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December 2023


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.



Musical Joy To The World! Ways to spread holiday cheer to music lovers.

A Musical Joy To The World
Ways to spread holiday cheer to music lovers.
Article By Roger Skoff
Christmas, Chanukah (or Hanukkah), and Kwanzaa plus other celebrations are fast approaching and, if you haven't already decided who on your holiday gift list gets what, from where, this year, try giving music. Everybody loves to hearken to the herald angels singing and, if the stories are true, old Wenceslas really was a pretty good king. We also love to hear about merry gentlemen resting without dismay; about how Jimmy Dodd saw his mommy kissing Sana Clause; and how, even despite the Grinch's efforts in a different story, the light from Rudolf's nose saved Christmas eve. Some of us even like to remember that old dreidel we made out of clay... or new fuses for our audio gear.
---> A Musical Joy To The World.



Hi-Fi+ November 2023

It Is Show Season... Again
Are we entertaining new clients?
Editorial By Alan Sircom
The Show Season is upon us. As soon as the first leaf turns golden-brown, people in the audio world start instinctually packing. Journalists pack their notepads and cameras. Manufacturers break open the flight cases. It's now possible to be in a different country every weekend, attending a show. Sometimes there are two shows on the same weekend, spread worldwide. It's logical that as the nights draw in, people turn their attention to listening to music in the home. And it's equally logical that people who want to buy new audio equipment will get interested from September to April, when the Northern Hemisphere gets a little darker for longer. However, is the number of shows really sustainable?
---> It Is Show Season... Again.



Australian Hi-Fi Magazine November / December 2023

A Cautionary Tale About Perceived Value
And how corner-cutting aesthetics can be sacrificed for the greater good.
Editorial By Becky Roberts
There's no two ways about it; perceived value counts for a lot. No matter how well something performs, there's every chance it'll be disregarded by some in favour of something that looks better. The PMC Prodigy 1 loudspeakers I recently tested with some colleagues (review on page 14) could well fall victim to such misfortune, but for the sake of PMC's efforts and anyone in the market for ~$2,000 standmounters, I really hope it doesn't. When comparing their build to KEF's class-leading LS50 Meta, I politely used the Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy metaphor for their differences in stature (the PMCs tall and slim, the KEFs shorter and stockier), though I could've also made a Beauty and the Beast one (the PMCs being the 'Beast') to communicate the gulf between their aesthetic attraction.
---> A Cautionary Tale About Perceived Value.



audioXpress Magazine December 2023

Ten Years More Of Everything
audioXpress is committed to serving the enthusiasts and global audio engineering
Editorial By J. Martins
Even though my involvement with this publication started earlier, it was in November 2013 that audioXpress received a facelift, signaling a new life for this publication. We expanded the content and increased our focus on audio research and development (R&D), product design, and acoustic science while maintaining our roots in DIY audio and audio electronics. Over the years I have constantly re-examined those directions and more importantly worked tirelessly to expand our authors' network in line with the technology evolution and constantly evolving audio industry trends. As is always recommended on editorial projects, every year we have re-examined our mission and what was achieved, reflecting both our audience's interests and readership expansion across product and market segments. I confess that I was surprised with the positive response we received in certain technology fields....
---> Ten Years More Of Everything.



Great Audiophile Holiday Gift 2023 By Enjoy the Music.com

Enjoy the Music.com's Great Audiophile Gift Guide 2023
We're here to help you discover great gifts for your premium audio music lover.
Article By Enjoy the Music.com Staff
Welcome one and all to Enjoy the Music.com's exceptional 18th annual Great Audiophile Gift recommendations! We all love gifts, yet we also know that getting something special for your passionate music lover can be quite a challenge! Our annual Great Audiophile Gift wish list brings you some truly spectacular ideas for music lovers. There are many wonderful products we can recommend to our longstanding loyal readership, and below you will see many excellent recommendations. We know this year has been a challenge for many, and so all recommended gifts this year are reasonably priced to be kind to your wallet. We have gifts that will make your vinyl junkie smile, plus a few surprises along the way! Everyone here at Enjoy the Music.com wishes you and yours a prosperous, joyous, and healthy holiday season. And now, on with our Great Audiophile Gift 2023 suggestions we know you'll love!
---> Enjoy the Music.com's Great Audiophile Gift Guide 2023!



Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2023 Show Report -- CAF 2023 premium luxury audio event coverage.

Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2023 Show Report
CAF 2023 premium luxury audio event coverage.
Capital Audiofest (CAF) is the Northeast's favorite audio show! CAF started out in 2010 as a very casual show and has evolved into a well-organized and well-attended event that most everyone in the audio industry knows about. CAF is recognized as a fun, friendly and family-oriented show, where you often see families strolling from room to room listening to music, auditioning gear and browsing the multiple bins of vinyl records, CDs and accessories in the Atrium Marketplace. In the evenings we have live music in the bar and special live performers in the Theater, and local distillers offering tasting. During the event will be wonderful live music plus Enjoy the Music.com in once again sponsoring the Thursday night vendor / press party with live music and free drinks!
---> Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2023 Show Report.



Enjoy the Music.com Exclusive! Métronome Technologie Launches Their World-Class Kalista Mantax DAC Musical revelations in Vienna! Coverage By Greg Weaver

Enjoy the Music.com Exclusive!
Métronome Technologie Launches Their World-Class Kalista Mantax DAC
Musical revelations in Vienna!
Coverage By Greg Weaver
Thursday morning, November 16th (2023) found myself on an airplane bound for Vienna, Austria. I had been invited to the private launch event for the new flagship Kalista Mantax DAC, to be held at the Adagio Vienna City Hotel on Saturday, November 18th. The Adagio Vienna City sits just south of the Donaukanal, an arm of the nearby Danube River, and just immediately west of where the Wiental Kanal flows into it, bordering Vienna's city center. This places it just inside what is known as "The Ring," the popular name given to a series of wide tree-lined boulevards that encircle nearly the entire center of the city. "The Ring" is about six and a half kilometers long (~ four miles) and arguably offers more historical sights lining its edges than any other road in the world.
---> Métronome Technologie Launches Their World-Class Kalista Mantax DAC.



LampizatOr Pacific 2 DAC Review One of the best values for a high-performance DAC.

World Premiere Review!
LampizatOr Pacific 2 DAC Review
One of the best values for a high-performance DAC.
Review By Dr. Matthew Clott
When LampizatOr came out with their state-of-the-art $49,000 Horizon assault on DAC'dom, they had a larger plan in mind. The Horizon was the first in an entirely new redesign of LampizatOr's take on building a digital-to-analog converter. Everything learned from their first Big7 through the Golden Gate to the Pacific, was a foundation upon which the next generation of LampizatOr would be based. Somewhere during the past few years, it became apparent that they had taken their current designs and engineering schematics to the limits of what those circuits could yield. To progress and advance LampizatOr into the future, a completely new engine, circuits, power supplies, and enclosure would be needed; and the Horizon was born. Moving forward, all of their new products will benefit from design principles inherent in the Horizon.
---> LampizatOr Pacific 2 DAC Review.



Aric Audio Transcend Push Pull Amplifier Review An enlightening listening experience!

Aric Audio Transcend Push Pull Amplifier Review
An enlightening listening experience!
Review By Bob Grossman
In today's machine-driven, highly commoditized world, the sheer number of hand-crafted artisanal products appears to be ultimately going the way of the dodo bird — heading toward extinction. Thankfully, the Aric Audio Transcend Push Pull amplifier from the genius of Aric Kimball is an exception to this rule. Another exception that comes to mind is Rolls-Royce. While it now exists under the corporate umbrella of parent company BMW, Rolls defiantly maintains a great level of independence, continuing to offer buyers an unusually wide array of customization options to satisfy each buyer's unique desires. And so it goes with Aric Audio. Based out of a small suburb in western Massachusetts, for more than 15 years Aric Kimball has specialized in custom, hand-built, superbly crafted audio gear. Fortunately, due partly to Aric's direct-to-consumer business model, one need not have a Rolls-Royce budget to afford the luxury of such exceptional quality audio components. This is a high-value proposition indeed.
---> Aric Audio Transcend Push Pull Amplifier Review.



Bowers & Wilkins 603 S3 Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review

North America Premiere Review!
Bowers & Wilkins 603 S3 Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review
The truth, and nothing else but the truth.
Review By Ron Nagle
Like the ravens at the White Tower, I cannot think of a more iconic audiophile symbol of England than Bowers and Wilkins. That's of course if you happen to look at the world through audiophile eyes. John Bowers and Roy Wilkins met during World War II while both of them were serving in the Royal Signal Corps. They began business as a radio and electronics retail shop located in the town of Worthing England. Bowers & Wilkins was founded in 1966 in Worthing, West Sussex, England. John Bowers started the business we now know as Bowers & Wilkins. At that time he was no longer involved with the retail shop. The first speaker production line was established in the retail shop's backyard. In 1970 Bowers decided to develop a loudspeaker wholly built in-house. The sizeable DM70 from 1970 combined electrostatics mid-and-high range drivers on top of a traditional bass unit. The distinct shape of the loudspeaker won a British Industrial Design Award. Good press reviews allowed the company to prosper.
---> Bowers & Wilkins 603 S3 Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review.



Finalé Audio F-6 Hommage EF86 Edition Vacuum Tube Integrated Amplifier Review

World Premiere Review!
Finalé Audio F-6 Hommage EF86 Edition Vacuum Tube Integrated Amplifier Review
How low can you go?
Review By Paul Schumann
Sometime in the mid-1990s, I was in a music store and noticed an audio magazine on the rack I had never seen before. It was Issue 12 of Sound Practices. I flipped through it and was fascinated by its retro take on audio, so I made the purchase. I read every article, but Herb Reichert's Causal Reactions column struck me to the core. This was back during a time when Herb Reichert was an arts school teacher and his vacuum tube efforts were dedicated towards DIY. His basic argument was this: the best way to evaluate an audio system is how it allows you to feel the emotions in your music. All other criteria are secondary. I know I've reduced a beautifully written article into a simple statement. But this statement leads the reader to the next question: What kind of system allows you to do this?
---> Finalé Audio F-6 Hommage EF86 Edition Review.



Review: LCH Audio B1610 Subwoofers, Stack Audio Auvo Isolators, And Synergistic Research Vibratron. An audiophile special ménage à trois.

World Premiere Review!
LCH Audio B1610 Subwoofers
Stack Audio Auvo Isolators
Synergistic Research Vibratron
An audiophile special ménage à trois.
Review By Rick Becker
Actually, neuroscience has come a long way since Schrodinger's day, and audiophiles might be able to offer some suggestions, too. Let me tell you about three innovative items that helped those old songs move me even further. In typical audiophile fashion, I'm always on the lookout to improve the sound quality of my system in search of more musical delight. A pattern that has emerged over the past two decades is that my speakers always seem to get better when I improve the components and add ancillary tweaks to the rig. Funny how that happens. Many people would sooner go out and buy a new speaker. But I've developed somewhat of a reputation for adding tweaks rather than spending huge sums on major components. The opportunity to explore Axpona earlier this year turned up two products in particular that I wanted to review and a third opportunity subsequently came my way from Great Britain.
---> LCH Audio B1610 Subwoofers, Stack Audio Auvo Isolators, And Synergistic Research Vibratron Review.



The Intro: The Heart Of Our Hobby By Art Dudley

The Intro: The Heart Of Our Hobby
Editorial By Art Dudley
Apart from reminding Listener's readers how seldom I have been arrested compared to George W. Bush (the score stands at "zero" to "three that we know of"), I vow to keep the following observations as non-political as I can. Today's concern goes to the heart of our hobby. Specifically, what should we, as audiophiles, be doing with our hi-fi gear? Should we use our stereos to lay bare every nuance of sound on our recordings, as faithfully and thoroughly as technology allows? Or should we use them as we would a drug, to achieve a musical bliss-out whenever the fancy strikes us? And: Is it acceptable for us to even think of these as separate goals? The old musical kicks-vs.-fidelity to the master tape argument has been around longer than Goldie Hawn, and it gets trotted out at least every other week on the various internet hi-fi forums.
---> The Intro: The Heart Of Our Hobby.



MagneQuest The Core Issues: Choosing A Power Transformer

The Core Issues: Choosing A Power Transformer
Article By Michael S. LaFevre Of MagneQuest Transformer Company
From Sound Practices Issue 1, Summer 1992
The Core Issues examines the function, construction, design, and operation of magnetics for audio applications. This series will combine practical advice in the form of useful "rules of thumb" with enough pure theory to give us some concept of how these magnificent devices work. This column is not an academic engineering tutorial but rather a guide to becoming an informed consumer. This begins with a look at the theory and operation of the power transformer. Power transformers are relatively uncomplex devices compared with output transformers and are often given only the most cursory attention by audiophiles. More of- ten than not, they are treated generically. "Oh, all you need is a transformer that will supply, say, 360-0-360 VRMS @ 200 mils for the plates, a 6.3 VCT @ 4A filament winding, and 5 volts at 3A for the rectifier tube."
---> The Core Issues: Choosing A Power Transformer.



Discovering The Lowther Acousta

Discovering The Lowther Acousta
Article By Doug Grove
From VALVE Volume 2 Number 9
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.



Aavik R-180 Phono Preamplifier Review

Aavik R-180 Phono Preamplifier Review
Born To Invent: It seems as if Michael Borresen was born with a special passion for tinkering and inventing. With his smallest phono preamplifier Aavik R-180, he impressively demonstrates this once again.
Review By Michael Lang

Finally, something different! That was my first impression when taking a look at the new devices from Danish manufacturer Aavik. They are more compact than what we are used to from hi-fi and high-end and have only three buttons, but feature numerous curves and a housing that is not bursting with aluminum. The value of a device is not measured by its looks and its weight at Aavik. Instead, the design is Scandinavian in its straightforwardness and simplicity – not wholly without a reason, though, as we will discover later. In addition, a large display with red letters, which of course can be dimmed or switched off, is to be found. It even allows older listeners to recognize the selected settings from a distance. By the way, the two larger models R-280 and R-580 are characterized by the same simplicity.
---> Aavik R-180 Phono Preamplifier Review.



Roon: A Short Story Martin Colloms has become a Roon convert – Here he charts his path to 'Roonification'; using the company's Nucleus+ Core unit. Review By Martin Colloms

Nucleus+ Core Unit And XLCR Power Supply Review
Roon: A Short Story
Martin Colloms has become a Roon convert – Here he charts his path to 'Roonification'; using the company's Nucleus+ Core unit.
Review By Martin Colloms
I'd encountered Roon music playing and cataloguing software on a few occasions, as well as its predecessor, the Sooloos music storage and handling system, with its attractive graphical presentations of tracks, artwork and music cataloguing. Acquired by Meridian some years ago as the heart of its streaming solution, Sooloos was later spun off as a separate company, eventually becoming Roon in 2015. But the heart of the system has remained: an informative, easy to use music management system, based on extended metadata and intelligent cataloguing of content. It has seen several iterations bringing it to the present level of refinement – in fact to a level where I felt that I just had to try it out.
---> Nucleus+ Core Unit & XLCR PS Review.



Esoteric N-05XD DAC, Preamplifier, Headamp And Music Streamer Review

Esoteric N-05XD DAC, Preamplifier, Headamp And Music Streamer Review
The new Japanese sound.
Review By Ran Xiang
The Esoteric sound has normally been deemed as rather representative of the so-called Japanese sound, which is to some nuanced, introverted, controlled and detail-oriented, and to others thin-sounding, sharp, lacking body and bass shy. Yet Esoteric's first self-developed Master Discrete DAC has definitely revised the stereotype of the Japanese sound which was criticized as sounding like a radish (think about the light flavor as well as the shape of a radish with a big head on the top and a thin bottom end). N-05XD has inherited the traditional focus on details and nuances, yet it is much fuller, more musical, and analog sounding compared to their previous lineups utilizing AKM chips.
---> Esoteric N-05XD DAC, Preamplifier, Headamp And Music Streamer Review.



Synergistic Research Foundation SX Cables Review

World Premiere Review!
Synergistic Research Foundation SX Cables Review
Affordable products, due to a rising tide of innovation, deliver greater musical satisfaction.
Review By Rick Becker
When Andy Weiderspahn sent me Synergistic Research's new tweak, the Carbon Tuning discs, and told me this was technology built into their Atmosphere series cables, the handwriting was on the wall, but I didn't see it. He said it would bring the Foundation series cables up closer to the performance of the Atmosphere Excite XS, a cable that was more than four and a half times more expensive. I tried the Carbon Tuning Discs and found he was pretty much telling the truth. At $200 for a pair of Gold and a pair of Purple, anyone could try them on whatever brand cable they owned. They even had their usual 30-day money-back guarantee.
---> Synergistic Research Foundation SX Cables Review.



Mojo Audio Mystique X SE Stereo DAC Review

Mojo Audio Mystique X SE Stereo DAC Review
One of the most musical, engaging, and flexible DACs I've heard at any price.
Review By Dr. Matthew Clott
When Benjamin Zwickel of Mojo-Audio asked me to review his updated Mystique X SE DAC I jumped at the chance. My last experience with his equipment represented some of the best performance at any price, much less the huge bang for the buck it was at around $10K (in fact, the DAC was named the Mystique Evo B4B). The X signifies Benjamin's next evolutionary advancement. The closest I can compare is the Porsche 911. Take a thing and focus on making that thing the best it can be, limited only by the technology and advancements of the time. Don't look left or right, just ahead; make that thing better and better over time. There is both logic, and elegance, in this design principle that has worked well for both Porsche and Mojo-Audio.
---> Mojo Audio Mystique X SE Stereo DAC Review.



Ohm AE 2000 Floorstanding Speaker Review

Ohm AE 2000 Floorstanding Speaker Review
A pleasing alternative to the typical loudspeaker design.
Review By Michael Lang
The Legacy of Mr. Walsh – Almost 50 years after the debut of the famous Ohm F omni-directional speaker, a modern successor finds its way into our office – the Ohm AE 2000. No one can deny the legendary status the omni-directional speaker Ohm F carries. This icon of loudspeaker history has stirred up far too much dust since its first debut in 1972 for that. Unfortunately too late for the man who did the basic development and calculations for this groundbreaking loudspeaker, Lincoln Walsh. He sadly already passed away one year before the first model built according to his ideas was unveiled. The CLS driver of the speakers visually somewhat resembles familiar traffic cones and is often called the Walsh driver after its inventor. It not only looks completely distinct when compared to conventional speakers, it also works completely differently.
---> Ohm AE 2000 Floorstanding Speaker 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.



Gingko Audio VCS Toolkit Review

Gingko Audio VCS Toolkit Review
Improving your music system with little cost and no downside.
Review By Brett Rudolph
It is always a thrill when you are asked to review products from a vendor for which you have already done an evaluation. It was exhilarating when your editor wrote you and asked if you were interested in trying out the new version of something you had been given a brief chance to try. Nevertheless, that is precisely what happened when Vinh Vu of Gingko Audio asked if I would like to try out the improved VCS Toolkit, it and I jumped at the chance. Gingko Audio is an audio company that makes various types of components. These components range from the sextet modular speaker system and the Clarissa LE speakers to the VCS Toolkit. In other words, from audio components to vibration control devices to make things perform better than they usually would inside your system, or so it claims. That is the subject of this review.
---> Gingko Audio VCS Toolkit Review.




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