Constellation Audio Inspiration Integrated 1.0 Integrated Amplifier Review
September 30, 2020 Comments Off on Constellation Audio Inspiration Integrated 1.0 Integrated Amplifier Review
“With “Mad Rush,” from Philip Glass’s Solo Piano (16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC, CBS/Tidal), it was remarkable how I was able to check every audiophile box. Glass’s repetitive, minimalist theme danced in front of me with an intoxicating blend of accuracy and smoothness, and nary a hint of harshness or bite in the sound of his piano. The depth of the soundstage extended well past my room’s front wall, and its width past the outer side panels of my KEF floorstanders. Glass’s nimbleness on the ivories was on full display in my room, and in no way was the weight or distinction of individual keystrokes abbreviated. The imaging was superb — I could easily track his fortissimo runs up and down the keyboard — yet the Integrated 1.0’s articulation and spaciousness never called attention to themselves. The elusiveness of any sound of the Constellation’s own meant that, whether I played this 1989 recording or a far more recent selection by Jóhann Jóhannsson, I got the same result: everything sounded accurate, linear, fundamentally right — dare I say, perfect? Those who, like me, love dynamics and top-end sparkle will be plenty satisfied — as will those whose tastes veer toward a fuller, more analog sound, which the Integrated 1.0 also delivered in spades.”
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless Review
September 30, 2020 Comments Off on Sennheiser Momentum Wireless Review
“Connected via Bluetooth, it is silent at idle, with no obvious clues that it isn’t conventionally wired up. The connection is entirely stable up to a few metres from the transmitting device. This ensures that music isn’t affected by unwanted background noise and the sparse Shadow Queen by the Alba Griot Ensemble sounds immediate and believable as a result. The interplay between the guitar and harp as well as the vocal harmonies is easy to follow. For a closed-back design, there is very little feeling of constraint to the soundstage.
If you select something a bit more ballistic like Resonant Body by Octo Octa, the Sennheiser responds effortlessly. The driving rhythm of Can You See Me? is deep – effortlessly subsonic, even – and detailed without losing the energy and speed that’s needed to sound convincing.”
KEF LS50 Wireless II
September 30, 2020 Comments Off on KEF LS50 Wireless II
ABYSS HEADPHONES DIANA V2 $2995 REVIEW
September 29, 2020 Comments Off on ABYSS HEADPHONES DIANA V2 $2995 REVIEW
“The timbre is wonderfully natural sounding on the Diana V2. The overall timbre is richer and relatively forgiving compared to the crisp and peppy treble tour de force of the Phi. Studied matching with sources will pose less of a challenge with the Diana V2.
To achieve this Abyss has attenuated the V2 treble just a little and pulled back its upper mids to match to dull down any potential odd-harmonic nasties. At the same time, the midbass and sub-bass FR has a bit of a bump throwing in some additional body and warmth into the mids to up the even-harmonic bias.”
Copland CSA100 USB DAC/Integrated Amp £3498 Review
September 29, 2020 Comments Off on Copland CSA100 USB DAC/Integrated Amp £3498 Review
“Disco was always characterised by a tech-y feel, maybe even exaggerated sonic properties, but the CSA100 delivered the shake-your-booty excitement without ever resorting to aggression. It’s an area where Copland has always excelled and which it hasn’t abandoned, its hybrid sounding as ear-friendly as its all-valve designs. I hope I am getting across to you all that this amp seems incapable of causing listener fatigue.
As a farewell to the CSA100, I put on Howard Tate [Analogue Productions APO 009], a live mini-LP that Chad Kassem’s crew produced a decade ago, featuring my all-time favourite R&B singer. With a crack band and a guitarist whose notes soared, the ageing singer brushed away the years to deliver heartfelt renditions of a couple of his classics and gems like B B King’s ‘Sweet Sixteen’. The intimacy was tangible, the space enveloping. The CSA100 did all of which it was asked.”
Fearless x Crinacle Dawn In-Ear Monitors – Review
September 29, 2020 Comments Off on Fearless x Crinacle Dawn In-Ear Monitors – Review
Goldmund Mimesis 15/Prana Active Loudspeaker £70,000 Review
September 28, 2020 Comments Off on Goldmund Mimesis 15/Prana Active Loudspeaker £70,000 Review
“What these speakers deliver is all the scale and power of the music – as much as that CD-quality limitation on the USB input will allow. Playing the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s recording of the overture to Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte [from Linn Records CKD 460], the Pranas’ rhythmic ability certainly sweeps the listener along with the music, while there’s entirely appropriate weight and scale to the sound.
Yet for the diehard audiophile, the Pranas may be found to lack that vital blend of musical force and window into the event that’s the hallmark of many a fine, if conventional and less convenient, set-up of amp and speakers.”
Sony NW-A55L $220 Review
September 28, 2020 Comments Off on Sony NW-A55L $220 Review
“If you’re looking for a sonic upgrade over your phone, the Sony will offer it across the board. It has a next-level maturity when it comes to delivering clarity, cleanliness and weight, and its well-timed sprightliness and more than a hint of dynamics save it from mimicking the often flat presentation you get from a phone’s output.
The NW-A55L confidently bops along to the grooves that underpin D’Angelo and The Vanguard’s Ain’t That Easy, driving the bassline with impetus while giving the rest of the track its fair share in the spotlight. We play Lubomyr Melnyk’s Pockets Of Light, and it diligently unravels the dynamics to ensure the long passage of piano playing sounds rightfully captivating rather than repetitive.”
Technics SL-G700 Network/SACD player REVIEW
September 28, 2020 Comments Off on Technics SL-G700 Network/SACD player REVIEW
iFi PowerStation AC Line Conditioner Review
September 26, 2020 Comments Off on iFi PowerStation AC Line Conditioner Review
“Interestingly, the PowerStation feeding the source components excelled at the very characteristics—high frequency resolution and dynamics—that I found problematic with it feeding the power amps. That is not a contradiction; it’s a reminder that a power amp places quite different demands on a conditioner than do source components. When audiophiles speak of “lowering the noise floor,” it’s often not about the no-music, barely audible hiss from the loudspeaker. The oxymoron here is that inaudible RFI can interact with electronics processing audible-range signals, and thus become audible as a blurring of subtle textural, spatial, and temporal information. Permit me to compa”
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