Wilson Audio Specialties Alexx V loudspeaker $151,000 Review

November 28, 2021 § Leave a comment


Over the years I’ve been seriously interested in hi-fi, I’ve come to associate Wilson with emotional approachability—why else would their products have such passionate advocates? Their use of traditional driver materials—paper cones and silk domes—reinforced that stereotype in my brain: no analytical sound or harsh-sounding metal tweeters on a Wilson speaker!

There’s nothing wrong with that, but that assumption, which I held without evidence or sufficient experience, sold Wilson short. During the long audition leading up to this review, I heard nothing that would cause me to label these speakers as warm, or pretty, or endearing—no midbass emphasis, no rolled-off highs, no tweaking of the presence region (one way or the other) to accentuate the midrange or increase the sense of detail or immediacy. The Alexx V is distinguished not by any special warmth, approachability, or friendly coloration but, rather, by its evenness and consistency of tone, its ability to excavate detail effortlessly and without emphasis, and its clarity, accuracy, and naturalness of musical expression. My experience as a reviewer has taught me that those are difficult things to achieve all at once.

Line Magnetic LM-512 CA preamp/LM-845 Premium integrated/power amp £8,499 Review

November 28, 2021 § Leave a comment

A reviewer’s job is to trip products up, but the best products trip us up instead. When this happens, we play music that we think will show limitations in a device, and they end up highlighting their strengths instead. So it was with the Klimax DSM; I played the Overture to The Pirates of Penzance [D’Oyly Carte, Decca] which is a great test for imaging, but ended up being so musically bouncy and fun (as it should be) I felt like I should have mutton-chops and be wearing a smoking jacket. I played ‘Back In Black’ by AC/DC [Atlantic] on Tidal and air-guitared my way to dislocating a shoulder and I played some Miles Davis to check on that complex interplay on Shhh/Peaceful [In A Silent Way, Columbia] and now I have a $1,000 per day coke habit. And that’s the big thing about the Linn Klimax DSM; you feel rolling out the same old terms for audio performance when you are dealing with a product that is so very much about the music isn’t just wrong, it’s positively asinine. Of course, it ticks all the audiophile boxes of good soundstaging, outstanding levels of detail, excellent vocal articulation, superb image solidity and dynamic range and fluidity of sound that could give a turntable a run for its money, but that’s just par for the course in high-end streaming. What this gives over and above that is a sense of being as one with the musical intentions of the composer or musicians.

Introduction to the Analog Mixer

November 28, 2021 § Leave a comment

Perlisten S7t loudspeaker  19,995 Review

November 27, 2021 § Leave a comment


I compared the Perlistens to my Revel Studio2 speakers sequentially by moving each into their ideal positions, and by placing them side by side and using an A/B toggle switch. When comparing them sequentially, I noted that the Revels’ soundstage was consistently wider but their tonal balance was thinner, particularly in the upper bass. Conversely, the Perlistens had a more even tonal balance and, while the soundstage was not as wide, it was just as deep as that cast by the Revels. It was, as Dan Roemer said it would be, impossible to localize any sound to the individual Perlisten drivers.

I got similar impressions in the direct A/B comparisons, although in this round of testing, the tonal balance differences seemed less striking than I expected. I consistently preferred the fullness of male voices with the S7t’s, but that preference could be erased by invoking Dirac Live correction with the Studio2s. Overall, and without the advantages of Dirac Live, the S7t seemed more neutral and relaxed. The Revels offered a wider soundstage and also more midrange detail, but, in extended listening with the S7t’s, I didn’t miss them.

Mola-Mola Kula Integrated Amplifier Review

November 27, 2021 § Leave a comment


Meanwhile, if you have two turntables, or play older pre-RIAA records, you can set the Kula up for those too. You can even add polarity inversion of one or both channels, mono summing and just about anything else you’d need to play even the most arcane of recordings.

A wide range of adjustments are also available for other inputs, from renaming, adjusting relative level, designating an input as ‘direct’, or bypassing the volume control if the Kula is used with a preamp or AV processor. The digital option here is slightly unusual – yes, it has optical, AES/EBU and asynchronous USB, and can handle datastreams at up to 384kHz/32-bit and DSD512 via the last of these, but there’s no coaxial digital input, and the Ethernet connection allows the Kula to function as a Roon endpoint, a brief it fulfils rather well.

Unboxing the McIntosh C22 Analog Tube Preamp

November 27, 2021 § Leave a comment

Coturn CT-01 Review

November 27, 2021 § Leave a comment


November 26, 2021 § Leave a comment

The sole accessory that Beyerdynamic has bundled with the T1.3 is a 3-metre detachable cable, terminated in a 3.5mm single-ended jack with Beyerdynamic’s standard 6.3mm screw-on adapter included. The cable is covered with a woven synthetic cloth finish that makes it more than a little microphonic when rubbed on shirt collars. Like the T1.2, it attaches to both cups with forward-angled 3.5mm mono connections, which makes finding after-market cables a pretty easy prospect. And you’re probably going to want to find one – firstly because it’s fairly microphonic, and also because it’s fairly light-weight and prone to twisting/tangling. I know what you’re about to ask: “Why no balanced cable?”. Good question – with many other manufacturers offering a range of cable options with the flagship headphones to pair with a range of amplifier outputs, Beyerdynamic has offered just one single-ended variety with the T1.3. On one hand, the T1.3 is pretty sensitive and doesn’t need much by way of power to perform well. On the other hand, Beyerdynamic also manufactures their own headphone amplifiers, none of which are balanced designs nor offer balanced outputs. I did muse that it might be a house engineering philosophy thing, but then again, Beyerdynamic does offer a balanced XKR cable as an aftermarket option for a not-inconsiderable $145 USD.


Auralic Altair G2.1 Music Library/DAC Review

November 26, 2021 § Leave a comment


It’s also as adept when growling out some driving rock as it is when playing more hi-fi-show-friendly music. This review period coincided with the demise of ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, which almost inevitably led to a couple of evenings with me immersed deep in Texas boogie. I can tell you that from the slow-burn blues of ‘Just Got Back From Baby’s’ all the way through to the charging guitar solo of ‘Cheap Sunglasses’, this new Altair did proud the exhaustive Goin’ 50 compilation [Warner Bros 0603497851621].

Its analogue output drove the amplification, and thus the speakers, to suitably raucous effect, while still keeping those good-time rhythms rolling as the trio powered on. I even played the odd track – well all right then, quite a lot of them! – several times, just to immerse myself in all the thunder and snarl.

Andover Audio Model-One turntable with built-in speakers and Bluetooth

November 26, 2021 § Leave a comment

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