Viva Egoista 845 HeadPhone Amp $13,800 Review

April 14, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“If the Viva Egoista 845’s price is out of bounds, the company also offers the somewhat smaller Egoista 2A3 tube headphone amp for $9,750 in the US. The prices are for the amps in Viva’s standard painted finishes, custom ordered automotive paint finished amps are available for a $500 upcharge for either Egoista amp.

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ABYSS AB-1266 PHI HEADPHONES $4495 REVIEW

April 11, 2018 § Leave a comment

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” This new version of headphones have really come a long way! The world famous Abyss bass is still there, deep, powerful and masterfully detailed and in the end offers some of the very best presentation of the lowest octaves in a recording that you’ll ever hear from a pair of headphones! The stand-up bass portrayal really put the musician literally right there in my minds’ eye. But the two biggest areas for improvement of the new Phi headphones over their predecessor was in the treble region and overall transparency.”

Blue Hawaii HeadAmp GS-X mk2 $3000 Review

April 6, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“I was visiting The Source A/V in Torrance, CA, for the World Premier presentation of the MrSpeakers VOCE Electrostatic Headphones being auditioned on a gorgeous Blue Hawaii Headamp. The brilliant Dan Clark was personally presenting them. The Source is the only dealer in America authorized to sell HeadAmp products outside of Virginia. I brought along my trusty pair of Grado PS2000e Headphones to plug in around the store in the dozens of incredible headamps on display. As I listened to the marvelous(!) VOCE, I asked if there was a phone plug I might use to check the Grados. Right there was a very red finished GS-X mk2 with the identical musical source. I plugged in only to hear my Grados come to life like protoplasm was super injected into the drivers. The BIG Grado PS2000e have the biggest drivers ever utilized by Grado, and the ability of the GS-X to make them sit up and take notice with up to 6 watts of power is rather compelling!”

Woo Audio WA33 Fully Balanced Headphone and Pre Amplifier $7,999 Review

January 24, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“With the power hungry Abyss Phi (some were using speaker amps to power the Abyss, for good reason), I preferred the WA33 with 100% of my listening. There’s an application of palpable textures and visceral impact to all genres of music and I’ve found it sounds great with poor/harsh recordings. Guitars have more crunch, drums have more smack, and violins are tactile. The WA33 provides a more dimensional and weighted sound which complements the DAVE’s DAC beautifully. Separation and smoothness are also better presented. Surprisingly enough, I felt some of the micro-details were brought forth in natural fashion while female vocals and cymbals had improved timbre. From direct DAVE, the detail was there but it quite a bit leaner and thinner. I also felt the image was larger and more forward with the WA33. There’s also more sonic extension and headroom with the WA33.”

Magico M6 $172,000 REVIEW

December 23, 2017 § Leave a comment

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“Having just come off the mind-boggling experience that is the Magnepan MG30.7, I wasn’t sure how I was going to react to yet another dynamic speaker in a cabinet. Once heard, the big Maggie’s boxless, “freed-up” presentation—with its lightning transient response, sensational resolution of musical detail, and uncannily natural tone color—is indelible. But the M6 matches it, strength for strength. Indeed, it exceeds it in the treble and the power range and the bass, where, as superb as they are, the MG30.7’s true ribbon and huge twin bass drivers are comparatively limited in power-handling and dynamic range (due to driver-excursion limits). While it is true that the M6 does not have quite the same lifelike size as the 30.7s on really big instruments (such as Clifford Curzon’s concert grand on the great Decca recording of the Brahms First Piano Concerto with Szell and the LSO [ORG]), it has much fuller low end and power-range color and impact (startling impact on tuttis). Moreover, unlike the Maggies, the M6 doesn’t make smaller instruments or voices sound outsize or bring them forward in the mix or add excessive sting (once again due to excurision limits) to high-pitched instruments played very loudly. In sum, it is far more naturally robust and faithful-to-sources and, ultimately, realistic.”

Building a Reference Grade Listening Room

December 15, 2017 § Leave a comment

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“I have known my contractor for over 20 years, and done maybe 20 work-related projects with him and his crew. That said, it was a challenge to control the budget and the work pace with so many unusual aspects to building a listening room. The results have been worth the effort and expense… but there were times when it was hard to see the finish. All the acoustical treatments required a big learning curve for my contractor. In the beginning there were many phone calls between my contractor and Rives Audio (both Chris and Richard). I was pleased with the level of communication that went on. On the other hand, I also checked every single measurement and construction detail for myself. I knew if I wanted to hold Rives accountable for the final performance, then I would need to make sure that the plans were meticulously followed.”

HIFIMAN SHANGRI-LA ELECTROSTATIC HEADPHONE SYSTEM $50.000 REVIEW

November 24, 2017 § Leave a comment

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‘The Shangri-La system offers neutral tonal balance and remarkable freedom from the ‘highs-covered-in-plastic-wrap’ colourations to which some electrostatic headphones are prone. The top end of the Shangri-La headphones is as linear, detailed, and extended as anyone could possibly wish, yet at the same time they consistently manage to sound smooth and clear—never adding or in any way exaggerating high-frequency energy that isn’t actually present in the recording. This achievement is greatly to HiFiMAN’s credit. ”

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