May 25, 2021 § Leave a comment
As a confirmed vinylphile, I sometimes have difficulty placing myself in the mainstream of digital life. Yet, I can see the writing on the wall. Sure, there are cheaper ways of playing your digital files and streaming, but I was pondering a system reviewed from products reviewed in Audiophilia over the past few weeks. Buy a Denafrips Ares II DAC so enjoyed by Michael Johnson, and along with streaming and Roon subs, use the Nucleus Plus ($2559) as the star traffic cop to direct things. In HiFi terms, a digital front end of somewhat modest investment but one that will stand the test of time.
January 22, 2021 § Leave a comment
There’s much to be said for simple elegance, whether in a graceful haiku or Yamaha’s exquisite A-S3200. With the latter, you simply connect your turntable and CD player, or any source with analog outputs, connect your speakers, sit back, and enjoy impeccably musical sound. There’s no app to install, no digital inputs to configure, no calibration to be done. To sound its best it needs quite a bit of burn-in, as well as time to warm up each time it’s turned on—but as I sat there watching the needles of its beautiful level meters dancing along in time to the sublimely reproduced music, I knew it was worth the wait. The A-S3200 isn’t cheap, but considering the quality of its construction, the uniqueness of its handsome, classic visual design, and the quality of its sound, it’s a stunning integrated amplifier that I’d be proud to own and prominently display in my audio system.
January 8, 2021 § Leave a comment
The integrated amp has traditionally been more popular in Europe than in North America. The reasons for this include smaller living spaces, lower prices, fewer cables needed, etc. If you view an integrated as a preamp and amp built together on the same chassis, you have to admit there are some advantages. There is a potential for better sound for the money, since the output jacks, interconnect cable, and input jacks needed between preamp and amp, and any sonic colorations they impose, are gone. As long as the designers take care to properly isolate the power supplies of the different stages from each other, very good results can be had when using an integrated amp as the heart of your main system.
At a little over $1000, the CXA81 could be the perfect start to a system that is one step up from entry-level high end. You could begin with this unit, some inexpensive cables and speakers, and a low-cost or hand-me-down CD player (use digital-out), and have a decent-sounding system. As time goes by, you could upgrade a cable here, a pair of speakers there, add the CXN V2, and bit by bit hear the improvements, until you arrived at a truly impressive setup. The whole time the CXA81 would be keeping up with the advancements and performing well enough to pass on the increase in fidelity for each change. Highly recommended!
December 20, 2020 § Leave a comment
I have heard several flagship speaker systems with independent standalone bass columns that were pretty amazing. Actually, they were downright spectacular! This includes models from Infinity, Genesis, MBL, and YG Acoustics. However, you have to remember that a No. 25 stack goes well beyond what these bass columns can offer, and it’s not just the much larger 15 inch drivers. Each stack of No. 25 subs have multiple 15 inch drivers and 1000 watts managing each individual driver. Let’s not forget the available fine tuning for gain, equalization, and crossover functionality for each unit. This yields plenty of horse power and dialed in flexibility that is not generally available in any other standalone design!
The potential is there. This stacking strategy can also work with several other models in the REL lineup. If your room and space requirements will only allow for something smaller in scale or budget, there are many options. Obviously, it can be very subjective, but many have stated that the cost and value of such six-packs can provide better overall system improvement than an upgrade to a much more expensive primary speaker. You can also add units as the budget will allow. Again, there are multiple paths to all the glory. I will keep the readers updated on this.”
June 17, 2020 § Leave a comment
“If I’m honest about things, products like the IS-1000 Deluxe make a bit of a mockery of the whole review process. A review of the Gold Note amplifier taken early in its life will discuss the product in the context of an app that is completely different to the one used today, and as that app may form most of the way you interact with the Gold Note amplifier, that early review is almost completely invalid, and yet we live in a world of ‘exclusives’ where a follow-up six months later is lost in a sea of ‘now, now, now!’ reviews. The same applies to any streaming device.”