October 5, 2020 § Leave a comment
“If you prefer to relax and read while you listen to music, you will have to de-tune and romanticize your source components. If you’d rather attend the performance and engage with the music and the performers who are creating it, AGD will take you to the venue. And if you’ve developed a personal taste for design as sophisticated as your ear is for music, and the design of these components resonates with your style, you will experience a pride of ownership that is typically reserved for only the most expensive brands.
If you prefer being unique and to follow your own path, AGD’s Andante stereo preamplifier and Vivace monoblocks amplifiers have my highest recommendation! The accolades continue to mount for this fine American manufacturer whose future looks very promising.”
September 23, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Their social media presence is as sharp and strong as their sense of humor. As you can imagine, social media presence is very important in today’s day and age, especially because Schiit Audio sells direct to the consumer. But you can audition their gear in person at “The Schiitr”, a retail store they opened in Newhall, California. The company also uses distributors for countries other than the USA. Jason Stoddard is active on at least two audio web sites, and he will interact with people and answer questions directly and intelligently. When Schiit Audio released its new turntable, the Sol, recently, Stoddard actively sought feedback from users and took it back to the company to improve the turntable. So Schiit Audio is maintaining an active feedback loop to improve its products with its own customers. I can’t think of any other audio companies doing that nowadays.”
September 20, 2020 § Leave a comment
“So what really let the Boulder strut its stuff? One of the most impressive albums I heard on it was the soundtrack of Super Fly with Curtis Mayfield. If one album lets you know that this equipment isn’t playing around, this is it. Take the track “Pusherman.” The deep, fat, and sassy electronic bass instantly emerges with propulsive power. The drums in back possess crushing impact. At the very same time, Mayfield’s crooning voice loses none of its insinuating silkiness as he announces, “I’m your pusherman.” Once again, total relaxation allied to stygian power.
As always, there are some caveats. If you’re wedded to tubes, the Boulder is not going to give you a sumptuous tonal balance or the kind of holographic soundstage that is often associated with glowing bulbs. The Boulder is after different game, which is to say that it’s seeking fidelity to the source. Its incredible rhythmic accuracy and clarity are pretty much bound to exert a spellbinding effect. At times, I was left looking rather like a goggle-eyed Bertie Wooster contemplating an acute observation from Jeeves. If you have a chance to listen to the Boulder gear, let it fly, as it were. I suspect that you, too, will find it a highly addictive experience.”
September 15, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Comparing the two, the music, like the amps themselves, is lighter weight with the Audion. (6.5 pounds for each Audion versus 22 pounds for each Vivace.) The soundscape is equally broad, but the musicians seem more firmly anchored in place with the Vivace and there is a greater sense of physicality, not only in the musicians and the music, but of the space among the players — more room tone, if you will. The atmosphere of the venue becomes more prominent in live performances, whether rock ‘n roll, jazz, or classical. With the larger power supply, there is also greater control of power passages, whether crescendos in rock, classical or deep organ. Sustained notes extend without wavering. The similarity to tube amplifiers is uncanny with smooth, three-dimensional notes, particularly when used with a tube preamp.
What this adds up to is greater involvement with the music. It takes less mental energy to convince yourself that you are listening to live music and the music reaches out to you and pulls you in with realism that I have rarely heard before — and only in much more expensive systems, or with music that was not complex. This is not the pull of romantic musicality such as you get with a high-efficiency speaker driven by a 2A3 SET amp, but the pull of seemingly live music being performed in front of you right at home. This was my response to the Vivace driven by my Coincident Statement Line Preamplifier and Statement Phono Preamplifier. But read on. The story gets even better, and perhaps even worse.”
September 14, 2020 § Leave a comment
“The low-noise phono section uses essentially the same topology as the line stage. It has enough gain for any cartridge currently available, and includes a totally passive, zero-feedback RIAA circuit, which allows the high and low parts of the equalizer to be split into two independent sections instead of being tied together in the usual feedback loop. There are two gain blocks: high-frequency EQ is accomplished in one, low-frequency EQ in the other. The result is, according to Hansen, “ruler-flat, dead flat response from 100Hz to 20k.” We’ll see what Technical J. Norton’s measurements show. The remote control circuit does not use a microprocessor, so there’s no high-frequency garbage bouncing around inside the chassis. This innovation clearly required lots of work by Hansen, but since he’d already done it for the K-1, passing it on to the K-3 was no sweat—unless you ask his accountant.”
September 4, 2020 § Leave a comment
“As I continue on my journey with VTL’s designs, and better understand the company’s philosophy and goals, I’m struck by what I see as a focused effort to craft gear that’s both musically natural and measurably superior, maximizing all that tubes do well, while minimizing their shortcomings and also making them as hassle-free and unintimidating as possible to listeners who may steer clear of the higher levels of uncertainty, unreliability, and hands-on involvement much tube-driven gear demands. ”
August 29, 2020 § Leave a comment
“The N3Pro is consistent with the N6ii and N8 and kind of looks like a miniature crossover of both. One thing for certain is that the build quality is a massive step up on the old N3 if also the size.
At 195g it is not the heaviest nor the largest at 115.2 x 63.5 x18.9 (mm) and overall, fairly easy to operate single-handed with some nice smooth cornering. It’s CNC-machined aluminum black housing is bulkier than both the R5 and the DX160, however, but allowances need to be made to fit those tubes.
To that effect, it has that same N8 glass protected front panel design with a smallish touch-sensitive 3.2″ IPS panel to the top and a fairly large black ‘expanse’ from about 2/3’rds of the way down where the tubes are located. This expanse has a semi-transparent design so when the tube operational mode is activated you will see them light up with a reddish glow which is a pretty cool effect.”