Magnepan MG1.7i Loudspeaker REVIEW

April 13, 2021 § Leave a comment

An example of the musically accurate fine detail that the 1.7i conveys can be heard on the SACD version of Alison Krauss + Union Station Live on Rounder Records [11661-0515-6]. This live concert was performed and recorded in the beautiful and acoustically excellent 1927 Louisville Palace theatre. Especially with the SACD layer, natural detail and definition abound. This is audible from the individual bluegrass instruments (ranging from rapid-fire three-finger Scruggs banjo picking to the distinctive metallic tone of Jerry Douglas’ dobro to the plectrum-struck twin strings of the mandolin to Alison Krauss’ fiddle to the upright bass and various percussion instruments). The entire set is laudably three-dimensional and natural. The available detail goes all the way down to the sound of the audience applause, which is very much like what you hear at a concert in a small, acoustically distinguished venue like this. The separation of various segments of the audience applauding at different speeds and varying distances from the microphones is preserved by the Magnepans (almost, but not quite, the sound of one hand clapping). This fine sense of detail is also quite audible on the reverberant decay of a full orchestra when it completes a piece of music. Again, very natural, like an actual live concert.

Luxman SQ-N150 £3,000 Review

April 13, 2021 § Leave a comment

https://www.hifichoice.com/content/luxman-sq-n150

No less importantly, provided that the speaker it’s matched with is suitably sensitive, the performance manages to deliver heavier and larger scale music without sounding strained or lost. The live studio edit of Bring Your Lovin’ Back Here by Gomez captures the heavyweight swagger of the band and the punch and drive of the music is central to the experience. Although certainly not a recording for the ages, the SQ-N150 takes the experience further with a level of refinement and airiness in the midrange that ensures any limitations of the music are avoided.

HiFiMAN HE6se First Impressions

April 13, 2021 § Leave a comment

Estelon X Diamond Mk II Loudspeakers $78,000 Review

April 12, 2021 § Leave a comment

https://www.soundstageultra.com/index.php/equipment-menu/1027-estelon-x-diamond-mk-ii-loudspeakers

The Estelon X Diamond Mk II is a fantastic loudspeaker in every regard. It excels at the frequency extremes, but its sound is also amazing everywhere in between. The big Estelons play low and authoritatively in the bass, and marry that to almost impossibly airy, silky highs and an entirely uncolored midband. And when that superb sound quality is considered in the context of the most beautiful enclosure I’ve ever had the pleasure of living with, you have a complete package.

T+A PA3100 HV integrated amplifier Review

April 12, 2021 § Leave a comment

https://www.stereophile.com/content/ta-pa3100-hv-integrated-amplifier


The T+A PA 3100 HV integrated amplifier makes a strong, consistent statement about sonic realities and the pathway to pleasure. Its consistently musical presentation, which emphasizes smoothness and ease over strong contrasts and abrupt shifts, renders it a powerful transmitter of musical truth—specifically that delivered farther back in the orchestra sections of many acoustically superior halls I’ve visited as well as in some drier or less-resonant venues.

Anyone wishing to get as much as possible from a single, very solid box will also find its headphone amp, optional phono card, and APM with tone controls and room equalization quite attractive. Put it all together, and you’ve got an excellent, meticulously engineered, beautifully made integrated amplifier that seems tailor-made for many audiophiles.

iFi Headphone Amp & DAC Lineup

April 12, 2021 § Leave a comment

Mark Levinson No.5105 turntable Review $6000

April 11, 2021 § Leave a comment

https://www.stereophile.com/content/mark-levinson-no5105-turntable

Decoded by the No.5105 into the hybrid Hagerman, the vinyl version delivered timbral richness, particularly to the massed strings and Mutter’s violin, and textural sophistication that might have some screaming “coloration!” Not I! To me it sounds more real and definitely more pleasurable than the streamed digital, especially the piano’s presentation, both timbrally and in terms of transient attack. It helps that the Emil Berliner Studios did the mastering and that the Optimal pressing is outstanding. I could not hear any difference in dynamic range between the two versions. It’s possible though that the file was dynamically compressed for streaming but allowed to express itself fully in the grooves.

Icon Audio HP8 MkII Signature Headphone Amplifier Review

April 11, 2021 § Leave a comment

https://www.audiophilia.com/reviews/2021/2/1/0t4as8dlvsipy6zuup151430h32qvc

It drove my 52 ohm Focals just as well as my 300ohm Sennheisers, and I would certainly recommend this amp for statement headphones like the Sennheiser HD800/HD800S, Audeze LCD-3/4, the HIFIMAN HE1000 or the Focal Utopia. With 800 mW x2 of Class A power on tap (a number up there with many solid state designs), it has plenty of gain for all of them. This amplifier is, of course, just an amp, no frills attached, so it may not suit those looking for compact desktop all-in-one solutions with DACs, streaming, or other state-of-the art digital audio applications. If you have all those bases already covered in your chain, or want a high end headphone section for your main system, the Icon Audio HP8 MkII Signature is one of the best sounding headphone amplifiers I have heard, and its polished looks certainly makes it easy on the eyes as well as the ears.

Sonus Faber Lumina III loudspeaker Review $2199

April 10, 2021 § Leave a comment

https://www.stereophile.com/content/sonus-faber-lumina-iii-loudspeaker

Once I had finalized the speakers’ positions, I started my serious listening. As always, I started my critical auditioning of the Lumina IIIs with the test-tone files I created for my Editor’s Choice CD (Stereophile STPH016-2). The Lumina IIIs were initially toed in to the listening position. With the dual-mono pink noise track, the treble balance was reminiscent of the Bowers & Wilkins 705 Signature’s: a little accentuated in the top two octaves, especially when compared with the KEFs. I increased the toe-in a little so that the speaker axes crossed just in front of me; now the high frequencies sounded in better balance with the midrange, though still a little high in level, especially if I sat upright so I could see the tops of the speakers. While the pink noise had a touch of “character” in the lower midrange, the image of the pink noise was narrow and stable, with no “splashing” to the sides at any frequency.

Linn Majik DSM Streaming Integrated Amplifier Review

April 10, 2021 § Leave a comment

https://www.soundandvision.com/content/linn-majik-dsm-streaming-integrated-amplifier-review

I checked out the Majik DSM’s HDMI functionality using a Sony UBP-X800 Blu-ray player, with the player converting soundtracks to 2.0 PCM for output. Streaming the Afghanistan war movie The Outpost, the Linn nicely reproduced the crackling flames that followed in the wake of explosions. Of course, asking the Majik 109 book- shelf speakers to convincingly reproduce the ultra-low sound of explosions by themselves would be unfair. To quote Emeril Lagasse, I “kicked it up a notch” by connecting a JL Audio Dominion d110 subwoofer to the Majik DSM’s line-level analog RCA outputs. While this didn’t exactly turn the Majik DSM into a full-fledged home theater system, the sub added low-end impact and allowed the amp to deliver even louder movie sound.

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