Dan D’Agostino Master Audio Systems Progression Stereo Amplifier and Preamplifier $22,000 Review

January 25, 2020 § Leave a comment


“The power amplifier is, well, a power amplifier. Aside from a large front-panel meter, with some fun color options, it has no special controls. The only practical feature I’d flag is that the amp has XLR inputs only, but few audiophiles today are going to use RCA cables in any case. Like all good power amps, you put it in place, hook it up, turn it on, and forget about it, although you will want to run a mini-cable between the preamp’s 12V trigger output and the power amp’s trigger input so that the amplifier turns on automatically with your preamp. 

This is not just an ordinary power amp, however. When D’Agostino uses the word “power,” he is not kidding. The Progression stereo power amp is a 125-pound unit that can deliver 300 watts into 8 ohms and 600 watts into 4 ohms. Its gee-whiz technical features include 42 output transistors, a nearly 3000VA power-supply transformer, and 400,000 microfarads of power-supply storage capacitance, and it can optionally be hooked up to a 240V AC socket.”


January 23, 2020 § Leave a comment


“In fact, the Sasha DAW’s only real weakness is possibly also its greatest strength. This is not a loudspeaker that ever sounds bad (its greatest strength), but it also has the potential to sound truly soul-shakingly good. There will be some pairs of Sasha DAWs where that potential remains untapped. This is a loudspeaker where going to the extra place is not simply an exercise in navel-gazing but returns the kind of performance that can stop you in your tracks. Here’s a perfect test of the Sasha DAW’s true power; play something evocative like Jacqueline du Pré’s remarkable rendition of the Elgar Cello Concerto [Barbirolli, LSO, EMI]. Unless the system has been set-up with a pick-axe, you will get goose-bumps. When the system is fully on song and at its very best, you find yourself in tears. It’s an uncontrollable, almost atavistic, reaction to the music that happens when the system pulls the music into focus. You can find this in very well set-up systems, but usually in very well set-up systems that cost so much they could depth-charge the economy of a small island nation.

Meze Rai Penta Review

January 23, 2020 § Leave a comment

“I call out this track particularly because it is recorded outside, so it has that kind of dry ambience outdoor recordings have, and it is hyper-detailed and dynamic with fairly gentle limiting. My initial impressions were that the Rai Penta was editorializing a little on the transients – that I wasn’t getting as much impact as some recordings. My impression of this was due to the aforementioned lack of pressure I was hearing on this IEM. The “Woods” track, and say the Peter Dominguez Track “Bossa Nova Nemo” actually have plenty of transient and dynamic information, so I after listening to these I came to a different conclusion entirely. I think what I’m hearing is a what might be considered a very ‘open’ decay characteristic, similarly to the difference between open and closed headphones.”

iFi ZenDAC Review

January 22, 2020 § Leave a comment


“While that might sound relatively modest compared to smaller desktop amps which now routinely offer several full watts of power, there’s been a bit of confusion about what exactly the result of that is. More power does not determine a system’s volume – that is in fact determined by gain. A lower powered amp will actually sound louder than a higher powered one if it has more gain at a given input. Power is more important in determining what the maximum current or voltage a device can swing into a transducer when hit with musical peaks as well as how loud waveforms are. So, think of power as being a rough indicator of how dynamic a system can be, and gain as determining its relative loudness when listening. I’m grossly oversimplifying and all the electrical engineers are squirming, but I think you get the point.”

Arendal Sound 1961 Subwoofer 1S review

January 22, 2020 § Leave a comment


What this well-priced woofer won’t do is completely overwhelm you in subsonic mayhem. For larger setups and bass obsessives, the vented Subwoofer 1V model, which claims to hit 16Hz, might be a better fit – as long as its bigger cabinet and €200 price hike can be accommodated.

A more obvious criticism concerns usability. Ideally, the parametric EQ and other features would be accessed via a smartphone app. The sub’s dial/button arrangement is simplistic and intuitive, but making adjustments is long-winded, and the back of the woofer might not always be easily accessible depending on


January 21, 2020 § Leave a comment


“I am a tech person, so I did it all myself and thought it was kind of fun to figure it all out and troubleshoot issues. If you’re a Luddite or even a person for whom that sort of tech adventure sounds less than fun, maybe the Poly isn’t for you. As apps and their features change, you’ll need to adapt. The only thing that worked without any third party setup was Airplay streaming from the Apple music player on the phone. If the Poly is on the network (either hotspot or normal), Airplay just works. MPD using Rigelian was also straightforward unless the app decides it needs you to renew the purchase of the full version without the internet being available. This happened once to me on a plane and I had to make do with the limitations of the free version of Rigelian until I got to my destination. And with any complicated system, stuff breaks. The Poly relies on a Wi-Fi connection working and properly set up. This is your problem and requires some knowledge of Wi-Fi setup to get right. I could not imagine someone like, say, my father having any hope of successfully using the Poly. I thought it was great, though.”

Audeze LCD-1 Review

January 20, 2020 § Leave a comment


” do detect what I hear as a bit of a dip at 6kHz and again at just under 8kHz, but the treble is remarkably even up into the highest musically-useful frequencies. The very slightly-relaxed presence region doesn’t dip below the treble shelf, and this plays a big part in helping the treble sound very clear without sending things out of wack. Upper midrange/lower treble dips can sometimes make the higher treble sound too bright by comparison, but the evenness of the treble on the LCD-1 doesn’t have this issue. The slight dips I detected at 6kHz and other treble frequencies may help with with the simultaneous feeling of clarity and relaxedness of the LCD-1. The detail of this presentation is very good, though I can see some trebleheads craving a slightly brighter one just to feel they’re getting a last scooch of detail. I personally prefer a more even treble, and the LCD-1 delivers that in spades. The slightly relaxed upper midrange I mentioned also helps this feeling of simultaneous clarity and warmth.”

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