Focal Diablo Utopia Colour Evo Loudspeakers $16,990 Review

October 26, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“No matter how you cut it, $16,990 is a lot of money for a pair of minimonitors. Throw in the matching, semi-obligatory stands and you’re looking at an investment of $19,970 to coax Focal’s Diablo Utopia Colour Evos into your life. Yet there’s no denying that, 12 years after the launch of the original Utopia platform, it remains a hugely competent and satisfying communicator of music. Its fantastic tweeter boasts all the extension and refinement you could ever want, and Focal has voiced the all-important midrange to perfection: it’s vivacious and lifelike, and the speaker imposes on it no colorations of its own. You also get healthy servings of Focal’s signature industrial design and excellent build quality. And while it doesn’t provide much in the way of weight and slam at the lower limits of the audioband, the Diablo Utopia Colour Evo’s frequency response remains linear and composed even at unreasonably high volumes — across the board, this speaker is unflappable.”

Unique Melody MEST Review

October 26, 2020 § Leave a comment

JBL L-100 Classic REVIEW

October 25, 2020 § Leave a comment

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One other forgotten aspect is the ability to play at a reasonably convincing level. When the other speakers have long run out of dynamic capability, the L-100 Classics still have plenty of headroom left. Oddly, while they are slightly grainy in comparison to a few other speakers, this does not increase at higher levels. I’d venture to guess that some of the insight gained in studio monitor and sound reinforcement has trickled down to these speakers. If you want a pair of real rock and roll speakers, these will do quite nicely.

At the end of the day, the JBL L-100 Classics remind me a lot of that great American amplifier, the McIntosh MC275. It’s not the last word in any of the standard audiophile qualifiers, but I dare you to have a bad day listening to one. The same goes for the L-100 Classics. I dare you to have a bad time listening to your favorite music, no matter what generation it’s from when you’re rocking a pair of L-100 Classics.”

RIAA Midyear Report: Vinyl Revenues Exceed Those of CDs— First Time Since 1982

October 25, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“However, for the first half of 2020, revenues from “physical products” was $376 million at estimated retail value, or down 23% year-over-year, no doubt due in great part to retail and venue shutdown measures related to Covid-19. Vinyl revenues increased in Q1 over the same period last year, but decreased in Q2, no doubt pandemic related. However, and here’s the good news (for some of us): 1H 2020 revenues from vinyl sales resulted in a net overall increase of 4% or a total of $232 million dollars, or 62% of total physical revenues, marking the first time vinyl exceeded CDs for such a period since the 1980s, though it still only accounted for 4% of total music recorded music revenues. The once promising digital download market revenues dropped precipitously from $451 million 1H 2019 to $351 million 1H 2020. Still ahead of vinyl revenues for the first half, but again dropping.”

FiiO FH3 IEMs — A Hybrid Bargain

October 25, 2020 § Leave a comment

Nordost Frey 2 Speaker Cables $3069 Review

October 22, 2020 § Leave a comment

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Continuing with the generalities in the loom’s broadest sense, I enjoyed the detail the cables revealed in recordings of all types. If you have quality equipment, the cables will neither detract nor amplify elements, but offer a musical hand in keeping with the accompanying designer’s topology. My Jeff Rowland Continuum S2 is Class D, but Jeff Rowland Class D. Smooth as butter. A too revealing cable can give a clinical soundstage game away easily. With the Frey 2, the sweetness that is an important and sometimes elusive character trait of Rowland’s superior circuit remains; the same when the Frey 2 loom was attached to the Icon ST 40 MkIV Integrated Amplifier. When in Ultralinear mode, the cables did not get in the way of a clear soundstage and powerful dynamics yet allowed the Triode circuit’s nature, beautiful and uncoloured, to shine on my favorite, intimate repertoire. ”

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KEF’s New LS50 Collection Review

October 22, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“To me, this limitation isn’t a major issue in this scenario, but purists should be aware of this digital signal processing. Speaking of DSP, it’s probably crazy to assume high rate DSD and 384 kHz PCM would stay I their native rates anyway because speakers like this use DSP that doesn’t operate at such high rates. In other words, even if the interspeaker connection was native (384/DSD256), the music would go through resampling for digital signal processing anyway. Thus, it’s a non-issue and I’m happy to read KEF released this information publicly. I love transparency. ”

T+A HA 200 USB/DAC Headphone Amp £6600 Review

October 20, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“And that’s without recourse to the crossfeed control, which can occasionally just make things a bit confused. Listening to the recently released Oslo Philharmonic/Vasily Petrenko recording of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade [Lawo Classics LWC 1198; DXD], the impression is one of large orchestral forces, persuasively recorded, and a free-breathing, uncompressed and hugely dynamic sound.

I’ve also never heard the Oppo PM-1 headphones driven so convincingly: powered by the HA 200 they take on even greater weight and precision, which serves well a recording such as Snarky Puppy’s Live At The Royal Albert Hall set [Live Here Now; n/a cat no], with its large musical forces, tumbling rhythms and palpable audience presence. Even Ella Fitzgerald’s 1956 Live At Zardi’s set, from Qobuz [Universal/Verve 5798051; 192kHz/24-bit] sweeps the listener up in the atmosphere of the evening, the immediacy of the recording shining through.”

Focal Shape 65 Analog Active Loudspeakers $1998

October 20, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“Playing all his favorite demo tracks, Jay was impressed by everything he heard through the Shape 65s. And when he played Sara K.’s “All Your Love (Turned to Passion),” he was “left in disbelief that this type of sound was coming out from two active monitors that were meant for nearfield [listening].” In fact, Jay was so taken by the Shape 65s’ sound that he wanted to extend the listening period of his review to “play around with the speakers even longer.” He concluded his video by saying that the Focal Shape 65 isn’t great only for studio professionals — it’s also great for audiophiles who “want a kick-ass speaker in their living room, listening room, or for a small, simple system.”

Custom In Ear Monitors

October 20, 2020 § Leave a comment

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