Audiolab Omnia £1,599 Review

November 30, 2022 § Leave a comment

As long as you steer clear of dirt-cheap garage rock and the like, though, there are remarkably few downsides to Audiolab Omnia ownership. Its rather rustic control interface aside (and we’re not including the blameless DTS app in that, you understand), keep both the price and the extensive functionality uppermost in your mind and it’s an almost startlingly accomplished piece of equipment. Its power output may not look anything special when written down – because it isn’t – but the Omnia is resolute and deep-breathing enough to deal with any loudspeakers that can realistically be considered appropriate partners.

If you want a fine-sounding and extensive system without the whole ‘extensive’ thing getting too badly out of hand, the Omnia is more than worthy of lining up in direct competition to the likes of Cambridge Audio’s fêted (and similarly priced) Evo 75. With the Omnia, Audiolab has faced facts, bitten bullets and emerged with its reputation enhanced.


 Best HiFi System in the World ? TAD Esoteric REL

August 5, 2022 § Leave a comment

Rotel CD14 MKII CD player Review

July 30, 2022 § Leave a comment

Luxman D10X SACD, DSD, MQA player Review

July 20, 2022 § Leave a comment

Kalista DreamPlay XC CD/SACD Network Player Review

June 21, 2022 § Leave a comment

As I mentioned earlier about these streaming services, they may not offer the sheer quality available elsewhere, but they’re a useful function to have – in the case of vTuner, it’s free music after all, and a lot of it from around the world – and the DreamPlay XC delivers it in a consistently enjoyable fashion. Radio 3’s stream may only be 320kbps AAC at best, but the music still communicates well via this player.

Push up into the DXD and DSD resolutions the DreamPlay XC supports via its network connection, and while that warmth and smoothness remains, the player is fully able to demonstrate the advantages of more data being moved to deliver the music. Play trumpeter Angelo Verploegen’s relaxed When Night Falls set, a typically intimate recording from the Just Listen label [JL028; DSD256], and the result is a remarkably effective evocation of the three musicians – Ed Verhoeff on guitar and Eric van Der Westen on bass – just sitting down and playing together, recorded straight to DSD256. Yes, there are other network players that might bring out more of the studio ambience but very few will match the wonderful late-night cosiness going on via the DreamPlay XC, entirely befitting the gentle theme of these sessions.

Electrocompaniet EMC 1 MK V CD Player Review

February 4, 2022 § Leave a comment

Upgrades over the previous generation of EMC 1 are a new (unspecified) drive unit for the player’s top-loading mechanism, refinements to the balanced analogue circuitry that sits downstream of the Cirrus Logic upsampling and DAC chips, and improvements to the vibration-cancelling properties of the chassis. Connections are exactly the same, however: balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA, plus coaxial and optical digital audio outputs enabling the EMC 1 MKV to be paired with an outboard DAC, operating in transport-only mode.

Back around the front, the display’s illuminated blue text is large, making it easy to note track number and time elapsed, and it can be dimmed fully. The supplied plastic remote control is less impressive – lightweight compared to the player itself – and festooned with buttons that are of no use here. However, it makes operating the EMC 1 MKV a breeze with keys for direct track access, search, shuffle and various repeat play options.

McIntosh C53 Preamplifier and MCT500 SACD/CD Transport Review

May 20, 2021 § Leave a comment

So that I don’t come out sounding like a complete spoilsport when it comes to my earlier broadside against superhero movies, my 14-year-old daughter has become quite the fan of Marvel Comics and the movies made from them. During the pandemic she watched them all, and I will confess to having a good time joining her for some of these, notably Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is filled with more action and CGI than any ten movies can handle. The sound work is genuinely sensational, which is exactly the way it sounded with the soundtrack routed through my two-channel setup: everything clear, clean, well separated and registered, with dynamic range wider than can be comfortably accommodated in a domestic setting—during some of the battle scenes the detonations were such as to make me happy our house is anchored to its foundation. And, yes, I confess, very dramatic, very exciting, very entertaining, and no, never once did we miss back channels.

Esoteric Grandioso K1X SACD/CD Player-DAC and Grandioso PS1 Power Supply $36,000 Review

March 15, 2021 § Leave a comment

Mezzo-soprano Marianne Beate Kielland and pianist Sergei Osadchuck’s performance of the Gerald Finzi song “Come Away, Death,” from the album of that title (SACD/CD, 2L 2L-064-SACD), is haunting, with superb sound. However, its wide dynamic range can wreak havoc with a stereo system, particularly at high volumes. Even more than the K1, the K1X nailed the utter transparency, close miking, and subtle ringing of this mostly dry recording. Further, Kielland’s most pronounced vocal peaks, which sound a bit rough through the K1, were now tamed.

In most tracks on Come Away, Death, the same change was evident in the top notes of Osadchuck’s piano, which were now much more polished and crystalline than I’d heard before. As this album begs to be played loudly, I turned the volume high, even though my YG Acoustics Kipod II Signature speakers don’t really do well at sky-high volumes. Nonetheless, the K1X’s ultra-low noise floor became even more apparent—it was now a lot harder to get these speakers to misbehave.

Rotel Tribute Series A11 & CD11 Review

December 6, 2020 § Leave a comment

Introducing Metronome AQWO Series

November 5, 2020 § Leave a comment

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