Schiit Ragnarok 2 i amp $1,499

November 9, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“To test out using the Ragnarok 2 as a preamp, I hooked up the Schiit Aegir power amp, and at first I couldn’t get any sound out of the Aegir. I checked and rechecked the connections. They were correct. The owner’s manual was no help, so I just fiddled about trying things, and when I switched off the Ragnarok 2’s speaker output and turned on the headphone output, the Aegir started playing! So in other words you need to turn on the headphone output to use the Ragnarok 2 as a preamp! That’s very strange, but easy to do once you know how to do it.

Teamed with the Aegir the sound was even more see-through, and the soundstage took on a more three-dimensional quality. The ‘2 was no slouch on its own, but the Aegir conjured more space and depth between instruments, and individual voices in choral recordings were easier to hear with the Ragnarok 2/Aegir combination.”

Mark Levinson No.5805 Review

November 6, 2019 § Leave a comment

“Bluetooth, even of the aptX HD variety, may not seem an obvious place to start when testing an amplifier at this level, but we’re keen to see just how well the technology has been implemented. We use an Apple iPhone X loaded with the Qobuz streaming service and it connects quickly without fuss.

We listen to Nitin Sawhney’s Fragile Wind and like what we hear. The ML sounds clean and precise, rendering each sound with obvious care. It’s a musically coherent presentation, one that does well when it comes to communicating the momentum of the piece. Vocals come through with clarity and are nicely separated from the instrumental backdrop while dynamic shifts are conveyed with fluidity. “

Accustic Arts Audio Mono II monoblock power amplifier: $24,900 Review

November 4, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Although Voss confirmed by email that the amps had been broken in at the factory, Accustic Arts’ US rep, Randy Forman, told me that, in his experience, an extra 100 hours was needed. I played break-in tones 24/7 for five days. I encountered just two issues with the Mono IIs. The first was minor: The on/off buttons didn’t always depress smoothly. Although neither ever got stuck, they felt a bit chintzy. More concerning, the left-channel amp began to hum audibly on my last day of listening and continued to do so even when I removed it from the Niagara 5000 power conditioner and plugged it into the wall outlet. I checked to see whether appliances were running full force in the main house—the eightfold assault of washer, dryer, dishwasher, electric range, refrigerator, heat pump, and two computers—but the three wire-haired terriers had once again failed in their ongoing attempts to turn everything on and burn down the house. (They love the chorus of Aretha Franklin’s “Think,” which they bark in cadence, but have yet to embrace the notion of “Respect.”) Perhaps John Atkinson’s measurements will detect what the hum was about.

Luxman MQ-88uC Stereo Power Amplifier $5995 Review

November 3, 2019 § Leave a comment


“The Luxman performed extremely well driving my Quad-57 ESLs (refurbished and upgraded by Electrostatic Solutions), and that’s something worth writing home about. The Quad is all about midrange satisfaction, and even after all these years, it still holds its own against all comers. Granted, there are problems at the frequency extremes. There’s not much that can be done about the recessed upper treble, other than adding a super tweeter. But the upper bass, when controlled by a suitable amp, can sound phenomenal. My favorite performance and recording of the Bach suites for solo cello is Jean-Guihen Queyras on the Harmonia Mundi label, and it never sounded any better—no doubt a function of the Luxman’s excellent damping factor and bandwidth extension. The majesty of the cello was on full display with superb harmonic bloom and image focus. However, in the context of orchestral recordings, the one soundstaging aspect I would have to downgrade the Luxman on was its reproduction of a recording’s depth perspective. Relative to Linear Tube Audio’s ZOTL Ultralinear amp, orchestral soundstage depth was somewhat compressed front-to-back and lacked the layering afforded by the Berning design. ”

Dan D’Agostino Master Audio Systems Progression Stereo Amplifier $22,000Review

October 31, 2019 § Leave a comment

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The Progression Stereo Amplifier consistently exercised a great deal of control of the speakers that allowed them to reproduce more of the detail in the signal coming from the preamplifier. Of course, such high levels of detail and control do come at a cost: if your other electronics or source material is subpar, you will definitely hear it. On the other hand, good quality recordings coming into the Progression Stereo Amplifier have the potential to sound amazing in a properly setup system. I found myself engrossed in my listening sessions, with many of them lasting far longer than intended as I became engrossed in the music rather than concentrating on audio nuances.”


October 30, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“My memories are still fond of the Cambridge Audio DacMagic that was released back in 1996, and it’s hard to believe that it was that long ago. Perhaps I’m showing my age. To my mind, Cambridge Audio has always represented great value and produces products that punch well above their weight. Cambridge Audio’s Edge A is no exception.

The simplicity of styling and operation are outstanding and fresh in a copy-cat kind of world. It is a well thought out package and is in step with modern needs. But it’s the sound quality that really has me excited. It delivers sound the way that I prefer, with enthusiasm, youthfulness, dynamic expression and musicality that only genuinely great products deliver. It’s fun to listen to and begged me to keep playing a little longer.”

Technics SU-G700 Stereo Integrated Amplifier Review

October 29, 2019 § Leave a comment

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I’m not going to beat around the bush here: The Technics SU-G700 stereo integrated amplifier is the kind of product I get a little weak in the knees over. It has both style and substance, coupled with a retail price that is on the saner side of the audiophile spectrum. While there are other integrated amplifiers on the market that may have a few more inputs, output, or features, the SU-G700 gets the balance just right for the price. It’s nice, in 2019, to come across a product that is decidedly modern in its approach to sound reproduction, and yet feels altogether familiar–dare I say comfortable in its everyday use.”

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