Gryphon Audio Designs Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier-DAC $15,450 Review

September 18, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“The Diablo 120’s DAC section was truly plug’n’play. Within minutes of connecting and powering it up, I was listening to music from my Mac Mini server, streamed via USB. Many would assume that no add-on DAC could be as good as a standalone DAC, but I would beg to differ, based on my experience with similarly equipped integrated amplifiers. Additionally, there’s been a proliferation of excellent-sounding, small-chassis DACs that give full-size DACs a run for their money. Properly executed, there’s no reason to believe that excellent results can’t be obtained.

The Diablo 120’s DAC module was proof of this. Neutral in tone, with solid imaging, no hardness or glare, and excellent momentum and flow, it was the perfect companion for the amplifier section. I don’t listen to much electronica, but Deadmau5’s recent Where’s the Drop? (16/44.1 FLAC, mou5trap/Tidal) has been in regular rotation here and proved to be the perfect demo recording. This album of soaring orchestral arrangements of Deadmau5’s previous work, with deep synthesized bass, gave the DAC a good shakedown — I could find no category of sound in which it was lacking.”

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McIntosh MC611 Quad Balanced Power Amplifier Review $15,000

September 17, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“I’ve had numerous amplifiers through my home for review at multiple price points, both integrated and as separates that have left deep impressions upon me but that as impressive and emotion-inspiring as some of them were, either didn’t fit into the context of my own take on a personal reference system component, or if they did, were simply too far out of reach for my bank account. I’ve heard an almost untold amount of integrated, stereo power amplifiers and mono blocks over the years at friend’s homes or hi-fi shows that I loved, but again, were either too dear financially for me to ever seriously consider or didn’t fit into my holistic vision of a personal reference system.

Parasound Halo JC 5 Stereo Amplifier Review

September 16, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“Spatial resolution is one of the JC 5’s greatest strengths. Its ability to provide a pristinely focused center image could be easily heard in both Linda Rondstadt’s Blue Bayou and Diana Panton’s A Little Girl A Little Boy A Little Moon. There’s no guessing how the recordings were mixed and laid out. There’s plenty of refined air and aural layering that encompasses the shape and texture of the instruments. The strums and plucks of guitar and bass notes are elegantly played with tangible weight and accurate decay. It’s also capable of delineating fine lines of strings and leading edges of rapid piano notes with confidence and speed.

Simaudio Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers $118,888 Review

September 13, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“In wrapping up, Aron called Simaudio’s big, heavy, expensive Moon 888 “a new musical masterpiece.” With that kind of endorsement, and with these amplifiers having allowed him to hear from his reference system the best sound he’s ever heard, the Moon 888 received a Reviewers’ Choice award in the review. And now we’re happy to make the Moon 888 the newest addition to our list of Recommended Reference Components.

Cyrus ONE HD Integrated amplifier review

September 11, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“The most interesting aspect of this performance is that – even more so than is usually the case – speaker choice makes an enormous difference to how you’ll perceive the Cyrus. With the Spendor attached, you get a balanced, considered and accurate performance that might, depending on your preferences – be considered fractionally dull. Switch to the Acoustic Energy AE1 Classic and the result is far more invigorating. Some of the top end refinement is lost but the result is more propulsive, energetic and all round exciting. The Cyrus is sufficiently powerful and sufficiently transparent that it will largely reflect the behaviour of the speaker rather than imparting much of itself. This is fairly unusual in an amplifier at this price point – particularly one with decoding on board – and also a little different from how Cyrus equipment is often perceived. ”

Synthesis Soprano 12 watt class A tube amp and DAC

September 9, 2018 § Leave a comment

Pass Labs INT-250 Integrated Amplifier

August 31, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“The results were intriguing and somewhat surprising. The INT-250 showed it’s flexibility and was an excellent match for both speakers. I was concerned that the INT-250 and Strad combination would be just “too much chocolate in the pudding” and that it would tire the senses over time. This was not the case at all as I quickly settled in on this duo for many many extended listening sessions of pure joy. Though there was excellent synergy at all frequencies, it was the bass performance that got my attention. The Strads can really deliver the thunder with the right amplifier. The INT-250 proved to be up to the challenge.

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