Constellation Performance Centaur II 500 power amplifier $55,000 Review

October 19, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“My new torture track for revealing any problems a product might have dealing with low frequencies at high powers is “#thatpower,” featuring Justin Bieber, from Will.i.am’s #willpower (16/44.1 FLAC MQA, Interscope). The Bricasti reproduced the sampled kick drum with more upper bass than did the Lamms or the Constellation. Peak levels reached 98.6dB (measured with the Studio Six Digital SPL Meter app on my iPhone 6S, with C weighting and slow ballistics). When, on the line “I’ll take you higher,” the bass line drops to the subdominant, the Centaur II 500 sounded a little less “phatt” than the M1.2s, and even less so than the M15, to the benefit of the music’s clarity. The sampled snare drum in this track inherently sounds coarse, but the Centaur II 500 had less of a cack-cack quality than either the Bricasti or the Lamms. Winner on points? The Constellation.”
R

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LINN SELEKT DSM DIGITAL STREAMING PLATFORM

October 19, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“The other big punch-pulling was with regard to where Selekt DSM sits in the Linn echelon. In it’s standard guise, it’s better than Majik, but it’s more expensive than Majik. The full-up Aktiv Akurate DSM system is better than Selekt DSM, but it’s also a very narrow, very expensive Linn-related option. But the big issue is that bit in-between, where Selekt DSM takes on an Akurate DSM with Akurate amps in a passive context. Now it gets nuanced. The full Katalyst-enabled Selekt DSM with its brace of on-board Class D amps gets extremely close in performance terms to the Akurate DSM and power amp combination, and in many respects outguns the older platform. And yet, Selekt DSM is cheaper than Akurate in this setting. In fairness, I can’t see many Akurate users side-shifting to Selekt DSM, but I also can’t see many freshly minted passive Akurate users now that Selekt DSM exists. It’s that good.”

Martin Logan Renaissance ESL 15A Review

October 18, 2018 § Leave a comment

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The Renaissance ESL 15A’s are simply the absolute best Martin Logans that I have heard. They have seismic yet superbly articulate and very even-handed bass, coherence to rival the best multi-driver dynamic speakers and incredibly transparent and super-refined, yet smooth and gloriously rich midrange with precise, fluid and airy treble. These speakers combine so many audiophile tricks and weave them together so very well that it becomes a hardship to return to other speakers.”

Merrill Audio Element 118 Solid-State Monoblock Amplifiers $36,000 Review

October 17, 2018 § Leave a comment

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When one is considering an amplifier for one’s system, many factors come into play. A few of these are how much power is needed, whether one prefers solid-state or vacuum tubes, and especially whether or not an amplifier the matches the rest of one’s system. The Merrill Audio Element 118 deserves to be part of a system that has associated equipment that might not be top-of-the-line, but close to it. I could even imagine one building a system around the Element 118 and then acquiring the rest of one’s system to match its high-level of performance”

FIIO M3K $69.99 Review

October 17, 2018 § Leave a comment

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Beyond that, the unit is very pure sounding until you get to the top end, where things got very musical and hyper enjoyable for me. Sometimes, I listen to classical music and screaming guitars and find myself air-playing to myself in front of others…because I find the treble response and presentation that enjoyable. Right now, my sample is a beta unit and did not include custom EQ. However, FiiO has told me that they will be updating the M3K with custom EQ very soon!

RAIDHO TD-4.8 FLOORSTANDING LOUDSPEAKERS REVIEW

October 16, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“As discussed earlier, I try to prevent being too immediately aware of price when forming my findings about a loudspeaker. In the Raidho TD-4.8 there’s the physical loudspeaker and the sound it makes. Physically, I was pretty close in setting it in price context. It looks like an elegant loudspeaker in the £120,000–£150,000 price range. But that says nothing to its sonic performance, which puts it in the company of the open-ended flagships that make £150,000 seem like chicken feed. OK, those behemoths and dreadnoughts of the audio world tend to come with increased headroom or bandwidth (as in, you can play them at ear-punishing levels or with the sort of bass impact that impales the listener), but that’s all they trade, and you’ll rarely hear this kind of detail and information on loudspeakers that cost a cool half a million or more. Plus, this is the kind of loudspeaker that doesn’t impose constraints upon the choice of amplifier”

Allnic Audio • M-3000 Mk 2 Mono Amplifiers $17,900 Review

October 15, 2018 § Leave a comment

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“The existence of a coherent field of micro detail manifests both as an ambient field in the mids and higher ranges and also as low-frequency ambience. Ambience is usually a property of the high frequencies; here, we distinctly had it in the bass. Imagine that — bass ambience. Normally, a really full bass foundation means you are listening to a solid-state amp, which also usually means there’s a little muddiness or a one-note quality that isn’t quite natural. What I heard here were the color and lifelike presentation of tubes — like the famous tube midrange but in the bass. Most of you have heard the way a solo voice, via a tube midrange, can glow and radiate out from center stage. Now think of that in the bass. It was really nice. Unfortunately, my Lansche 5.1 speakers do not quite fully extend to the deepest bass regions. Pity. I’d never missed it before, but I would have loved to hear what a high-resolution speaker with really deep bass could do with these amps.”

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