Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL MZ3 Headphone Amplifier Review

December 6, 2019 § Leave a comment

“They’re at the current pinnacle of audio engineering excellence and a pair of headphones which I consider to be among the best I’ve ever had the opportunity to hear. Pairing them with the Linear Tube Audio MZ3 wasn’t merely because they cost roughly the same price, or shared the letter ‘z’ in thier name. it was because they were a holostic, sonic ecosystem. One complimented the other perfectly in my estimation. Does that mean the MZ3 didn’t play as nicely with other headphones that were current hungry or more difficult to drive? No. It came down to the 4z allowing every facet of what the MZ3 had on tap to be revealed without adding anything to its flavor. I can say without hyperbole that in my experience this is a headphone amplifier with few peers at this price point: it is an honest and forthright amp that does that unique job of bringing warmth to music without sacrificing resolution.”

dCS Bartok DAC/headphone amp

December 2, 2019 § Leave a comment


December 1, 2019 § Leave a comment

.” The stringed instruments sounded incredibly detailed and particularly quick, but with a richness that I wasn’t familiar with from these headphones. The ability to approach the speed and transparency of the flagship GS-X Mk2 amplifier, but offer a warmer and slightly more musical presentation was quite the experience. While the GS-X Mk2 offered slightly better clarity and sound staging, I think I might prefer the GS-X mini’s overall presentation with these headphones. There certainly is no wrong answer here, but I was certainly surprised just how well the GS-X mini excelled with these rather picky headphones.”

Mytek Liberty DAC $1000 Review

November 29, 2019 § Leave a comment

“As the Liberty will be used by many as a high‑quality headphone amplifier, Mytek have included a “reference high‑current, high‑transient headphone amp” capable of supplying up to 3W (and 300mA) of power into headphones of any impedance, including very low‑impedance designs. I tested the Liberty’s headphone amp with a wide variety of headphones, including Sony MDR7509s, AKG K701s and K812s, Sennheiser HD650 and HD25s, and in‑ear IE800s. The performance was flawless with them all: there was more than enough volume for all of the headphones I used, and the sound quality was excellent, with powerful bass, airy open high end, precise mid‑range details and inky‑black backgrounds.

The Liberty’s ability to handle a wide range of different PCM and DSD signals and files, as well as being amongst the few converters able to handle the new MQA format, certainly gives it an advantage amongst the competition. However, given its intended role in the hi‑fi market I’m surprised that Mytek haven’t either equipped it with a remote control as standard, or offered one as an optional extra. That would not only enhance the user experience, but would also help it compete against the likes of RME’s ADI‑2 DAC. Overall, though, despite some unexpected bench test results, the Liberty is an excellent converter, and its compact size and connection versatility make it an attractive option for anyone who needs a high‑quality and easily portable reference‑grade converter and headphone amp.  “

Drop THX AAA 789 Review

November 19, 2019 § Leave a comment


November 17, 2019 § Leave a comment

“The iFi Pro iDSD 4.4 hits on all cylinders. As a DAC it is unparalleled in versatility and sound to my ear. The fact that it offers a triode tube analog section as well as a separate Class A discrete solid-state analog section puts it in a class by itself. As a DAC by itself, I would have no problem using this as a reference DAC, it is exceptionally musical, with an excellent but realistic soundstage, and it handles all existing digital formats. It has a wide range of digital filter options allowing the user to tailor the sound to their specific tastes, but no setting in my experience was particularly harsh or grainy.”

SPL Phonitor XE Headamp/DAC Review

November 15, 2019 § Leave a comment

“If the Phonitor has a noticeable sound, it is in a more conceptual sense. The perception of a low noise background is very good, and there is an exceptional degree of smoothness to the sound. The smoothness is not the result of dulled transients, but rather a sense of space and depth to individual sounds that rather than emphasizing instrumental separation, seems to draw my attention to the musical presentation as a whole. Despite possessing the resolution capability to act as an audio microscope, I never lost the forest for the trees in any music when listening to the Phonitor amp. This exceptional smoothness and sense of space meant it also worked with somewhat forward or brighter headphones that typically don’t get along well with solid state. I could experience sensitive dynamics with the SPL that previously had only ever really spoken to me when run on tube or hybrid gear “

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