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High-End Audio, Audiophile & 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 2023 Blue Note Award By Enjoy the Music.com

Best Of 2023 Blue Note Equipment Awards
Enjoy the Music.com celebrates the best high fidelity audio gear of 2023!
Enjoy the Music.com's Best Of 2023 Blue Note Awards celebrates the many great achievements by audiophile manufacturers within the high-end audio and Hi-Res Audio industry. Our 2023 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 2023 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, streaming media, and more.
---> Best Of 2023 Blue Note Equipment Awards.

 

 

Making It Good, Getting It Great A mystery of product design. Article By Roger Skoff

Making It Good, Getting It Great
A mystery of product design.
Article By Roger Skoff
When I bought my first pair of Acoustat Model 1+1 electrostatic speakers (I now have three pairs ) they sounded so bad that I called their designer, Jim Strickland, told him that I must have gotten a defective pair, and demanded that he either replace them or give me my money back. The sound was so awful – no bass, no treble, no volume – that my first thought was to compare them to a shirt-pocket transistor radio, but even that was too generous: They sounded just plain bad, and that came as a total surprise to me. I mean, it wasn't as if I had bought them completely unheard: The truth was exactly the opposite. About a month before I bought them, I had been to Christopher Hansen's hi-fi shop in Beverly Hills and auditioned the then-newly-released, Apogee ribbon speakers (which, if I recall correctly, didn't yet even have a model name).
---> Making It Good, Getting It Great.

 

 

Review: Aavik  S-280 Streamer, U-280 Unity Integrated Amp with built-in DAC, Ansuz Acoustics Mainz8 A2 AC Power Distribution Bar, Mainz8 A2 AC Ansuz Power Cords, Speakz Speaker Cables, Digitalz Ethernet Cable, PowerSwitch A2 Ethernet Switch, Darkz C2t Isolation Footers, and Titanium Balls for Ansuz Acoustics Darkz C2t.

Aavik Acoustics System Review
High-end audio equipment is made by those who love music.
Review By Tom Lyle
Aavik S-280 Streamer, U-280 Unity Integrated Amp with built-in DAC, Ansuz Acoustics Mainz8 A2 AC Power Distribution Bar, Mainz8 A2 AC Ansuz Power Cords, Speakz Speaker Cables, Digitalz Ethernet Cable, PowerSwitch A2 Ethernet Switch, Darkz C2t, Resonance Control Devices, and Titanium Balls for Ansuz Acoustics Darkz C2t.
The subjects of this review feature components and accessories from two of the three brands designed and manufactured by The Audio Group Denmark, which acts as an umbrella company for Aavik Acoustics, Ansuz Acoustics, and Břrresen Acoustics. The company was started by two Danes, Lars Kristensen, and Michael Břrresen, who first met more than 20 years ago. Aavik Acoustics designs and manufactures many types of high-end audio components, such as amplifiers, DACs, phono stages, and streamers. Ansuz Acoustics products consist of what most audiophiles would call high-end audio accessories, cables, power distribution, streaming accessories, and resonance control devices.
---> Aavik Acoustics System Review.

 

 

Alsyvox Audio Design Botticelli X Loudspeaker Review Planar dynamics redefined.

Alsyvox Audio Design Botticelli X Loudspeaker Review
Planar dynamics redefined.
Review By Greg Weaver
The first week of September last year brought a highly rewarding conclusion to an audio quest that was more than five years in the making. Since my very first exposure to the Alsyvox Audio Design Botticelli full-range ribbon loudspeaker — back in May of 2017 in Munich, it has been my goal to spend some serious time in front of these gorgeous and utterly remarkable sounding loudspeakers. I was first introduced to the seductive voice of these remarkable Spanish planar dynamic loudspeakers at the 2017 "apostate" HiFiDeluxe audio show held at the Marriott München. Just a ten-minute drive south, and slightly west, of the Munich Order Center, home to the annual "High-End Munich", the largest annual audio show on earth, this "overflow" audio event runs coincident with the larger, more established event every year.
---> Alsyvox Audio Design Botticelli X Loudspeaker Review.

 

 

Audience Hidden Treasure In-Wall AC PowerCable & High Definition Wall Receptacle Review

Audience Hidden Treasure In-Wall AC PowerCable And High Definition Wall Receptacle Review
Like a buried treasure that pays huge dividends in musical enjoyment!
Review By Rick Becker
If you're reading this review, you're either considering the installation of a dedicated line in what is likely your dedicated listening room or perhaps your home theater...  or maybe the video rig in your family room if you're seriously into watching TV. Or possibly, you've already installed a line and are wondering if this new Audience cable might be a worthwhile upgrade. In any case, I suspect you're already convinced that "everything matters" in high-end audio, especially cables. Keep reading. Audience is one of the most respected cable manufacturers and my ears perked up when I saw the ad for their new In-Wall AC cable. It's been 20 years since I reviewed Joe Skubinski's JPS Labs Power AC In-Wall cable. He's sold miles of it and "Big Red" has remained my reference dedicated line ever since. What's taken so long for the competition to arise?
---> Audience Hidden Treasure In-Wall AC PowerCable And High Definition Wall Receptacle Review.

 

 

Audio Note UK M2 Line Stage / Preamplifier And Conqueror Power Amplifier Review

Audio Note UK M2 Linestage / Preamplifier And Conqueror Power Amplifier Review
Taking the road less traveled.
Review By Paul Schumann
Hi-fi audio emerged in the 1950s with the introduction of the LP record. As the business evolved and stereo became the norm, acoustic suspension speakers gained popularity due to their smaller footprint in the family room. What followed after that can be called an arms race between audio manufacturers to build more powerful amplifiers. This continued as hi-fi became high-end audio. It was not uncommon to see on the pages of print magazines reviewing amplifiers rated at 400 Watts per channel or more. But not all music lovers were following this path. While the audio business was trending towards the more powerful tube and solid-state amps, an underground movement in Japan was extolling the virtues of the old low-powered Western Electric amps when paired with speakers of the same vintage.
---> Audio Note UK M2 Linestage / Preamplifier And Conqueror Power Amplifier Review.

 

 

Critical Mass Systems Center Stage2 LS Series Loudspeaker Footer Review

Critical Mass Systems Center Stage2 LS Series Loudspeaker Footer Review
Give your speakers a very solid foundation.
Review By Dr. Michael Bump
The foundation of any piece of equipment is crucial – and in this case, the feet upon which fine audio components rest must be recognized as a critical juncture. For me, the isolation and channeling of degrative vibration is as fundamental to exceptional reproduction of recorded music as is establishing the cleanest possible electrical power. These two cornerstones must be clearly understood before any good can come of the substantial investment accrued among high-end audio components. When I was initially approached to assess the Center Stage2 Loudspeaker Series (LS) footers, I was slightly hesitant. Of course, I was thrilled to see and hear what they were all about, having reviewed the Critical Mass Systems Center Stage 2M component footers last year for Enjoy the Music.com, and subsequently invested in a full complement of the CS 2M footers for all my audio chassis.
---> Critical Mass Systems Center Stage2 LS Series Loudspeaker Footer Review.

 

 

Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Progression S350 Stereo Power Amplifier Review

Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Progression S350 Stereo Power Amplifier Review
The Dan D'Agostino S350 amplifier makes each musical selection sound spectacular!
Review By Tom Lyle
Dan D'Agostino Master Audio products are not the most expensive audio components on the market, but in my opinion, their audio products are some of the best sounding high-end audio components I've ever had the pleasure of auditioning. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to review two D'Agostino Master Audio components in the past. In 2017, I reviewed the excellent-sounding Momentum Lifestyle integrated amplifier, which had an onboard DAC and could also be used as a streamer with its front-panel LCD metadata display. Also in 2017, I reviewed D'Agostino Master Audio System's Momentum phono stage, which I was highly impressed with its outstanding sound quality and very user-friendly front panel controls.
---> Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Progression S350 Stereo Power Amplifier Review.

 

 

FiiO R7 Desktop Digital Music Streamer, Preamplifier, And Headphone Amplifier Review

FiiO R7 Desktop Digital Music Streamer, Preamplifier, And Headphone Amplifier Review
A superb DAC, streamer, preamplifier, and headamp designed for music lovers.
Review By Steven R. Rochlin
When FiiO sent me an e-mail showcasing their new R7 desktop stereo music streamer, preamplifier, and headphone amplifier it was perfectly timed. As a longtime classically-trained musician, I've been using a slightly 'outdated' source unit to stream music to play along to tunes. This could be via headphones/IEM or through a stereo pair of QSC KS10.2 mains and KS112 subwoofers thanks to the R7's true balanced XLR outputs. In addition, this is a relatively portable piece of gear, which means when it wasn't being used for the percussion / drum set, it was easy to bring it into my home audio system or use it as a dedicated desktop headphone amplifier when tinkering with mechanical timepieces upstairs within my workshop.
---> FiiO R7 Desktop Digital Music Streamer, Preamplifier, And Headphone Amplifier Review.

 

 

LampizatOr Horizon DAC Review

LampizatOr Horizon DAC Review
A new benchmark!
Review By Greg Weaver
My history, and fascination, with Łukasz Fikus and his Poland-based LampizatOr heralds back to my first exposure to the Golden Gate's introduction at AXPONA 2015. It may be significant to point out that this timing is eerily coincident with my choice to begin to more deeply explore the validity of digital audio as a source. To that point, in my system, digital file playback had shown no real ability to favorably compete with my analog reference system, sonically or with the breadth and depth of my LP collection. Keep in mind, Norway's Tidal, the first music streaming service to offer at least Redbook CD quality streaming had just launched in the US that previous October, and – I was not an early adopter.
---> LampizatOr Horizon DAC Review.

 

 

LessLoss BlackGround 10X Power Base Review A technology that supplements existing power conditioners.

LessLoss BlackGround 10X Power Base Review
A breakthrough technology that minimizes ambient EMI in the listening environment with stunning results.
Review By Rick Becker
Louis Motek is a scientist who thinks about electricity beyond the wire. He's up there in that class of audio savants with Ted Denny of Synergistic Research, the late Jack Bybee, Rick Schultz of the former High Fidelity Cables, and likely a few others. A look at his website will tell you a lot about him. To call him an engineer borders on insult, but he's one of those, too. He works with an actual electrical engineer at LessLoss, Vilmantas "Vil" Duda, who presumably keeps Louis from violating any laws of physics. Like other innovators in high-end audio, Louis has developed a legion of followers. One of them in Germany is responsible for tuning me into LessLoss. I was grateful for the opportunity to review his Firewall 640X, Firewall for Loudspeakers, Entropic C-MARC Power Cord, and Bindbreaker footers back in March 2022.
---> LessLoss BlackGround 10X Power Base Review.

 

 

Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition Floorstanding Speaker Review

Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition Floorstanding Speaker Review
An amazing ability to separate each of the instruments and vocals in the soundscape.
Review By Tom Lyle
Marten speakers are designed and built in Sweden. Leif Marten Olofsson founded the company in 1998. Marten is now run by Leif Marten and his brothers, Jorgen and Lars Olofsson. Marten designs and manufactures five lines of speakers, all named to earn points from me; that is, they are named after American jazz musicians - Coltrane, Mingus, Parker, and Oscar. The fifth series is the Heritage Series, which has the sub-series Bird, Getz, Miles, and Duke. The Marten Parker Trio is a floor-standing speaker situated in the middle of the Parker series offerings. On its front baffle, it has two 7.5-inch ceramic bass/midrange drivers and a 1-inch "pure" ceramic tweeter, which in this model has been upgraded to diamond. Besides having a diamond tweeter, the upgrade to Marten's Parker Trio Diamond Edition floorstander also has upgraded crossover components, improved speaker terminals, and Marten's Jorma Statement internal wiring.
---> Marten Parker Trio Diamond Edition Floorstanding Speaker Review.

 

 

Metronome Technologie Le Player 4+ DAC / CD Player Review

Métronome Technologie Le Player 4+ DAC / CD Player Review
The persistence of memory.
Review By Maurice Jeffries
In an act of musical and marketplace bravery, the esteemed French electronics firm Métronome Technologie has taken the bold step of offering music lovers still wed to physical media a device many long ago consigned to the dustbin of audio history: a dedicated CD player. When Toronto, Canada-based audio distributor / dealer Wynn Wong of Wynn Audio and our Creative Director Steven R. Rochlin contacted to gauge my interest in reviewing Metronome Technology Le Player 4+ CD player / DAC, I thought that they both must be crazy. What sane manufacturer would dare to offer a dedicated (and pricey) CD player in a market dominated by digital servers, streamers, music streaming services, and outboard DACs to that most fickle of consumers, the modern audiophile?
---> Métronome Technologie Le Player 4+ DAC / CD Player Review.

 

 

Songer Audio S1 Field Coil Point-Source Loudspeaker Review

Songer Audio S1 Field Coil Point-Source Loudspeaker Review
Singing a magnificent song.
Review By Bob Grossman
Do you remember as a kid when you first heard an excellent quality music system? It was exciting, right? That first time I heard music on a good stereo, I was completely mesmerized as if real musicians were performing in the room! It was an emotional experience beyond the thrilling sound. That feeling came back a few months ago at the Capital Audio Fest when I visited the Songer Audio room and heard the S1 Speakers for the first time. I had been listening to music in many different demo rooms with my good friend Ken Sternberg. We were also saying hello to industry friends and taking in the excitement of the festival. Something magical happened when we went into the Songer Room that distinctly grabbed our attention, like the first time I heard a stereo 60 years ago.
---> Songer Audio S1 Field Coil Point-Source Loudspeaker Review.

 

 

Soundsmith Zephyr MK III ES Phono Cartridge Review

Soundsmith Zephyr MK III ES Phono Cartridge Review
Unveiling the masterworks!
Review By Paul Schumann
Back when I was starting to get serious about audio equipment, a long-time audiophile friend of mine offered me his collection of back issues of The Absolute Sound. I was a fan of TAS and eagerly accepted. For the next few months, night after night, I read, from cover to cover, all of those issues in chronological order. It was a fascinating dig into the early history of high-end audio and the culture that developed around it. One of the important discoveries made by Harry Pearson and his minions, was the sonic superiority of the old RCA "Shaded Dog" and Mercury records. The acquisition of pristine copies of these discs became an obsession for many audiophiles because, with the exception of a few reissues by MoFi, the audiophile vinyl business wasn't in full swing yet.
---> Soundsmith Zephyr MK III ES Phono Cartridge Review.

 

 

Synergistic Research Master Fuse Review

Synergistic Research Master Fuse Review
Take a leap of faith and trust your own ears.
Review By Rick Becker
Andy Weiderspahn was away at the Florida Audio Expo when news broke of their new Master fuse so Kevin Sample stepped up and obtained permission for me to receive some review samples. Having previously reviewed the Black, Blue, Orange, and Purple fuses over the years I was eager to investigate this new version — especially because of the hype that went along with the introduction. Obviously, it is not named with a color. More alarmingly, it takes a large jump in price over the Purple fuses that grace much of my system. But most importantly, it claims to be such an improvement over the Purple that they recommend using only one, primarily in your source component, two at most. This last point softens the blow of the price jump. The Master is said to work well with lesser Synergistic fuses that may already grace your system.
---> Synergistic Research Master Fuse Review.

 

 

Vermouth Audio Studio Monitor Loudspeaker Review

Vermouth Audio Studio Monitor Loudspeaker Review
A good-looking and great-sounding loudspeaker.
Review By Tom Lyle
Vermouth Audio is located in the Indonesian province of Bali, which is located east of Java. Most know Bali as a vacation destination. In fact, in 2017, Trip Advisor named Bali the world's top destination in its "Traveler's Choice award." Bali again won this honor in January 2021. About 80% of Bali's economy is tourism related. Vermouth Audio is part of the 20% unrelated to tourism. They are a company that designs and manufactures high-end audio connectors, cables, electronics, and, of the subject of this review, loudspeakers. When I was given the opportunity to review Vermouth Audio's Studio Monitors, which are distributed in the US by Believe Audio, located in Hutto, Texas, I enthusiastically accepted their offer.
---> Vermouth Audio Studio Monitor Loudspeaker Review.

 

 

Volti Audio Razz LE Loudspeaker Review

Volti Audio Razz LE Loudspeaker Review
Sometimes good things come in large packages.
Review By Ron Nagle
A buzzing bell sound sends me to my front door. Outside two large boxes hide a sweaty, smallish UPS delivery man. I can see a faint smile cross his face as he tells me, "My father wanted me to be a doctor." Now I have two mini monoliths inside my front door. The boxes each weigh about 97 pounds and stand five feet tall. I can see my significant other giving me the look that means, I've been bad. I'm thinking, don't get your knickers in a twist, I can handle this. I downloaded the unpacking instructions. And using the instructions as a guide I peeled away the three cardboard boxes that held the speakers. This unpacking thing is a job for two people and four hands. Volti Audio is a brilliant creation by loudspeaker engineer Greg Roberts. He seems to be the CEO, CFO, Chief Designer, the guy who sweeps the floor and sends out for pizza.
---> Volti Audio Razz LE Loudspeaker Review.

 

 

The Intro By Art Dudley

Listener Magazine's The Intro
Editorial By Art Dudley
Volume two of the Monumental five-volume set of Bob Dylan's The Genuine Basement Tapes reaches an emotional climax with a plaintive song called "I'm Not There" — no mean feat after the brilliant "Going to Acapulco" and three takes of "Tears of Rage," one in waltz time. "I'm Not There" has appeared before, on The Great White Wonder and on Volume One of The Newly Discovered Basement Tapes on Surprise Records (the latter credited to Blind Boy Grunt and The Hawks), and while the version on The Genuine Basement Tapes is the best sounding of the bunch, you still wouldn't mistake it for anything other than a bootleg. About a third of the words are unintelligible, and as if that weren't enough of an obstacle, the recording begins in mid-verse, with no clue as to how much had been played before the tape started rolling. No way for technology to fix that, I guess.
---> The Intro By Art Dudley.

 

 

MONOphono Preamplifier Sound Practices Magazine

MONOphono Preamplifier
Article By Diego Nardi, Audio Note Italia
I'd firstly like to thank Allen Wright for his appreciation and his criticism on my (p42 design. I like this kind of constructive debate and, therefore, I'll express some thoughts about the points Allen made, one by one. Agreed. Two Points: Number one is that high transconductance tubes like the 417A are very attractive at first sight, but they pay a big price for their apparent ability to "resolve charge levels on the order of an electron"[?!]. The first one is that their linearity is rather poor. Also, they can only stand very limited plate voltages on the order of 100V. The only point about high current is that you must use a very low value/high dissipation plate load resistor. That makes for distortion in both the resistor and the tube — low level operation is no excuse! The second one is that, in order to obtain 25 mA/V, these tubes have their electrodes extremely close together and their frame grids are wound with micron-thick wire.
---> MONOphono Preamplifier.

 

 

Rare Birds VALVE Magazine

Rare Birds
Listening impressions of some collectible equipment.
There, I hope that helps keep anyone from getting to upset, because I'm going to be honest about what I thought of some very highly touted equipment. Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to audition a Marantz 7 preamp and 8 power amp which were consigned to me.
Both pieces were in excellent electronic shape and very good to excellent cosmetic shape. The preamp had been checked out and a new filter cap installed by Audio Classics, the guys in New York who sell all the Mac stuff for huge prices. Both units had been freshly re-tubed with ARS tubes, and were driven daily by their owner, a high end audio dealer. The output tubes in the amp appeared to be relabeled GE 6CA7s, but I won't commit to that. So I got the stuff home and listened to it. I used the Magnepans so as not to taint my impression with my yet to be debugged.
---> Rare Birds.

 

 

Is The Music BUSINESS Working Against Music Lovers

Is The Music BUSINESS Working Against Music Lovers
Do mastering engineers / music suffer at the hands of the lowest common denominator?
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin
Have been trying my best to stop writing about music and audio gear, yet there's a voice inside of me saying you should, make that must, speak your truth. It's no secret that I read an abundance of industry inside information. This is not just high-end audio, it also pertains to musicians, recording studios, FOH / live performance, and mastering engineers (to name a few). What I find very interesting is that those who dare to speak up have many of the same concerns we audiophiles do!
---> Is The Music BUSINESS Working Against Music Lovers?

 

 

Forget The Specs Roger Skoff writes something that could change your mind completely.

Forget The Specs
Roger Skoff writes something that could change your mind completely.
Article By Roger Skoff
Until not very long ago, "spec sheets" were an important part of our audio hobby. You know what I'm talking about – those single-sheet write-ups that showed a picture of a product, gave a description of its features and qualities, and set down in detail such things as frequency response, measured distortion, signal-to-noise ("S/N") ratio, and so on. People used to pick them up at Hi-Fi Shows as reminders about products that had particularly caught their attention, or they would ask for them, supposedly "to show the Little Lady", as "get-out-of-the-store without-buying-anything" passes, when they'd auditioned something at their local HiFi dealer and either didn't want, or weren't yet ready, to buy them.
---> Forget The Specs.

 

 

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.
---> 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.

 

 

Kronos Discovery Turntable Review Drive-by reviewing at Long Valley.

Kronos Discovery Turntable Review
Drive-by reviewing at Long Valley.
Rick Becker Investigates A Treasured Turntable.
It was supposed to be a nearly five-hour trip but my wife missed a turn on the shortcut and took the Shooting Brake through an all-terrain parking lot to buy lunch at Subway. Then there were accidents on I-80 to slow us down. Nevertheless, Bill Parish was all smiles, as usual, when we pulled into GTT Audio to get a listen to Louis Desjardins' latest masterpiece, the Kronos Discovery turntable. Bill had sent me his GTT video newsletter with a pow-wow after David W. Robinson, Editor in Chief and Senior Writer Maurice Jeffries of Positive Feedback had spent an afternoon listening to the new turntable. Emails flew and Louis sent me a copy of Alan Sircom's review in HiFi+ magazine. I emailed Louis and told him I thought it was a very good review. He replied that he thought it was an Excellent!
---> Kronos Discovery Turntable Review.

 

 

LampizatOr Amber 4 Stereo DAC / Preamplifier Review

LampizatOr Amber 4 Stereo DAC / Preamplifier Review
It's hard to imagine a more musical DAC in its price.
Review By Rick Becker
A decade 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 one. The 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.

 

 

Ayon Audio CD-35 II CD Player And USA Labs RS9 Music Server Review

Ayon Audio CD-35 II CD Player And USA Labs RS9 Music Server Review
Two very versatile, and impressive, performers.
Review By Bob Grossman
The Ayon Audio CD-35 II as reviewed here, is the latest introduction to a long lineage of CD players that have been well regarded going back to the various models in the 3 and 5 series, along with ideas derived from their special edition CD35HF. But the CD-35 II is more than a CD player – it is also a fully functioning preamplifier and DAC. It is a single-ended triode pure Class A design using a 6H30 and a 5687 tube for each channel, and a GZ30 tube as a rectifier for the power supply. It is also a zero-feedback design. Ayon Audio's CD-35 II built-in DAC can be used to play music files from your computer via the USB connection. The DAC also has a coaxial RCA input for S/PDIF, I2S, BNC, AES/EBU, and three other BNC inputs for DSD. For this review I also evaluated the USA Labs RS9 music server to coordinate streaming of music from Qobuz.
---> Ayon CD-35 II CD Player And USA Labs RS9 Music Server Review.

 

 

FiiO E10K-TC And K3 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier Review

FiiO E10K-TC And K3 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier Review
Going back to school.
Review By Paul Schumann
If you have read any of my previous reviews, you know that I am a fan of Classical music. Sure, I listen to rock, pop, and jazz, but classical music is where I will always be grounded. I'm sure it is because I grew up listening to my father's music. While he did listen to a mixture of stuff as I was growing up, it was mostly classical, especially Bach. By the time I reached high school, I found prog-rock, which of course had a heavy classical influence. And while my Dad prefers his baroque music, as I got older, I started leaning towards the romantics. I think it is fair to say that Brahms was my favorite composer through my 20s, 30s, and 40s. But while I still love that music, there are only so many times one can listen to Brahms Violin Concerto or Beethoven's 5th Symphony before they lose their mystery. So, in my 50s, I started branching out in my musical journey with 20th- and 21st-century composers. What made this exploration possible was the internet.
---> FiiO E10K-TC And K3 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier Review.

 

 

JPS Labs Superconductor V Interconnects, Speaker Cables And USB Cables Review

JPS Labs Superconductor V Interconnects, Speaker Cables And USB Cables Review
Connecting to the Soul of Music.
Review By Paul Schumann
There has been quite a bit of discussion, lately, in this publication and other forums, about the current direction of the music industry. One of the hot topics is how popular music is recorded and produced. Many argue that the use of software, like ProTools, to snap everything to a grid and correct any "flaws" is robbing the music of its soul. Many times the result is music that, while initially appealing, quickly loses the interest of the listener. It is soulless music. The question is, what is this soul and how do we recognize it? I think most of the time, this occurs at a subconscious level. Why do we want to go see an artist in concert when we've already heard all of their songs multiple times in studio perfection?
---> JPS Labs Superconductor V Interconnects, Speaker Cables And USB Cables Review.

 

 

Vermouth Audio Reference Series Cables Review Reference Balance Interconnect, Reference RCA Interconnect, And Reference Power Cord

World Premiere Review!
Vermouth Audio Reference Series Cables Review
Reference Balance Interconnect, Reference RCA Interconnect, And Reference Power Cord

A big box of cables from Bali.
Review By Dwayne Carter
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing a pair of Vermouth Audio Little Luccas MkII Limited Edition Speakers, along with their Red Velvet, and Black Pearl Cables. They arrived in a large wooden crate, direct from Bali. Meticulously packed and well cared for, the audio cables were individually boxed and wrapped in cloth bags. We were impressed from the moment we began unboxing until the moment we sent them back to Bali. The delivery of the Vermouth Audio's Reference Series Cables prompted the same expectation. Vermouth Audio sent three of their Reference Series Cables: The Reference Balance Interconnect, Reference RCA Interconnect, and Reference Power Cord. Inside the thick cardboard box; each Reference Series Cable (or cable pair) arrived in a separate, decorative cardboard box. Inside that box, each cable (or cable pair) was tucked inside a heavy cloth bag, adorned with the Vermouth logo.
---> Vermouth Audio Reference Series Cables Review.

 

 

 

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