Monolith By Monoprice Belt-Drive Turntable $250 Review

August 31, 2022 § Leave a comment

No $250 turntable is going to be perfect, but it’s generally preferable if a product’s limitations are in its ability to give you the whole picture, rather than by adding some distortions or color of its own. The Monolith turntable stays on the right side of this equation, always sounding enjoyable and engaging and never harsh or rough. It brings you a somewhat downsized but clear window on why people like records, and is a perfect gateway into the world of vinyl. If Monoprice can sort out the issues I experienced with the factory speed setting and arm height, it would become an even greater value.


Jazzon loudspeacker Review

August 31, 2022 § Leave a comment

Isolation Speaker Stands. Worth the Money?

August 31, 2022 § Leave a comment


August 30, 2022 § Leave a comment

I found the Uniti Atom to be a little warm on the bottom end, while the mids and high were clear and sharp which should appeal to those looking for that live club sound and lovers of contemporary music. The soundstage was very recording dependant, yet large and full, and the Uniti Atom scaled up considerably with higher resolution music, working best with DSD.

As a fully integrated music server, the Uniti Atom is a wonderful value for the money, and the inclusion of a robust and dynamic headphone amp is just a bonus. Highly recommended.

Linn Klimax DSM AV DAC-Preamplifier $39,000 Review

August 30, 2022 § Leave a comment

Linn’s new Klimax DSM has taken me on a rollercoaster ride, and I am in desperate need of an emotional rescue. On one hand, I found the analog input lacking in terms of transparency and dynamics, and I remain skeptical of the efficacy of the Space Optimization software. I’m also leery of the idea of spending this much money on a flagship DSM knowing that, based on Linn’s history, an expensive upgrade could be in the works. On the other hand, for a product of such vast capability, the Klimax DSM is an ergonomic marvel post-setup. The front display makes excellent use of its real estate in providing valuable configurable track information to the user. The theater of how the display lights up, seamlessly transitioning between volume and track information, and the way in which the beautiful glass dial illuminates to communicate volume information is second to none. The Klimax DSM is also built like a tank, enthralling to look at, enticing to interact with, and beguiling to listen to. Put simply, this is the best sounding DAC-streamer I have ever heard.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless Review 

August 30, 2022 § Leave a comment

Wilson Audio • SabrinaX Loudspeakers $19,000 Review

August 29, 2022 § Leave a comment

The soundstage presented by the SabrinaX was both wide and surprisingly tall for a smallish speaker, with good depth on many recordings. Jose Carreras’s Misa Criolla, by Ariel Ramirez, [Philips 420 955-2] is known for being beautifully recorded, with a great sense of acoustic space. In the beginning of the “Kyrie,” softly beaten drums light up the acoustic signature of the hall (Santuario de la Bien Aparecida). With the SabrinaX, for the first time I could hear slap echo in the hall, suggesting a larger recording venue. As the choir enters, I heard individual voices as they either blended with or stuck out from the chorus. And when Carreras enters, his voice emerged between the speakers, floating above the sound of the chorus. I was reminded why I love this performance, and the Wilsons transported me to the venue.

Lumin P1 Music Server/DAC $8,500 Review

August 29, 2022 § Leave a comment

And that glorious ability with instrumental timbre is also much in evidence with pianist Jan Gunnar Hoff’s Steinway on his latest solo set, Home [2L 168; DXD], the level of detail in the often-reflective pieces here simply breathtaking. Combine the P1 with a suitably revealing system, and it’s hard not to be captivated by the ‘piano in the room’ effect of this masterful recording, whether with the contemplative ‘Magma’ or the imaginative improvisations on ‘Summertime’ and ‘Moon River’, both of which are a very long way from the usual ‘heard it all before’ interpretations.

As I spent much of my time using the P1 as a player into my usual reference set-up, streaming music from my network storage, I didn’t spend too long exploring the variable volume options on offer here, but perhaps the Leedh level adjustment does bring just a shade more detail when playing with low output settings, whether into a unity gain input on my preamp or straight through to the power amp. Mind you, the sound appeared even more convincing when the P1 was used purely as a player, running at fixed ‘full power’ output.


August 29, 2022 § Leave a comment

Von Schweikert Audio Endeavor Special Edition Loudspeaker $26,000 Review

August 28, 2022 § Leave a comment

In the here and now, I find myself utterly delighted by what this speaker does well. The ESE images with the precision of the best small monitor speakers that I have encountered, but stages with greater conviction owing to its ability to play cleanly in my room into the low 30s, perhaps even lower. Its clean midrange, near single-driver coherence, and lack of overt coloration, all coupled with the ability to unravel the densest musical passages will endear it to anyone who loves classical music. By the same token its rich tone, airy top end, and class-leading micro-dynamic expressiveness will utterly delight jazz and pop fans. I can’t predict whether hard rock fans will line up to sing its praises, but at least one metal head friend holds the ESE in very high regard.

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