Probably” the Best HiFi System in the World

October 23, 2021 § Leave a comment

Major From the Roof Down Electricity Upgrade Produced Incredible Sonic Benefits!

October 22, 2021 § Leave a comment

The full story along gets told in detail in my Analog Corner column in the November Stereophile. The print edition will soon be out. The online column publishes the week of October 17th on Stereophile’s website. Meanwhile below is the embedded YouTube video that shows you everything that was done, which resulted in an amazing sonic transformation of my system, which is now super quiet and has never sounded better. The amplifiers sound far better plugged directly into the wall than through power conditioners, though I still use an AudioQuest Niagara 7000 in the “front end” to isolate from the the analog components digital noise produced by the dCS Vivaldi streaming DAC/SACD player.

Please read the column and of course watch this video that I’m sure you’ll find interesting and informative.The video and the column let you know who to contact if you are interested in doing this.

And many thanks to PS Audio for lending me P15 and P20 Power regenerators, which allowed me to work for the 8 or so months between the transfer switch installation and the full electrical upgrade. The Power Regenerators were a huge step up in power purity but after the upgrade straight into the wall sounded best. However, If I lived in an apartment building and had no control over the juice reaching my wall sockets I’d try a regenerator for sure.

NAD Previews Compact BluOS Streaming Amplifier

October 22, 2021 § Leave a comment

The latest addition to its “just add speakers” category, the C 700 ($1,499) aims to honor NAD’s founding mission of delivering excellent sound quality at affordable prices through an integrated amp built around the company’s app-based BluOS multiroom music-management platform. BluOS provides ready access hi-res music (up to 24-bit/92kHz) from a personal library or through streaming services including Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon Music HD, Spotify, and Deezer, to name a few.

Power is provided by a “highly efficient” HybridDigital UcD amplifier, rated to deliver 2 x 80 watts of continuous power into 4 or 8 ohms with less than 0.04% noise and distortion across its frequency range. The C 700 supports streaming via aptX HD Bluetooth and AirPlay 2 in addition to MQA decoding, and is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant voice control.

Everything is housed in a compact, 8.6-inch-wide aluminum chassis featuring a minimalist front panel with a 5-inch color display that shows album artwork, track status, and system settings. Connections include two sets of RCA analog inputs, coaxial and optical digital inputs, a USB Type A port, and an eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel)-enabled HDMI port for use with a compatible TV, which allows volume to be adjusted from the TV’s remote.

NEW Sennheiser CX Plus 

October 22, 2021 § Leave a comment

Cambridge Audio CXA61 $999 Review

October 21, 2021 § Leave a comment

It has a nicely judged tonal balance that walks that delicate path between attack and refinement. This is the kind of presentation that works well across a wide range of speakers and musical genres. There’s spaciousness here too, and the kind of outright clarity that sets a high bar for the price.

Stereo imaging is impressive, with the amp able to place sounds and instruments with precision and stability. It’s an expansive soundfield and one that’s nicely layered, provided the rest of your system is suitably talented.

Once we spend a decent amount of time listening, it becomes clear that few rivals have the resolution to challenge the CXA61. It digs up low level details with ease and renders them with care and conviction. 

This is made clear when we listen to the Olafur Arnalds set, which relies on the system having a high degree of subtlety. It’s easy for an amplifier to sound ham-fisted when playing this recording, but it’s a trap that the Cambridge avoids. Instead it is confident and composed, but never overplays its hand.Advertisement

This Cambridge is a rhythmic performer too, delivering Prince’s 3121 with verve. There’s plenty of entertainment to be had here from thumping basslines to intricately shifting rhythms with Prince’s distinctive vocals at the centre. The CXA61 ticks all the hi-fi boxes without forgetting that all the detail and tonal neutrality in the world doesn’t matter if the emotional content of the music is ignored.

JBL HDI-3800 Loudspeaker $4000 Review

October 21, 2021 § Leave a comment

That said, there’s a slight sense that the bass can be a tad slow at times – Andreas Bye’s crisply forceful drumbeats opening ‘In The Mountains’, from the Espen Eriksen Trio’s Never Ending January album [Rune Grammofon RCD2173] have a little of the ‘plastic barrel’ about them. However, the balance when the entire trio joins in is entertaining enough, Eriksen’s piano having stately weight in the lower octaves and fine delicacy in the right hand, while Lars Tormod Jenset’s bass is suitably sonorous, and the soundstage image unforced.

With the testing Britten ‘Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra’, from the Michael Stern/Kansas City Symphony Britten’s Orchestra set [Reference Recordings RR-120], the HDI-3800s sail through the masses of detail, presenting a persuasive view of each instrumental section. The vivid percussion is particularly enjoyable, and all the while there’s a well-realised picture of the orchestra as a whole. And the great fugue with which the piece concludes sounds magnificent, not least due to the drama the speakers deliver with massed forces and bass slams.

Audeze LCD-5 vs HiFiMan Susvara — Battle of the Flagship Headphones

October 21, 2021 § Leave a comment


October 20, 2021 § Leave a comment

The audio industry is broadly divided into two main camps; ‘change for change’s sake’ companies that revise every product in their line-ups on a regular basis, and ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ brands who keep their products developmentally frozen for years. Norma is one of the rare exceptions, that keeps making ever better products, but doesn’t shout about it. Looking back on our review from 90 issues ago, Norma didn’t reinvent the wheel here and the sound of the Revo IPA-140 is tonally unchanged, but it builds on its strengths and strips back on its few vices still further. In other words, it’s every bit as damn good as it ever was; “if it ain’t broke, make it better!” This integrated amplifier is one of the audio world’s best-kept secrets. 

Fyne Audio F302i $745 review

October 20, 2021 § Leave a comment

These towers make a good fist of punching out the album’s brutal dynamic swings and show a good deal of composure in the process. We’re impressed with the level of detail on offer as well as the entertaining way all this information is assembled to make a sound we’re happy to simply sit back and enjoy. The F302i’s soundstage is relatively broad and nicely layered. For speakers at this level, there’s little to complain about when it comes to stereo focus and image stability.

Tonally, things are nicely balanced and, as we’ve already mentioned, notably smoother than before. This is still a lively sound, but here it’s possible to enjoy recordings that are on the brighter or more aggressive side too.

Magnavox Console Stereo Record Player Repair

October 20, 2021 § Leave a comment

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