Aurender N10 Music Server $7,999 Review

March 31, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The $7,999 USD N10 is more expensive than most laptops or PCs, and it is not light physically either, tipping the scales at almost 30 pounds with a chunky, but graceful aesthetic, excellent metal/rubber o-ring isolation feet, clearly designed button-operating layout and a very large (nine-inch diagonal), white-on-black AMOLED display that is easily legible (artist and song title anyway) from the listening position (it can also be set to mimic VU meters). It is equipped with enough digital ins and outs to keep binary purists pleased with BNC, coaxial, optical AES/EBU and USB 2.0 outputs (dedicated low-noise circuitry employed) and a Gigabyte ethernet port bookended by two USB 2.0 data ports for input. Format compatibility covers everything from ALAC, AIFF, DSD64/128 (DFF, DSF) and FLAC to MP3 and M4A among others, with SPDIF digital audio handled up to 24-bit/192kHz PCM and DSD64 and USB digital audio accepting 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD128 files.”

Parasound Halo P 6 2.1 Channel Preamplifier and DAC

March 31, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“While the overall connections are similar to that of the former P 5 preamp, the P 6 offers some upgrades comparable to the modernization of the A21 to the A21+. I think that says a lot about Parasound’s ability to pack performance where it counts. The improvements move the cash-out-of-pocket (or Bitcoin-out-of-server) needle to $1495 USD, which is $400USD more than its predecessor. But I am happy to report that the combination of functional improvement along with the audible performance of the P 6 justifies the increase. Let’s thumb through the most notable upgrades.

First is a Burr-Brown analog-resistor volume control. Most volume controls on preamps work via a device not much different than a slide-whistle, at least in principle. As you turn the volume knob up, less resistive material is in the signal path, so a stronger signal moves through to the amplifier, thereby increasing the volume. The name of the device that performs this action is called a potentiometer, and it works “fine.” However there is a mechanical component that rubs against a swath of resistive material in a potentiometer. The mechanical contact, and the existing swath of resistive material is prone to wear and can become noisy over time. The solution would be to have a separate resistor for each step in volume, and it is available in the form of a device called a stepped attenuator. The swath of resistor gunk is eliminated in a stepped attenuator, but that pesky mechanical connection still exists whether by manually moving the contacts, or electronically controlled with costly relays.”

FLUX LAB ACOUSTICS ATLAS REVIEW

March 31, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“First things first: the Atlas is a high-end unit and that means excellent linearity and a perfect balance. The Atlas is a neutrally tuned source but Flux Lab Acoustics managed to keep the delivery musical as well. In balanced mode you even get a slightly smooth delivery but you can’t possibly call the Atlas a warm sounding unit. Instead you get really excellent clarity and a very clean sound and all that combined with excellent prat and a high level of detail.

Atlas’ sound stage is wide, the delivery spacious with excellent separation and the layering in really good. I do have tube amps performing better in the depth/layering regard but of all my solid state amps, this surely must be one of the very best. Together with the slightly smooth delivery I mentioned earlier, the Atlas has the perfect amount of air in its presentations. It hits the perfect balance between musicality, realism and precision and it’s not something I easily find or see as well executed in other ss amps.”

HiFiMan Jade II Electrostatic Headphone System Full $2499 Review

March 30, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Finally, I’d like to comment on soundstage. This may seem like a strange thing to discuss when evaluating headphones because we’ve all come to expect any imaging produced by a pair of headphones to be inside of our heads. I expected no more or no less when I first donned this pair of Jade II’s and to be honest, I was not disappointed. The soundstage was indeed in my head just as I expected. But, after giving them a hundred hours of break-in, I was flabbergasted to find that these phones actually image in a much more speaker-like manner than any headphone set that I had ever experienced before! For the first time the image was outside of my head and in front of me. I realize that it’s an illusion, but it is a very satisfying one! If one keeps one’s head relatively still, the soundstage that one hears is stable with great image specificity and a wide deep presentation. You’ll not be fooled into thinking that you are listening to stereo speakers, But it will be such a breath of fresh air after living with ordinary headphones, that you won’t really care.”

IBASSO SR1 REVIEW $500

March 30, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The SR1 has an interesting tuning on the low-end. It does not have an obvious sub-bass bias like Beyer’s DT1170 Pro but it is nevertheless very solid and planted sounding. Part of that is the punch and warmth delivered from an elevated midbass bias and a moderate elevation right at the very low-end of the FR around 20-40Hz.

In between, there is a slight dip in the measurements so it is not a linear tuning, suggesting a little bit of separation which, compared with the DT1770 Pro, might explain why it is not as dominating as it could have been on the SR1.

 

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Restaurant “LIKE” in Tokyo Open

March 30, 2019 § Leave a comment

Mytek’s Brooklyn Bridge + AMP Review

March 29, 2019 § Leave a comment

Parasound Halo JC 5 Stereo/Mono Amplifier $5995 Review

March 29, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“One of my long-term reference recordings is Robbie Robertson and the Red Road Ensemble’s Music For The Native Americans (16/44.1 FLAC, Capitol), which I use for its sparkling clarity and the openness of its soundstage as Robertson explores the complex rhythms of the music of his native heritage. The Halo JC 5 handled the dual woofers and electrostatic panels of my ESL 9s in a way that re-created a huge soundstage with scary-good imaging. Through the Anthem M1s the sound was equally big and precise, but the bass lacked a bit of the slam and weight of the JC 5 in such cuts as “Akua Tuta” and “The Vanishing Breed.” This was also noticeable on Robbie Robertson (16/44.1 FLAC, Geffen) — the heartbeat-like rumblings in this album’s “Fallen Angel” had a massive weight that the M1s couldn’t quite duplicate. My head tells me I should be more impressed with the Anthems’ neutrality, but my heart belonged to the Parasound — my visceral reaction to its exciting sound was undeniable.”

BEYERDYNAMIC XELENTO WIRELESS REVIEW

March 29, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The IEMs are lightweight and comfortable, and the weight of the aluminium battery pack is quickly and easily mitigated with the attached clothing clip.The inline cable remote worked fine with both Apple and Android devices and didn’t get in the way during extended listening sessions.

When switching the headphones on, a smooth voice guides you through the pairing process, and the LED light on the cable will indicate current pairing status. Once paired, the IEMs had no trouble connecting and disconnecting to my source device, and I didn’t experience any dropouts or audio issues. ”

Revel Concerta 2 M16 Standmount Speaker Review

March 28, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The cabinet that houses all of this applied cleverness is a solid MDF affair that makes use of curved edges to reduce the effect of standing waves through the reduction of parallel surfaces. There is no provision for bi-wiring and instead you get a solid pair of binding posts on the back that should accept pretty much any type of cable with any type of termination. Magnetic grilles are supplied should you wish to use them and the cabinet is largely free of adornment or frippery.

The Revel is not an easy product to photograph – not least because like most piano finish products, it is both enormously reflective and capable of retaining fingerprint smears seemingly forever. It is however a member of the notorious category of ‘things that look better in the flesh.’ You’ll have to take my work for this but sat on a stand in most rooms, this is a handsome and appealing speaker. It does without some of the fussiness that can affect some American designs and the result is a pleasantly understated object that should work well in a variety of spaces. ”

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