LIGHT HARMONIC $1299 REVIEW

January 29, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“This has been a worthwhile debut challenge review for me on Headfonia. I think Light Harmonic have done a pretty decent job with the Stella in both resisting the temptation to let it all hang out with bloated dynamic driver sound or aiming for an easy darkish sound to tame the masses.

Yes, the Stella is slightly niche, more at home with audiophile standards, clean acoustical sounds and most importantly female vocals. But what it does, it does incredibly well, and it does stand out from the crowd on that basis.”

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Cambridge Audio Alva TT Bluetooth Turntable

January 29, 2019 § Leave a comment

MBL Noble Line N11 Preamplifier $14,600 and N15 Monoblock Amplifier$35,200

January 28, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The Noble Line N11 and N15 certainly bring out the 101s’ virtues without being hamstrung by their peculiarities. You might think that a speaker with a sensitivity of 81dB (or less), like the 101 E Mk.II, would be a challenge for any amp short of a behemoth, but the N15 (like the even more powerful MBL Reference 9011) never seemed fazed by the Radialstrahlers’ hunger for watts, volts, and amps. While I wouldn’t say that the N15s had quite the overall resolution or sensational treble snap and extension of the 9011s, they effortlessly reproduced hard-hitting bar-band rock ’n’ roll like Lake Street Dive’s “Shame, Shame, Shame” from Free Yourself Up [Nonesuch] at lifelike levels (ca. 95–96dB average SPLs), and they did this without sacrificing one of the very things that makes Radialstrahlers such a pleasure to listen to—their ability to play at very very high volumes without turning the slightest bit rough, bright, or annoying. (According to MBL’s literature, the N15 has a “soft-clipping” feature that, I assume, makes it sound even less rough and bright at very high levels, though this feature may also be partly responsible for the amp’s slight reduction in treble-range brilliance).”

Brainwavz Alara Planar Magnetic Headphones

January 28, 2019 § Leave a comment

Totaldac D1-Direct DAC $8,970 Review

January 28, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Each exquisitely rendered in photovoltaic relief from one another through the d1 like a strobe-light afterimage. As the almost falsetto harmonies of “doo-doo-doo-doo-do-doo-do-doo-doo” rise up glittering through the sound stage on a floating bubble of pure solid-gold energy I could feel my whole sofa vibrate in time. Just when you think their voices couldn’t go any higher the bridge hits and what has sounded etched on some sigma-delta DACs I’ve listened to this through, is glorious and liquid in its presentation, the totaldac’s R2R ladder and FPGA processing taming any treble burn completely and allowing their voices to soar up the scales. Pace, rhythm, timing – the hallmarks of PRaT – is what this cut is all about. Through the d1 every tonal and timbral nuance is presented without blurring or smearing with a speed on the leading edges of notes I’ve rarely experienced. Power, tonal accuracy, timbral delineation, a huge sound stage, three-point fadeaway jump shot decay and the ability to plumb frequency extremes without fatigue on upper regist

Qobuz ► It’s Better Than Tidal, AppleMusic, Spotify,

January 27, 2019 § Leave a comment

EXOGAL COMET DAC AND ION STEREO POWER AMPLIFIER REVIEW

January 27, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The Comet has the usual array of digital inputs plus a single pair of analogue inputs in a billet machined case with a headphone socket on one side and an almost unreadable LCD display. It does look cool though and if you get the angle right it’s possible to discern the reflective text and numbers from the matte silver background. The information is pretty basic with the chosen input at the top above the selected output, the latter offering main, Exonet, or headphones, a numerical volume indicator sits below both. A cheap remote control is supplied that can be used to change any of these but the simple app that Exogal has developed is a nicer way to do it. The latter baffled me initially because the Comet has no network connections or Wi-Fi antenna, it does however have a short Bluetooth antenna and that’s how it connects to your smartphone or tablet. Users of streaming sources will realise that this is all fine, but when you are choosing tracks with the streaming app you don’t want to have to switch to another app just to change volume. One answer is to use a second touchscreen device but the remote is probably easiest; that said, the app does make it clear when the output is muted as is the case at switch on, which can save some head scratching. Since its introduction the Comet has had one upgrade and that’s a new power supply; this is a £400 extra in a nice aluminium box (albeit with a power inlet that’s a little deep for chunky IEC plugs) and this was supplied for this review. The Ion also has an external power supply in a less sexy plastic case.”

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