LIQUID SPARK BY MONOPRICE REVIEW

June 12, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The Spark has power to spare on even planar magnetic headphones. On High gain, I rarely would push it past halfway on the knob. On the other end of the spectrum, with low impedance less than 16 Ohm CIEMs and Low gain, I experienced no audible buzzing or hissing with the Liquid Spark; everything was dead quiet. Since this is an analog design, there is a channel mismatch at the lowest end of the volume spectrum which is detectable on my CIEMs; this is to be expected and not something to ding the Liquid Spark points on. The volume level discrepancy is only noticeable at volumes too low for anyone to ever listen to music at. The Spark has proven itself to be very adaptable and shocked even me at how wide a range of headphones it could take. The other two amps on my desk, that were much more expensive, were geared towards high impedance headphones and had obvious background hissing with the CIEMs.”

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Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature Preamplifier Review

June 12, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The L2 enhanced my very fine digital setup, and considering the preamplifier section of the Continuum S2 (basically, a Jeff Rowland Capri II preamplifier) is outstanding and an obvious match for its connected amplifier section, it couldn’t better the gorgeous sounds the 300Bs were portraying. For sure, a completely different topology, but the way Rossi has his tubes singing is very persuasive.

It’s been my experience that some tube preamps let the side down during thunderous piano performances. No fears, here. Martha Argerich’s famous Berlin/Abbado/DG (vinyl reissue) of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 was overwhelming at times. She’s a powerhouse; a force of nature. And all her power was unsullied and heard to astounding effect. Piano fans will love this preamplifier. Yet, at the other end of the dynamic spectrum, the Rossi retrieved even more subtlety from John Bingham’s playing of Schubert Songs arr. Liszt on Meridian vinyl than I’m used to. I use my late friend’s playing as a test for quiet pianism; pedal, bell tones, touch, ppp voicing, etc. This was pretty miraculous as a musical experience. The LP is available on Discogs. ”

ABYSS HEADPHONES DIANA PHI $2,000 REVIEW

June 11, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The Diana Phi, to my ears, is probably one of the truest sounds signatures I have ever heard from a planar magnetic headphone. What I mean by that is both the tuning in terms of its neutral timbre as well as its insane levels of clarity and detail retrieval. Together, they combine to make the Diana Phi sound incredibly revealing, coherent, and very reference-like in its overall presentation.

The quality is very unique in some ways to the competition. The Diana Phi has neither the aplomb or power of the D8000 low-end nor the warmth and intimacy of the MrSpeakers Ether 2. This is an altogether different sound to these competing flagships and one which I find to be an almost perfect complement to the Meze Empyrean’s rich and refined but more languid signature.

The Diana Phi is supremely fast and accurate for a planar magnetic headphone. It has a pace akin to the more expansive, (and expensive), Hifiman Susvara but possessing a neutral timbre and note control closer to electrostatic quality save for that very pure and well extended distortion-free planar low-end. A low-end, I might add, which copes remarkably well with just about any amp you can throw at it, even 100W power amps.”

FOCAL STELLIA REFERENCE REVIEW

June 10, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Focal continues to grow as a company with their commitment to the personal audio market. The last several years have brought Focal speaker technology to the headphone community with exceptionally capable products that are world-class designs which sound exceptional. The Stellia with its beautiful cognac finish design is a stellar looking headphone that offers exceptional musicality and is magical in delivery of the music.

The cable is an improvement over the Elegia cable that I had reviewed and built to a price point. Many users will find aftermarket cables bring more clarity and less microphonics to the party. I used the Black Dragon and noticed more inner detail and clarity and a step up over the stock cable.”

SVS SB-3000 Subwoofer Review

June 10, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The SVS SB-3000 is a powerful subwoofer that excels in terms of form, functionality, and performance. With its compact size, sealed box construction, and single driver design, this sub can fit in tight locations. The wireless mobile device control delivers a level of convenience not normally found at this price point. Lastly, the SB-3000 has sophisticated DSP processing with a powerful amplifier coupled to a newly designed driver, which provides the backbone of its performance.

All of these essential qualities combine to create a seriously sophisticated audio device, one that can render subtle differences in bass inflection, but with the capacity to slam hard with a fast and tight signature that worked well with my main speakers, and demonstrated high performance with both movies and music alike. While dual subwoofers will always outperform a single subwoofer installation, a single SB-3000 is a remarkable performer even in isolation, assuming your room is symmetrical enough and not overly large.”

Transparent Music Link Reference interconnect & Music Wave Reference speaker cable Review

June 9, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The Transparent Audio Music Wave Reference speaker cable looks substantial—to say the least. The main cable run, again clad in black mesh, is 1″ in diameter. The network casing is a hefty 11″ by 3″ by 2″, from which protrude a pair of 1!0-long flexible wires attached to the thickest and most substantial spade lugs I’ve ever seen. If your speaker or amplifier manufacturer has used nonstandard binding posts, you’ll have one bear of a time trying to spread the forks of these connectors. I don’t know what to suggest here, since it’s obvious that these are extremely-high-quality connectors, but I did need to mention it. If you use stand-mounted speakers, the network box is left dangling from its short wires—not to worry, Transparent will provide you with a Velcro harness to attach the box to your speaker stands, providing strain relief. ”

Turntable Transrotor ALTO TMD Review

June 9, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“A wide hole was milled into the bottom side of the platter, where a large TMD (Transrotor Magnet Drive) bearing fits. Jochen Räke once talked about development of this bearing in an interview that he gave our magazine. It is a bearing with a magnetic clutch, consisting of three main parts – a spindle with a base, a low pulley to which torque is transferred from the motor and the upper, high part, which is actually a sub-platter. Around the spindle with a ceramic ball there is a milled space for oil.

The upper part of the bearing consists of two parts, separated from each other by a magnetic field generated by many small neodymium magnets. The idea is to separate these two elements from each other, and thus to reduce the vibrations transmitted by the drive belt from the motor. The belt is placed over the lower part and the platter rests on the top one.

Motor | Alto TMD is a design with a separate motor, placed next to the turntable. One can use such solution only in mass-loaders. Therefore, the motor features a solid, heavy cylinder housing. A small, aluminum spindle is mounted on the motor axis, and puts a rubber drive belt over it. The motor is placed on the side – Transrotor suggests placing it on the left side, but I would suggest to start your test by placing it on the line connecting the motor column and the platter’s axis.”

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