Sound Lab Majestic 645 electrostatic panel $24,660 Review

November 22, 2020 § Leave a comment

Sound Lab Majestic 645 electrostatic panel loudspeakers Review

“But the electrostatic panels are also bass monsters. In the Sound Lab, I’m hearing the least compressed, swiftest in takeoff, and most natural bottom end of any loudspeakers. Apogee diehards prefer the fast, mass-less, potent bottom ends of ribbon panels like no other speaker users’ business.  Being an owner of a pair of Apogee Duetta Signatures, I found the externally charged panels of the Majestic 645 produced a bottom end at the “0” setting that was not merely mindboggling but mind-bending. At this setting, the bottom-end reproduction of the Sound Lab attained such speed and force that it created a pseudo vacuum effect on my ear drum the moment the bass was cut during a scene in a movie. Panels microns thick that are the Majestic 645 excited the air with tidal waves of bottom-end densely woven in resolutions like I’ve never experienced before. The “+3” setting was too powerful for my taste, while the “-3” and “-6” settings accorded readers with smaller listening room a high degree of control for the best sound.”

Bakoon Amp 13R Integrated Amplifier $6000 Review

November 22, 2020 § Leave a comment

 “While I was writing this, I thought of the many reviews I have read that use descriptive language used to describe the sound of component both inexpensive and stratospherically costly that I have used in this review. Many of the same words can be used to describe the sound of a vast number of components. But none of them have the Satri circuit in them. This technology is the real deal and not just a company catch phrase. It proves it in the listening. In an email to me, Mr. Chae mentioned that this combination of amplifier and speakers are affectionately called Bonsai to them. Well little in stature and big on performance I say.”

Kharma Exquisite-Midi Loudspeaker $85,000 Review

November 21, 2020 § Leave a comment

The Exquisite-Midi is staggeringly compact for its level of performance. At 40″ tall, 12″ wide, and 20″ deep (not including stands), its 180-pound weight hints at the quality, density of materials, and complexity of its construction. The combination of high-gloss black and high-gloss wood finishes with gentle curves screams fine craftsmanship and luxury. As with a Ferrari or McLaren, every line is purposeful and graceful. Every curve and seam is masterfully executed and finished. Tap on the top and all you get are sore knuckles and all you hear is a dull thud. The cabinet is designed, inside and out, to get out of the way of the music and to optimize phase behavior and minimize time delay. I will stay away from the great debate over which speakers are truly time and phase coherent, and which say they are and aren’t. Nor will I address whether time or phase coherence is more important. What I can say is that this speaker is among the most phase and time coherent transducers I have ever heard—at least to the extent I credit myself for being sensitive to such things. Speaking of coherence, the proximity of the four drivers lends itself to amazing driver integration, which is easily affirmed by listening. The crisscrossing support structure on the speaker’s base employs 1″ threaded spikes and 3″ floor plates. The 1″ threads allow for easy adjustment of the Exquisite-Midis’ 180-pound mass, and the 3″ floor plates permit relatively easy movement for setup. Around back are two pair of Cardas clamp-style speaker posts. Banana-terminated cables need not apply—they won’t work, period. Embrace the spade.

Yamaha GT-5000 Turntable $1,399 Review

November 21, 2020 § Leave a comment

Better still, the feelgood factor begins when you unpack the GT-5000, as there’s the sense that much thought has gone into how a top-flight turntable should be presented. Both rubber and felt platter mats are provided, plus two counterweights for a range of cartridge weights. There’s also a pair of handles that screw into the platter, enabling it to be lifted onto the sub-platter without risk of marking the plinth’s finish.

Best of all is a stroboscopic disc, plus a dedicated strobe lamp that plugs into a socket on the rear of the plinth to provide accurate speed setting – the deck offers both 33.33rpm and 45rpm speeds – independent of mains frequency variations. Finally, the rear of the plinth has pre-drilled mounting holes (blanked off with glorious knurled screws) to take the hinges of the optional DCV-5000 lid, though this will set you back a rather eye-watering £849.


November 20, 2020 § Leave a comment

The SR25 is a stunningly-packaged little device, both in terms of its one-of-a-kind looks, and its over-achieving capabilities. There are certainly some cheaper options out there in DAP-land that will get you into audiophile-grade sound for less, but they’re not really as interesting as the SR25. I found that what the SR25 does so well is the fact that it delivers an incredible overall experience in terms of sound, sight, and feeling – it really does deliver emotional engagement in spades, and for that reason, it’s well worth it as a ticket into high-end, portable sound. Highly recommended

Fyne Audio F501SP review

November 20, 2020 § Leave a comment

Once positioned with care, these speakers image well. They have a focused and precise sound that captures low-level detail well. It’s an organised presentation, one that pulls every instrumental strand together to produce a cohesive and musical sound.

Tonally, this Fynes aren’t the smoothest performers. That IsoFlare array has many strong points, but in our experience it doesn’t tend to produce the sweetest highs or offer the even-handed neutrality of the best alternatives.

It’s important to note that the F501SPs remain more than acceptable in these respects, provided the partnering electronics are chosen with care. Equally, rivals that do better in those aspects invariably fail to match the Fynes in their areas of strength.”

Schiit Freya+ Preamp and Bifrost 2 DAC $899 Review

November 18, 2020 § Leave a comment

Getting set up was pretty straight forward. I connected my Cambridge Audio CXN v2 to the Bifrost 2 via coax, connected the Bifrost 2 via unbalanced RCA to the Freya+, and ran the Freya+ into my Parasound Halo Integrated 6 in home-theater bypass mode, which essentially turned it into a power amp. Later on, I swapped out the HINT 6 for a more traditional power amp, the Emotiva A-150. However, I actually preferred the sound I got from my HINT 6 over the Emotiva, so all my listening notes will be based on that setup, unless otherwise noted. I also stuck with the supplied 6SN7 JJ tubes, frankly because I don’t feel like tumbling into the tube-rolling money pit again, but rolling is a real thing and worth trying out if you have unlimited cash, patience, and a masochistic streak.

Okay, all of that out of the way, I powered everything up. And my first impressions were very positive. Schiit claims the Freya+’s tube stage is quiet, and it’s definitely right about that. I’ve had some noisy, hissy, angry tubes in my system, but I can hear absolutely nothing at a moderate volume from my listening seat through my fairly sensitive GoldenEar Triton Three+ speakers. 

Flagship Focal Utopia Phones Review

November 18, 2020 § Leave a comment

Listening to Frank Zappa’s Freak Out! reveals what makes the Utopias worth the price. Their ability to disentangle complex recordings is fantastic. Anyone who happens to be a student of Zappa knows how much he packs into any tune. The massive bass riff in the opening of “Who Are The Brain Police?” is kept in balance with all the tinkly percussion bits, surrounded by layer upon layer of vocals – with Zappa staying front, center, right inside your brain as you listen.

The Utopias do and equally enticing job with sparse musical selections. Moving all the way through Twin Peaks (Music From the Limited Event) I’m stopped dead in my tracks on Sharon Van Etten’s “Tarifa.” If you aren’t/weren’t a Twin Peaks fan, at the end of the new episodes (produced around 2017) there is a different band playing in the bar. David Lynch had an incredible sensitivity for the music featured in the original series, and continues this trend here. It’s worth a spin on your favorite streaming service, you might find a few good test tracks!”


November 17, 2020 § Leave a comment

Bass is really impressive. It has really good body and impact but it at the same time is tight and fast. Bass reaches down really low and has good layering and detail retrieval, there even is a nice sub bass rumble when needed.

While the bass actually sounds a lot like the typical dynamic driver bass, it’s actually fully produced by Knowles balanced armatures. Very impressive!

The lower mids perfectly separate from the bass and the are lighter in presence and body. This combined with the energetic and more present upper mids, produces the v-shaped presentation. Which many people like. The energy, detail retrieval and timbre of the upper mids and vocals is really good. The timbre is smooth but clear and very musical. The note extension and depth are very nice as well. The vocals shine.”


November 17, 2020 § Leave a comment

YAMAHA has done a tremendous job in the development of the A-S3200 integrated amplifier. The looks alone on this unit can justify the $7,499 asking price as it combines old-school styling with modern build quality and features. I typically post up pictures of the gear I am reviewing on Instagram, and this one gained more attention than pretty much any other gear I have posted. People simply dig the retro looks!

And as for performance, YAMAHA has created a single box solution that performs at the level of many high-end and expensive separates.

For those in the market for an all-inclusive integrated amplifier that ticks just about every audiophile box, and want to make a stunning visual statement as well, you should definitely take the YAMAHA A-S3200 into serious consideration!”

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