JDS LABS EL DAC REVIEW

February 21, 2019 § Leave a comment

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Sonically, the EL can be considered a baseline. It maintains that distinct level of clarity and simple detail in everything it does irregardless of the complexity thrown at it. It leans on the slightly warmer side of things (relatively) and pairs well with most amps and headphones I’ve used. For better or worse, just like its outer shell, the EL DAC is mostly free of any strong sonic characteristics save its penchant for a wider and more open sound stage.This can leave listeners say wanting more bass kick, or a thicker mid range, or a more intimate performance. The EL is smack dab in the middle and it likes it there.”

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Ultrasone Edition 11 $1,000

February 21, 2019 § Leave a comment

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The Edition 11 is a beautiful looking headphone but more than that it has a tuning that I think a lot of people might want to hear, especially those who have never considered Ultrasone before. The price point is tempting also. I have had a few dynamic driver woodies last year at this price point including Erzitech’s Mania and Kennerton’s Vali but this one may yet push those 2 in the shade.

At 32Ω and being an open-back for home listening does demand more exploration and testing in our main review because I think it does work fine from portable sources. The only issue is that has no isolation whatsoever so not a commute friendly headphone. Also cable-rolling with that 2-pin termination. That could well be the most fun part of the main review!”

MrSpeakers Ether 2 Over-The-Ear Headphones $1999 Review

February 19, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The reduction of weight is just one of the many improvements that Ether 2 has over its predecessors. It boasts an entirely new motor designed around MrSpeakers TrueFlow technology. This also includes a diaphragm that’s 70% lighter than used in previous models. The driver baffle is composed of carbon fiber, helping further reduce weight while maintaining rigidity. MrSpeakers employs their trusty flexible NiTinol metal headband support system, while upgrading the headband strap to webbed leather. Further helping comfort are high quality synthetic leather ear pads that utilize an ear shaped opening (opposed to a rectangle or oval shape). Finally the all metal cup and mounting arm not only looks fantastic, but feels premium and built to last.

Also introduced with the Ether 2 is MrSpeakers new premium VIVO cable, which replaces the venerable DUM cable used with previous Ether models. The DUM cable was a quality cable, but the VIVO is a big upgrade in many ways. The VIVO feels robust, yet is incredibly flexible without being microphonic. It also uses silver plated OFHC copper which is an excellent match to the Ether 2’s tuning. Included as well is a standard black MrSpeakers clamshell hard-case and certificate of authenticity.”

McIntosh C2600 Tubed Preamplifier Review

February 19, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Delicate, signal-centric analog and digital sections are kept separate thanks to an internal, two layer dual-chassis design which according to the company was developed to prevent signal corruption, shielding intricate circuitry from RF and EMI interference. Analog inputs consist of three balanced (XLR), four unbalanced (RCA – gold plated, solid brass) and dedicated MM and MC phono stages (40dB/60dB voltage gain respectively). Digital inputs include one asynchronous USB Type-B, two coaxial, three optical and one proprietary McIntosh MCT (DIN) which offers a secure DSD connection for McIntosh SACD/CD transports. A headphone amplifier featuring McIntosh’s Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD) is built-in as well “to allow high quality recordings to image like conventional speakers in your headphones” according to the company (A claim I can attest to after extensive listening sessions, the sensation is less ‘in the centre of your head’ if I had to briefly describe it). You can utilize or bypass Tone controls and all inputs can be individually named to custom tailor them to your specific gear or nomenclature and be input level-matched to +/-6dB, bass and treble settings can also be adjusted on a per-input basis. The unit also has a Home Theatre PassThru, Power Control Output (one main, four trigger), RS232 Control Input and a rear panel IR sensor input.”

Monitor Audio Platinum PL100 II Loudspeaker $5,795 Review

February 19, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Of the speakers that I have reviewed recently, the PL100 II sounds most similar to the $2140 Xavian Perla Esclusiva, but has deeper bass and a small increase in treble resolution. The Xavians are not as particular about toe in or room position. The $4,000 per pair Revel M126Be is higher resolution across the audible frequency range while being much more particular regarding the associated power amplifier.

This is a speaker that draws little attention to itself sonically and you don’t really think about them while the music is playing. The cabinets are very nicely finished. The almost 34 pound weight of each speaker is heavier than almost any other 2-way speaker, including some with metal or proprietary-material enclosures. They don’t impress as being spectacular sounding in any area, but are quite competent at delivering an enjoyable listening experience. ”

Dan D’Agostino Momentum Integrated Amplifier w/DAC & Audio Streaming World Premiere $50,000 Review

February 18, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“My concentration changes focus throughout the piece, in sort of a meditative way as it ebbs and flows throughout the piece. I found this happening when listening to the MLife play my favorite power orchestral pieces. Regardless of how boisterous the music might become, my focus changes throughout the piece, focusing on different instruments, different sections of the orchestra, and to its soloists. As it does in real life. The dynamic distance the MLife can create with this large group of instrument is second to none in my experience, regardless of whether I’m listening to the internal DAC fed by the Ethernet connection or a source connected through an interconnect, digital or analog. The internal DAC of the MLife was the best at conveying the characteristics inherent to the MLife itself. And sounded the best out of all the sources. Yes, there will always be something special about playing LPs, and the MLife did not diminish this pleasure. But to have digital playback sound as good as the MLife could was new to me. And quite a pleasure.

One of the pleasures of a high-end system is being to step back in time, and thus come as close as humanly possible to what bewildered audiences heard in the very early 19th Century when Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, or Eroica, was premiered. We’re hearing modern instruments, of course, but that’s not my point. At the time of its premier it was thought as too “structurally rigorous”, and at nearly 45 minutes, much too long. It was quite a ground-breaking piece of music. Now it is regarded as one of his most celebrated works, and for good reason. It probably surprises no one that my favorite movement is the Adagio, the second movement, which Beethoven titled “Marcia funebre”, or “Funeral March”. The DSD file of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, conducted by: Kurt Masur Symphony is not only well read, it is a great recording. Via the MLife’s internal DAC it is amazing to hear how it enables the sections of the orchestra to occupy distinct areas within the huge soundstage, projecting itself between, behind and to the sides of the speakers, making the speakers very difficult to locate when closing my eyes.”

Audio Physic Step Plus loudspeaker $2599 Review

February 18, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Digitally sourced music gave further evidence of the Step Plus’s prowess. As I played CDs through an ATC CDA2 Mk.II CD player into the Parasound integrated amplifier, the Steps reproduced quality bass tonnage that was extraordinary. I’m not talking a merely passable low end, but deep, round frequencies. The best example of this was Forq, from the scrappy funk-jazz quartet of that name (CD, groundUP 8829514692). Forq includes members of Snarky Puppy, and their organ-generated robo funk sounds as if recorded inside a bass drum. Every ounce of bass-drum air—most plentifully produced by jazz drummers who don’t mute the drum—is present on this bass-grip-of-doom CD. Imagine Chic by way of the Meters and Tower of Power: Forq is that lowdown and dirty.”

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