Gold Note IS-1000 Integrated Amplifier and Streamer $5500 Review

June 16, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Up to this point, I’ve been deliberately holding off on the contentious, “Well, is the IS-1000 better than buying each function as a standalone product?” conversation. Product comparisons are fun, but there are endless product combinations, and achieving system synergy is always a challenge. The IS-1000 is designed for each function to align for the best possible sound. The IS-1000 is a true high end product in build and sonic quality. It’s convenient, yes, but it also certainly on par with separates or an integrated amp near or even substantially above its price point. For those who can relate to those sentiments, the IS-1000 is a beautifully styled, intelligently designed product that can satisfy the needs of all but the most critical listener. Gold Note continues to offer products that I have no problem recommending.”

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CLEAR TUNE MONITORS DA VINCI X $2400 REVIEW

June 16, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The decay on the X drivers has a very nice balance with just a hint more length to the low-end drivers moving to something much quicker and slightly drier by the time you get to those two top-end smaller BA drivers. It prevents the X from sounding sterile even though I still would class the timbre as quite neutral.

It gets that neutral quality through a midrange and treble driver combo that primarily focuses on clarity and speed rather than trying to outdo the low-end in richness and warmth. As a result, instrumental separation is excellent and imaging cues are dead easy to pick up and seem very accurate to my ear.”

FiiO M6 DAP Review

June 16, 2019 § Leave a comment

Planar 8 turntable £2,450 Review

June 15, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“It was obvious to me that as the listening sessions wore on, the 8 with Apheta 2 in tow was a step or two ahead of the Regas I had hosted before. The ability to keep the beat is present and well, and probably superior to its predecessors. Of all the turntable combinations I have in my collection, the 8 seemed to pull closest in the same direction as the Roksan Xerxes, sounding similar overall in presentation.

While I didn’t feel there was anything to severely criticise with the 8’s performance, no (affordable) turntable I know of yet has been all things to all men. The 8, as with the Xerxes and some other more detail and warts-and-all oriented designs won’t be the best thing for you if you’d rather have a more velvety or laid back (relatively) performance. Several screechier solo violin LPs just sounded less aggressive on an LP12, and if voices could be compared for sexiness over vinyl replay, I would prefer the TD124 with Apheta 2 for playing Shelby Lynne’s Just a Little Lovin.”

DALI Callisto 2C Active Digital Speaker System $4750 Review

June 15, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Later my mind was blown, again. I did some close-in-time comparisons between the Callistos running off their included (generic, 2-conductor 18AWG) power cords, and a pair of AudioQuest NRG-Z3 (3-conductor, thick) cords. I had no idea AC cables could make such a large difference in the sound. It wasn’t just emerging from a blacker background; everything was more crisp and exciting. The soundstage was better defined, and the music seemed louder. Instruments had more separation, and their individual characters stood out more. And voices seemed to be “flesh-and-blood present” in the room with me. The incredible realism, accuracy, and liveliness that I had been enjoying for one month with the Callistos went one step further in the right direction.

Do not even consider running your Callistos with the included power cords. Since you are running D/A processor, preamp, power amp, and speaker off a single cord, it needs to be a premium one. Is it crazy to spend $500 on a pair of AC cords for a sub-$5000 system? Not after hearing the sonic improvements they bring. You may be able to find less expensive AC cords that also work well, so experiment. I was a doubter before; I thought at most AC cords could filter some noise, but no more. With a complex unit like the Callisto, they can actually render across-the-board improvements that add up to a serious upgrade. On both solo and choral vocals, a real acid test for any system, the realism was uncanny. Every emotion and delicate touch the singers were putting in there came across clear as a bell. On Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Scarecrow” from the album Peepshow, the sound was so intimate I felt Siouxsie was trying to seduce me (though it’s not a love song). I never even realized how much she hams it up before; it’s on the border of overdone.”

Hifiman Arya Planar Magnetic Headphone Overview

June 15, 2019 § Leave a comment

SENDYAUDIO AIVA REVIEW

June 14, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The Aiva doesn’t really follow the norms for planar headphone tuning and in turn, it sounds a lot more ‘contrasty’, musical and engaging rather than shooting for absolute neutrality or accuracy. With an almost ethereal high-end performance, a warm and punchy low-end and vocal presence up to 1-2k that is quite clear sounding, the tuning is more for ‘fun’.

The hot spots in its FR elevation, whilst not wholly even-handed, shoot for excitement or immediate engagement shall we say. I would not go as far as to say this gravitates to some sort of standard V-shaped response curve because there are some oddities in the lower-treble that tend to accentuate that upper-treble brilliance but if you are looking to avoid neutral then the Aiva is a good place to start.

In some ways, I have heard aspects of this type of presentation with the AEON Closed, with a similar nod to the coloration on the low-end but nothing quite like that treble performance with the closest being the slightly more even keel of the Sundara top-end.”

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