Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia V loudspeaker $79,500 Review

January 22, 2023 § Leave a comment


It’s been quite the six months in Serinusland. First the Stromtank, then the Nordost QNet and QSource, and then one of the finest DACs I’ve been privileged to enjoy, the dCS Rossini Apex. I never fully appreciated how good each of those components is until Wilson Audio’s new Alexia V loudspeaker let me hear so much more of what they can deliver.

All these changes and improvements can be summarized in one sentence: Assisted by first-rate amplification and source components, the Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia V presented the entirety of the musical argument more completely and satisfyingly than its predecessor did. And its predecessor was very fine.

The notion that the loudspeaker is the most important component in an audio system is hogwash, although that conversation may be more semantic than substantial. What’s the point of being able to hear more of what your system can deliver if all you hear is more distortion or mediocrity?


GIK Acoustics Gotham N23 5″ Quadratic Diffusers $399

January 22, 2023 § Leave a comment

A listening room is not a concert hall, and some attention to the acoustics of the space—the fraught subject of “room treatment”—is often required to maximize the positive attributes of an audio system. To be sure, sidewall reflections and a room’s bass nodes must be prioritized, but the introduction of well-executed diffusion can greatly increase the perceived size of a domestic listening space. Diffusers will take potentially damaging reflections and break them down into groups of smaller reflections that are then redistributed back into the room without alteration of their timing or amplitude. A “quadratic diffusor” has a series of troughs the dimensions of which have been calculated according to “quantum wavelength theory.” The device reflects the incident soundwaves back into the room in a consistent and predictable fashion. Despite what you may have heard, randomly pulling out books, LPs, or CDs from the shelving behind your speakers will not accomplish the same thing. Installing two or more of GIK’s surprisingly affordable 17.5″ x 17.5″ quadratic diffusor panels has the potential to improve soundstage depth, perceived detail, and spaciousness, in general. They are an exceptionally cost-effective upgrade to most systems, and they aren’t unattractive as things audio go.

McIntosh Factory Tour

January 22, 2023 § Leave a comment

Greg Weaver’s Home Audio System

January 21, 2023 § Leave a comment


I mention these points to highlight the fact that time and again, Greg and I were in unison about what we heard over the weekend in sound quality terms, while freely admitting (and accepting) any aesthetic differences between us. More importantly, the side-by-side comparisons discussed above reveal that the very best audio systems (and Greg’s system clearly ranks amongst the very best that I have heard) can render fine sonic details not merely as audio spectacle, but as genuine “added musical value” propositions. The better recorded Miles and Supertramp discs did not (and do not) just sound better; they also allowed me to connect with the music and the performers in a more immersive and emotionally engaging way.

Undeniably, the addition of the remarkable Kronos Pro turntable and Discovery RS tonearm to Greg’s system delivered the same overall “obliterated room boundaries” listening sessions that I enjoyed at GTT Audio & Video when I head the then new Kronos Discovery turntable and now discontinued Kronoscope tonearm (here) (the original Kronoscope has been replaced by the new Kronoscope RS tonearm that I soon hope to have in my system). Not to mention the relatively short-lived but equally transformative addition of the stellar VAC Statement Line and Statement Phono Stages andgorgeous Statement 452 iQ Musicbloc all-tubed mono amps (units that Greg sadly had to return not long after my departure).

 Zesto Audio Eros 500 Select Class A Monoblocks $35,000 World Premier Review

January 21, 2023 § Leave a comment

I am at a loss for words to describe my excitement listening to the groundbreaking Eros 500 monoblocks. I was expecting excellence, but not ball-busting greatness. Plus, from all the worldwide tube manufacturers of note and history, it is Zesto Audio in Southern California that creates these masterpieces.

Congratulations to George Counnas and Zesto Audio for bringing to us, the audiophiles of the world, the best tube amplifier (and maybe any amplifier) ever. You must hear the Zesto Audio Eros 500 Select Class A monoblocks if you are even contemplating cost-is-no-object or high-end high-powered amplifiers for your system. These are the best amplifiers yet devised, in my humble opinion.  


January 21, 2023 § Leave a comment

Schiit Audio Tyr monoblock power amplifier $3198 Review

January 20, 2023 § Leave a comment


While I described the audible differences I found between the Schiit Tyr and the two amplifiers with which I compared it, I must admit that these differences were relatively minor. I find it increasingly difficult to characterize the sounds of modern solid state amplifiers. Unlike many tube designs, which have a readily identifiable sonic character, solid state amplifiers are benefiting from a process of convergent evolution that pushes noise and distortion below audibility.

Schiit’s Tyr is a perfect example of such a thoroughly modern amplifier. It offers high power, is not fazed by low impedances, sounded superb with the three pairs of loudspeakers that I used for this review, and is competitively priced. Strongly recommended

AVID Reference Three Loudspeaker £60,000 Review

January 20, 2023 § Leave a comment


The (Le) Concert Spirituel recording of Handel’s ‘The King Shall Rejoice’ [Coronation Anthems; Alpha ALPHA868] sounded magnificent, complete with powerful drums and a fine unforced sense of live performance. There was nothing artificial or studio-y here, but instead a real impression of experiencing the music in a live space. It was a big, exuberant sound, but one with bags of detail to back it up, and those very ‘Handel’ vocal flourishes had a glorious ringing quality.

With the unusual instrumentation of Sachse’s ‘Concerto In F major’ from Clare Farr’s Loudmouthed Beauty recital [Lawo LWC1242, see p94] – bass trombone accompanied by church organ – the AVID Reference Threes delivered a persuasive impression of the two instruments in a church acoustic. Both the low-frequency power and harmonic richness of each was evoked, their notes ringing through the space. In the theme and variations of the third movement the effect was even more striking, with the extraordinary power of Farr’s instrument holding its own against the mighty organ.

RAAL Requisite CA-1A Review

January 20, 2023 § Leave a comment

KEF Reference 5 Meta £17,500 Review

January 19, 2023 § Leave a comment


Back with solid state power and the Weather Station’s mumblings on ‘Marsh’ and other tracks where it’s not clear what is exactly being said but the feelings behind it are transparent in the hands of these KEFs. With an older favourite in Talk Talk’s New Grass where the vocals are quiet but easy to follow and the nuances of the performance are clear thanks to the transparency on offer. These speakers are borderline explicit when it comes to detail resolution, they really drill down into whatever you put through them and deliver the musical treasure that other speakers fail to expose. It gets the micro dynamics, the differences between the volume of notes, spot on and this brings a variety and colour to subtle pieces that often gets lost. It does the macro too of course and I thoroughly enjoyed Led Zeppelin’s ‘Killing Floor’ where they managed to give the bass a thickness that Metallica would have killed for, and  were clearly attempting to emulate on the Black album

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