McIntosh RS100 Wireless Speaker Review

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“At this point, I caught the bug and started burning through a bunch of tracks just to hear stuff. The Shelby Lynne audiophile classic “Just a Little Lovin’ ” left my mouth hanging open: The bigger-than-life opening drum kit and guitar notes, followed by Lynne’s huge and sultry voice, were set into a seemingly boundary-less soundstage. The high-quality material from Frederick Fennell leading the Dallas Wind Symphony, courtesy of Reference Recordings, was also favored by the RS100s. The speakers beautifully delivered the flutes, woodwinds, and horns in the “At the Ballet” section of a medley from A Chorus Line, filling up the room with their collective, harmonious power. And I could go on, of course.”

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Aerial Model 5T Loudspeaker $3795 Review

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“Low-level resolution was also very good. During Harry Connick, Jr’s rendition of “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”—a tasteful, intimate track for voice, sax, and bass—the textures were velvet, relaxed, and forgiving. Micro-dynamics and transient information were good, and the percussive hand-tapping upon the bass was nicely defined though not quite as crisp as I’ve heard it sound on my reference ATCs”

Benchmark AHB2 Reference Stereo Amplifier Review

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“The Benchmark AHB2 embodies everything that a solid-state amp should. It is a technologically advanced and remarkable amplifier that can hang with any amp in its class because it is sonically transparent, images beautifully, and produces authoritative bass. While costing only $2,995, it is hard to imagine asking for much more in a power amplifier. In fact, if the AHB2 cost another $1,000, I would still call it a bargain. Interestingly, while my Focal speakers are easy to drive, the AHB2 can probably drive a set of modestly inefficient floor-standing speakers to reasonable listening levels without any strain whatsoever. If you are looking to spend between $2,500 and $4,500 on a stereo, solid-state amplifier, it would be foolish not to consider the AHB2 a strong contender.”

2017 Editors’ Choice: Loudspeakers $10,000-$20,000

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“The UniField Two is a 2.5-way design in which a 7″ coaxial driver is augmented below 80Hz by an aluminum-cone woofer. Internal chambers define a mini-labyrinth, which significantly dampens the vent output. The coaxial technology together with a non-resonant enclosure yields exceptional soundstaging and image focus. Expect impressive bass-range performance when the UniField is matched with a high-damping-factor solid-state amplifier, though the bass balance will be shifted toward the midbass. The UniField competes effectively with British stand-mounts from Spendor and Harbeth, offering greater rhythmic precision and bass heft.”

VISION EARS VE8 REVIEW

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“The mids in the VE8 are quite different from the more recessed VE5’s mids. In the VE8 they have more body making the whole presentation more linear. The mids have lovely texture with good depth and layering. They sound musical and natural and the voice are perfectly incorporated in it.”

Audio Physic Step plus Speakers $2,599 Review

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” The closer to the wall you go, the more bass, but there reaches a point where it begins to compromise the exquisite imaging capabilities. Move the speakers up and back a few inches at a time, and you’ll know immediately when you hit it. The magic disappears, and it disappears abruptly. A similar effect happens moving the speakers side to side, go a little too far, and your hard earned coherence vanishes.”

BOULDER AMPLIFIERS 865 INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER REVIEW

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“Bringing these qualities to a silky mid-range centric recording like James Taylor’s October Road album’s first track ‘September Grass’ [Columbia], I can revel in the joy of simple acoustic guitar, bass, and drums in a small group setting. Recordings like this are the audio equivalent to that favourite pair of shoes. They feel right and I can spend hours in them. I want to settle in for the afternoon and let the stress of the day roll away. What I do not want is edge or grain. I do not want coloration. I am seeking that hard to find accurate timbre and have the music create the gestalt of memory triggering the daydream qualities of returning to the moment – good times made possible by the time machine of music. Few pieces of kit make this possible. The 865 is one that does with aplomb.”

WESTONE LABORATORIES W80 UNIVERSAL-FIT EARPHONE $1,500 – REVIEW

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” There is very little to criticise in Westone’s W80. Perhaps the only ‘downsides’ involve the fact that the earphone is (not surprisingly) extremely sensitive to the quality of associated amplifiers and source components and is noticeably harder to drive than Westone’s W60/ES60 models. The only other minor critique I would offer is that the ALO Reference 8 Westone Edition cables (which sound very good, by the way), use jackets that are relatively stiff and therefore transmit a fair amount of mechanical noise when they brush against garments or desktop objects. Apart from those minor points, though, the W80 is a world-class winner, pure and simple.”

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