was a private Penthouse Nightclub with great live music and a 360 degree view of Seattle! Happy Hour specials give you the
opportunity to taste specialty Northwestern wines and beers. The premiere Pacific Audio Fest 2022 is the first major audio show promoted by exhibitors and music lovers for music lovers and
---> Pacific Audio Fest 2022 Show Report.
T.H.E Show 2022 Report
T.H.E. Show's June Long Beach
Luxury Audio Show
For decades, T.H.E.
Show has been the event to attend for music lovers, audiophiles, and hi-fi
enthusiasts alike. When first launched, T.H.E. Show was primarily a Las Vegas
event an alternative to a non-industry operated CES. Featuring finely-crafted
luxury audio products, T.H.E. Show is an upscale event for those who truly value
music within their homes and on the go too. Operated in part by award-earning musicians
and those who are enthusiasts, T.H.E. Show 2022 was the place to be in June to
enjoy the very best high-end audio / video products. There are many events
planned during their 2022 California event. Many leading brands exhibited,
plus educational seminars and special features were not to be missed!
---> T.H.E Show 2022 Long Beach Report.
HIGH END 2022 Munich Show Report
Largest Premium / Luxury Hi-Fi Event
From May 19th to 22nd, 2022, the 39th HIGH END trade show in Munich shined the spotlight on
luxurious premium music reproduction systems, inspiring listening enjoyment, and exquisite
high-end audio technology. For many years, the HIGH END has been providing both the big players in the industry and smaller owner-managed companies with their ideal presentation platform as the
world's leading audio trade show. It is the perfect place to establish business relationships, expand networks and exchange ideas and experiences with other industry
---> HIGH END 2022 Munich 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.
dCS LINA Head-Fi / Headphone System Review
Headphone listening for the ages!
Review By Frank Iacone
is not a company that releases new products often unless it can make a
significant upgrade in overall performance. The Bartók was dCS's first entry
into the high-end headphone market designed with dCS's famous Ring DAC it was a
successful product for dCS. The Headphone community received it well and I
enjoyed my time with it during my review and was sad to see it leave. Not
to rest on their laurels, dCS spent two years in designing the new Lina System,
a Modular three-piece design that includes a separate Headphone Amplifier, Ring
DAC, and Master Clock as a step up from the Bartók. Designed for ultimate
listening performance the Lina System can be purchased as individual units or as
an entire system, while aesthetically, the Lina's modern and sleek contemporary
design will work well in any home or office setup.
dCS LINA Head-Fi / Headphone System Review.
Crystal Cable Monet Power Cable Review
A very pleasant surprise!
Review By Marshall
When the Monet power cables from
Crystal Cable were offered for review, the first thing I went online for a
look-see. The photos suggested a slimmed-down cable with no surplus parts,
nothing more than the elemental hardware required for the task at hand. The
Monet is the thinnest power cables in the new Art series and features the
company's latest generation of pure silver conductors. Putting these data points
together — minimum hardware, slim appearance, silver conductors — I jumped
to conclusions and replied back to Gabi Rynveld, founder of Crystal Cable,
"Might they sound a little light-weight?" She assured me,
"Absolutely not! Well, then, bring them on!" I was enthused and so,
about a month or two later, the samples arrived.
Crystal Cable Monet Power Cable Review.
Pass Labs X260.8 Monoblock Amplifier Review
Prestigious power, glorious grace, and terrific transparency.
Pass Laboratories, Inc., is a name that most audiophiles
utter, after describing a product that comes close to perfection. "XXX
amplifier almost sounds as good as the Pass Labs XXX model". We've
all done it. Fortunately, "as good as" will have to wait. Thanks to the good
people at Pass Laboratories; I get the real thing. As the world was on pause, my
listening room entertained a pair of Pass Labs X260.8 monoblock amplifiers. In full disclosure, I would like to admit that I have been a
fan of Pass Labs products for many years. I've never owned or reviewed any of
their products, so I was looking forward to this delivery.... The Pass Labs X260.8 monoblock amplifiers require two people to
move. I know most amplifier manufacturers recommend this, but this is the first
time I heeded their recommendation. Luckily, my good friend Michael was able to
help me wrestle these beasts into place.
Pass Labs X260.8 Monoblock Amplifier Review.
World Premiere Review
LampizatOr Amber 4 Stereo DAC /
It's hard to imagine a more musical DAC in its price.
Review By Rick Becker
ago LampizatOr was not yet on my radar. My review of the LampizatOr Amber 4
stereo DAC / preamplifier, as seen here, is a testament to their efforts over
the years. It wasn't until the New York Audio Show in 2014 that I first heard
rig was totally comprised of gear that was new to me. The only familiar thing
was Lyle Lovett singing "North Dakota." I didn't have much to say about the
sound quality, which is neither good nor bad. Spring forward to November,
at the Capital AudioFest 2021
and there were more than a handful of their various
DACs on display. LampizatOr has become a top brand, and while they are best
known in the US for their DACs, they offer four levels of "turnkey" systems in
which everything, including cables, is made by LampizatOr. Their speakers
feature open baffle midrange and tweeters with enclosed woofers, much like the
early Tekton Design speaker I found so delightful back in 2009. Today, I dare
say they are at the leading edge of DAC design.
LampizatOr Amber 4 Stereo DAC / Preamplifier Review.
Critical Mass Systems Center Stage 2M
Good things come to those who wait.
Review By Dr. Michael Bump
musical performance is an enriching experience that, by in large, cannot be
replicated through any other means. The price of admission is an incredible
bargain, considering the impactful, often unforgettable effect such an
experience has on the mind, body, and soul. It is a unique consequence of the
human condition, a product of immense influence and power, able to move both
individuals and the masses to life-motivating consequences. Sounds daunting (and
perhaps a bit overly dramatic), but I sense most would agree that more than a
modicum of truth lies within. I can attest that, for the varied professional
musicians on the stage and in the studio creating these performances, it's
rarely anything less.
Critical Mass Systems Center Stage 2M Footers Review.
McIntosh MP100 Phono Stage / Stereo Preamplifier Review
Does it make sense to spend $2000 on a phono preamplifier? The McIntosh MP100 might be the best reason yet.
Review By Ian White
more I listen to vinyl and the wide range of phono cartridges at my disposal —
the more I realize that a phono preamplifier is either the weakest link or most
important component in the chain. The more I listen to the McIntosh MP100 Phono
Preamplifier, the more I realize just how wide of a gap there is between
them. Our picks at either end of the spectrum will not break the bank
for most audiophiles, but I'm starting to finally hear the differences between
those phono preamplifiers that I've always considered to be great and the phono
stages that actually are "great." The McIntosh MP100 stereo unit is not inexpensive at $2000; some
audiophiles will think it's pretty affordable considering the brand behind it,
but I know that $2000 is a very firm ceiling for 99% of the population that
listens to records with the same passion as the rest of us.
McIntosh MP100 Phono Stage / Stereo Preamplifier Review.
Mark Levinson No.5909 Noise-Cancelling Stereo Headphones
The No.5909 is versatile, solidly built, and demonstrates the virtues of a neutral tonal balance.
Review By Keith Howard
If we set
aside its in-car systems, Mark Levinson has never before had its imprint on a
transducer. But a step into the headphone market with the No. 5909 – a £999
design intended for use boat at home and peripatetically – is clearly a
watershed moment. You could argue that its involvement in automotive systems and
turntables had already widened the Mark Levinson brief from the electronics-only
product line-up of yore, but this is a move you might argue has arrived a little
late given that the heat is going out of the audiophile headphone market. And had I known in advance an ML headphone was due, I'd have
supposed it to be an uncompromisingly purist, open-back design for the hi-fi
cognoscenti. But – perhaps precisely because that market is approaching
saturation – Harman Audio took the decision to make the No.5909 a headphone
for all seasons.
Mark Levinson No.5909 Noise-Cancelling Stereo Headphones Review.
What Is Important To Men And My Readers
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. This was an international phenomenon.
---> What Is Important To Men And My Readers.
Fashion Is The Devil
Article By Joe Roberts
For a while there, triodes were the biggest craze to hit audio in a decade at
least. After years of nothing more exciting than new digital formats, the single ended
amplifier exploded onto the local marketplace and captivated the attention of audiophiles and industry gums. It was different, it was new, it was classic, and it was
HIP. At first, triodes had the ultimate qualification for hipness going on — you
couldn't buy the stuff even if you had the money. You either had to build 'em yourself or import some exotic electronics from a foreign
land. What followed the revival of triodes did a lot to reaffirm my
faith in the capitalist system. As predicted by the classical models, when there is demand some ambitious producer will rise to meet the challenges. Two years later, there are a dozen
single ended amps that you can buy, a few real nice triode kits, and a number of
exciting new tubes on the market.
---> Fashion Is The Devil.
Discovering The Lowther Acousta
Article By Doug Grove
What do I say when a fellow hi-fi
enthusiast calls and asks if I know anything about Lowther speakers. He had just picked up a pair of Lowther Acoustas at a garage sale. Being totally unfamiliar with Lowther speakers I called Dan at VALVE who filled me in on the Lowther Voigt article in the Winter 94/95 (this is the current issue/) issue of
Sound Practices. I had to see (and hopefully hear) what these obscure English loudspeakers were all about, so I went over to my friend's house for a look. The cabinets were scratched and dented, but still in one piece. The foam surrounds on the drivers had dissolved long ago. The cones had punctures, rips, and creases. The voice coils were distorted and scraping in their gaps. A resistance measurement of 10.5 Ohms indicated that restoration might be possible, if the voice coils were still intact. I left,
disappointed that I could not hear them.
Discovering The Lowther Acousta.
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. Usually, when assigned the
task of moving large speakers, I would enlist a friend or two to help me out,
but in this case, if I attempted to move them as I did with other large
speakers, there would be no way I could get them into my listening room without
damaging the mirror-like, gorgeous walnut finish of this review pair.
Raidho TD4.2 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Review.
BØrresen Acoustics 01 Two-Way
An unending oasis of musical reality.
Review By Dr. Michael Bump
As a professional musician and university professor of 36 years, I can appreciate the
weight behind Benjamin Franklin's infamous quote. Though people may well forget
what you say or present, engaging them holistically – mind, body, soul –
often translates into a life-learning moment. Thus the question; Are we involved
within the moment and, in turn, an extension of the moment? The power of music,
in particular, is a spiritual transfer of learning energy. Whether performing,
composing, teaching, or listening, the music never ceases to amaze me as the
great communicator in life – a universal awareness toward the greater good. As critical listeners, we audiophiles often toss around the
term, involved, as a common (and viable) descriptor. It attempts to
express our psycho-acoustic connection to recorded music reproduced through fine
BØrresen Acoustics 01 Two-Way Monitor Review.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 Speaker Review.
Audiophile Gift 2021 December
Audiophile Gift 2020 December
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See our archives section for all reviews.