TEAC AI-503 Integrated Amplifier/DAC Review

March 28, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“I placed the AI-503 in my hi-fi rack and connected it to an Elac Discovery music server with built-in DAC (see review in our February/March 2018 issue) running Roon Essentials music library software. The speakers I used for the test were GoldenEar Technology Triton Five towers; to evaluate the headphone amp, I tapped Sennheiser’s HD 598. For computer input, I used a MacBook Pro running JRiver Media Center 21. The AI-503’s manual states that a Windows driver is available on TEAC’s website, but it hadn’t been posted yet for download in the site’s support section during my evaluation, so I wasn’t able to test Windows compatibility.”

1More Triple Driver Over Ear Headphone – video

March 28, 2018 § Leave a comment

Ypsilon Electronics Hyperion monoblock power amplifier $93,000/pair Review

March 27, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“When I first heard, and then bought, the Ypsilon VPS-100 phono preamplifier, I concluded that its designer, Demetris Baklavas, was some kind of genius. His PST-100 preamp didn’t shake that conclusion, but I was somewhat disappointed with the original Aelius. With the Hyperion, I must again characterize Baklavas as an electronics design genius whose name deserves mention alongside the more familiar names you probably know. He’s seriously underrated, and deserving of greater acclamation.

Synergistic Research Active Ground Block SE Review

March 27, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“The sonic improvement the Active Ground Block SE bestowed upon the system was immediately apparent and wasn’t subtle. The quieter noise floor was expected but is even more pitch black in its quietness. Where previously you can hear background voices being grouped together, you can now identify them individually and get a sense of space between them with the way they are standing in a slight diagonal line stretch to the back of the soundstage. The authority and texture of percussion are clear and vivid. The separation and resolution of the vocals and other instruments now really stand out without losing the warmth and musical nature of all the pieces coming together. I also wanted to note that one of the most impressive elements about the Active Ground Block SE is how beautiful and engaging the music is at even very low volumes. I’ve turned my PS Audio BHK Signature Preamp down to volume level 1 and have been amazed at the detail I can still hear. In some ways, it’s even more engaging because you can’t help but appreciate how the little details and musicality of the tracks come through.”

Grand Prix Audio • Monaco 2.0 Turntable $37,500 Review

March 27, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“I could run through endless musical examples, but they’d be beside the point — because that point is the Monaco 2.0’s very consistency. Whether the music is big or small, acoustic or electric, plucked, wind, steam-driven or electronic, this record player’s musical reproduction was utterly even-handed, presenting and preserving with equal confidence, whatever recording, genre or performance I chose to play.”

Bowers & Wilkins 702 S2 Speakers – Hands On Review

March 26, 2018 § Leave a comment

Apple to enter high-end headphone market

March 26, 2018 § Leave a comment

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““Apple-branded headphones would seemingly cannibalize Beats headphones, although Beats also sells lower-priced wireless headphones that probably won’t directly compete with the new product. Athlete-oriented wireless Beats earphones still seem to be selling well despite the popularity of AirPods.”

Grado Labs PS2000e Headphones $2,695 Review

March 26, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“I’ve heaped praise on the PS2000e, but they’re not likely to satisfy audiophiles seeking ultimate accuracy — that’s not what’s going on here. The PS2000e are Grado sound at its best, and they’re handcrafted in Brooklyn under the watchful eyes and always-attentive ears of John Grado. And not just because they’re the most expensive headphones the company makes — Grado builds all of their full-size headphones in their Brooklyn factory, including the $79 SR60e!”

iFi nano iDSD Black Label Amp/DAC $200 Review

March 25, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“The unit is specified to run up to 10 hours on battery power with IEMs or efficient headphones. With two sets of moderately efficient cans and one set of inefficient ones—the first three mentioned below, and connected one at a time—it ran my 57-minute playlist nearly three times, or fewer than three hours, before the red battery-discharged indicator went on. iFi clarified that their initial production had firmware that set the battery warning LED too conservatively and that the unit runs about twice the time indicated by the light. I verified that the Black Label did last a more reasonable five to six hours on a full charge irrespective of the LED. Current production has the updated firmware in place, and any customer in the field who encounters this and wishes to correct it can send their unit to iFi’s service center for a software update (http://support,ifi-audio.com). In any event, the issue is cosmetic and has no effect on the unit’s performance.”

MOON BY SIMAUDIO 240I INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER REVIEW

March 25, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“Listening mostly to whatever was on television before starting any serious listening I still was able to note right away a powerful, articulate sound. Voices have a clarity with the 240i. If there was a characteristic to the sound it would be what I call ‘chunky’ – distinct and pleasing edges. It goes especially well with rock and piano music. Anyway, there was a lot more listening to do.”

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