Classé Delta Mono monoblock power amplifier $21,998/pair. review

July 7, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“As you’d expect from a pair of monoblocks, the Delta Monos’ stereo imaging was superbly stable and well-defined. When I recorded male-voice choir Cantus performing Eric Whitacre’s “Lux Aurumque” in Indiana’s Goshen College in June 2007—it was released on While You Are Alive (CD Baby 5637240534)—the nine singers were positioned in an arc in front of the array of six microphones. Before I started capturing the performance, I got each singer in turn to say his name. That way, when I prepared the mixdown, I could make sure that I wasn’t distorting the stereo image. However, I accepted a slight broadening of the images of the singers at the edges of the soundstage in order to preserve enough of the bloom of the hall’s glorious ambience. Listening to the MQA-encoded 24-bit, 88.2kHz master file of “Lux Aurumque” with the Classé-driven Vimbergs, that is exactly what I heard: tightly focused images of the singers in the center and slightly more diffuse images to the sides, with excellent soundstage depth overall. To draw a photographic analogy, the Delta Monos offer superb image acuity.

Parasound Halo JC 1+ monoblock power amplifier $16,990 review

June 27, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“The bass guitar and kickdrum were reproduced with appropriate force and definition, though I felt I needed to remove the plugs from the Minos’ upper ports to optimize the system’s low-frequency reproduction. Mark Knopfler’s vocalizing sounded clean and appropriately husky. But what really enthralled me about this atmospheric track was the depth of the soundstage. Some of the instruments had been mixed with various amounts of reverb. The piano that accompanies the acoustic guitar at the beginning before the verse, for example, was set way back in the soundstage, behind the voice and marimba. The tunnel of reverb behind the guitar power chords in the interlude stretched way back behind the speakers. The Parasounds nicely separated the soundstage’s layers.”

Build 300B SE tube (valve) amplifier with toroidal transformers

June 26, 2020 § Leave a comment

Almighty Aegirs | Schiit Audio Review

June 23, 2020 § Leave a comment

Simaudio Moon 700i v2 Integrated Amplifier $14,000 Review

June 20, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“I’ve reviewed several pricey, high-end integrated amplifiers over the years, and each had some unique personality, in terms of physical design, performance parameters and, most important, sound. In that last parameter, the Simaudio Moon 700i v2 proved an exception — it didn’t peddle in euphony or coloration, artifice or parlor tricks. I heard an utterly balanced, wide-open sound that I found impossible to find fault with. It was ultra-resolving without sounding analytical, and extended and airy while in no way bright. That elusive character — defined, if at all, by its very lack of character — might not be to every listener’s taste, but there was no question that the Moon 700i v2 proved a gentlemanly steward for the musical signals I passed through it. It also let through, with unvarnished authenticity, whatever idiosyncrasies and foibles were committed by the components upstream or downstream of it.”

Cambridge Audio Edge A $6000 review

June 18, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“Stereo imaging is nicely expansive. This integrated renders an expansive sound stage and populates it with well-defined and focused instruments. There’s a pleasing amount of stability here, and the amp locks sounds in place even when the music becomes demanding.

We switch to Nick Cave’s rambunctious Babe, I’m On Fire and the Cambridge is right at home. It’s an enthusiastic listen with plenty of rhythmic drive and punch. The production is as dense as they come yet the Cambridge maintains just the right amount of control without diluting the track’s frantic feel. That’s a neat trick most rivals can’t manage.

Turn the volume up and the Edge A creates a wonderful wall of sound that makes it virtually impossible not to get engrossed in the track. We play a great deal of music from the hauntingly beautiful Found Songs by Olafur Arnalds through Bruce Springsteen’s High Hopes set and Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring and at no point does the Edge A sound unconvincing. ”

GOLD NOTE IS-1000 DELUXE NETWORK STREAMER/AMPLIFIER REVIEW

June 17, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“If I’m honest about things, products like the IS-1000 Deluxe make a bit of a mockery of the whole review process. A review of the Gold Note amplifier taken early in its life will discuss the product in the context of an app that is completely different to the one used today, and as that app may form most of the way you interact with the Gold Note amplifier, that early review is almost completely invalid, and yet we live in a world of ‘exclusives’ where a follow-up six months later is lost in a sea of ‘now, now, now!’ reviews. The same applies to any streaming device.”

Parasound Halo JC 1+ monoblock power amplifier $16,990/pair REVIEW

June 15, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“Michael Fremer concluded his review of the original Halo JC 1 by saying “There was nothing solid-state-sounding about the JC 1. . . . There was an honesty to the overall tonal and harmonic presentation that transcended technological stereotypes. Powerful, refined, smooth, organized, dynamic, transparent, and rhythmically supple, the JC 1 offered a combination of attributes that added up to many weeks of listening pleasure.”

After several weeks auditioning the Parasound Halo JC 1+ monoblocks, I don’t really have anything to add to what Mikey wrote in 2003, other than to note that even with its significant increase in price, the improvement in its sound quality and the explosion in recent years in the prices of high-end, high-power amplifiers keep the JC 1+ competitive. This is a superb-sounding amplifier that will get the best from every loudspeaker with which it is partnered. Well done, Mr. Curl.’

Simaudio Moon 700i v2 Integrated Amplifier Review

June 14, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“Here’s what makes Simaudio’s Moon 700i v2 worthy of your consideration. First and foremost, it offers terrific clarity and transparency throughout the audioband, shortchanging or spotlighting nothing at all. If you want an integrated amp that comes admirably close to the ideal of a straight wire with gain, this model should be at the top of your shortlist. Add to that the best volume control I’ve ever used, and thoughtful functionality that lets the user tailor its inputs as that user sees fit, and the package becomes even more compelling. The Moon 700i v2 also has significant if not bottomless reserves of power, even into 2 ohms. Ally all of that to a beautifully built case and a ten-year warranty, and there’s little left to quibble about. In this second generation of their flagship integrated amplifier, Simaudio hasn’t messed with its winning formula. It’s easy to see — and hear — why.”

Bel Canto e1X power amplifier Review

June 11, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“And the e1X exerted a level of control over the Maggies that I’d never before experienced. Magneplanars—especially the smaller ones—are notorious for exhibiting some degree of mid-bass panel flap: Magneplanar bass panels are riveted at a number of points to control excessive panel flexure, which also restricts the panel’s free movement when relatively strong bass content is present. Lesser amplifiers will allow enough panel movement to cause a relatively loud “thunk” around the rivet location; I’ve heard this countless times with almost every pair of Maggies I’ve ever owned—and it can be particularly obvious with plucked acoustic bass content. (Think: Jimmy Garrison’s powerful acoustic bass solo on “Lonnie’s Lament” from John Coltrane’s classic Crescent [16/44.1 FLAC, Impulse 1764902].) No matter how close to or beyond reference levels I pushed the e1X-driven LRSs, they responded with absolute authority and zero driver-induced distortion.

The Bel Canto e1X was undoubtedly also the quietest amplifier I’ve ever had in my system. With the LRS speakers being so very inefficient, you generally need to really crank the volume knob to get to SPLs approaching normal levels. Full-blown orchestral passages from sources with tremendous dynamic range require an even further twist; it’s not unusual for the volume on my PS Audio preamp to reach 80 or 85 on a scale that maxes at 100. With every other amp I’ve used in my system, I could always hear some residual noise in the background, even with the most well-engineered recordings. Not so with the e1X—nothing, not a peep: It was absolutely, perfectly, completely silent.”

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