Bandwidth Audio 288 Monaural Power Amplifier Review

February 26, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“$10,000 for a pair of anything, let alone a pair of tube-based amplifiers possessing a mere 60 Watts of output, is a purchase not to be taken lightly. But I would argue that anyone with ten grand to spend on audio equipment is accustomed to a certain level of risk and is in search of a certain something, something that not everyone is going to have–nor even be privy to. If this is you, then I would urge you to take a good long look at Bandwidth Audio’s 288 monaural amplifier. Seek them out, audition them for yourself, for they are one of those products that possess that something special. The 288 is rarified air in that it has all of the traits a good, reference, cost-no-object amplifier must have, with virtually no discernable downside, sonically speaking, apart from either not having enough power for all speakers, or simply being too large or too expensive for some.”

VITUS RI-101 INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER REVIEW

February 25, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Many factors make just about any significant purchase a tricky decision and a serious audio amplifier is no different. Price is a prominant place to start. The reputation of the manufacturer is indeed another. The appearance and general presence of the product, its future compatibility with the rest of the system, perhaps the potential for an upgrade and the reality of how it compares with rivals. All these things are likely to play a part. But, maybe the most important thing for me is just whether I enjoy listening to it. A strange comment perhaps. I can’t remember the last time I heard an amplifier that was “bad”. By that, I mean an amplifier that left me emotionally cold and disinterested. Desirability though is a different matter and carries a lot of intangibles that are personal to each of us. This new integrated Vitus knocks it out of the park on so many levels, and the ability to supplement its capabilities with a genuinely excellent onboard retro-fittable DAC or streamer shouldn’t be underestimated, especially taking into consideration the extra costs concerning space and cabling that a separate DAC will incur. It also has that sense of drive-anything power and stability and a seriously engaging sense of very fine detail with something of an iron fist behind it. Musically it has all the Vitus hallmarks of really elastic rhythmic focus and precision coupled with excellent tonality and balance. I can see it being an excellent investment for the serious music lover for years and years. When an amplifier is this good, it has to get a recommendation from me. ”

Focal Elegia Headphones: A Look Inside With Nicolas Debard

February 25, 2019 § Leave a comment

SHANLING M5S REVIEW

February 25, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“It took me no less than a full album to get my hearing accustomed, even more with classical music. A good track to test was “Aulos” from Vladimir Cauchemar – Orchestre lamoureux version, beginning pianissimo and rising steadily to a massive fortissimo.

And this is where the Shanling M5S outshines its direct competitors : dynamics. Soundstage isn’t especially larger than other players, but once you begin to upper the volume you can distinguish subtle nuances previously unheard. Separation is excellent and above all, the player never differs from its neutral path.

Compared to the FiiO X5iii, found at the same price, the FiiO seemed more engaging and less natural. The M5S offers more detail at the same volume, you can really feel it when the drummer hits his drum, as if you couldn’t hear the skin going back and forth before.”

Dynaco ST-70 Series 3 Tube Power Amplifier $3000 Review

February 25, 2019 § Leave a comment

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” Its ability to resolve individual threads within a complex musical passage was highly evolved over that of most vintage tube designs. And it was able to latch onto transient decay down to what is an impressively low noise floor for a tube amplifier. Its spatial presentation and microdynamic conviction equaled or exceeded that of any comparably powered push-pull tube amp I’ve auditioned over the years, even when driving a 96dB-sensitive loudspeaker. That’s quite a testimonial for the purity of its first watt. In fact, I had just spent some quality time with a new 300B amp acquisition, and it hit me that the Dynaco approached the sound of a fine single-ended triode amp, actually sounding better at the frequency extremes, and nearly as refined in the midrange. I can say with confidence that the bass demons that afflicted the original ST-70 have been exorcised. Upright jazz bass was nicely defined with good pitch definition. However, deep bass performance was typical for a low-power tube amp, lacking current delivery into low-impedance loads.”

BLUESOUND WIRELESS MUSIC SYSTEM REVIEW

February 24, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Did I find the Bluesound player better than my reliable and beloved Sonos system? The answer is a resounding yes. High resolution files sounded great, something the Sonos can’t play. Ripped CDs often sounded better than when they were playing back through the Sonos. Trying to describe the differences between the Sonos and the Bluesound system on the same equipment is a matter of subtleties. Instrument locations, especially acoustic instruments are more precise. Percussion instruments have more bite, and ‘liveness’. Switching between ripped CDs, it was almost always obvious which equipment was playing. That was true even when another person made the switches so I had no idea if I was listening to the Sonos or the Bluesound as a source. It could be a difference in DACs, the ripping into FLAC format, or something in the way the networking is architected. Whatever the reason, it sounded like a thin veil had been lifted when listening to the Bluesound.”

CanJam NYC 2019

February 24, 2019 § Leave a comment

Perfect 8 The Cube $20,000

February 24, 2019 § Leave a comment

SONY WH-1000XM3 REVIEW

February 24, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Vocals are certainly a good showing here. Both male and female vocals are given plenty of space and clarity to shine and the added warmth across the presentation tends to aid this. I found that male vocals in particular had a good tones and weigh behind them and that female vocals were complemented by the smooth presentation of the highs.

Mids are smooth and warm with stringed instruments just about carrying enough weight. Again the warmth of the tuning really helps out here and if you listen to a lot of rock, pop or hip hop these headphones should serve your well.

Low end is enhanced and has a certain dominance over the presentation as a whole. It can has both a good rumble and speed of attack and only minimal bleed into the lower midrange was observed.”

MOON 390 NETWORK PLAYER/PREAMPLIFIER

February 23, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Finally, I tried Leif Ove Andsnes playing Chopin Ballades and Nocturnes on Sony, as heard through Qobuz, a 96k/24 bit recording. The piano is a funny one for me. It’s tough to capture a keyboard well so that it sounds like a single instrument and not a series of drive units- so it’s more a speaker thing, but the amp and DAC also play a starring role in the success of good pianistic reproduction.

Chord’s DAVE is the master of the piano, but somehow what I’m hearing on this hi-res Qobuz recording makes me want to listen further and further. It’s a beautiful sound with no harsh edges, and the incredible subtlety of Andsnes’ phrasing spins the musical line in an arresting way. Not only is the timbre of the piano just right, but the micro-phrasing that you hear when you stand next to a great musical artist is all there. It is so often lost.”

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