Bowers & Wilkins Formation Audio Review

August 24, 2019 § Leave a comment

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For a hair under $700, Bowers & Wilkins will give you the ability to connect your beloved legacy components to their newly released Formation line of wireless loudspeakers, and do so in an easy-to-use, stylish way. While the Formation Audio may be little more than a hub or transmitter, there is no denying it’s a stellar piece of product design, one that is easy to setup and live with day-to-day. While I may think it’s overpriced (it is), there’s no getting around the fact that should you want to listen to anything on your Formation loudspeakers not streaming through your phone, the Formation Audio is the only option you have”

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Meze Empyrean Headphone $2,999 Review

August 24, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Compared to other similarily-priced wares from Audeze, Sennheiser or HIFIMAN, the Empyreans are firmly planted in the same territory from a sonic-capability standpoint, but stands out because they do not in some way compensate with trade-offs in frequency response, timbral accuracy, transient speed, treble or bass extension for playback, or long-term comfort or wearibility. Capable of ethereal highs, moody, passionate mids with superb palyback of every subtle vocal inflection and nuance and a bassheads delight for getting heavy, the Empyrean offers something few other headphones at any price point can offer: a complete package in set of over-ear ‘phones that will play it all without fuss, bottom-end goosing or hyperbole. They’re a dish that delivers on what the menu promises.”

Read more at https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/meze-empyrean-headphone-review-page-2-0#4j7F5Sb55gJmFGYp.99

Chord Electronics Hugo TT 2 Review

August 23, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The Hugo TT 2 sports a host of useful digital inputs: two optical, two coaxial BNC, one driverless USB (for use with tablets and smartphones), one USB Type-B, and an aptX Bluetooth interface. Analog outputs include: stereo XLR, stereo RCA, two 6.35mm headphone jacks, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. One set of dual DX BNC digital (expansion) outputs is also provided. By design, the Hugo TT offers three distinct operating modes: “DAC mode” with fixed line-level outputs, “Amp mode” with variable-level rear-panel outputs, and “Headphone mode” with variable-level outputs from front-panel-mounted headphone jacks.

The amplifier section of Hugo TT 2 is very powerful, delivering up to 7.3W at 8 ohms in single-ended mode or a stonking 18W at 8 ohms in balanced mode. For this reason, and with headphone/hearing protection in mind, Chord Electronics advises owners to start out with extremely low volume level settings and to proceed with appropriate caution. ”

PBN Audio M2!5 Loudspeakers $30,000 Review

August 23, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“These ears are a bit spoiled when it comes to high frequencies thanks to my long term reference Lansche 4.1 with its plasma tweeter. There is no finer tweeter that I’ve heard. No mass, just a ball of fire that expands and contracts creating sound. If that sounds like something out of science fiction, it kind of is. Its Achilles heel is found when the music gets way too loud. It compresses, and can cause failure. Typically, I’d have to spend time acclimating to a non-plasma tweeter. Even if well designed, my ears usually can hear what the tweeter is contributing. The M2!5 required no such adjustment period. The implementation of the dual compression mid band and treble drivers just lock in, and sound totally integrated. It is neither bright nor brittle. It doesn’t harden or compress at higher volume. It’s not super-fast sounding, nor is blunted. It just sails along and remains at the service of the music. Very well done.

When it comes to fleshing out a stage, the sense that an orchestra is in the room, and the scale in which it is spread across the space is uncanny. While I won’t slam any manufacturers by name, I will say another guest, a former French horn player for the Dallas Symphony, and rabid audio enthusiast, proclaimed the M2!5 trounced a very well known “modern” $110,000 speaker that he has been aspiring to own. He thought my description “constipated” described the much more expensive speaker perfectly compared to the M2!5. He also thought the M2!5 to be more enjoyable if not “better” than another contemporary $250,000 design that he is very familiar with. His wife, an accomplished classic pianist, reached the exact same conclusion.”

AUDEZE LCD-4Z PLANAR MAGNETIC HEADPHONE $3,995 REVIEW

August 22, 2019 § Leave a comment

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In many respects, the Audeze LDC-4z sounds surprisingly close to the performance of the top electrostats in terms of fine detail retrieval, transparency, coherence, openness, and clarity. It should appeal to those who want top-tier performance in an easier to drive and more comfortable package than the LCD-4. While its price tag may be a bit daunting, when one compares its performance to reference headphones, as well as many loudspeaker systems costing many times more, the LCD-4z is arguably somewhat of a bargain. If you want the best, make sure you audition the LCD-4z.”

TechDAS Air Force III Premium Turntable Review

August 22, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Members of the Living Stereo cult will know that the LPs under that imprint make almost any system sound silky, sexy and superior, so I turned to an album some analogue purists find a mite brittle, due to its digital origins. Telarc’s Romeo & Juliet/Nutcracker Suite [DG-10068], performed by Loren Maazel and the Cleveland Orchestra, was so free of fatigue-inducing artefacts that I had to question my own prejudices.

Like the Crew Cuts LP, the Telarc recording possessed space and scale so perfectly formed that the audiophilic goal of ‘disappearing speakers’ was repeated and maintained. Stage depth and width were cavernous, individual sounds located precisely as they should be, with an uncanny freedom from any constraints that might be attributed to speaker location. The Wilson Yvettes simply vanished.”

Magico A3 Loudspeakers $12,300 Review

August 21, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“While the A3 may not sound quite as vivid as its progenitors, I think it takes the Magico sound a confident step forward. Consider “Film Credits,” the standout track of 32-year-old composer Ólafur Arnalds’s Living Room Songs (16/44.1 FLAC, Erased Tape/Tidal), recorded in the Icelander’s apartment. The string quartet played from left to right, and the recording’s raw, unfiltered sound was a joy to hear through the Magicos. The mournful first violin, to left of center, sounded sublime. There was texture and detail by the bucketful, yet the instrument sounded robust, locked in space, its aural image suspended effortlessly in space between the black monoliths. As mechanical as the A3 looks, its sound remained remarkably organic as the three other strings entered and I sat back, full of respect for the totality of its sound. If you want romance and coloration, find another speaker. Much like Alon Wolf, the A3 tells it like it is.”

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