Alpine F1 Status and why it is the best car audio system ever

June 15, 2022 § Leave a comment

Avantgarde Acoustic • Trio G3 Loudspeakers and SpaceHorn Subwoofers Review

May 4, 2022 § Leave a comment

Is the Trio G3 system as good as the very best? I don’t know because I haven’t heard the very best Trio G3 system — the one with six bass horns. But if you can accommodate the Trio G3 with a single pair of SpaceHorns and want to match or better its performance, I can’t see you getting close unless you look at speakers like the Tidal Akira or the Wilson XVX (with subs) — along with the amplification to match. Either option represents a serious step up in price. That makes the Trio G3 more than just musically impressive. It makes it impressive value too. For those of us for whom even the most modest Trio setup is simply too large or too expensive, the iTron technology will find its way into more affordable and more easily accommodated Avantgarde speakers, like the Duo models. An active Duo Mezzo, with its horn-loaded bass cabinet and twin spherical horns, remains for me a simply mouth-watering prospect.

New Wave: Transverse 

April 3, 2022 § Leave a comment

Woo WA33 Review 

March 29, 2022 § Leave a comment


February 16, 2022 § Leave a comment

Though I found Dirac Live completely competent in its free version, I still preferred the sound with it turned off. And rather than spending the $99 on the full software package right away, I urge buyers to experiment with Dirac limited to 500Hz. If your room is reasonably well treated, the C 399 delivers smooth and balanced sound on its own.

With NAD’s usual efficient design, the C 399 is a great match for just about any speakers you care to use. Big towers, detailed bookshelves, electrostats; I doubt there is anything this amp can’t drive. If you have around $2,500 in your amplifier budget, I urge you to check it out.

Diana Phi TC Review

January 28, 2022 § Leave a comment

Balanced Audio Technology VK80i Integrated Amplifier $9995 Review

January 4, 2022 § Leave a comment

Next in line for the BAT was the Innersound Isis 3.5 electrostatic hybrid, one of the most cohesive hybrids I’ve ever auditioned, and a challenging capacitive load in the treble range. Hooked up to the Low impedance taps, the Innersound Isis sang sweetly with superb timbre fidelity. And soundstage transparency was spectacular. The BAT seemed totally unfazed by this load and coaxed plenty of dynamics from a speaker that usually requires solid-state muscle amplification

Kudos to the BAT team for launching the all-tube VK80i. It is above all else a superb demonstration of triode power. If you’ve been mired in an audio rut, living with a cookie-cutter push-pull beam power or pentode amp, listen up. Sonic happiness in a glass bottle is within reach. You owe it to yourself to audition the VK80i. You’ll discover as I did that there is no turning back. 

High-End Sound Quality System

November 10, 2021 § Leave a comment

TechDAS Air Force Zero turntable $450,000 Review

September 16, 2021 § Leave a comment

It may seem contradictory to note that a turntable with a base price of $450,000 has a recognizable sound, but if you get to hear the Air Force Zero under conditions commensurate with its performance capabilities, you’ll quickly understand that it’s not contradictory at all. The turntable is recognizable because no other turntable, or none that I’ve yet reviewed, so effectively sinks unwanted and extraneous noise while passing the musical goods with effortless ease, often in the most subtle and nuanced ways. The AF Zero is not a flashy-sounding “show off” turntable.

The Zero is the most speed-consistent belt-drive turntable I’ve reviewed, and with its air-bearing platters and air suspension, also the quietest, best isolated, and most inert, with stable sonics, quiet, and exceptional detail resolution with no added grain or unnatural, mechanical edge definition. The Zero was also trouble- and hassle-free for six months and as much fun to use as it was to hear.

McIntosh XRT2.1 K Speakers Review

July 12, 2021 § Leave a comment

Now that McIntosh shares design duties with the design group in Italy, we can see some influence, both in sound, and in finish. The same team, headed up by Paolo Tezzon and Livio Cucuzzo (the guys that designed the Sonus faber Aida) worked on the XRT2.1K. These are by far the best executed XRTs in terms of look and sound. Where the past model was aluminum, these now are softer, curvier, and made from wood. A massive affair, they sprout up nearly 8 feet tall. Having heard them on numerous occassions in the mighty McIntosh Town House, they can fill a room with cavernous proportions.

In all seriousness, what these large speakers accomplish is a way to distribute the sound so that it completely envelops you. While many audiophiles talk about a perfect point source, in the real world, sound doesn’t come at you from a point, it envelopes you from all directions. Perhaps this is why tall speakers (magnetic or panels) have a more realistic feeling, from the sense of reproducing spatial cues.

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