February 28, 2021 § Leave a comment

The Klipsch Fives are a complete music system in one box. As tested by me, the Fives are fully capable of standing on their own and playing music from your mobile devices, or they can accept whatever digital or analog source you may have including a turntable. Although I think most of the environments that the Fives will be placed in will be small or compact, the Klipsch Fives did a great job filling my large family room. Never did I feel that the Fives were running out of steam. Considering the very fine sound and the low price (my moving coil cartridge alone is what the Fives sell for), I think Klipsch has provided their legendary sound in a compact package and priced it so that anyone can afford it. The Klipsch Fives are highly recommended for value and sound!

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO turntable $499 Review

February 28, 2021 § Leave a comment


Ultimately, what this record player demonstrated—clearly— is the all-important distinction between sound and music. While listening to it, I was aware of how different it sounded from my much more expensive Garrard 301. What do you give up with a budget turntable compared to a no-holds-barred one? Well, a bit of everything, really—it sounds less precise, less lifelike, less dramatic. But, importantly, while I was aware of the considerable sonic differences between the two turntables, I didn’t really miss the Garrard. That’s because the Pro-Ject was equally adept at playing music.

One of the records I’ve been listening to most is Lou Reed’s New York (1-25829). For me, its exasperated, end-of-the-world mood resonates with the present moment. I started listening to it constantly in the spring, when I was home alone and sick with COVID; something about the ferocity of Reed’s singing and lyrics—some of his best—felt cathartic and freeing. The spare instrumentation—two guitars, a six-string electric upright bass, and drums—allows the lyrics to come to the fore, and the 14 songs on New York unfold like a short story collection. After I lowered the tonearm onto the first track, “Romeo Had Juliet,” I sat down and listened to the entire 58-minute song cycle with my eyes closed, getting up only to flip the record.

Mark Levinson No5105 Turntable Review

February 27, 2021 § Leave a comment


For all the wrong reasons – looks, build quality, ease-of-use – I adore the No5105. Enough for the purists among you to castigate me, perhaps, but my admiration for it would only be meaningless if the sound didn’t match the form. This is a sublime device which does everything you’d want of a deck at its price, while delivering pride of ownership usually restricted to luxury pens and watches. I’m dazzled.


February 27, 2021 § Leave a comment

Lights abound, whether you like them or not… In addition to the white-lighted “Black Ice Audio” script on the amplifier’s front panel, and the lighted Black Ice logo on the same panel (that doubles as the on/standby switch), an additional pilot light is placed atop the transformer cover box. Even in standby mode, the on/off logo, pilot light, and “Black Ice Audio” logo remains lit. I find this distracting when the amp is not even playing and wish these lights were defeatable, but many won’t care. As delivered, the only way to turn off all amplifier lighting is to use the on/off switch on the back of the amplifier that may be less than readily accessible in some equipment racks.

Hi-Fi Stereo in 2021 – New Wilson Alexandria + VTL Siegfried II & New Reel to Reel’s Tour

February 27, 2021 § Leave a comment

Moon 680D review $9000

February 26, 2021 § Leave a comment


The Moon 680D sounds pretty good from cold but improves considerably over a few weeks of use. Given time, it becomes clearer and more transparent, gaining an appreciable amount of openness in the process.

We start with the digital inputs, which prove remarkably consistent. In our experience, many high-end companies struggle to make their USB inputs sound as good as the others. We suspect that has something to do with the fact that the USB receiver module tends to be a ready-made unit bought from third-party suppliers that may not match up to the standards of the rest of the DAC circuitry. We’re pleased to report that Moon avoids any such issues.

Regardless of the input chosen, the sonic signature is familiar enough. The company’s products have always been smooth and refined performers and this one is no different. It’s a friendly and accommodating balance – one that isn’t easily provoked by bright or aggressive recordings.

Scansonic MB6 B Loudspeaker Review

February 26, 2021 § Leave a comment


So yes, you certainly need to take a bit of care when it comes to positioning these loudspeakers to get the best of that bass, but do that and the MB6 Bs aren’t afraid to rock out, whether with the pomp of ‘Thunder Child’ from that famous War Of The Worlds recording [Columbia DPCD960000] or the sheer drive and slam of The Who’s ‘You Better You Bet’ [Face Dances; Geffen 96kHz/24-bit download].

The clarity here is a major factor, but the speakers never stray into ‘too much information’ territory. Instead, they deliver a sound that’s both satisfying in hi-fi terms and musically compelling, too.”

Kennerton Gjallarhorn GH50 Review

February 25, 2021 § Leave a comment

The Gjallarhorn is one of the more unusual headphones in the high-end space, offering a darker tuning thanks to an attenuated treble section. In stark contrast to its smooth highs, the Gjallarhorn presents one of the more-captivating and potent bass sections in the contemporary space. Thankfully, the company avoids the pitfalls of an overly-bloated bass section by tweaking the low-end to provide just the right amount of bass. Couple that with a world-beating presentation, replete with gobs of texture, and you’ve got one heck of an enjoyable basshead headphone.

It’s not all bass, bass, bass, though, as the Gjallarhorn offers a solid rendition of a lush and weighty vocal response. With decent-to-good levels of technical finesse, the Kennerton headphone produces instruments and voices in a well-defined stage.

Sonus Faber Extrema Review

February 25, 2021 § Leave a comment


Detail levels are pleasing, though outright resolution and distortion levels are areas in which advancements in drive units and cabinet designs have resulted in significant improvements since the Extremas were made. A good modern high-end speaker will simply sound cleaner and clearer, but is it more enjoyable? Now, that’s open to debate. In much the same way that many enjoy driving a classic car more than a modern equivalent, so it is here.Advertisementhttps://39e25acc62da76679a6e3c478aec02db.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

We put on Bjork’s Vulnicura set and revel in the sonic textures and dynamic shading. There’s plenty of punch here, and the Extrema are more than happy to play at high volume. We enjoy the insight and effortless fluidity, not to mention their ability to make listening to music really feel like an all-enveloping experience rather than just a mere activity to pass the time. The Extrema seem to have a little bit of magic baked into their sonic DNA.

Classé Audio Delta Mono Amplifiers $21,998 Review

February 24, 2021 § Leave a comment


The Classé Delta Mono balanced the audible advantages of tubed and solid-state amplification better than has any other amp for south of $30,000 that I’ve reviewed. It conveyed all of the qualities of sound I love in the McIntosh MC1.25KW—e.g., the latter’s robust, punchy bass and beautifully fluid midrange—but expertly balanced them with some of what I love about the Simaudio Moon Evolution W-7M: high levels of resolution, transparency, power, focus, and unrelenting drive. And the Delta Mono is cheaper than either.

The Delta Mono fell short in the materials of which its case is made. The McIntosh MC1.25KW, with its thick faceplate of solid glass, huge backlit wattmeter, massive rack handles of solid aluminum, and elaborate case of stamped and polished stainless steel, is one of the most robust-looking amplifiers on the market. Similarly, the Moon Evolution W-7M and all its successors have 1/2″-thick faceplates, huge corner posts machined from billet, 1.5ʺ-thick heatsinks, and beautifully milled and textured top panels—all of solid aluminum. While Classé’s Delta Mono, with its 3/4″-thick wraparound front plate, may look robust, closer examination reveals thicknesses of little more than 1/8″ everywhere else on the case. But while the Delta Mono may not feel as robust or as vault-like as the others mentioned here, as one who’s lived with these amps for over three months now, I urge you not to judge a book by its cover.

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