Accustic Arts AMP V power amplifier $50,000 Review

January 26, 2022 § Leave a comment

Can any single review of audio equipment be definitive, given the differences in listening rooms, equipment configurations, and human sensibility? Perhaps not. Nonetheless, a few things about the AMP V are incontrovertible. It’s not just a powerhouse; it’s a musical instrument that produces bright colors, huge images, and seat-shaking bass. Nor does it skimp on detail. While I didn’t journey into heavy metal during my time with the AMP V—Bromberg, Holst, and Shostakovich on steroids were as close as I got—the AMP V sailed through numerous ultradynamic tracks whose cumulative percussion and brass would leave many a rock fan diving for cover.

The AMP V is one of the finest and most musically satisfying amplifiers ever to enter my audio system. Anyone with a spare $50,000 (and who doesn’t require easy portability) would be foolish not to give it a serious audition.


January 26, 2022 § Leave a comment

As with the original Kenzie, the OG Rev 2 is for the audiophile who wants to wring the full potential out of their headphones and simply listen to the best-sounding music available. Listening to music on the Kenzie was so involving that it was difficult to concentrate on the job at hand and pick out the different characteristics of the sound, and even more difficult to stop and change headphones.

Lastly, being the entry-level product for ampsandsound the Kenzie is a fantastic value. If you have a budget of around $3,000 this is the amplifier to buy, if you are a music lover this is the amplifier to buy, if you are a solid-state fan and don’t get what tubes are all about, this is the amplifier to listen to, it will change your mind, just be ready to cough up $2,500 because you will not be satisfied with solid-state afterwards. Thanks, Justin for once again reaffirming my love of tube amps and justifying my love for ampsandsound!

Miguel’s sound gets better and better!

January 26, 2022 § Leave a comment

Cambridge Audio CXA61 $999 Review

January 25, 2022 § Leave a comment

This is made clear when we listen to the Olafur Arnalds set, which relies on the system having a high degree of subtlety. It’s easy for an amplifier to sound ham-fisted when playing this recording, but it’s a trap that the Cambridge avoids. Instead it is confident and composed, but never overplays its hand.

This Cambridge is a rhythmic performer too, delivering Prince’s 3121 with verve. There’s plenty of entertainment to be had here from thumping basslines to intricately shifting rhythms with Prince’s distinctive vocals at the centre. The CXA61 ticks all the hi-fi boxes without forgetting that all the detail and tonal neutrality in the world doesn’t matter if the emotional content of the music is ignored.

Parasound JC 5 Stereo Power Amplifier $5999 Review

January 25, 2022 § Leave a comment

Finally, Pink Floyd seems a fantastic way to cap off this listening session. Taking a hi-res listen to 1977’s Animals album, “Sheep” (24-bit/192kHz) I focus in. I may be at the very edge of the class A threshold as I ease the volume up a notch on my preamp and ease back in my chair. Instantly, this song becomes more engaging and percussive than I have ever heard it before. Waters’ bass guitar has more attack, Wright’s keyboard fills the room, and Gilmour’s guitar has a razor sharpness to it in the rhythm sections. In the center section (“The Lord is my shepherd…”) I can hear a vocal part that I’ve never quite heard before. There is simply a raised level of definition being produced by the Parasound JC 5.

Wrapping it Up

Many components come along that sit well in our systems and become an integral part of them, even increasing our joy in what we are hearing. However, on rare occasion, we unbox and plug in a piece that truly elevates our entire listening experience—this sums up my time with the Parasound JC 5. Yes, at $5999, it represents an investment that one might also consider elevated, though I find it to be worth every cent of that asking price. Considering the build quality, the design, the parts within, and most importantly, the sound of this power amplifier, $6k is a bargain for what you’re getting in the JC 5.

BEST Vinyl Record Cleaning Machines | 

January 25, 2022 § Leave a comment

iFi ZEN CAN headphone amplifier & ZEN DAC Signature V2 D/A processor Review

January 24, 2022 § Leave a comment

I was surprised that these ZEN Signature sets, used as directed, produced too much volume with the recommended headphones. Once that was fixed, with the iFi iEMatch attenuator, the ZEN Signature sets delivered highly resolved, clean, pristine, dynamic sound. The amplifiers are powerful. Backgrounds black as a new-moon nighttime sky brought musical details to the foreground. These two components sounded more expensive than they are and offer impressive sound quality—and a bit of style—for not a lot of money.

Pro-Ject Debut PRO record player Review

January 24, 2022 § Leave a comment

The Pro-Ject Debut PRO looks classy, minimalist, unassuming. It’s available in just one color: black. An aluminum toggle switch on its front left corner turns it on and off and selects the rotation speed: left for 33 1/3 rpm; right for 45 or 78rpm, depending on the belt fitted and the pulley used. On the back panel, there’s a grounding screw, a pair of gold-plated RCA jacks—a 1m pair of Pro-Ject manufactured copper interconnects is supplied—and a power receptacle. By default, that receptacle connects to a “universal” (multivoltage, multifrequency) power supply. The Power Box DS2 is available as an upgrade. Support is provided by those height-adjustable feet, which are PTE-damped, nickel-coated aluminum.

Pro-Ject offers the best quick-start, step-by-step turntable setup guide I’ve ever seen, with excellent photographs featuring small green arrows signifying this goes there. It’s available at their website. Pro-Ject gets analog hi-fi, which helps explain their longstanding significance in the market. An in-depth manual, which provides a deep dive into setting VTA, VTF, azimuth, and antiskate, is also available on the Pro-Ject website.

Sonus faber Lumina V Loudspeakers Review

January 24, 2022 § Leave a comment

The midrange was not left out of this equation. All too often, manufacturers will take a small woofer from their stand-mount offerings and use it as the “midrange” in their entry-level tower loudspeakers. This is not the case in the Lumina V. Sonus faber chose to use a specialized, dedicated midrange driver for the critical frequencies our ears are most sensitive to. Midrange drivers are often overlooked in today’s loudspeakers since woofers, and mid-woofers have gotten more advanced, which makes them easier to cross over directly to a tweeter.

Even though they look like woofers, dedicated midrange drivers are built differently. Since they will not produce the extreme wavelengths woofers do, midrange drivers often use lighter-weight cones and smaller voice coils. This combination makes the whole motor/cone assembly weigh less, improving efficiency and transient response. Woofers utilize the cone movement for cooling the voice coil. Midranges do not have this luxury. Typically, midrange drivers utilize tighter tolerances, like that of a tweeter, to improve thermal performance reducing power compression and distortion.

Entry-level or not, there are no details missed in the design of the Sonus faber Lumina V. After unearthing these details, the most imp

Alta Audio Alec Loudspeakers $10,000  Review

January 23, 2022 § Leave a comment

During the two-and-a-half decades that I’ve been reviewing audio gear, I’ve probably assessed more speakers than any other component type. One reason for this is, in my experience, there tends to be greater sonic variety among the different speaker models than there is within any other product genre. So I find loudspeakers more interesting to review than, say, source components. And although the process of setting up a pair of speakers takes longer than, for instance, an amplifier, speakers are usually easier to write about than other products—at least for me—because each pair has such a distinct sound fingerprint. It was therefore a bit perplexing that, even after about a week of casual listening to the Alta Audio Alecs, I didn’t feel I had even a partial measure of their sound.

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