Luxman D10X SACD

August 24, 2020 § Leave a comment

Wadax • Atlantis Digital-to-Analog Converter and Universal Transport $69,000 Review

April 28, 2020 § Leave a comment

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That ability to allow the performance its separate voice is both rare and important, suggesting the Atlantis DAC possesses that most valuable of all talents when it comes to transducers: sonic invisibility — the power to step behind the music and out of the aural sightline. With almost no thumbprint imposed on the signal, the Atlantis can pull the same trick whether it’s a classical recording or The Cure. The recording and developmental contrasts between Three Imaginary Boys [Fiction 827 686-2], Seventeen Seconds [Fiction 25 354-2} and Faith [Fiction 827 687-2] underline the band’s steep learning curve and growing sophistication in those pre-sequencer days. Likewise, the lyrical and musical development of artists as varied as Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello, Steve Earle and Nanci Griffith, is just as clear and equally individual. If the perfect system should play all types of music, then the Wadax gets extremely close to that ideal.”

Quad Artera Solus integrated amplifier/CD player Review

April 8, 2020 § Leave a comment

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As I mentioned earlier, audio components usually fall into one of three categories: boring, annoying, or engaging. Quad’s Artera Solus fell easily into the third category. It was exciting to use, and it delivered music with a uniquely satisfying je ne sais quoi that I can best describe as sounding strong and musical. Recommended for the music-first audiophile who still enjoys CDs, and who wants lively, natural sound from a simple system.”

Audio-GD – R7HE 2020 Magna R2R DAC

February 22, 2020 § Leave a comment

McIntosh MCD600 SACD/CD Player Review

February 13, 2020 § Leave a comment

“As I mentioned, I’ve been using the same CD player as a reference for the last nine or ten years. It has dual DACs, and a quartet of 12AU7s in the output stage. It sounds really good, and that was all I needed back in 2010. It cost about $4500, and I always thought it was a good value and a strong performer, which is why I still use it.

The MCD600 is $7000, and in 2020 that sounds like a lot of money for a CD player. For that extra $2500 over my existing deck, you do a get a lot—especially when you consider the cost of an outboard headphone amp that sounds this good, or four separate high-resolution DACs, or the choice of fixed and variable outputs, or the ability to play USB thumb drives or DVD data discs.”

TEAC Reference NR-7CD Network CD Player and Integrated Amplifier-DAC Review $4999

April 17, 2019 § Leave a comment

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Seattle-based indie electronic group Odesza was in heavy rotation during my time with the NR-7CD, and the latter’s reproduction of “Higher Ground,” from Odesza’s A Moment Apart (16/44.1 FLAC, Counter/Tidal), had an immediacy and bite that lent itself to the punctuality that characterizes so much modern electronica, including this. I loved this track’s air and reverb through the TEAC — it sounded enormous in my long, narrow listening room. I was also taken with the lazy falsetto of guest singer Naomi Wild — it was superdetailed, with excellent stereo imaging. The bass line was similarly impressive, the NR-7CD exerting above-average control over my KEFs’ 5.25” midrange-woofers. At low to medium volume levels I was seduced by the TEAC’s multitude of talents; its synchronized routine with my LS50s produced a sound as transparent as mountain spring water.”

Audiolab 8300CDQ DAC and CD-player

December 27, 2018 § Leave a comment

CHORD ELECTRONICS BLU MK2 UPSAMPLING CD TRANSPORT REVIEW

December 20, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“Listening to an old favourite CD of mine, Haydn Symphony No 77, Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, the difference between the three oversampling/upscaling options is not small. Starting with the minimum oversampling rate, which reads as 88.2 kHz on the DAVE, I get a pleasant presentation, fluid and coherent, but not the deepest of soundstages. Changing to the maximum oversampling immediately improves imaging and increases soundstage depth, while creating much greater space between the instruments in the orchestra. It’s almost as if you have pressed a button marked ‘3D’. There is also a sense of what happens when you move back five rows in a concert hall, a hint of the concentration of the intensity and colour of the sound being slightly diluted. On this period instrument recording, I miss a bit of weight in the bass; it is true that period cellos and basses make less grunt than the modern equivalents, but it is noticeable nonetheless. Contrasting the Blu with my Esoteric K-05 CD player, used as a transport only, playing through the DAVE via a Chord cable, the latter seems to have more grunt and there is more of a sense of the bass driving the harmony and the music than with the Blu Mk2. It doesn’t, however, have the effortless sense of space that the Blu Mk2 has, or indeed the litheness of its approach to making music. ”

Kalista DreamPlay One CD player $43,000 Review

August 21, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“One of the most poignant moments with the DreamPlay One came when I played Joanna Newsom’s masterpiece, Ys (Drag City DC303CD)—and my 20-year-old daughter, home from college, entered the room just as the first song, “Emily,” began. My Julia, who is very much a Joanna Newsom fan and has most of her albums on vinyl, exclaimed, “That sounds amazing! I’ve never heard a CD sound that good!” We both paused to listen, and as the strings and jaw harp and banjo and other elements of Van Dyke Parks’s lovely arrangement emerged, seemingly whole, from the mix, blending with Newsom’s concert harp—which had never sounded quite so full-size or present until now, at least from CD—I had to agree.”

AVM Ovation CS 8.2 All-in-One System $12,995 Review

May 28, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“Obviously, I have the room and cables to handle an extensive multi-box audio system. Replacing all those boxes and wires with one AVM CS 8.2 was a refreshingly musical alternative experience. I found that when pitted against a separates system with approximately the same overall price tag the CS 8.2 can deliver equally impressive sound.

For me the one elephant in the room that kept staring me in the face and sideswiping me with its trunk was: “How does the AVM CS 6.2 compare with the AVM CS 8.2?” I have never heard the 6.2, so I am not qualified to answer that question. Since these two components are identical except for the tube linestage in the 8.2, the final decision between them is something that can only be made at an AVM dealer who has both units in stock.”

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