June 12, 2019 § Leave a comment


“The G1 not being a G2 only manifests in comparison. In day-to-day use, the VEGA G1 is an ideal network streaming device that puts many really good rival products to shame. It’s extremely well built, sounds exceptionally good, and plays nice with most products it’s likely to be hooked to. I started this investigation to see what all the fuss was about, and now I’m reading from the AURALiC Fanatic’s Handbook. The company really does live up to the hype, as anyone who gives the VEGA (G2 or G1) a serious listen will attest. In fact, they might well say one of the notes I made while listening to the AURALiC VEGA G1 – Bloody hell… this thing’s good!”


Novafidelity X14 Review

June 6, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Connecting to the 3.5mm headphone socket, the X14 starts out respectably with Nils Frahm’s Sunson – a 16/44.1 stream via Qobuz once again – but as the track continues it lacks some control as the headphone stage appears to be trying to manage too many elements and struggles to drive the Grado SR125 headphone (HFC 389) as effectively.

The X14 has to be praised for the degree of functionality it manages to squeeze into such a compact and elegant chassis. Its well thought out and practical approach will see it attract those looking to take the first steps into network audio, and it makes a great starter or second-room music hub that’s easy to enjoy. LD ”


May 27, 2019 § Leave a comment


“The converter supports PCM signals up to 32 bits and 384 kHz via the USB input, and thus a DXD signal as well as a DSD signal up to DSD256 (11.2 MHz). RCA inputs are also extremely “capacious”, because we can send PCM signal up to 24 bits and 384 kHz, as well as DSD (!) up to DSD128 (DoP) using them. And even the Toslink input supports PCM up to 24 bits and 176.4 kHz and DSD (DoP). In turn, the streamer supports PCM signal up to 24 bits and 192 kHz, and DSD – the USB input is intended for connecting external media and it supports files with the same parameters.

For each signal type, one can choose a digital filter – the ESS Technology DAC chip used in this device, offers up to seven different filters for the PCM signal, the most interesting of which is the “apodizing filter” once introduced into the audio by Meridian. For the DSD signal one can use one of three filters, defining the frequency at which the frequency response begins to roll off. We can also use the MQA module’s digital filter.”

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Acapella Audio Arts – The Audio One music server Review

May 17, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Acapella has recently come out with a music server. You’ve seen it at shows, but it is now in production and we’ve been using it here on both the big and small systems for a month or two now.

On the big system we run it into the Audio Note “Fifth Element” DAC at 24×96 and it sounds very good. Not as good as the very expensive Audio Note CDT-Five transport, but sometimes the laziness bug strikes and one just wants to set it and forget it.”

Naim ND5 XS 2 media player Review $3495

April 19, 2019 § Leave a comment


“Pairing a user-supplied smartphone with the Naim’s Bluetooth input option isn’t covered in the Quick Start Guide. Through trial and error, I found that getting my iPhone to communicate with the Naim depended on my turning off and then turning on all associated products and functions in just the right order. And although Naim’s implementation of Bluetooth sounded no worse than any others I’ve heard, it was nevertheless not worth the trouble: As with just about every other Bluetooth-as-serious-audio-source effort I’ve experienced, the sound quality was to Tidal as soft-serve ice cream is to the real thing, only filled with slightly more icy particles. Don’t bother.”

Aurender N10 Music Server $7,999 Review

April 16, 2019 § Leave a comment

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    “A very cool operating function of the N10 is the fact that if a song, album or playlist is already cached to the 250GB SSD, then the 4TB HDD doesn’t even spin-up – it remains asleep – eliminating any possibility of acoustic noise emanating from spinning discs. The fact that everything in the N10 is also optimized for the quietest audio playback possible – it has no extraneous hardware or software-processing overhead – contributed to an instantly noticeable drop in the noise floor; this is the “black background” reviewers love to chin-wag about and I won’t let you down here. Regardless of file played, the background haze I hadn’t really noticed was there was lifted through the Aurender and when this happens, regardless of how it happens, it’s like the window into the recorded event has suddenly been wiped clean: It’s impossible not to hear it once it has occurred. There was also a dynamic and rhythmic uptick to drive in music playback. I wish I had a Roon Nucleus to compare the N10 to, but I’m still waiting for my review sample, as I feel that’s a more fair comparison. That said, I think it is the most logical and applicable choice to use my laptop for comparison as the bulk of potential buyers of an Aurender (or other music server) would be migrating from a PC or laptop as their digital-audio source.”

Aurender N10 Music Server $7,999 Review

March 31, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The $7,999 USD N10 is more expensive than most laptops or PCs, and it is not light physically either, tipping the scales at almost 30 pounds with a chunky, but graceful aesthetic, excellent metal/rubber o-ring isolation feet, clearly designed button-operating layout and a very large (nine-inch diagonal), white-on-black AMOLED display that is easily legible (artist and song title anyway) from the listening position (it can also be set to mimic VU meters). It is equipped with enough digital ins and outs to keep binary purists pleased with BNC, coaxial, optical AES/EBU and USB 2.0 outputs (dedicated low-noise circuitry employed) and a Gigabyte ethernet port bookended by two USB 2.0 data ports for input. Format compatibility covers everything from ALAC, AIFF, DSD64/128 (DFF, DSF) and FLAC to MP3 and M4A among others, with SPDIF digital audio handled up to 24-bit/192kHz PCM and DSD64 and USB digital audio accepting 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD128 files.”

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