Cary Audio DMS 700 Streamer and DAC

September 17, 2021 § Leave a comment

Aavik Acoustics I-180 Integrated Amplifier, D-180 DAC, and S-180 Streamer / Network Player Review

September 8, 2021 § Leave a comment

I often said to myself that I was impressed by this integrated amplifier, that for a Class D amplifier, it sounded excellent. However, as I got further into the review period, I stopped thinking that it was an outstanding Class D integrated amplifier, but simply an outstanding integrated amplifier, especially at its price. I thought this true even after reinstalling it into my system after listening to my reference. Of course, I have heard better, but these amps had much less power and far fewer features than this very good-looking integrated amplifier.

The I-180’s front-panel covering red LED display was easy to read even from across the room, and the intangibles of this amplifier, as many settings can be changed by the user. I would have liked a subwoofer output, but other than that, there wasn’t much more than I would have liked.

Bluesound Node (2021) review

September 6, 2021 § Leave a comment

We play Ludovico Einaudi’s Einaudi: Seven Days Walking / Day 1 – Golden Butterfly from the composer’s newly released Cinema album, and through the Audiolab the piano notes are precise-sounding, plotted in a soundstage that’s not short of space and breadth. We wish the Bluesound displayed a little more of the latter – especially during times we play denser tracks such as Mogwai’s Here We, Here We, Here We Go Forever, which can sound a little messy through the smaller-scale Node.


September 1, 2021 § Leave a comment

Having got to this point the listening continued with Patricia Barber’s take on ‘Summertime’ [A Distortion of Love,Antilles], an evergreen standard if ever there was. Her voice at the start is positively ethereal, expanding into depths way behind the speakers and forcing your eyes closed to experience the sublime. The darkness of the background and the subtle percussion work that builds so slowly giving the piece a mesmerising quality that contrasts violently with the following track, ‘Subway Station #5’. Here, the drums’ energy forces your hands to attempt to emulate its activities, and you realise it’s a good thing that listening is a solitary pursuit. The ARIES G2.1 is an exceptional streamer with an excellent feature range and an increasingly sophisticated control app that gives instant access to those streaming services that are worth buying. If you get the components that surround it up to the same standard, you will have digital audio the likes of which few have enjoyed. 

Tidal Review

August 19, 2021 § Leave a comment

Below these personalised sections in the Home tab, you’ll find sections dedicated to the most popular playlists and albums on the service, as well as mood-based playlists, podcasts, radio stations and the Tidal Rising section, which helps promote new talent.

Away from ‘Home’ the two main tabs are ‘Explore’, which duplicates many of the discovery elements of ‘Home’ and seems rather redundant, and ‘Videos’, which hosts music videos. The final tab is ‘My Collection’, which groups all of your favourited music and custom playlists and also houses your downloads.

Tidal has also partnered with Tune My Music and Soundiiz to offer two ways of importing playlists from other streaming services, meaning you needn’t drag and drop everything again if you’re migrating from one of its rivals.

NAD C 658 BluOS network player/preamp/DAC |

August 19, 2021 § Leave a comment


August 1, 2021 § Leave a comment

The depth of information that the VEGA G2.1 can pull out of a signal is remarkable. It really delivers the full picture to the extent that it’s hard to imagine how things could be much better. The noise floor is clearly way, way down because everything is so clear and easy to understand, it makes more affordable DACs sound positively flat. Remember that I was still using the onboard volume control at this stage, such things are usually a serious limiting factor with DACs. The space it allows for each instrument or voice to express itself is quite inspiring, you get the full intensity and power of drums alongside the nuances of voice and other quieter sources. Switching to a high-end preamplifier and using a fixed output did introduce a level of ease and flow to the sound, but in fairness this was the Townshend Allegri Reference, which has become my go-to product for ‘ease’ and ‘flow

Atoll Electronique MS120 network player, DAC and pre-amp

July 30, 2021 § Leave a comment


June 18, 2021 § Leave a comment

Aurender Music Servers

June 17, 2021 § Leave a comment

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