NAD M10 Streaming Amplifier Review

August 17, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Whatever, the M10 chugs it out with excellent clarity, as one might hope from a musical all-rounder, and when one switches to something rather more focused, such as the carefully crafted pop of B A Robertson on his 1981 Bully For You album [Cherry Red CDMRED 679], the ability of the player/amp to dig deep into the mix of a track like ‘In The Bar At The Munich Hilton’ – we were still all a bit Cold War back then! – is consistently informative. Mind you, just as enjoyable is the exuberance with which it plays ‘Hey Presto’, probably the only musical tribute to Tommy Cooper and Paul Daniels in one song.

From the same era, The Alan Parsons Project’s concept album The Turn Of A Friendly Card [Sony BMG 82876815262], with its pounding rhythms and swirling synths and strings, pushes the M10 almost as hard as did the Saint-Saëns, with the title suite building from gentle piano and woodwind through to the full-on rock opera treatment of the final movement. The NAD M10 is entirely in control here, as one might hope, even able to blast out the music at old-school prog levels if required.”


McIntosh MS500 Music Server $6,000 Review

August 7, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Ethereal vocals are something I genuinely vibe on. That and vocal overdubs, gated mics and hyper-realistic studio-space decay to instruments or voices during playback. I love that sense of the space of the recorded event being captured on a track or album. it adds an atmospheric layering to the cuts that imbues you-are-there realism to listening sessions because of the sense of placement attached to each performer. Invitation by Heather Woods Broderick (TIDAL, FLAC 16-bit/44.1kHz) is just such a listening experience for me through my system with the 500. Hearing it through a dCS Rossini or totaldac spoils me for the big, spacious sound that each of those models is capable of relaying in my system. But, even though the MS500 clocks in at about a third to a quarter of the price of those two DACs, it is capable of giving you a taste of what those who can afford to invest heavily in a music-playback device like the aforementioned are getting. It would be foolish to say it sounds close, it doesn’t, but it sounds so fun, energized and smooth that it puts you in mind of those heavier hitters because of the sheer enjoyment it elicits when listening through it. The fact that it presents instruments and vocals in a rocksteady image with fantastic pitch accuracy certainly helps the McIntosh digital cause. ”


August 3, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Few things are sweeter than the Toronto Raptors beating the Golden State Warriors in game 6 of the finals. Listening to them through the CXN via the RX2s made it all a bit better. My wife and kids just happened to be away for the last few games of the series and I had the house to myself for the finale. Our cable box upstairs is usually connected to the digital input of the CXA60, so I decided to connect to the digital input of the CXN V2 instead. Come game time, I had armed myself with a spot of whiskey, a Rotisserie Chicken dinner with fries (Swiss Chalet for Canadians in the know, don’t judge me) and had the volume turned up good and loud. Turns out there wasn’t an audible difference from the CXA to the CXN V2. The resulting sound was great, especially the crowd chants which had a 3-dimensional feel and I sometimes forgot that I was listening to two-channels versus my larger home theater system which we normally watch games through. As the Raptors finally ended the ‘Warriors Dynasty’ I was fully immersed in the action and hadn’t fiddled with the sound for a few hours even though news coverage of the insane post-game celebrations. Shout out to Plant-Guy! #plantguy #kawactus”

Bel Canto Designs e.One Stream Review

July 15, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“In the e.One Stream, Bel Canto has created a device that is comfortable in mulitple guises as not only a DAC/Streamer/Seek app enabled all-in-one device for those seeking computer-audio playback, but also as a Roon end point and digital source for an external DAC of your choice. That it is capable of doing this with practically no colorations of its own on the sonic signal it’s passing along, is robustly constructed, includes a DSD/PCM (24-bit/192kHz) and MQA-decoder eqipped DAC that you can add to an existing system with minimal cash outlay to become cloud-music equipped (to audiophile standards) is testament to Bel Canto’s continuing commitment to those looking at expanding their listening choices without breaking the bank.”

Bel Canto Designs e.One Stream Review

July 8, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“For this review I used a dedicated Apple MacBook Air 11-inch running the latest version of Roon sewn up via Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet to a four-port 10/100/1000 router. The e.One was connected off the router then fed into the line stage of a McIntosh Labs C2600 tubed preamplifier via its unbalanced 2V output, or into the C2600’s internal 32-bit/384kHz DAC through its SPDIF/Coaxial output bypassing the internal e.One DAC completely. The C2600 in turn was driving a pair of McIntosh MC611 mono blocs hooked into a pair of Harbeth M40.1 loudspeakers. All analog, digital and speaker cabling was a mix of TelluriumQ Black, Ultra Black and Diamond. AC cabling was TelluriumQ Black (for the e.One) and PS Audio for everything else. Clean power was supplied by a Power Plant 20.


June 29, 2019 § Leave a comment

ROON Nucleus and Nucleus+ Review

June 27, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“While the Nucleus needs to be hardwired into your network, you can access it wirelessly from your phone, tablet, or laptop anywhere in your listening environment. Simply go into ROON and create whatever “zones” you need. Now that so many streaming DAC’s can be used as ROON endpoints, there’s no need to be a computer-based music listener, tethered to your DAC. Considering what some premium USB cables cost, you can almost buy a standard Nucleus for the same price!

If you aren’t utilizing a NAS for some of your music collection, you can still select a hard drive that is connected to a computer on your network or plug a USB drive directly into the back of the Nucleus. Finally, there is an HDMI output that can be utilized for output, and the sound quality will work in a pinch, but streaming via a ROON ready DAC is still the way to roll for optimum sound quality. Either way, it’s nice that ROON offers the option.”

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