Mola Mola Tambaqu Review

August 26, 2020 § Leave a comment

EAT B-Sharp Turntable Review

August 25, 2020 § Leave a comment

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The EAT B-Sharp managed to capture what I will define, through an admittedly, wholly arbitrary measure, around 85% of what the TechDAS front-end delivered. The latter comes in at a price of over £60,000 for deck, arm and cartridge. Even if you fully accept the Law of Diminishing Returns, the B-Sharp’s delivery is thus nothing short of miraculous.

Above everything, ‘Roundabout’ features exceptional details that listeners love to focus on, all the while marvelling at what is a succession of heart-stopping transients. The opening swell, the delicate guitar work – the build-up promises a musical ‘happening’ rich with ornate keyboard figuring, robust percussion, lush harmonies and just about every sonic trope that would help define prog-rock.”

Focal’s factory tour

August 25, 2020 § Leave a comment

Astell & Kern A&futura SE200 review

August 24, 2020 § Leave a comment

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‘It even sounds better than the SP1000M. Comparing the two, we find the SE200 prevails over the decent SP1000M in almost all sonic aspects – clarity, dynamics, rhythmic fluidity and insight. It’s bolder-sounding and more tonally neutral than some of its siblings, with Astell & Kern trading some of its typical richness for a faster, more articulate listen.

Whether we play Elvis Costello or Ludovico Einaudi, Mac Miller or Andrew Bird, the SE200 delivers the music faithfully. It captures its fine details and dynamic fluctuations and conveys it all on a crystal clear canvas that is as engaging as it is informative.

The ESS DAC-fed output offers a fuller, warmer listen – preferable for lush, orchestral music perhaps – but it sacrifices the spaciousness, clarity and those last couple of layers of subtlety in comparison. In fact, it’s closer to the SP1000M in character and calibre – it’s good, but just not as good as the AKM.”

Hegel Music Systems H95 Integrated Amplifier-DAC $2000 Review

August 24, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“So far, I’d streamed everything. To hear if the H95’s sound remained constant regardless of storage format, I played a track I’d ripped from CD to my solid-state drive of music files: “Where Are You Tonight?,” from the Cowboy Junkies’ The Caution Horses (16/44.1 FLAC, RCA). It did — the clarity, high resolution, and prominent-but-not-too-bright highs I’d heard before I now heard again. Margo Timmins’s voice was so immediate I could’ve sworn she was in the room, singing to me. Immediately after, I put on “New Rules,” from Dua Lipa’s Live Acoustic EP (16/44.1 FLAC, Warner Bros.). The highs were similarly prominent; Lipa’s voice had tremendous presence, which viscerally punched to the fore just as Knopfler’s had; and each note of the piano accompaniment had startling clarity.”

Luxman D10X SACD

August 24, 2020 § 1 Comment

Vertere DG-1 Dynamic Groove Review

August 23, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“Next up is a rather different test in the form of Orff’s Carmina Burana. Here the Vertere shows-off its insightful midrange performance, fine stereo imaging and impressive dynamic expression. Voices come through with clarity and are solidly planted in an expansive and nicely layered soundstage.

The presentation stays composed and stable, even when the piece becomes frantic, the deck refuses to sound stressed. Yet, given the music’s dramatic nature, we’re pleased to report that the DG-1 sounds admirably explosive when required. It’s a complete performance that’s all the more impressive when considering the relatively modest cartridge.”

Auralic Altair G1 £1,900 Review

August 23, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“This is helped along by the extra features adding to the cohesiveness of the offering as a whole. The inclusion of AirPlay means sending extra streaming services to the Altair is completely straightforward and sounds entirely in keeping with the performance via network. In a perfect world, it would be partnered with Chromecast, but given that the Altair G1 supports lossless services via both Lightning and Roon, there is less pressure for it to be present than there might otherwise be. The inclusion of a headphone amp does go a fair way towards making up for the absence of Chromecast, though. Listening via Audio-Technica’s ATH-A2000Z headphone (HFC 412), the Altair G1 reveals the same compelling balance via the headphone output as it does the rear panel connections. It is easily the equal of many standalone models in the £250-£300 range and is another decidedly useful element built in.”

KEF LS50 Wireless powered speakers Review

August 23, 2020 § 1 Comment

Constellation Audio Inspiration Integrated 1.0 Integrated Amplifier$16,500 Review

August 22, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“Constellation Audio’s Inspiration Integrated 1.0 is everything you’d want in a fashion-forward, nearly state-of-the-art integrated amplifier. Its inspired industrial design will be appealing to many, as will its remote control, one of the very best I’ve used. But it’s the Integrated 1.0’s sound that places it in the upper echelon of integrated amplifiers I’ve spent time with. It serves up equal and healthy helpings of clarity, smoothness, linearity, and dynamics without sacrificing anything along the way. For that reason, it proved one of the more difficult products to review of my experience: it gave me effectively nothing to glom on to — to my thinking, an emphatically good thing.”

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