EgglestonWorks Nico Evolution Loudspeakers $4995 Review

February 20, 2020 § Leave a comment

“Having struck the right balance with the eager EgglestonWorks, I tried some instrumental fare. I’m an enormous fan of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons as “recomposed” by Max Richter and performed by the Berlin Concert House Chamber Orchestra under the direction of André de Ridder (24/44.1 MQA, Deutsche Grammophon/Tidal). I’d ordinarily thumb my nose at a reinvention of such a classic, but Richter so skillfully transforms several of the movements that I find myself preferring them to Vivaldi’s originals. Listening to Winter 1, which redeploys one of Vivaldi’s most famous melodies, I was smitten by the Nico Evolutions’ ability to capture the nuances of Richter’s subtle but deliberate opening. The lightly plucked violins resonated pretty far back on the soundstage, and the recording venue sounded big, even if it wasn’t re-created with the extension and effortlessness that I’ve heard through more linear, dead-neutral designs. Still, I was impressed with the smoothness of the Nico Evolution’s soft-dome tweeter, which never sounded hard or etched. The harpsichord sounded natural, as did the violin of soloist Daniel Hope, which was very well defined, and even had a hint of sweetness I wasn’t anticipating. The Eggies proved deeply engaging with this track, a quality I highly value in a speaker. If you’re after warmth, or a polite, relaxed sound, the Nico Evolution isn’t for you. But if, like me, you prefer a sound that’s highly resolving and articulate, the baby Eggleston may well fit the bill — it was great fun.”

Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000M review

February 20, 2020 § Leave a comment

“The screen looks great. Sharp, colourful and clear, and a long way removed from the old digital player experience of years past. It’s still not a flagship smartphone experience, though, so if you’re used to expansive screens where you can swipe to your heart’s content, this is not that. The keyboard is a little fiddly for our fingers and it’s not always instantaneous in its response. 

Inside, the CPU and DAC are the same as the previous model. So that means two AK4497EQ DACs, one for each stereo channel, and an Exynos 7420 octa-core CPU. What is new is an upgraded audio block layout, which aims to shorten the signal path and deliver better sound thanks to reduced noise and improved output level.”

Home listening room video

February 20, 2020 § Leave a comment


February 19, 2020 § Leave a comment

“Yes, the Hugo 2 presents an analytical sound especially against its predecessor. But I don’t find it too analytical, at least not that much like the people say. To me it has great dynamism, very sharp separation and sublime transparency. But there’s a sense of musicality in it, and if you pair it with a warmer headphone/IEM, it is simply wonderful to listen to.

Overall, the Hugo 2 makes you think about the “taps” that Rob talks about. The more taps you have, the better sound you will hear. It has better bass decay, a blacker background, better imaging and better micro detail reproduction. The timbre is more realistic as well, which I put a lot of emphasis on because it’s one of the most important aspects.

But among all of those improvements, the most striking difference when I switch to Hugo 2 is the air. The original can’t give you that, as it’s made of romanticism and intimacy. It has that organic gene, which you can’t change or alter in any way. And that’s totally fine. You win some you lose some, it’s normal.”

HiFiMAN Ananda headphones Review

February 19, 2020 § Leave a comment

Play some solo violin like Jascha Heifetz on RCA Living Stereo SACDs (his famed Brahms/Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos and Double Concertos albums, for example) and his bowing can be heard distinctly, even in front of a mass of instruments. In quieter passages, the emotion he coaxed out of his instrument was so palpable, you could close your eyes and almost believe you were listening to a live feed of the recording.

Transient speed from drums and percussive instruments was another plus. The snares from songs like The Raconteurs’ Steady As She Goes, Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love and Toto’s Rosanna really came alive with the Ananda.

THX AAA 789 – headphone amp Review

February 19, 2020 § Leave a comment

Mytek Brooklyn Bridge Network-Attached DAC £2500 Review

February 18, 2020 § Leave a comment

“Now, while I am well aware that precious few enthusiasts will be looking at the Brooklyn Bridge as a phono stage, the feature is there so I felt duty-bound to give it a spin. With my Michell Gyro SE turntable cued up with both Ortofon Rondo Red MC and 2M Black MM cartridges ready to mount in turn, I took a pristine copy of Chris Rea’s One Fine Day LP [Magnet 0 190295 498856] from its sleeve. Despite expecting the unit to struggle with a low-output MC, the sound emanating from the speakers was sumptuous. Even better, switching to MM was a revelation, the album being delivered with all of its top-end sweetness intact. What’s more, bass lines were again punchy and taut.

Returning to my digital music files, and with the emphasis on more hi-res content delivered via USB and LAN, I pulled up tracks from Enya’s album Dark Sky Island (Deluxe) [Warner Music Group 2553131; 96kHz/24-bit, FLAC]. The Brooklyn Bridge served up the lush sounds in a manner that was rich and unrestrained yet neither gloopy nor gushing. It was the perfect chill-out experience. Next up was the Danish String Quartet’s self-produced Last Leaf [ECM Records 581 5746; 96kHz/24-bit, FLAC]. Here the sounds of the harmonium, piano, glockenspiel and cello on these traditional pieces came across with real fire and finesse.”

%d bloggers like this: