Astell&Kern AK70 Portable Music Player Review

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“With its previous players Astell&Kern firmly established itself as a purveyor of the finest (and most expensive) portable players available, but the company was never in the running to offer the best value for the money at entry level. But with the AK70, A&K has a player that offers more usable features and flexibility at an affordable price than any of its previous offerings. With the ability to easily handle a wide range of earphones thanks to its balanced and single-ended connections, combined with features such as AK Connect, which allows you to play back anything on your home NAS through the AK70, this player delivers more value and bang-for-the-buck than most of the current crop of players priced between $500 and $700.”

Synergistic Research PowerCell 12 UEF SE Power Conditioner $6495 Review

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” his not only allows for instruments and vocalists to be better defined and virtually crystallize as never before, it also allows me to listen at much lower listening levels and still enjoy all the PRAT of the recorded music. If like me, once you reach a certain age its important to protect those ears and leave the high volume sessions for special occasions only! Yet, I still want to hear everything that the music can offer and without sacrifice at the lower volumes.”


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” Everything else is exemplary. Neither frequency dips nor rises mar any audible surface. There’s hardly any jitter; and even under harsh loads, IMD and THD rise imperceptibly. You won’t get 120dB out of this thing in any metric, but you will artefact-free 107dB, which is a hell of a lot better than 99% of amps out there.”

MrSpeakers Ether Flow Headphones $1,800 Review


Listening to highresolution files of John McEuen’s (founder of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) Made in Brooklyn album on the Ether Flow and HiFiMan Edition X headphones, the Flow’s more naturally balanced midrange was immediately apparent. It sounded “right.” The vocals, acoustic guitars, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, stand-up bass, flute, and clarinet were all vibrantly alive, while the Edition X’s sound was consistently leaner, less full and satisfying.



“Going back to my ATC power amp and Townshend pre made matters more revealing and allowed higher playback levels without discomfort. I’m not a headbanger, but PMC tells me that this speaker would be happy to oblige if the need for high SPLs were to arise. At low and ‘normal’ levels, however, this is a stonking loudspeaker. It has uncannily low distortion and remarkable transparency in the context of a very even, almost relaxed presentation that reflects what you send over the wires with consummate ease. Build quality is superb, and I had the reddish Amarone veneer which looks great alongside the brightwork and the lovely model badge on the back. Despite appearances, this is a significantly better loudspeaker than the twenty.22, which itself is pretty respectable, and I for one can’t wait to hear what Laminair can do for the bigger models in PMC’s extensive range.

Bryston 4B3 Stereo/Mono Amplifier Review

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” A recording I’ve recently rediscovered is Emmylou Harris’s Wrecking Ball: Deluxe Edition, a collaboration with influential producer, songwriter, and musician Daniel Lanois (16/44.1 FLAC, Nonesuch). This album is every bit as good as Lanois’s work on albums by U2, Robbie Robertson, Peter Gabriel, and Bob Dylan. The transparency of the 4B3 let me hear further into this recording than has any other amp I’ve had in my system — its retrieval of detail was astonishing. Although the amp was remarkably transparent, the sound was perfectly neutral and never harsh. The electric guitar and kick drum in Lanois’s “Where Will I Be” are recorded with reverb that can make them sound a little grungy. ”

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