Woo Audio WA33 Fully-Balanced Headphone Amp/Preamp Review $7999

April 18, 2019 § Leave a comment

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Before I started writing this review, I said to myself that there really wasn’t much of a reason to break down how this component performed in different categories of its frequency response, bass, midrange, and treble. And yet after discussing some of its other sonic traits, I did just that. This might be due to the presence of its large tubes on the top of its cabinet, which aided in giving the Woo Audio WA33 what I can only describe as an organic sound, one that reproduced musical instruments and voices as many would describe as palpable. It was able to take the program material and present it simply as a music – often very dramatically – with a seemingly unlimited amount of somehow letting us in on the intentions of those who made the music on the recording. I suppose by describing its bass, midrange and treble response I could explain to others how it could do this, mostly because I don’t understand why the Woo Audio WA33 performs as spectacularly as it does. And with that, I’ll give a short description of its treble response.”

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Hifiman Jade II $2,500 Revoiew

April 15, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The amp is as about as solid state as you can get in terms of a sound signature with a fast, punchy and precise sound that err’s a little to the dry side with a slightly bright upper register. It actually sounds very good with the MrSpeakers VOCE and Stax 007 MK2 and there does not seem to be any lack of power either.

Just as a quick test we switched all the headphones to the Enterprise Lite E tube stats amp and the Jade II headphones did sound wetter with a bit more body in the lower-mids. Treble also sounded a touch smoother as well. Quite an impressive pairing overall.”

Sony DMP-Z1 Signature Series portable hi-res music player Review

April 12, 2019 § Leave a comment

HiFiMan Jade II Electrostatic Headphone System Full $2499 Review

March 30, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Finally, I’d like to comment on soundstage. This may seem like a strange thing to discuss when evaluating headphones because we’ve all come to expect any imaging produced by a pair of headphones to be inside of our heads. I expected no more or no less when I first donned this pair of Jade II’s and to be honest, I was not disappointed. The soundstage was indeed in my head just as I expected. But, after giving them a hundred hours of break-in, I was flabbergasted to find that these phones actually image in a much more speaker-like manner than any headphone set that I had ever experienced before! For the first time the image was outside of my head and in front of me. I realize that it’s an illusion, but it is a very satisfying one! If one keeps one’s head relatively still, the soundstage that one hears is stable with great image specificity and a wide deep presentation. You’ll not be fooled into thinking that you are listening to stereo speakers, But it will be such a breath of fresh air after living with ordinary headphones, that you won’t really care.”

HiFiMAN Shangri-La Electrostatic Headphone and Tube Amplifier $8000 Review

March 24, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Junior’s attractive amplifier is more compact and less ambitious than the awesome one provided with Senior, but it is still a honey. It borrows a similar circuit from the larger Senior amp’s design and also uses a stepped-attenuator volume control to keep the signal pure. While certainly not portable, the Junior amplifier is easily “luggable” and fits comfortably on a desk, tabletop, or nightstand. Its input stage, using four matched 6SN7N tubes, produces a wide soundstage and musicality in spades. The Junior amp is a hybrid, mating a Class A solid-state output stage with the tube input stage. It is able to drive difficult loads, and at the recent AXPONA show drove both the Shangri-La Senior and Junior simultaneously via its two five-pin electrostatic headphone jacks. Some show attendees plugged their Stax headphones into the amp and reported very good results. The Junior’s amp (available separately for $5000) is worthy of a separate review—it’s that good!”

AURIS NIRVANA $5250 REVIEW

March 15, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Rarely do you find an amplifier that acts like a musical instrument and is completely not invasive. Many lesser amps miss the mark with deficiency in one of the spectrums and adds electronic sound to the music. The Auris Nirvana had some of the best tonality I have heard in a tube amplifier and was faultless in its delivery of non compromised music. The Nirvana always made me feel like I was listening to live music. The treble was exceptional and sounded crisp and alive. There never was any harshness and the extension was at times unbelievable with endless musicality.”

ASTELL&KERN ACRO L1000 DESKTOP HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER REVIEW

March 14, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“I wanted to see what the L1000 could do with MP3s of varying quality. I have some bootleg recordings of Mazzy Star live in Chicago in 1993: “The Black Sessions”. Looking at the audio properties according to Windows: “Encoder Settings – Constant Bit Rate 320kbs (Insane).” Hee hee. I guess that opinionated engineer is saying that it makes no sense to use the MP3 format at all if you aren’t going to compress at least a little. It would be nice if someone could compress away the tape-hiss but otherwise this is actually a lovely recording as bootlegs go. The L1000 and Beyer’s presented the intimacy of Mazzy Star and I was caught up listening for a long time again”

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