January 18, 2023 § Leave a comment

You access the device menu by pressing and holding the volume wheel for 4-5 seconds. To switch between titles, simply rotate the volume wheel and press down to confirm your selection. The menu is rich. You can change the screen timeout time, adjust the screen brightness, turn the LED off and on, change the volume steps between 0.5db and 1db, adjust the auto gain speed, switch between UAC1-2, turn on SPDIF de-emphasis, change the DAC filter, play with the DPLL setting, see the firmware version or do a factory reset.

In addition, if you want to change the knob button behavior, you can do that from this menu. Available options are as follows; toggle output, toggle input, mute USB, and mute RCA. The navigation and controls of the device are quite simple, and menus, categories are easily comprehensible. It, therefore, doesn’t take too long to learn how to use the device. The resolution of the OLED screen is adequate and can be read without effort. Also, I really like the tactile feedback of all the buttons on the Element III. Feels great to the touch!



January 15, 2023 § Leave a comment

The LSA HyperDrive 2 Headphone Amplifier was a treat to listen to. The excellent engineering, solid construction, and very smooth sound add up to a very dynamic listening experience. On classical, vocal, acoustic, or rock and roll the HyperDrive 2 properly drove a wide variety of headphones and rendered music realistically and when needed, forcefully. Whether the source was digital, or pure analog, there was a lot to like.

dCS • Bartók 2.0 Digital-to-Analog Converter and Headphone Amplifier $19,950 Review

January 11, 2023 § Leave a comment


hat a reunion this turned out to be. Instead of adding a thicker faceplate or glitzy touchscreen, dCS has focused on features and performance with the Bartók 2.0. Excluding dCS’s own Rossini and Vivaldi DACs, I can’t think of another competing product with a greater level of user-adjustable sonic parameters than the Bartók 2.0. Once you begin to explore the new Mappers 1 and 3, both with DXD and DSD, I think you’ll discover that the 2.0 version easily exceeds the performance of the original. The new Bartók 2.0 with its accompanying Mosaic 2.0 app is simply brilliant

 Topping A90D Headphone amp Review

January 4, 2023 § Leave a comment


December 28, 2022 § Leave a comment

With 4 ultra-low distortion precision linear feedback circuits, a custom ultra-low noise power supply, and Texas Instruments capacitors, the DAC is advertised as “noiseless, or almost”. On paper, the SMSL DO200 MKII should be able to match its predecessor and my lovely Cayin iDAC-6 which remains my personal choice in this price range.

Yet, the “piece of resistance” remains the fully-balanced circuitry. I still couldn’t open this device but, from the official pics, you can easily see how clean the build is: blackboard, symmetrical supply lines, topped up by capacitors perfectly aligned and ready to work.

Numbers? With a 32ohm Load, the SMSL DO200 MKII harmonic distortion reaches an abysmal level (0.00008%) while maintaining a high signal-to-noise ratio (128dB). Some DAC outperforms the device in this aspect, but almost none are available in the same price range. Last but not least, SMSL gave us some measurements and if I couldn’t do the same, RMS Level and scope are always interesting to look at, from an objective point of view. Line level, the DO200 reaches 123dB per channel, with a 0.000066% THD+N ratio.

SPL Phonitor xe Review

December 22, 2022 § Leave a comment


This is a product that doesn’t go out of its way to hype up a recording to make it sound more exciting, but there is still enough in the way of rhythmic drive to get our feet tapping to tracks such as No Love. While Recovery is not the most bass-leaden album, there is still enough here to show that the amplifier is taut and tuneful at low frequencies. Subsequent listening to the bass-fest that is Massive Attack’s Heligoland reinforces the point.

We shift genres to Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring and the SPL responds with a controlled performance that brims with insight, punch and composure. The music’s demanding dynamic sweeps are delivered with power and there is a good impression of scale. By its very nature, listening to headphones usually comes second best to speakers when it comes to things such as scale or authority, so it’s fair to say that the SPL does a great job.

Weiss Engineering DAC50x (DAC501 and DAC502) Review 

December 22, 2022 § Leave a comment


December 12, 2022 § Leave a comment

After one month of intensive listening to the dCS Lina, I have not listened to my 2-channel loudspeaker system once. Delivering a magical no fatiguing experience at a level, I never thought possible this is an easy recommendation. I can’t see myself without the Lina in my home studio. Folks this is truly a game-ending system designed with the highest digital processing and uncolored sound available. Many systems cost more but none deliver what Lina delivers, a total listening experience for the ages. Big thumbs up and my highest recommendation.
For those interested in a complete walkthrough of the system here is a short video by Drew at Moon Audio exclusive distributor of the dCS Lina in the US:

EarMen Staccato/Tradutto/CH-Amp and PSU-3 Streamer/Headphone Amp

December 10, 2022 § Leave a comment


While its Staccato’s streaming experience could use more polish, this EarMen stack should still appeal to headphone buffs looking for an all-in-one system offering the advantages of separate components. The adroit CH-Amp can handle most cans, and the Tradutto digital hub is no slouch either. It really is a miniature powerhouse, bringing a very big performance to very limited deskspaces.

Meze Liric closed-back Headphones Review

December 8, 2022 § Leave a comment

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