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


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.”

Rega Research Apollo CD player $1095 Review

May 27, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“When the recording contained it, there was no shortage of low-bass information from the Apollo. In “Almost Like the Blues,” from Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems (Columbia 88875014292), the (presumably synthesized) bass line was entertainingly deep and full, as could also be said of Joe Ayoub’s electric bass in “Samson in New Orleans.” No stranger to the obvious, I also reached for Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 1962 recording of Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra (RCA Living Stereo/JVC JMCXR-0011). The introduction’s famous low C, played by the double basses and organ, was adequately strong—rightly or wrongly, other CD players, such as the above-mentioned Sony, give it a little more weight—but where the Rega really shone was the same note at the work’s end, now plucked by the double basses and set against a B triad from the woodwinds. That low C had what I thought was the precisely correct weight and a beautiful sense of touch, not to mention superb pitch certainty.”

Ayon Stealth DAC and CD-T II Signature CD Transport Review

March 11, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“The DSD upsampling function is a 995 euro option for the CD-T II transport. Personally, I would leave it out when purchasing it, but this is very much a relative matter. I know that there are many DSD fans out there and depending on personal taste and system matching, one might have a view different from mine. As with virtually all aspects of these two high tech products, the choice is yours, all the options are there, for the user to freely choose between.”

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