Elac Navis ARB-51 Powered Loudspeaker $2,000 Review

June 2, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“A brief experiment with my long-term subwoofer, an SVS PC-12-Plus, convinced me that a fair balance was quickly achievable with the ARB-51’s roll-off set at 60 Hz and the sub’s low-pass dialed in at the same frequency. In that configuration the Elac system could play substantially louder, easily at full-orchestra concert level, without restriction. But even on their own, the little Navis pair’s bottom octaves are sufficiently extended and powerful to satisfy nearly all listeners. Also, it seems to me that introducing a subwoofer would spoil the fun of a system consisting of just two modest-size bookshelf speakers that can deliver all the bass from any rock, jazz, or acoustic ensemble at realistic levels and without compromise.”

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Gryphon Audio Designs Mojo S Loudspeakers $29,500 Review

May 31, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“. . . I then moved the speakers until their tweeters pointed directly at the listening position, as Gryphon prescribes. The speakers’ positions relative to the walls remained virtually the same, but now I was listening directly on the tweeter axes. Though this doesn’t work with most speakers — many tweeters sound too hot listened to directly on axis. The Gryphons’ sound came alive — so alive that I wanted to dive right into my best recordings to hear precisely what they could do.

But not before relistening to Dido’s “Hurricanes.” Now her voice and guitar locked in very precisely on the soundstage, and while the tonal balance leaned slightly to the warm side of neutral, the nuances I now heard in Dido’s singing revealed that this track had far more depth than I’d thought it had. As it continued, I became aware that pop processing had entered the mix, but the sound never became thin or flat or too compressed. Dido’s voice sounded clear, and densely packed with sonic information. I could hear no cupped-hands coloration or other tonal abnormalities.”

Counterpoint Reference Loudspeaker

May 31, 2019 § Leave a comment

Audioengine A2+ Wireless Powered Speakers $269 Review

May 30, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“I’m totally sold on the A2+. At this ridiculously low price point, there’s absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t be sitting at every music lover’s desktop, or in a whole lotta dorm rooms across the country. They acquitted themselves so very nicely in a relatively large room—it only reasons to think that they’d really sing and provide a seriously satisfying listening experience in a much more typically sized environment. And even though they weren’t ideally placed in the room, they filled the room with remarkably good sound that defied localization—exactly what you’d expect from any pair of speakers with audiophile pretensions. For $269, you generally expect to get junk, not something that truly offers a generous taste of the audiophile experience. Very highly recommended!”

McIntosh XR50 speakers $4,000 Review

May 29, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Right from the first track, the XR50 showed why it often pays to use equipment from the same manufacturer. The result was balanced, very natural and quintessentially McIntosh. The McIntosh combination was one made in heaven or more correctly, in the McIntosh factory! The sound was warm and uncannily lifelike, displaying many characteristics that revealed the human factor in the music-making process. Intake breaths, which more often than not are distractions, became an integral part of the music.

In spite of the diminutive size relative to my reference speakers, the bass output was bigger and deeper and more akin to what I know of in live performances. For example, double bass bowing and plucking on Harry Allen’s New York State of Mind had tremendous presence and furniture-vibrating qualities. I must add, this was reproduced in a most natural manner.”

World’s Second Best Speakers!

May 28, 2019 § Leave a comment

GoldenEar Technology Triton One.R Loudspeakers $5999 Review

May 26, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Lately, to gauge audio components’ reproduction of women’s voices, I’ve been listening to Carpenters albums. Richard Carpenter’s backing vocals irritate me to no end, but Karen Carpenter’s pure-sounding contralto mesmerizes me, and it’s her voice that’s always front and center in the mix. One of their best albums for evaluating gear is With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (24/48 FLAC unfolded to 24/96 MQA, A&M/Tidal), a new album comprising remasterings of already-recorded Carpenters hits with overdubbed accompaniment by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Richard Carpenter, who oversaw all production. Richard has the reputation of being a perfectionist, and from what I heard he got it right — this is one smooth, clean-sounding recording.

In “For All We Know,” the GoldenEars rendered Karen’s voice so clearly that I was spellbound — she hovered unwaveringly in space between the speakers, sounding clean, clean, clean. Had I not been going back and forth between the One.Rs and the two-way, stand-mounted Focal Kanta No1s ($5999/pair), also in for review, I’d have had trouble dredging up a single complaint about the One.Rs in that area. But the Kantos reproduced the sound of Karen Carpenter’s voice just a little bit more purely and a touch more openly than did the One.Rs. Don’t read that as a knock against the Triton One.Rs — they were surprisingly close to the Kantos even in this regard, and in the bass they cleaned the little Kantos’ clocks, as you’d expect a couple big floorstanders to do against a pair of minimonitors.”

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