Chord Ultima Pre 3/Ultima 6 18,900 Review

September 19, 2022 § Leave a comment

https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/chord-ultima-pre-3ultima-6

Listening to Massive Attack’s Atlas Air track shows that these Chords are good though not class-leading when it comes to communicating the music’s momentum. The combo sounds surefooted rather than overtly exciting. Instead, our attention is drawn to the effortless way this pairing steps out of the way and lets us focus on the music. Their presentation may be supremely insightful but it doesn’t try to highlight that fact in some kind of showy ‘look at me’ way. We also love the midrange clarity and focus with voices, and the way each sound element is given space to breathe even when the mix becomes complicated

Linn Klimax DSM AV DAC-Preamplifier $39,000 Review

September 3, 2022 § Leave a comment

https://www.soundstageultra.com/index.php/equipment-menu/1124-linn-klimax-dsm-av-dac-preamplifier

Linn’s new Klimax DSM has taken me on a rollercoaster ride, and I am in desperate need of an emotional rescue. On one hand, I found the analog input lacking in terms of transparency and dynamics, and I remain skeptical of the efficacy of the Space Optimization software. I’m also leery of the idea of spending this much money on a flagship DSM knowing that, based on Linn’s history, an expensive upgrade could be in the works. On the other hand, for a product of such vast capability, the Klimax DSM is an ergonomic marvel post-setup. The front display makes excellent use of its real estate in providing valuable configurable track information to the user. The theater of how the display lights up, seamlessly transitioning between volume and track information, and the way in which the beautiful glass dial illuminates to communicate volume information is second to none. The Klimax DSM is also built like a tank, enthralling to look at, enticing to interact with, and beguiling to listen to. Put simply, this is the best sounding DAC-streamer I have ever heard.

McIntosh MP100 Phono Preamplifier $2,000  Review

September 2, 2022 § Leave a comment

McIntosh MP100 Phono Preamplifier: Review

The McIntosh MP100 Phono Preamplifier isn’t cheap at $2,000 and those looking for a warm sounding phono preamp that rolls off everything at both extremes might want to look elsewhere.

Detail, resolution, clarity, dynamics, and presence?

This little box from Binghamton brings that to the party all day and night.

The MP100 is neutral enough that I think one can get away with a wide range of cartridges if you’re looking to create a specific sound and perspective — I just wouldn’t go too neutral on the cartridge.

SCHIIT Freya+, it’s like four preamps i

September 1, 2022 § Leave a comment

Linn Klimax DSM AV DAC-Preamplifier $39,000 Review

August 30, 2022 § Leave a comment

https://www.soundstageultra.com/index.php/equipment-menu/1124-linn-klimax-dsm-av-dac-preamplifier

Linn’s new Klimax DSM has taken me on a rollercoaster ride, and I am in desperate need of an emotional rescue. On one hand, I found the analog input lacking in terms of transparency and dynamics, and I remain skeptical of the efficacy of the Space Optimization software. I’m also leery of the idea of spending this much money on a flagship DSM knowing that, based on Linn’s history, an expensive upgrade could be in the works. On the other hand, for a product of such vast capability, the Klimax DSM is an ergonomic marvel post-setup. The front display makes excellent use of its real estate in providing valuable configurable track information to the user. The theater of how the display lights up, seamlessly transitioning between volume and track information, and the way in which the beautiful glass dial illuminates to communicate volume information is second to none. The Klimax DSM is also built like a tank, enthralling to look at, enticing to interact with, and beguiling to listen to. Put simply, this is the best sounding DAC-streamer I have ever heard.

STORMAUDIO ISP CORE 16 PREAMP-PROCESSOR AND PA 16 MK2 POWER AMPLIFIER $12,999 REVIEW

August 28, 2022 § Leave a comment

 The exceptional clarity of the ISP Core 16 had the added benefit of improving the sense of imaging and sound-staging, which further drew me into the source material. While the core sound signature of the ISP Core 16 was completely neutral, you could easily tailor the sound to your liking by adjusting the target curve via Dirac Live. Despite its amazing degree of customizability, the ISP Core 16 proved surprisingly easy to configure and operate via a web browser or the StormRemote app. The fact that the Core 16 is upgradeable to HDMI 2.1 shortly is just icing on the cake. If you don’t think you’ll ever need more than 16 channels, the ISP Core 16 is the sweet spot in StormAudio’s lineup and a bargain in the reference-level preamp category. The PA 16 MK2 amplifier was equally impressive, driving my 13 speakers with authority from a single slim chassis. The PA 16 MK2 did little to color the sound, instead simply presenting things as they were on the source. If you are looking for absolute top-tier performance in your theater system, I highly recommend taking a look at the StormAudio ISP Core 16 pre/pro and PA 16 MK2 amplifier. I did NOT want to ship these babies back.

Schiit Audio Freya Noval Pre Amp

August 23, 2022 § Leave a comment

Schiit Audio Reacts To Tube Supply, Intros The Freya Noval Pre Amp

It has been discussed on many occasions, but like traffic in Los Angeles – the world’s supply of tube has the capability to ebb and flow… (and/or stop completely). Even though there has been a few market freakouts, the supply and resulting cost per tube has realistically only gone up a small margin, for now. West coast and Texas amp maker Schiit Audio isn’t waiting to see what happens next. Based on the success of their popular tube pre amp Freya +, the budget audiophile favorite is making moves to ensure that their future supplies of Freyas don’t run out.

From designer Jason Stoddard’s morning email:

The scarcity (and prices) of tubes has a lot of people worried about the future. So, we thought we’d take a couple of steps to help with this uncertainty:
We’re re-introducing LISST, our Linear, Integrated Solid-State Tube, a MOSFET-based replacement for the 6SN7s used in our popular Freya+ preamp. This gives Freya+ purchasers a tube-like (tube-esque) option that won’t wear out like tubes

Lumin P1 Streaming DAC Preamplifier Review 

May 29, 2022 § Leave a comment

https://www.monoandstereo.com/2022/05/lumin-p1-streaming-dac-preamplifier.html

To objectively reconcile with “Bridge of Sighs”, to evoke lyrical reflection and not sound like a detached experience and a sum of isolated sonic attributes a higher level of digital handling is needed. 

This recording shows the true nature of P1 when it comes to cementing a multitude of sonic attributes, which could easily sound contradictory if the resolution is not there. 

Schiit Freya+ Preamplifier $949 Review

May 28, 2022 § Leave a comment

https://www.audiophilia.com/reviews/2022/3/1/pf7d9nzv57kqcwifuwb5504y7ck100

Pros: 3 different modes at your leisure—all respectable, very quiet, many inputs/outputs, light in weight and small in size, unusually high performance/price ratio.

Cons: No volume scale numerical or otherwise, mode and input choices are by cycling thru instead of particular choices, gets hot in active tube mode, labeling for control (both manual and on the very small remote) is hard to see due to its tiny size and obscure symbols.

Final thoughts: The Freya+ is a surprisingly inexpensive and quality-in-sound preamplifier that I would highly recommend as a serious start for those who have now decided that a preamplifier is for their system. With 3 separate modes, you can’t go wrong. I would also recommend it as a useful experimental tool for reviewers because of its versatility, quality of sound and low price.

Schiit Freya+ Preamplifier $949 Review

May 19, 2022 § Leave a comment

https://www.audiophilia.com/reviews/2022/3/1/pf7d9nzv57kqcwifuwb5504y7ck100

Eventually, as my reviewing interests expanded, I realized that I must get a proper preamplifier in order to easily and efficiently compare two or more similar devices by using different lines in and just switching the lines on a remote. I first tried using a passive preamp with more than one input; they were touted as clean and transparent, generally do not require external power, and are much less expensive in general than active ones. But alas, I was not satisfied. I began to notice at audio shows and at other audiophile homes where active preamps were widely used, they offered a sound quality my system lacked; something more satisfying beyond just clean and transparent. I could not put my finger on what exactly was lacking, but I decided to hunt about for a proper preamp (and one with many inputs, not just two). My choice was the PS Audio BHK Signature ($6000)—with a tube front end. It remains my reference preamplifier. And I learned what had been missing: more body, textures, openness, separation of instruments, and warmth in varying degrees; additions that yielded a considerably more musical presentation. I have also heard solid state preamps that hit these marks in varying degrees, so, I am not concluding here that tubes are always necessary/best. But, as some say, a preamplifier is the heart of a fine audio system; I became and still am a believer in that

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