Magico A5 £35,998 Review

January 31, 2023 § Leave a comment

Magico A5

The Magico A5 isn’t just another Magico loudspeaker and isn’t even just another high-end loudspeaker; it’s a point of inflexion. It’s the tipping point where real high-end happens, and its flexible enough to let high-end happen in a wider range of home than usual. The combination of being capable of being driven by a good integrated amplifier and the way it integrates into smaller rooms than you might expect all lend the A5 a gravitas that sets it apart from its peers. It’s the gateway to a higher-end world, but not simply a stepping-stone that leaves you wanting more. And for many this will be their first experience of what Magico can sound like and that’s a big step for many. For some, it will be the only step they ever need to make, for others, it will be the first step in a wholly new journey.


McIntosh RS150 Wireless Loudspeaker

January 31, 2023 § Leave a comment

KEF – factory tour

January 30, 2023 § Leave a comment

Dynaudio Focus 30 Active Loudspeaker System $3999 Review

January 27, 2023 § Leave a comment

At the end of Gordon’s exhaustive review, he concluded that the Focus 30 system “deepened” his “admiration for Dynaudio’s active speakers,” and that he was “won over by the Focus 30’s transparent presentation, effortless dynamics, pinpoint imaging, and bass extension.” Gordon added that he “loved the look of the speakers” in his living room, but the support for Dirac Live is “the clincher” when it comes recommending this speaker system to readers. Gordon’s praise in his review earned the Focus 30 speaker system a Reviewers’ Choice award at the time it was published—and that same praise has now earned it a Recommended Reference Component award. Suffice it to say, DSP-based active speakers have come of age for those who are serious about sound—and Dynaudio’s Focus 30 has the features to optimize that sound, too.

A.For.Ara Dipole Line Array

January 26, 2023 § Leave a comment

A sneak peek at the a.for.ara dipole line arrays; planar ribbons covering 200 Hz and above; a dozen woofers in the bass range. More information to follow.

Vermouth Audio Studio Monitor Loudspeakers $20,000 Review

January 25, 2023 § Leave a comment

Suppose one decides to go with something that isn’t as large as a floor-standing speaker but will deliver more volume and frequency extension than a stand-mounted mini-monitor. In that case, the Vermouth Studio Monitor is what you’re looking for. In my listening room, it had enough internal volume to produce serious bass. The two 6.5 mid-woofers produced a transparent midrange that filled the room with sound with a prodigious soundstage. Its ribbon tweeter was remarkably extended and had a musical sound that, regardless of how loud I played the music, was never fatiguing.

I heartily recommend the Vermouth Studio Monitor. Its audition proved that it was a surprisingly good-looking and great-sounding speaker, which is well worth its asking price.

YG Acoustics Cairn Loudspeaker £9900 Review

January 24, 2023 § Leave a comment

In every way small but beautifully formed, the Cairns show all the benefits of their manufacturer’s integration of extensive analysis and modelling in the design and manufacturing processes. They’re precise without ever being clinical or sterile, and have a weight, depth and finesse that belies their compact dimensions. Few small standmounts will fill modestly proportioned rooms with such authority. They are little crackers!

Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia V loudspeaker $79,500 Review

January 22, 2023 § Leave a comment

It’s been quite the six months in Serinusland. First the Stromtank, then the Nordost QNet and QSource, and then one of the finest DACs I’ve been privileged to enjoy, the dCS Rossini Apex. I never fully appreciated how good each of those components is until Wilson Audio’s new Alexia V loudspeaker let me hear so much more of what they can deliver.

All these changes and improvements can be summarized in one sentence: Assisted by first-rate amplification and source components, the Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia V presented the entirety of the musical argument more completely and satisfyingly than its predecessor did. And its predecessor was very fine.

The notion that the loudspeaker is the most important component in an audio system is hogwash, although that conversation may be more semantic than substantial. What’s the point of being able to hear more of what your system can deliver if all you hear is more distortion or mediocrity?

AVID Reference Three Loudspeaker £60,000 Review

January 20, 2023 § Leave a comment

The (Le) Concert Spirituel recording of Handel’s ‘The King Shall Rejoice’ [Coronation Anthems; Alpha ALPHA868] sounded magnificent, complete with powerful drums and a fine unforced sense of live performance. There was nothing artificial or studio-y here, but instead a real impression of experiencing the music in a live space. It was a big, exuberant sound, but one with bags of detail to back it up, and those very ‘Handel’ vocal flourishes had a glorious ringing quality.

With the unusual instrumentation of Sachse’s ‘Concerto In F major’ from Clare Farr’s Loudmouthed Beauty recital [Lawo LWC1242, see p94] – bass trombone accompanied by church organ – the AVID Reference Threes delivered a persuasive impression of the two instruments in a church acoustic. Both the low-frequency power and harmonic richness of each was evoked, their notes ringing through the space. In the theme and variations of the third movement the effect was even more striking, with the extraordinary power of Farr’s instrument holding its own against the mighty organ.

KEF Reference 5 Meta £17,500 Review

January 19, 2023 § Leave a comment

Back with solid state power and the Weather Station’s mumblings on ‘Marsh’ and other tracks where it’s not clear what is exactly being said but the feelings behind it are transparent in the hands of these KEFs. With an older favourite in Talk Talk’s New Grass where the vocals are quiet but easy to follow and the nuances of the performance are clear thanks to the transparency on offer. These speakers are borderline explicit when it comes to detail resolution, they really drill down into whatever you put through them and deliver the musical treasure that other speakers fail to expose. It gets the micro dynamics, the differences between the volume of notes, spot on and this brings a variety and colour to subtle pieces that often gets lost. It does the macro too of course and I thoroughly enjoyed Led Zeppelin’s ‘Killing Floor’ where they managed to give the bass a thickness that Metallica would have killed for, and  were clearly attempting to emulate on the Black album

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