September 23, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Their social media presence is as sharp and strong as their sense of humor. As you can imagine, social media presence is very important in today’s day and age, especially because Schiit Audio sells direct to the consumer. But you can audition their gear in person at “The Schiitr”, a retail store they opened in Newhall, California. The company also uses distributors for countries other than the USA. Jason Stoddard is active on at least two audio web sites, and he will interact with people and answer questions directly and intelligently. When Schiit Audio released its new turntable, the Sol, recently, Stoddard actively sought feedback from users and took it back to the company to improve the turntable. So Schiit Audio is maintaining an active feedback loop to improve its products with its own customers. I can’t think of any other audio companies doing that nowadays.”
September 22, 2020 § Leave a comment
“After putting in multiple weeks of listening time, I came to the conclusion that the E1X is capable of producing sonics that were the equal of my current reference gear. My primary sources were digital files, either from Qobuz, Tidal, or my NAS drive. On these I found the E1X capable of producing a level of sonic quality that gave me little, if anything, to complain about.
Beginning with the lowest frequencies, the E1X was able to retain all the sonic information I was hearing through my separate reference components. On difficult pop recordings that combine synth bass with electric bass, the E1X had no difficulty retaining all the tone, timbre, and texture of the instruments, while also preserving the individuality of each bass line. In addition, dynamic attack and transient response in the bass was every bit the equal of my references.”
Goldmund Mimesis 37S NextGen Analog Preamplifier and Telos 280 Stereo Analog Power Amplifier$39,975 Review
September 18, 2020 § Leave a comment
“The Mimesis Preamplifier offers a lot of flexibility, including seven single-ended RCA and two balanced inputs and one single-ended and one balanced output. A switch on the back turns the preamplifier on and off. The remote control supplied with the preamplifier controls volume, balance, input, standby, and muting. Baseline volume levels for each input—to compensate for different output levels between sources—take no more than five seconds to set. One simply selects the desired volume level and then presses memo on the remote control. Done. One knob on the front adjusts volume an the other selects input. ”
September 17, 2020 § Leave a comment
“The Michi X3 ($4,999) is spec’d to deliver 200 watts of power into 8-ohm loads and 350 watts into 4-ohm loads. According to Rotel, it features an “oversized toroidal transformer feeding independent analog, digital and power amplifier voltage regulator circuits for optimal power isolation.” The X3’s source inputs include balanced XLR, analog RCA, coaxial and optical digital, USB type-B (for a direct computer link), and moving magnet phono, and it has subwoofer out, RS232 control, and 12-volt trigger out connections.”
September 15, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Comparing the two, the music, like the amps themselves, is lighter weight with the Audion. (6.5 pounds for each Audion versus 22 pounds for each Vivace.) The soundscape is equally broad, but the musicians seem more firmly anchored in place with the Vivace and there is a greater sense of physicality, not only in the musicians and the music, but of the space among the players — more room tone, if you will. The atmosphere of the venue becomes more prominent in live performances, whether rock ‘n roll, jazz, or classical. With the larger power supply, there is also greater control of power passages, whether crescendos in rock, classical or deep organ. Sustained notes extend without wavering. The similarity to tube amplifiers is uncanny with smooth, three-dimensional notes, particularly when used with a tube preamp.
What this adds up to is greater involvement with the music. It takes less mental energy to convince yourself that you are listening to live music and the music reaches out to you and pulls you in with realism that I have rarely heard before — and only in much more expensive systems, or with music that was not complex. This is not the pull of romantic musicality such as you get with a high-efficiency speaker driven by a 2A3 SET amp, but the pull of seemingly live music being performed in front of you right at home. This was my response to the Vivace driven by my Coincident Statement Line Preamplifier and Statement Phono Preamplifier. But read on. The story gets even better, and perhaps even worse.”
September 13, 2020 § Leave a comment
Next up was “I Can’t Tell You Why,” from the Eagles’ The Long Run (LP, Asylum X5E-508). I was taken aback by how clean and smooth Tim Schmit’s lead vocal and Glenn Frey’s lead guitar sounded, and by how starkly they stood out from the rest of the mix. In “Heartache Tonight,” though the weight of Don Henley’s drums was absent, I was floored by how clearly those drums and the space around them were reproduced, and by how powerful they sounded. These cuts from this LP played on the Pro-Ject X1 had never sounded so good.
I’d expected to knock the H95 a little for its lack of a built-in phono stage — after all, these days, so many entry-level integrated-DACs have one. That was all changed by the superdetailed, super-refined sound of the Pro-Ject X1 turntable and Bellari VP549 phono stage plugged into the H95’s analog input with inexpensive interconnects. The convenience of having a built-in phono stage not withstanding, I think those who value great sound and play LPs might be better off getting an H95 anyway and then finding their own phono stage — and a good one doesn’t have ”
September 12, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Few audiophiles—perhaps none—will buy the A-S3200 for its amp section alone. But because they may use it by itself if they subsequently purchase a separate preamp, I checked it out. Switching briefly from balanced to single-ended interconnects, I used the integrated’s “Main In” jacks to bypass the preamp section and let the Rossini control the volume. On went the “Chicago, 2012″ movement from Mason Bates’s Alternative Energy, performed by the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas on the Jack Vad–engineered hybrid SACD, Mason Bates: Works for Orchestra (SFS Media 0065). This music is more than a bit facile—Bates has written much better—but its multiple sound effects, including far-left–to–far-right, back-and-forth zooms of particles in a Fermi accelerator, zingy computer effects, deep bass, groovy orchestral rhythms, and percussive snap make for a challenging listening test.”
September 9, 2020 § Leave a comment
When I later moved the i·V 7 into my music-listening room and connected it to the JBL tower speakers, the amp proved whisper-quiet once I powered everything up for playback. Listening to “Alexandra,” (16/44.1 FLAC, Tidal) a track by British singer-songwriter Laura Marling with an early 1970s-era Joni Mitchell vibe, I was struck by the intimate, warm, and completely unstressed quality of the sound. Vocals were full and rich, and the acoustic guitar, electric bass, and drums all came through distinctly in the mix.
Playing something more challenging such as the track “Hudson” by jazz supergroup Hudson from its self-titled album (24/44.1 FLAC, Qobuz), the interplay between Larry Grenadier’s standup bass and Jack DeJohnette’s drums was thoroughly dynamic, with the slapped strings of the close-miked bass cleanly delineated from the hi-hat cymbal and snare hits. In listening comparisons with the 2 x 150-watt Hegel integrated amp, the i·V 7 delivered firmer control over the low end, fleshing out the individual bass notes while maintaining a strong foundation. Meanwhile, John Scofield’s electric guitar floated above everything, coming across as clean without being overly crisp.”
September 6, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Compared to the 75K worth of separates I use, the only thing I can say the 866 may not quite equal the duo in is density of image, sheer presence, and overall richness. To put that into perspective, richness and body have always been very important to me. What I’m getting from the Boulder’s strengths, its take on the music is so compelling on its own terms, I’m just not missing what’s not there. The 866 succeeds wildly on its own merits.
The Boulder 866 makes an incredibly compelling overall case. I had a feeling it would be good, but not this good. Like the surprise delivered by Boulder’s diminutive 508 phono stage, I was not prepared for how good the 866 would be, and to an even greater degree than the surprise delivered by the 508. No matter how you cut it this integrated amplifier DAC/streamer is a triumph of audio design and engineering. Do not skip over this piece if you are shopping any where near the price. And please, do not let the relatively compact stature fool you—this thing is a beast. It is truly cutting edge in sonics, capabilities, and construction. In 25 years of sampling audio gear, the Boulder 866 is one of the best audio components I’ve ever reviewed.”