Gryphon Audio Designs Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier-DAC $15,450 Review

September 18, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“The Diablo 120’s DAC section was truly plug’n’play. Within minutes of connecting and powering it up, I was listening to music from my Mac Mini server, streamed via USB. Many would assume that no add-on DAC could be as good as a standalone DAC, but I would beg to differ, based on my experience with similarly equipped integrated amplifiers. Additionally, there’s been a proliferation of excellent-sounding, small-chassis DACs that give full-size DACs a run for their money. Properly executed, there’s no reason to believe that excellent results can’t be obtained.

The Diablo 120’s DAC module was proof of this. Neutral in tone, with solid imaging, no hardness or glare, and excellent momentum and flow, it was the perfect companion for the amplifier section. I don’t listen to much electronica, but Deadmau5’s recent Where’s the Drop? (16/44.1 FLAC, mou5trap/Tidal) has been in regular rotation here and proved to be the perfect demo recording. This album of soaring orchestral arrangements of Deadmau5’s previous work, with deep synthesized bass, gave the DAC a good shakedown — I could find no category of sound in which it was lacking.”

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FOCAL CLEAR HEADPHONES REVIEW

September 18, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“I listened to a great variety of music selections on the Focal Clears, and my selections were guided by wanting to hear very high quality recordings that would test the dynamic range, frequency response, and overall quality of the Focals. In general, I listened to high resolution recordings, or CDs that were of known good quality.”

Constellation Taurus Monos + Constellation Pictor Preamp w/DC filter + MSB Premier DAC + Magico M3’s

September 18, 2018 § Leave a comment

McIntosh MC611 Quad Balanced Power Amplifier Review $15,000

September 17, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“I’ve had numerous amplifiers through my home for review at multiple price points, both integrated and as separates that have left deep impressions upon me but that as impressive and emotion-inspiring as some of them were, either didn’t fit into the context of my own take on a personal reference system component, or if they did, were simply too far out of reach for my bank account. I’ve heard an almost untold amount of integrated, stereo power amplifiers and mono blocks over the years at friend’s homes or hi-fi shows that I loved, but again, were either too dear financially for me to ever seriously consider or didn’t fit into my holistic vision of a personal reference system.

Master & Dynamic MW07 Review

September 17, 2018 § Leave a comment

FIIO ΜBTR REVIEW

September 17, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“Even stereo image, which almost everyone seems to screw up is good. It’s not got the most nuanced rendering of stereo texture, but it sure as hell nails details. There’s no frequency that stuffs up even under load. In fact, it may be the best-testing device I’ve ever had on the bench- again, as it comes to loaded/unloaded ratio testing. But even with that proviso in place, it handles load so damn well I wonder if it’s magic. Jitter is mild to invalid. And by and large, no harmonic or phase artifact jumps testably under load. ”

Parasound Halo JC 5 Stereo Amplifier Review

September 16, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“Spatial resolution is one of the JC 5’s greatest strengths. Its ability to provide a pristinely focused center image could be easily heard in both Linda Rondstadt’s Blue Bayou and Diana Panton’s A Little Girl A Little Boy A Little Moon. There’s no guessing how the recordings were mixed and laid out. There’s plenty of refined air and aural layering that encompasses the shape and texture of the instruments. The strums and plucks of guitar and bass notes are elegantly played with tangible weight and accurate decay. It’s also capable of delineating fine lines of strings and leading edges of rapid piano notes with confidence and speed.

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