Chord Electronics Qutest DAC Z $1895 Review

May 3, 2019 § Leave a comment

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The Qutest spent most of its time tethered to my near-field desktop rig, which uses the latest-generation MacPro “titanium trashcan” desktop computer for its front end. The Qutest includes options for four different filters. First there’s the “incisive neutral” filter that according to Chord “has an ultra linear frequency response…includes a 16FS to 256FS WTA2 filter.” Qutest’s second filter is “warm” which according to Chord, “is designed to introduce a little warmth to recordings…with a 16FS WTA1 filter only.” The third filter set, “incisive neutral HF roll-off,” is similar to the first one except that it includes a high-frequency filter past 20kHz. The last filter in Qutest’s stable is “warm HR roll-off,” which is similar to the second option but with the addition of a high-frequency filter above 20kHz.”


Legacy Audio Valor speaker system and Wavelet DAC/preamp/crossover $80,000 Review

May 2, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“However, that does not indicate less power is recommended! Consistently, and keeping the relative ratio of power to efficiency of speakers, I find that higher clean power means better sound quality. All other things equal, I will normally prefer a 60-watt amp to a 30-watt amp. I have found through the years that if I can pair equipment (i.e. source, cables) with the Legacy Audio products the results will be more impressive with higher power. This should not be surprising, as it held true not only with Legacy, but also with other dynamic speakers such as the Vapor Audio Joule White and panel speakers such as the Magnepan .7 and the Kingsound King III electrostatic speaker.

I didn’t immediately see any changes to the Legacy remote control software (in my room the software remote is loaded onto a Samsung Tablet S3 and runs in conjunction with ROON). This is an intuitive, extensive remote that offers enough control to the user without overwhelming the novice with background functions. It strikes me as the perfect tool to allow the owner precise setup without having to know technical aspects of the speaker’s performance. It is user-friendly and calibrated finely enough to finesse the performance of the speaker in real time.

Playback Designs MPD-8 Dream DAC review

April 22, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Playback Designs MPD-8 DAC has delivered one of the best, if not the best remote response, volume handling and gain distribution one box solutions I’ve had the luxury to experience. The splendid preamplifier/DAC synergy delivered an abundance of super healthy gain. This let me to directly drive my Lamm M1.2 reference hybrid monoblocks with splendid lock and load performance. MPD-8 has provided an unmatched synergy with Lamms, something I’ve surely didn’t expect! At least nowhere near this scale. Then again… This is one of the real luxuries of so much product circulations. We all benefit from such endeavors…”

Mytek’s Brooklyn Bridge + AMP Review

March 29, 2019 § Leave a comment

AURALiC VEGA G1 $3,999 Full Review

March 23, 2019 § Leave a comment

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The Auralic Vega G1 is a streamer, DAC, and preamp that can drive power amplifiers directly. This fact alone is enough to make one consider upgrading to the G1 because of the reduction of boxes and price associated with three separate components. The G1 has it all in a single chassis. Let me rephrase that, it doesn’t have it ALL because some features are better left to products like the Auralic Aries. Anyway, the G1 has all the traditional digital inputs and its most powerful input Ethernet. I call it powerful because it enables not only streaming from cloud or local network sources, but it also enables two-way communication for volume and playback control. ”

T+A Elektroakustik DAC 8 DSD High End D/A Converter Review

March 21, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Much like any top DAC these days, digital filters offer the listener a customized sound. Want a softer, gentler approach? Done. Want an etched, lean performance? You got it. I spent a few days reading the manual and pressing buttons. I settled on one filter and left it for the duration of the review. I did the same when reviewing the Mytek Manhattan DAC II; the MQA setting, which the T+A does not offer (an MQA software update is in the works). I used Qobuz, primarily, as a streaming service via Roon on my Antipodes CORE Music Server. With Qobuz, there is no MQA support, but some seriously amazing hi res recordings available from the ever growing Qobuz catalogue. You won’t miss it.

Here we get a choice of four oversampling filters, used only for PCM audio (the 8 plays DSD, too, up to 512). There are two Finite Impulse Response filters and two Bezier interpolations. My choice was the ‘BEZ 1’ (blue LED), which is said to produce results ‘similar to an analogue system’. All four filters offered refined, superior sound, with enough variation to satiate the most nit picking listener. ‘A Bézier curve is a parametric curve that uses the Bernstein polynomials as a basis.’ Deep MIT dive here. To me, ‘BEZ 1’ sounded as detailed as the three other filters but with an even more pleasing musicality. ”

MSB Technology Reference DAC review

March 13, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Upgrading from the Base Output Module delivers a cutting edge constant impedance passive volume control preamp. Using this remarkable preamp will reduce system complexity and ultimately improve the audio quality of the entire system.It’s a remarkable feat of electrical design that sets a new benchmark in the industry. The output modules are individually tuned for maximum quality balance or single-ended audio. ”

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