Altec A7 & Denon PRA-1000B POA-1000B & Tascam BR-20T

June 23, 2021 § Leave a comment

Rotel RA-1572MKII Integrated Amplifier-DAC Review

June 18, 2021 § Leave a comment

Lyngdorf Audio’s similarly priced TDAI-1120 integrated ($2199, review coming soon) has many more features, including streaming, bass management, and room correction—but it couldn’t drive my MartinLogan electrostats to the room-filling levels I could get with the Rotel RA-1572MKII. However, for driving smaller, more efficient speakers—e.g., the PSB Alpha T20s—in a smaller room, and/or for integrating a subwoofer(s) and using room correction, the Lyngdorf is an excellent choice at this price. But when used as a straight stereo integrated driving nearly full-range speakers, the Lyngdorf couldn’t compete with the Rotel.

Spendor A4 $3795 Review

June 18, 2021 § Leave a comment

The Spendor A4s have a lot of positive aspects. They do not overtly attempt to redefine basic concepts of speaker design, the way the Gradient 1.4s do, for example. But they are small and elegant looking; they will play quite loudly with surprisingly good bass extension; they are easy to drive with no impedance glitches, although they are only medium in sensitivity; and they have a smooth and natural-sounding top end. Above 1kHz there is little to object to about them although there is a bit of excess energy around 7kHz and there is a (harmless and perhaps even advantageous) dip at 3kHz. But they have an unusual overall balance that is not really correct, and not really consistent with the sound of live music, unless the balance is corrected somehow. However, their smoothness makes such correction easy, and, fixed up properly, the A4s sound very good indeed, and very true to the source material. Smoothness counts, if it is balanced right.

My Audiophile System Vegas

June 18, 2021 § Leave a comment


June 18, 2021 § Leave a comment


June 17, 2021 § Leave a comment

Sound stage-wise the Hifiman HE-R10P scores very well in both width and depth, though the Susvara still outperforms it. For a closed headphone however this is really good and the layering and extension are really nicely done. What I am missing a bit in the R10P compared to the level of the Susvara is the note extension and decay, especially in the mid-section. Treble-wise the R10P is softer, very easygoing and more limited. It’s probably its least strong point, especially when compared to the Susvara.

As expected from a flagship headphone, the R10P also shines when it comes to PRaT, preciseness and detail rendering. You at all times get a very rich sound with excellent L/R balance and stereo imaging. From highs to lows, the R10P has a great dynamic feeling to it. The R10P produces a very clean sound, though the clarity could still be a bit improved (

AVM Ovation A 6.2 ME integrated amplifier $8295 Review

June 17, 2021 § Leave a comment

Call it bad memory or confirmation bias, but after a month of daily listening, I concluded that the AVM A 6.2 ME sounded a lot like those classic class-A amplifiers of yesteryore, which sounded like they had full control and weren’t leaving any information behind. They sounded musically right and complete. The AVM A 6.2 ME integrated sounded that kind of right, with a little fairy dust sprinkled on top.

Pure Fidelity Harmony Review

June 17, 2021 § Leave a comment

Aurender Music Servers

June 17, 2021 § Leave a comment

dCS • Bartók Digital-to-Analog Converter and Headphone Amplifier $17,250 Review

June 16, 2021 § Leave a comment

I discovered that in addition to a wide soundstage, definite strengths of the Bartók are transient attack and driving rhythmic energy, so I cued up Winds of War and Peace [Wilson Audio WCD-8823], with its (in)famous bass-drum explosions during “Liberty Fanfare.” The monstrous bass drum at the 1:00 mark was ultra clean and powerful. With the Bartók, I was hearing better separation of mallet strike, the drum head and bass-drum body resonance than I’d heard before, maybe even better than in the rooms using Wilson speakers at AXPONA. My modest system will never match the big Wilson speakers’ bass power, sheer volume or unflappable dynamics, but with the Bartók in the system, I was able to re-create a better impression of bass-drum tone. As an aside, I play trumpet in some local concert bands and I’ve performed “Liberty Fanfare” for several patriotic concerts. I’m always disappointed when our bass drum isn’t as awe-inspiring as the crushing whacks Lowell Graham and the National Symphonic Winds produced on this great Wilson Audio recording.

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