Constellation Performance Centaur II 500 power amplifier $55,000 Review

October 19, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“My new torture track for revealing any problems a product might have dealing with low frequencies at high powers is “#thatpower,” featuring Justin Bieber, from Will.i.am’s #willpower (16/44.1 FLAC MQA, Interscope). The Bricasti reproduced the sampled kick drum with more upper bass than did the Lamms or the Constellation. Peak levels reached 98.6dB (measured with the Studio Six Digital SPL Meter app on my iPhone 6S, with C weighting and slow ballistics). When, on the line “I’ll take you higher,” the bass line drops to the subdominant, the Centaur II 500 sounded a little less “phatt” than the M1.2s, and even less so than the M15, to the benefit of the music’s clarity. The sampled snare drum in this track inherently sounds coarse, but the Centaur II 500 had less of a cack-cack quality than either the Bricasti or the Lamms. Winner on points? The Constellation.”
R

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LINN SELEKT DSM DIGITAL STREAMING PLATFORM

October 19, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“The other big punch-pulling was with regard to where Selekt DSM sits in the Linn echelon. In it’s standard guise, it’s better than Majik, but it’s more expensive than Majik. The full-up Aktiv Akurate DSM system is better than Selekt DSM, but it’s also a very narrow, very expensive Linn-related option. But the big issue is that bit in-between, where Selekt DSM takes on an Akurate DSM with Akurate amps in a passive context. Now it gets nuanced. The full Katalyst-enabled Selekt DSM with its brace of on-board Class D amps gets extremely close in performance terms to the Akurate DSM and power amp combination, and in many respects outguns the older platform. And yet, Selekt DSM is cheaper than Akurate in this setting. In fairness, I can’t see many Akurate users side-shifting to Selekt DSM, but I also can’t see many freshly minted passive Akurate users now that Selekt DSM exists. It’s that good.”

Broadway by Eleven XI Audio – Fully Balanced Battery-operated Headphone Amplifier

October 19, 2018 § Leave a comment

Martin Logan Renaissance ESL 15A Review

October 18, 2018 § Leave a comment

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The Renaissance ESL 15A’s are simply the absolute best Martin Logans that I have heard. They have seismic yet superbly articulate and very even-handed bass, coherence to rival the best multi-driver dynamic speakers and incredibly transparent and super-refined, yet smooth and gloriously rich midrange with precise, fluid and airy treble. These speakers combine so many audiophile tricks and weave them together so very well that it becomes a hardship to return to other speakers.”

GIK Acoustics 2A Alpha Diffusor/Absorber Acoustic Panel

October 18, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“Flipping the 2A Alphas back to their Absorptive sides while leaving them at the back of the sidewalls decreased spaciousness but improved clarity, and removed a thin layer of distortion from the sound. This was likely due to a decrease in flutter echo and/or the reverberation and pinging of soundwaves between the sidewalls. Although I could hear these improvements somewhat when the panels’ Diffusive/Absorptive sides faced outward, they were more audible when the Absorptive sides were exposed.

Lastly, I positioned the 2A Alphas along my room’s rear wall — not easy to do, as that wall is obstructed by a large table on the right, and interrupted by the hallway on the left. Doing so blocked part of the wall and most of the hallway’s entrance. With their Diffusive/Absorptive sides again turned outward, the 2As again increased spaciousness. They also caused the rear wall to seem a bit farther away.

Merrill Audio Element 118 Solid-State Monoblock Amplifiers $36,000 Review

October 17, 2018 § Leave a comment

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When one is considering an amplifier for one’s system, many factors come into play. A few of these are how much power is needed, whether one prefers solid-state or vacuum tubes, and especially whether or not an amplifier the matches the rest of one’s system. The Merrill Audio Element 118 deserves to be part of a system that has associated equipment that might not be top-of-the-line, but close to it. I could even imagine one building a system around the Element 118 and then acquiring the rest of one’s system to match its high-level of performance”

FIIO M3K $69.99 Review

October 17, 2018 § Leave a comment

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Beyond that, the unit is very pure sounding until you get to the top end, where things got very musical and hyper enjoyable for me. Sometimes, I listen to classical music and screaming guitars and find myself air-playing to myself in front of others…because I find the treble response and presentation that enjoyable. Right now, my sample is a beta unit and did not include custom EQ. However, FiiO has told me that they will be updating the M3K with custom EQ very soon!

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