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High-End Audio / Audiophile / Immersivephile Hi-Fi Equipment Reviews And Think Pieces

September 2021


High-End Audio & Music Industry News

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.



Best Of 2021 Blue Note Equipment Awards

Best Of 2021 Blue Note Equipment Awards
Enjoy the Music.com celebrates the best high fidelity audio gear of 2021!
Enjoy the Music.com's Best Of 2021 Blue Note Awards celebrates the many great achievements by audiophile manufacturers within the high-end audio and Hi-Res Audio industry. Our 2021 Blue Note Awards is a culmination of more than two decades of reviewing and carefully choosing what products have earned special recognition for our annual awards. Our Best Of 2021 Blue Note Award celebrates the finest products we have reviewed during the previous 12 months. Recipients have been carefully chosen after much debate and consideration by our staff of reviewers. With each passing year our industry has experienced great advancements in technology including analog circuitry, vinyl LP and analog tape playback, digital-to-analog converters (DACs), headphones, loudspeaker design, plus of course portable media players, computer software and streaming media.
---> Enjoy the Music.com's Best Of 2021 Blue Note Awards.



Oracle Audio PH200 Mk III Phono Preamplifier Review

World Premiere Review!
Oracle Audio PH200 Mk III Phono Preamplifier Review

A quiet background, and extended response, making instruments sound real.
Review By Tom Lyle
I'll start this review of Oracle Audio Technologies' PH200 Mk III with a disclaimer, of sorts: My first truly "high-end" turntable was manufactured by Oracle. It was a used, heavily modified Oracle Delphi, a version of one of their first turntable models, which replaced my trusty AR. On the AR was a Grace G-707 tonearm, which I then used on the Oracle. I was in audiophile heaven. This Oracle Delphi was my "reference" turntable rig for quite some time, although I didn't use the term "reference" back then. In many ways, I miss that turntable. It certainly turned heads when "citizens" saw it perched upon the top of my equipment rack. Fast-forward to the 21st Century; the Delphi was long gone, but I was lucky enough to review the first version of Oracle's Paris turntable, which came with a modified and re-branded Pro-Ject 9cc tonearm.
---> Oracle Audio PH200 Mk III Phono Pre Review.



Audio Sensibility Signature Ethernet And DC Power Cables Review

World Premiere Review!
Audio Sensibility Signature Ethernet And DC Power Cables Review

Moderately-priced high-quality cabling that will keep you musically satisfied.
Review By Rick Becker And Tom Lathrop
If you've clicked on this review you already know that cables make a difference. I'll spare you that lecture. You may also already know about Steven Huang and his Audio Sensibility cable company out of Toronto, Canada. I've been commenting on his presence at the Montreal and Toronto audio shows since 2010. His cables featured prominently in my $5000 Entry Level System project in 2014, allowing me to reach a sound quality level in a streamlined rig that came surprisingly close to my reference rig. That's what Ohno Continuous Cast silver and copper, cryogenic treatment, stainless steel shielding at the ends, and soundly engineered cable design can do for you. Being a small, personal company has allowed Steven to remain nimble and creative.
---> Audio Sensibility Signature Ethernet and DC Power cables review.



Electrocompaniet ECI 6 DX MKII Integrated Streaming Amplifier Review

Electrocompaniet ECI 6 DX MKII Int. Streaming Amp Review
A Norwegian thoroughbred with power and lossless hi-res streaming music finesse.
Review By Phil Gold
You may have heard of Dr. Matti Otala of the Tampere University in Finland. Even if you haven't, the fine sound that the best transistor amplifiers are capable of today is a direct result of his pioneering work in the seventies on Transient Intermodulation (TIM). This is a type of distortion, previously unidentified, produced by early transistor amplifiers which made them so tiresome to listen to. Per Abrahamsen and Svein Erik Břrja read Dr. Otala's paper and set out to design a transistor amplifier that would minimize TIM. Their 25 Watt amplifier, introduced in 1976 really did change the world and won their new Norwegian company, Electrocompaniet, many fans and customers including Bruce Swedian (Michael Jackson's producer). He used Electrocompaniet amps to master Michael Jackson's albums HIStory and Invincible. Electrocompaniet amplifiers found their way into many recording studios around the world including Abbey Road.
---> Electrocompaniet ECI 6 DX MKII int. streaming amp review.



ELAC UBR62-BK/W Uni-Fi Reference Speaker Review

World Premiere Review!
ELAC UBR62-BK/W Uni-Fi Reference Speaker Review

One of the best price versus performance monitor loudspeakers.
Review By Ron Nagle
This narrative begins as an evaluation of the new ELAC Uni-Fi UB2 speakers. However, you could not tell the ELAC story without first introducing Mr. Andrew Jones. He is an extraordinary designer who, through his expertise, revitalized the ELAC brand in America. The ELAC company is an old and well-established German loudspeaker manufacturer. As a matter of record, ELAC was founded in 1926 as 'Electroacustic GmbH'. Mr. Andrew Jones was hired in 2015 as part of the creation of ELAC Americas Inc in Cypress, CA. Andrew Jones' official title is VP of Engineering. This was in part based on his remarkable career designing speakers for KEF, Infinity, and Pioneer/TAD. His talents were evident in his design for the $29,800 Tad Evolution One and others. At the opposite end of the spectrum is his design of the $129.99 Pioneer SP-BS22-LR.
---> ELAC UBR62-BK/W Uni-Fi Reference Speaker Review.



HEDD HEDDphone Headphone Review

HEDD HEDDphone Headphone Review
Meet the New Boss?

Definitely Not the Same as the Old Boss
Review By Trav Wilson
Can a pair of headphones be priced at almost $2,000 and still be considered a bargain or even a good buy? I've been wondering about that a lot of late. It depends on your perspective, I suppose. And your pocketbook. The HEDD HEDDphone might make you reach for your wallet. What if those headphones compare favourably with the absolute top-tier performers; including some that are priced significantly higher and some more than twice as much. What if they are a real contender in materials, craftsmanship, and (most importantly) sound reproduction? Make no mistake about it – the Heinz Electrodynamic Designs HEDDPhone belong in the top tier of headphones available. Several of the best headphones come from long-established German headphone companies; including Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, and Ultrasone
---> HEDD HEDDphone stereo headphone review.



Audeze LCD-R Headphones Plus Schiit Jotunheim-A Amplifier Review

Audeze LCD-R Headphones Plus Schiit Jotunheim-A Amplifier Review
Here's a killer 1-2 combination that will have you smiling the entire time.
Review By Peter Pialis
When I first heard of Audeze's first foray into a headphone utilizing ribbon drivers, my heart jumped. Traditionally a pioneer in the world of planar magnetic headphones, the possibility of hearing what this world-class producer of personal audio could do with ribbon drivers.... I still very much put the LCD-4 / LCD-4z in my personal "Top 5 Headphones of All Time", but the ability to experience a brand new technology within the ecosystem of the Audeze experience was something that really just appealed to me. Ribbon-based drivers usually end up with very low impedance headphones and the LCD-R are no different. Coming in at a very low 2 Ohms, these headphones required a special dedicated headphone amplifier that can handle extremely low impedance. So the folks at Audeze and Schiit Audio put their heads together for this venture and came up with the Jotunheim-A amplifier.
---> Audeze LCD-R headphones plus Schiit Jotunheim-A amplifier review.



WyWires Diamond And Platinum Cables Review

WyWires Diamond And Platinum Cables Review
WyWires makes products that are incredibly easy to recommend because they simply work.
Review By Sam Rosen
Before I start this review I want to make one thing clear, I love WyWires. To be clear the reason I love WyWires is because they have been the only cable brand that I have found that truly enhances my system without any drawbacks. They are not cheap, but the cables act more like components than cables. They seem to provide a level of detail, clarity, and space that you would associate with a cooler sounding system, but they manage to do so while keeping the tone just to the warm side of neutral which is where I really prefer it to be. For this review I reached out to Alex, the owner of WyWires, and asked if he could send me his phono cable and his digital AES cable. Alex asked if I would be interested reviewing both the Platinum and Diamond versions of these cables. I happily took him up on his offer and a few weeks later all four cables arrived, along with a set of Platinum balanced interconnects that I requested to help connect one of my review components into the system.
---> WyWires Diamond and Platinum Cables review.



Kronos Discovery Turntable Review

Video: Kronos Discovery Turntable Review
A milestone in reference level LP playback.
Article By Greg Weaver / The Audio Analyst
I was honored to be invited for a private, extended audition of Louis Desjardins latest creation, his all-out assault on LP playback, the Kronos Discovery Turntable. Their reference turntable was recently launched during the last week of August 2021. Within this episode, it is my honor, and complete pleasure, to be able to share my experiences with what I believe to be the new milestone in reference level LP playback! In my experience, its level of performance is unparalleled, completely resetting the bar for what can be achieved sonically with the playback of LPs in a hyper-audio two-channel system. I'm sure you'll enjoy the video.
---> Kronos Discovery turntable video review.



Interview With Musician And Music Producer Matt Starr

Interview With Musician And Music Producer Matt Starr
Drummer, singer, songwriter, and producer, Matt Starr has performed with Ace Frehley, Joe Lynn Turner, Love/Hate, Kevin DuBrow, and Mr. Big.
Interview By Emiko
By now, most of you know me as equal parts artist and audiophile - someone who creates the music (well, some of it, anyway) that you listen to on your systems. As such, I've found myself in a very unique, nay, special position in the audio industry, and thus I've made it one of my missions to bridge the gap between pro audio and hi-fi (and high-end audio). One of the ways I do this is by researching. For me, researching runs the gamut from traditional means like speaking with experts, looking at social history, etc, all the way to getting on the audiophile group boards on Facebook late at night when I get to see all the "delightful" <cough cough> comments that some trolls post up. Of these comments, some of the more common ones revolve around the idea that professional musicians and music creators aren't audiophiles.
---> Interview with musician and music producer Matt Starr.



Aavik Acoustics I-180 Integrated Amplifier, D-180 DAC, And S-180 Streamer / Network Player 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
The Danish 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.



AGD The Audion MKII Monoblock Amplifier Review

World Premiere Review!
AGD The Audion MKII Monoblock Amplifier Review
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 MOSFET transistors.
---> AGD The Audion MKII monoblock amplifier review.



Audience adeptResponse aR6-T4 Passive Power Conditioner Review With Audience's frontRow powerChord

Audience adeptResponse aR6-T4 Passive Power Conditioner With Audience's frontRow powerChord Review
Reacquaint yourself with the art of deep listening.
Review By Dr. Michael Bump
I recently came across an article written in early March 2020 by LA Times Staff Writer, Randall Roberts. The write-up, entitled, The Lost Art of Deep Listening: Choose an album. Lose the phone. Close your eyes, is offered as a challenge (to those who are otherwise not of an audiophile persuasion) to listen with all manner of intent as if binge-watching all seven seasons of Sons of Anarchy (which I admittedly have done now on three occasions). The assignment: Clear your schedule for the next three hours of all distractions. Choose three full recordings from your collection and put them in an ordered queue (as if you were programming a triple feature binge-watch). Then, close your eyes, and just listen... Roberts reflects, "There was a time when listeners treated the mere existence of recorded sound like a miracle – a wonder, a kind of time travel. Vintage images from the space age, recalling couples seated around their high-fidelity systems as if being warmed by a fireplace."
---> Audience adeptResponse aR6-T4 / frontRow powerChord Review.



Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 Loudspeaker Review

Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 Loudspeaker Review
A new and innovative design in speaker technology.
Review By Dr. Matthew Clott
You might have to stand on your head for this review because Zoltán Bay turned the concept of speaker production upside down and inside out when he created the Bay Radial Speaker (BRS) Tweeter. And when you see the absolutely unique and creative Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 speaker design ($60,000), you're not going to be able to figure out how to stand, so just have a seat and enjoy the read. Maybe have the computer or tablet read it to you while you listen to your favorite composition in the background.... Be sure to grab your favorite beverage and have that cute dog (or cat) of yours sit in your lap and snuggle in; this is gonna be good!
---> Read our Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 speaker review.



Black Cat Graceline Level-2 Interconnect & Speaker Cable Review

Black Cat Graceline Level-2 Interconnect & Speaker Cable Review
Worth every freaking penny because your system will appreciate it.
Review By Tom Lyle
In March of 2019, I reviewed Black Cat's 3200 interconnect, speaker, and digital cable in Enjoy The Music. I was very impressed by these relatively affordable cables. The Graceline (by Black Cat Cable) Level-2 interconnects and speaker cables reviewed here are a considerable step up from those cables in sound quality. In case one might not have heard of Black Cat cables, and even if you have, I strongly suggest one read the "We Ask 10 Questions..." interview with Chris Sommovigo, which appeared in November 2020's issue as part of the celebration of Enjoy The Music's 25th Anniversary. In this interview, I learned that Mr. Sommovigo is a very knowledgeable, level-headed designer and inventor. Some of his cables were very sonically successful, such as his digital cable, of which he sold several of his designs to Kimber Kable.
---> Black Cat Graceline Level-2 interconnect & speaker cable review.



Dynamic Sounds Associates Amp I Review

Dynamic Sounds Associates Amp I Review
Class-A tour de force!
Review By Greg Weaver
I've had the pleasure of writing about Dynamic Sounds Associates gear for over 16 years now, with my first take on the original Phono-ONE phonostage appearing back in November of 2004! Since that time, I've reviewed, or used as reference, the superb Phono II phonostage (with the Phono III coming on deck soon!), the exceptional Pre I Linestage, and now, I am privileged to bring you the world premiere review of the exceptional Amp I monoblocks. The engineering mind behind all these fresh and exceptional designs is one Dr. Douglas Hurlburt, whom I first met while living in southern Maryland during the early to mid-nineteen nineties.
---> Dynamic Sounds Associates Amp I review.



Gingko Audio Sextet Speaker System Review

Gingko Audio Sextet Speaker System Review
Enjoying everything the Gingko Swarm has to offer with many options available too!
Review By Brett Rudolph
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to review several different speakers and speaker systems. Each one has the character that sets it apart from the next. So, when you can audition speakers and have the designer help set them up and explain them to you, it aids in giving a full review. Therefore, when the opportunity presented itself late last year, I jumped at the chance. Usually, the first contact is a brief discussion on the product and a time to work out logistics. However, Vinh Vu from Gingko Audio, and I spoke more about the Sextet system's potential.
---> Read our Gingko Audio Sextet speaker system review.



Gryphon Audio Essence Preamplifier And Essence Stereo Power Amplifier Review

Gryphon Audio Essence Preamplifier
And Essence Stereo Power Amplifier Review
Blown away by an amazing musical performance!
Review By Tom Lyle
The Gryphon Essence preamplifier and Gryphon Stereo power amplifier are gorgeous looking and beautiful sounding Danish high-end audio components. Those who can afford either or both of these components will not only enjoy stellar sound quality but most likely will also be able to enjoy the fact that they are the epitome of audio equipment that has a look and "feel" of luxury goods. Gryphon founder Flemming E. Rasmussen was responsible for the stunningly beautiful exterior of the rather large (and heavy!) Gryphon Essence preamplifier and Stereo Essence power amplifier. Good looks and operational refinement are especially true of the Gryphon Essence preamplifier. Its weighty infrared metal remote was only one indication of this Danish audio manufacturer's recognition of many audiophile's appreciation of the intangibles that are available on many preamps.
---> Gryphon Audio Essence preamplifier & Essence amplifier review.



Kimber Kable Naked Interconnects Review

Kimber Kable Naked Interconnects Review
Let's go skinny dipping... with an impressive leap in cabling technology!
Review By Paul L. Schumann
Ok, we've all done it. We've swum in the water in our birthday suits. It may have been in a swimming pool, maybe in a lake or stream, maybe even in the ocean. I don't want to know your details, and I'm sure you don't want to know mine. But one way or another, we got naked outside and took the plunge.  And no matter the outcome, it was a memorable experience. Such as with the Kimber Kable Naked Interconnects. My familiarity with Kimber Kable goes back further than I like to admit. Back then I was still a novice to the world of high-end interconnects. It was 1997 and I just upgraded my CD player.
---> Read our Kimber Kable Naked Interconnects review.



Mojo Mystique EVO B4B 21 DAC Review

Mojo Mystique EVO B4B 21 DAC (2021 Version) Review
It sounds like music.
Review By Dr. Matt Clott
Mojo Audio, located in Albuquerque, NM, is the brainchild and passion of Benjamin Zwickel, President, CEO, and chief designer. Although not as well recognized as the big-name manufacturers, Benjamin has established his brand as a manufacturer direct digital source alternative that offers enormous value in performance and routinely hits way above its price point. Do not confuse this Mojo with the Chord Mojo portable DAC... not the same. I have previously had a positive experience with his DACs within my pre-reviewer days and I was thrilled at the opportunity to formally review the Mojo Audio Mystique EVO B4B 21 D/A Converter. Having gone through several iterations, the current model line-up nomenclatures are all Mystique EVO 21 DACs.
---> Mojo Mystique EVO B4B 21 DAC (2021 version).



Nagra Tube DAC And Classic PSU Power Supply Review

Nagra Tube DAC And Classic PSU Power Supply Review
Sonic glory... worth it!
Review By Tom Lyle
Nagra is a Swiss audio equipment manufacturer that has been in business for over 65 years. Their professional portable tape records were an industry standard for many decades, even appearing as props in many films and television shows. Their reputation was rock-solid even before they started manufacturing high-end audio equipment in the 21st Century. Because of this, and because of the fine high-end audio components they've been designing and manufacturing since 2012, I suppose there are many audiophiles, and plenty of non-audiophile, who might add the Nagra Tube DAC and its matching Classic PSU power supply to their systems without an audition, or without reading reviews on the subject.
---> Nagra Tube DAC and Classic PSU Power Supply.



NPS 1260 3D Enhancer Solution 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 replies included:
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.



Pass Laboratories INT-25 Solid-State Stereo Integrated Amplifier Review

Pass Laboratories INT-25 Solid-State Integrated Amplifier Review
A fantastic sounding Class A stereo amplifier!
Review By Tom Lyle
Lest one think that this review is simply not only more evidence that I have somehow formed an untoward relationship with Pass Laboratories, I'd build my defense around the fact that every time I reviewed one of their high-end audio components, I was "assigned" the task. Sure, the fact that I use not only the power and preamplifier but also the headphone amplifier I use as references, must not help my case. The next thing I know I'm asked to review their INT-25 integrated amplifier. It's tough work, but someone has to do it. Yes, I'm grateful for my problems.
---> Read our Pass Laboratories INT-25 stereo integrated amplifier review.



PureAudioProject Quintet 10 Open-Baffel Loudspeaker Review

PureAudioProject's Quintet 10 Open-Baffle Loudspeaker Review
Look ma, no boxes! I spent 100 days and nights with PureAudioProject's Quintet 10 open-baffle speakers — and found that they are sonic shape-shifters of the highest order.
Review By Rogier van Bakel
"Audiophile" and "oenophile" don't just sound similar. The words have this in common too: they describe a world where subjective judgments of quality must rule without a chance of different opinions being resolved. After all, no one can make valid generalizations about what the ideal power amplifier or the perfect pair of speakers sound like — any more than a wine lover can claim with universal authority that a bottle of 1979 La Mission Haut Brion is better than a 1988 Château Léoville Barton, or vice versa.
---> Read our review of the PureAudioProject Quintet 10 speaker.



Rogue Audio RP-9 Vacuum Tube Stereo Preamplifier Review

Rogue Audio RP-9 Vacuum Tube Stereo Preamplifier
Exceeding the listener's expectations.
Review By Bob Grossman
Rogue Audio's RP-9 is the latest flagship preamplifier from the ingenious designs of the American manufacturing workshop of Mark O'Brien.  Having an interest in doing this review of the new RP-9 was a simple decision as a long-time user of the Rogue RP-7.  I have been using the remarkable powerhouse Rogue Apollo Dark Amps for several years as both a sonic and output upgrade to my previously owned Rogue 180 Amplifiers that were used to run Magnepan 3.6 speakers.  I replaced the Maggie 3.6 speakers with their 20.7 models several years ago and needed more powerful amps. I wondered if the increased musical experience of moving further up in the Rogue Amplifier line was going to be repeated with their new preamplifier by going from the RP-7 to the RP-9 model. However, before proceeding and hearing the RP-9, I wondered what was going on since the RP-7 has received numerous accolades, recognition, and rewards. Could designer Mark O'Brien improve upon the noteworthy RP-7 that I have been enjoying?
---> Rogue Audio RP-9 vacuum tube stereo preamplifier review.



Silversmith Audio Fidelium Loudspeaker Cables Review

Silversmith Audio Fidelium Loudspeaker Cables
A new paradigm in speaker cables.
Review By Greg Weaver
I first met the engaging Jeffrey Smith, founder and design engineer of Silversmith Audio and recently retired Navy Commander, some nineteen years ago during his third CES, in January of 2002. To save space here, as there is quite a bit to cover, I'd refer you to his "About Us" link at the Silversmith Audio web page to see his remarkable story. He was showing his then flagship silver ribbon interconnects and speaker cables at the Alexis Park paired with gear from Pass Labs including their X0.2 linestage and X600 amplifiers driving the EgglestonWorks Andra II speakers.
---> Read our Silversmith Audio Fidelium loudspeaker cable review.



SOTA Nova VI Vinyl LP Turntable Review

SOTA Nova VI Vinyl LP Turntable Review
The new Sota sound allows music to become tactile.
Review By Ron Nagle
There was a time when my school shoes wore out; my mom would take them to the shoe repairman. He would fix them like new with Cats-paw rubber heels. At about that same time I remember when our Zenith console television died. My father would go down to the local hardware store to use their tube tester. For three or four dollars he would buy a new vacuum tube. Very soon we would be back to our black and white TV bliss. I guess since then a few things have changed. But let us now carry that forward to the present. Understand that for 20 years I spun vinyl disks on my reliable reference, a Sota Sapphire 2, but alas time takes a toll. So what can you do if you have something you can't part with?
---> SOTA Nova VI vinyl LP turntable review.



Tekton Moab Floorstanding Speaker Review

Tekton Moab Floorstanding Speaker Review
With their thunderous bass complementing a dazzlingly beautiful midrange, Tekton's Moab full-range speakers stand tall both in appearance and in musicality.
Review By Rogier van Bakel
For virtually everyone on the planet, this past calendar year brought a range of challenges and sorrows; 10/10 would not recommend. Hooray for 2021, with its promise of health, actual instead of virtual hugs, and a return to normalcy. When looking back on our collective annus horribilis (Latin for dumpster fire), I consider the arrival of a pair of Tekton Moab speakers in my listening room a welcome ray of light. Like many audiophiles confined to home by the pandemic, I've found much meaning and comfort in music these past nine months. With my photography business on the skids, there was suddenly occasion to burrow into a couple of thousand standout tracks, old and new. I almost didn't miss the roughly two dozen concerts I would've attended in a normal year. I think that's in part because, well, if any stereo speakers I've ever heard sound just like live music, it's the Moabs.
---> Tekton Moab floorstanding speaker review.



Zu Omen MK.II Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review

Zu Audio Omen MK.II Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review
A classic loudspeaker from Zu Audio that remains new. 
Review By Ric Mancuso
I asked this question of Sean Casey, owner and creator and founder of Zu Audio loudspeakers. "You know, how did you come with the name for the company?" He said, One evening having some conversation about birthing the company with his wife, the name Zu popped into her head! It sounded cool and they came up with a logo and from then on it was Zu Audio. Sean heard members of the industry say never to disclose the origin of the name, fearing it would evoke a perception of fictionalization, that would somehow undermine the brand's quality. What's in a name? Well, Prince did pretty well with his symbol and his brand. Sean Casey's background in audio is an interesting one. He and Ray Kimber, both Utah audio heads knew of each other and crossed paths involving PA's and sound systems for clubs in the early days in Ogden. Ray of course started up Kimber Kable.
---> Zu Audio Omen MK.II floorstanding loudspeaker review.



Vacuum Tube DIY Part 1 And 2

Vacuum Tubes Part 1 & 2
Article By Grey Rollins
Passive components are all well and fine, but for audio purposes we need something that will amplify a signal. All sensors, whether they read digital bits or analog recordings, are deficient in both voltage and current when it comes to driving speakers. High fidelity reproduction of music is impossible without amplifying devices. For that matter, electric guitars, keyboards, and microphones also require amplification; so much of current popular music is dependent on amplification, as well. There are scads of devices that can amplify a signal. A full breakdown of the possibilities begins to resemble a fairly dense tree, with branches going this way and that. For most consumer applications, this decision is simple: solid-state. Only. However, music reproduction (and production — just try to tell owners of tubed Ampegs, Marshalls, Fenders, and Mesa Boogies that you're going to take away their amps....
---> Vacuum tubes part 1 and 2.



Listener Magazine The Intro By Art Dudley

Listener Magazine: The Intro
Editorial By Art Dudley
Is Tony Rice the "best" guitarist in bluegrass music? Before you scold me for looking at the world that way — stuffing artists into neat little pigeonholes and ranking musicians the way most people rank baseball players — bear in mind that I don't do it half as much as I used to. And since kids can be forgiven for thinking like that, I have let myself off the hook for all those nights I drove around town with my pals, arguing over whose guitar heroes were the "best," like some adolescent McLaughlin Group in plaid flannel shirts. (John McLaughlin: "Who's heavier, Jeff Beck or Jimmy Page?" Jack Germond: "I think it's Jimmy Page." John McLaughlin: "Wrong again. Pat Buchanan, who's heavier...?"} But the title of this month's music feature is a deliberate, and hopefully thought-provoking, reference to the fact that a great many fans, fellow musicians, and critics all consider Tony Rice to be the best in his field.
---> Listener Magazine: The Intro by Art Dudley.



A Homebrew Horn For Dual Concentric Loudspeakers

A Homebrew Horn For Dual Concentric Loudspeakers
Article By Roy Hilsley From Sound Practices Issue 17
I consider myself to be very lucky. My father introduced me to hi-fi when I was a teenager. That was over forty years ago! In those days audio electronics and hi-fi was very much an experimenter's hobby and my father loved to put electronic components together to make all manner of things. He built our amps, tuner and speakers — first for mono and then stereo. He even built our first TV set! The early hi-fi shows in England were held at the Hotel Russell in London and we would visit to look, see and hear the latest audio innovations. My father was a music lover and could play the piano. He knew what sounded natural. At one of the shows he was so impressed with the sound made by one particular manufacturer that he ordered a pair of the speakers at the show. They were Lowther Acoustics (with PM6A magnets). These little gems were fast and very dynamic and we lived with them for several years but Dad always complained that they lacked really deep bass.
---> A homebrew horn for dual concentric loudspeakers.



Altec Alternatives -- VALVE Magazine

Altec Loudspeaker Alternatives
Article By Dan Schmalle From VALVE Issue 6
This month we hope to hear some vintage loudspeakers. Once again Eric will generously give us a glimpse and a listen from his fast growing collection. A pair of Altec -- Lansing A7 "Voice of the Theatre" loudspeakers and their domestic counterpart, the Altec Corona, will visit our listening room. As of this writing one crossover is misbehaving, so our demo may be mono, but interesting nonetheless. The A7 (pictured here) is the smallest of a line of loudspeakers Altec produced for use in theatres, auditoriums and studios. It consists of a low frequency driver, type 803A, coupled to a short horn and rear loaded to a "bass reflex" enclosure. This is crossed over through a type 800E 800Hz crossover to a type 802 high frequency driver connected to a type 811 B multi-cellular horn baffle, which spreads the high frequencies horizontally over a 120 degree arc (and about 40 degrees vertically). The high frequency driver sits on top of the dark gray bass enclosure.
---> Altec loudspeaker alternatives.



KLH Kendall Floorstanding Loudspeakers Review

KLH Kendall Floorstanding Loudspeakers Review
Very dynamic while still providing a graceful harmonic decay.
Review By Dean Cacioppo
There are few speaker brands that even non-audiophiles recognize. KLH is one of them. KLH Research and Development was originally founded in 1957 by Henry Kloss, Malcolm Low, and Josef Hoffman. Henry Kloss' reputation in the audio industry goes back to the 1950s and includes audio brands such as Acoustic Research, Advent, Cambridge Soundworks, and, of course, KLH. Today, the KLH brand has been reborn by David Kelley (formally of Klipsch) as KLH Audio, focusing on relatively affordable hi-fi speakers, subwoofers, A/V speakers and headphones.
---> KLH Kendall floorstanding speakers review.



M2Tech Nash Phono Preamplifier & Van Der Graaf MkII Power Supply Review

M2Tech Nash Phono Pre & Van Der Graaf MkII Power Review
Capable of producing both subtle and very dense recordings.
Review By Tom Lyle
M2Tech's Nash phono stage, a component that is part of their Rockstar series, seemed to me to be the not only a perfect match for the Pro-Ject Esprit SB turntable that I set up in my second system not long ago, but also for the moving magnet Ortofon 2M Red phono cartridge that is mounted on the turntable's integral tonearm. This is probably the least expensive cartridge I would ever consider using, and conversely, at about $100 my experience leads me to believe that it is also the most expensive cartridge a non-audiophile might consider purchasing. Thankfully, it has a relatively neutral sound, and its rather open, dynamic sound make it more than "good enough" to use in a high-end system, and especially one that is as good as the system in which I'm auditioning this M2Tech Nash phono stage.
---> M2Tech Nash Phono Pre & Van Der Graaf MkII Power review.



Audio Dithering: What You Need To Know

Audio Dithering: What You Need To Know
Article By Mike Levine Of Waves Audio Ltd.
Dither is one of the least understood topics when it comes to mixing and mastering, but it can actually come in handy. We've compiled a one-stop shop for understanding when, why and how to use dither. Dither is one of the least understood words in the music-production lexicon, but it's an essential ingredient when working with digital audio, and one that you really should understand if you're involved in mixing or mastering. So, what is dither? It's a form of low-level noise that is intentionally added to a digital audio file as it's rendered to a lower bit depth. The concept of dithering might seem counterintuitive, but it's an effective process. Dither noise actually masks what's called "quantization distortion," which causes noise and artifacts in digital audio. Before we go into the specifics, it's useful to quickly review some basic concepts about digital audio.
---> Audio Dithering: What you need to know.



Japan's Hidden Listening Bars

Video: Japan's Hidden Listening Bars
Bridge / Resident Advisor x Asahi Super Dry
Located high above Shibuya's world-famous pedestrian crossing and equipped with high-quality Rey Audio speakers, Bridge offers a refuge from Tokyo's bustling streets. It's what the venue's manager, Masaaki Ariizumi, calls a "third place" — somewhere to unwind between home and work. This video is produced by Resident Advisor in partnership with Asahi Super Dry Beer. We are exploring Japan's rich culture of listening bars and audiophile venues. It's a culture rooted in the joy of discovering music, and listening to that music in the best possible environment — that means precision-made loudspeakers, amplifiers, turntables and mixers.
---> Video: Japan's hidden listening bars.



Noble Audio Khan In-Ear Monitors Review

Noble Audio's Mighty Khan In-Ear Monitors Review
A rare instrument that make listening to music as good as it gets.
Review By Frank Iacone Of Headphone.Guru

The Wiz has been busy creating new universal and custom designs using hybrid technology. Dr. John Moulton is well known in the personal audio community for creating outstanding designs with artful flair; John is an audiologist by trade and spends most of his time working with his brother Jim Moulton, an attorney by trade, who is the marketing arm and partner for Noble Audio. Jim is based in Texas and has been doing all the personal audio shows showing the new designs that the Wiz has been creating.
---> Noble Audio Khan in-ear monitors review.



Wells Audio Commander Level II Tube Line Stage Review

World Premiere Review!
Wells Audio Commander Level II Tube Line Stage Review
I found myself often thinking of Van Morrison's "Cleaning Windows".
Review By Dr. Jules L. Coleman
For much of my life I tried my hand at playing guitar – with little, if any, success. Truth be told, early and often friends and family – several of whom are professional musicians – encouraged me to abandon my efforts. Ultimately, fear of being friendless and homeless carried the day, and my nascent, if not burgeoning, career came to a screeching halt. This tragedy, notwithstanding, my love of music has continued to grow unabated. Like the majority of you, I love listening to music, engaging it, getting to know and appreciate it for its artistry as well the narrative content of the music and where present the lyrics.
---> Wells Audio Commander Level II tube linestage review.



Baby Boomer Music Lovers And The New Gen Z

Baby Boomer Music Lovers And The New Gen Z
Gen Z music enthusiasts may have different goals than Boomers.
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin
It is said that baby boomers are generally those who were born between 1946 and 1964. Will let you do the math of their current age bracket. Stereo LP vinyl LPs became available in 1957, with stereo radio becoming a reality in 1961. Gen Z'ers, on the other hand, was born between 1997 and 2012. DVD-Audio, with its' Hi-Res Music 24-bit/96kHz multi-channel format, came about in 2000. It is no surprise that during 2019 at high-end audio shows there were special gatherings of those under 40 years old.
---> More about Boomers and Gen Z music lovers.



The Big and The Small Of It Roger Skoff writes about how it really happens within high-end audio.

The Big And The Small Of It
Roger Skoff writes about how it really happens within high-end audio.
Article By Roger Skoff
Many years ago, my previous cable company, XLO Electric, was nominated for the prestigious Plunkett Award, DuPont's annual prize for the innovative use of Teflon, named after the man who invented it. Perhaps as no surprise, the Award that year didn't go to us, but to people who had done something of far greater world consequence than just making better-sounding audio cables. Even so, just the fact of having been nominated proved to be of considerable immediate and even long-term value.
---> Read more about The Big And The Small Of It.



RMAF 2019 Show Report (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019)

Celebrating 16 Years Of RMAF!
Thousands of photos!
Hundreds of pages!
Live streaming videos!
Educational seminar videos!

Rocky Mountain Audio International Fest (RMAF) Show Report 2019 2018 , 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004.




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