FINAL A8000 $1,999 REVIEW

January 19, 2021 § Leave a comment

Rounding-out the included accessories for the A8000, Final ships the A8000 with five different sizes of silicone tips, handily designated for the left and right shells by virtue of either red or grey silicone used to attach to the IEM bore. Eight sets of IEM replacement nozzle dust filters are provided, along with a pair of ear ‘hooks’ to help keep the ear-loops in place should the cable themselves not work mechanically with your ears.

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend some extended review time with the A8000, and so I got some pretty clear impressions as to how all this engineering stacks-up in terms of day-to-day comfort, as well as what the A8000 is like to live with as a daily driver in the long-term. Head on over the page for more on this.

Clarus Duet Power Conditioner Review

January 19, 2021 § Leave a comment

The electrical code for house wiring requires a certain wire size for specific types of circuits. The most common 15 amp circuit requires 14 gauge wires. Higher current circuits require heavier gauges. It’s acceptable to wire a circuit with a heavier gauge than code requires. It is against code to start at the power source with one size wire and then at some point in the circuit increase the wire size. The larger wire will handle more current and could overload the smaller wire resulting in a potential fire hazard. The reverse is, however, acceptable. In other words going from a larger to a smaller gauge is acceptable as long as the smaller gauge meets code. And yet, how many audiophiles use standard 15 amp / 14 gauge circuits and then connect heavy gauge aftermarket power cords. To address this in my own system I installed five dedicated circuits, three with 6 gauge, and two with 10 gauge wire, as well as using high quality duplex outlets. My understanding is that larger wire gauges better reject EMI / RFI interference. I also use two ground rods dedicated to my sound equipment and isolated from house ground.

A TOUCHY SUBJECT for Spotify, Tidal & Roon users

January 19, 2021 § Leave a comment


January 18, 2021 § Leave a comment

The Model One enclosure has proven to allow remarkable sonic performance even in my nearly 50 m2 reference listening room, where the Acelec monitors more or less show their true potential at 27db noise floor, 0.47s total RT60 time, and properly addressed room modes, Model One were operating far, far outside their given proportions. 

I also heard the Model One in two smaller listening rooms, but for safety’s sake, I wanted to give them the freedom to show their mojo in my main studio. And the results were pretty amazing. I am no stranger to active, smaller pro audio speakers, where you can achieve a certain level of impressive performance even with a small, self-powered studio monitor. But, the Acelec monitors are passive, and as such performing boldly in a larger listening environment certainly is a great challenge.

Audiophilia Recordings of the Year 2020

January 18, 2021 § Leave a comment

The finest recordings/performances we listened to this year. We discussed some of the recordings on our social media channels, used them in equipment reviews, reviewed them on YouTube or they received full reviews at Audiophilia. For the latter and YouTube, clicking on the image will take you to the review.

Format and initials of nominating reviewer appear under the selection. The CDs and LPs are available at many online or artist sites (recordings must be released or rereleased in 2020), or, as streamed on Qobuz or Tidal HiFi (available presently in their libraries).

Rebel Audio Rebel Amp $500 Review

January 18, 2021 § Leave a comment

Boulder 866 Integrated Amp Review

January 17, 2021 § Leave a comment


 The analog and digital version certainly isn’t inexpensive at $14,450, but it’s a game-set-match component, just add speakers. The 866 Integrated looks really nice on my desk sitting next to my iMac and my headphone stand. The metal chassis is 100% Boulder, making it impossible to misidentify this amp as that from another company. The fit and finish are second to none. When it comes to sound quality, the main reason we are all into this wonderful hobby, the 866 Integrated is fantastic. 

I wrote at the start of this review that an amp must be fantastic or else I’d hear its flaws through the SR1a headphones. The Boulder 866 delivers the goods flawlessly at all volume levels. I played everything from test tracks (not really fun, but necessary for evaluation) to tracks that grip me emotionally, and the 866 handle them all with ease. Reproducing incredibly wide dynamic range on bombastic symphonic pieces and the very fine details in Jewel Kilcher’s voice that bring out the emotion of an 18 year old busker from Homer, Alaska, the Boulder 866 is an all-in-one that can do it all.

Fleetwood DeVille Loudspeaker System $9,600 Review

January 17, 2021 § Leave a comment

In today’s world, we have grown accustomed to instant gratification and an obsessive addiction to the yearly next best thing. Old school craftsmanship has become so rare: name one speaker company manufacturing cabinets from real wood, not MDF plus veneer. It’s exceedingly expensive, requires genuine artisans with wood working experience not to mention very specific tooling and above all is extremely labor intensive. Naturally, the world has moved away from those old guiding principles with very few exceptions. Yet it is precisely these methods that will ensure longevity beyond the norm. I have often said that even as today’s cars have become such unbelievable technology driven monsters, not one of them will work and function in thirty, forty, fifty years time. I can pretty much guarantee that these DeVilles will play just as well in 2060, as they do today. Finally, if I didn’t already have a house full of speakers, I’d buy these. I really would. They sing, they dance, they connect you to the music. That’s what matters. For a first effort, these are terrific examples of the old school world of manufacturing pride. If that’s your calling, I’d run to a showroom to audition them. 

Sennheiser IE300 Review & Measurements

January 17, 2021 § Leave a comment

Benchmark Media Systems LA4 Line Amplifier and DAC3 B DAC Review

January 16, 2021 § Leave a comment

Suffice it to say that, as with every Benchmark product I’ve used or reviewed, everything works smoothly, precisely, flawlessly. I must single out for special mention the volume control. While the whole unit is completely relay controlled, with a total of forty “precision relays switching high-precision metal-film resistors,” each channel has its own gain control with 256 steps in 0.5dB increments. An accelerator facilitates rapid movement up and down the range while preserving the 0.5 steps, while exact channel-to-channel balance is maintained regardless of changes in level (if you’ve altered the balance to favor one channel, the imbalance is preserved through any level changes until you alter it again). The volume control is designed to generate a light “ticking” or “clicking” sound when used, which I liked. For one thing, it sounds cool; for another, the steps are so fine that without it you might not know you’ve made a change. By far, without question this is the best volume control I have ever encountered, capable of finer resolution of level increments than any in my experience (hard to imagine a set of conditions in audio usage where finer gradations would be required)

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