Clearaudio Innovation Basic Turntable | Review

April 17, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Its hard to tell if my enjoyment was due to the Clearaudio table, the new TRACER or the Hana ML cartridge. But I do know that the combination of the three seemed to offer a level of synergy that left an impression on me.

Over the past few years I have come to appreciate wood body cartridges like the Miyajima Zero Mono or Miyajima Madake Snakewood that create a hypnotic sound with soul…. The Hana ML isn’t a Snakewood, but it had the ability to create a similar experience on a smaller scale, and I think that is what attracted me to it.”

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TEAC Reference NR-7CD Network CD Player and Integrated Amplifier-DAC Review $4999

April 17, 2019 § Leave a comment

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Seattle-based indie electronic group Odesza was in heavy rotation during my time with the NR-7CD, and the latter’s reproduction of “Higher Ground,” from Odesza’s A Moment Apart (16/44.1 FLAC, Counter/Tidal), had an immediacy and bite that lent itself to the punctuality that characterizes so much modern electronica, including this. I loved this track’s air and reverb through the TEAC — it sounded enormous in my long, narrow listening room. I was also taken with the lazy falsetto of guest singer Naomi Wild — it was superdetailed, with excellent stereo imaging. The bass line was similarly impressive, the NR-7CD exerting above-average control over my KEFs’ 5.25” midrange-woofers. At low to medium volume levels I was seduced by the TEAC’s multitude of talents; its synchronized routine with my LS50s produced a sound as transparent as mountain spring water.”

Aurender N10 Music Server $7,999 Review

April 16, 2019 § Leave a comment

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    “A very cool operating function of the N10 is the fact that if a song, album or playlist is already cached to the 250GB SSD, then the 4TB HDD doesn’t even spin-up – it remains asleep – eliminating any possibility of acoustic noise emanating from spinning discs. The fact that everything in the N10 is also optimized for the quietest audio playback possible – it has no extraneous hardware or software-processing overhead – contributed to an instantly noticeable drop in the noise floor; this is the “black background” reviewers love to chin-wag about and I won’t let you down here. Regardless of file played, the background haze I hadn’t really noticed was there was lifted through the Aurender and when this happens, regardless of how it happens, it’s like the window into the recorded event has suddenly been wiped clean: It’s impossible not to hear it once it has occurred. There was also a dynamic and rhythmic uptick to drive in music playback. I wish I had a Roon Nucleus to compare the N10 to, but I’m still waiting for my review sample, as I feel that’s a more fair comparison. That said, I think it is the most logical and applicable choice to use my laptop for comparison as the bulk of potential buyers of an Aurender (or other music server) would be migrating from a PC or laptop as their digital-audio source.”

HYLA TE5B & TE5T REVIEW

April 16, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Now we have the TE-5B and the TE-5T models from Hyla, of which only 200 units will be made/sold and they’re available to purchase at the moment. Make sure to place your order fast if you plan to get one.

Trident Engine 5 Bass & Treble, those are the full names of these new IEMs. The B model stands for “bass” and the T model stands for “treble”. So obviously these two companions are tuned differently to appeal to varying tastes. Both IEMs consist of 1 Dynamic driver + 2 BAs + 1 Piezo Ceramic Driver, just like the CE-5. I don’t have the information if they used the exact same drivers or not, but for sure they sound different.”

Audio-Technica AT-LP7 Turntable Review $799

April 15, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“That definitely describes the LP7, but it’s not a bad thing. This basic design is more or less universal at this price point for a reason: It’s simple and it’s effective. It allows people who maybe aren’t too into the fiddly-ness that naturally comes with vinyl playback to experience a more advanced turntable. The LP7 even has a built-in phonostage (that can be bypassed) for those who don’t have electronics with a phono preamp. It’s a compromise between form, function, and user ability. The LP7 is a step up from your entry-level turntables, both in cost and in functionality, and I was really interested to find out how it sounded.”

Legacy Audio Valor speaker system

April 14, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Speaking of horn speaker sound, the V never mimicked the pinpoint propagation of a horn’s concentric driver, but the Valor does. The post-convergent array of the 4-inch NeoRibbon drivers do not allow for a sloppy result. Dare I say the concentric 14” resolves the informational landscape between the speakers realistically, while the array of Stereo Unfold drivers propelling their signal outwards renders the wider, peripheral imaging cleanly. Just as whatever is in our eyes’ focus is clear, while the periphery is softened, so also the space between the Valor’s towers is clear, while the periphery is less distinct. That is perfectly ok, as our hearing discerns the immediate effect and subjugates the secondary stimuli.”

FIIO FA1 REVIEW $100

April 14, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Using the FA1 with phones, you will notice the boost in clarity especially in the treble, the bass is quite shy and attacks comfortably not covering up the sub-bass content. This helps the bass extension sound deeper and makes the overall tuning more dynamic. The tuning is not veiled on either the treble or the lows although it is limited by a single driver’s capability. The soundstage is fairly large and there are no obvious flaws in the tuning.

In particular, I like how the crispiness in the treble makes the upper vocal range and percussion instruments more pronounced, strengthening the texture and resolution of female vocals and violins.”

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