Product Reviews

Magico S1 Loudspeaker Review

August 26, 2014
Magico S1 Loudspeaker Review

I always know I’m in trouble when the freight truck pulls up in front of my house and I make the 200 foot walk down to see what has arrived. It usually means several hundred pounds of amplifiers or loudspeakers on a wooden pallet to haul up the driveway and wrestle into my listening...
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Sony HAP-Z1ES High Resolution Music Server Review

July 15, 2014
Sony HAP-Z1ES High Resolution Music Server Review

I began my journey into computer audio in 2004 with the introduction of the Windows version of iTunes and the Apple lossless codec. I first began ripping my collection of more than 1500 CDs with my rock, pop and jazz selections, and it was a joy. iTunes retrieved the metadata from Gracenote with ease...
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dCS Vivaldi DAC Review

June 15, 2014
dCS Vivaldi DAC Review

I think it is fair to say that in the eighteen or so months it has been on the market, the dCS Vivaldi has taken the ultra high-end DAC market by storm. It has been comprehensively reviewed by the audio print publications, and adopted by many of the major audio manufacturers, particularly loudspeaker companies,...
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AURALiC TAURUS Balanced Output Headphone Amplifier Review

March 15, 2014
AURALiC TAURUS Balanced Output Headphone Amplifier Review

Several months ago I reviewed the AURALiC VEGA DAC, and found it to be a tremendous performer and exceptional value. In fact, the only shortcoming I could find with it was that it lacked a headphone output, which of course is not a criticism of its performance but of its feature set, one it...
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Audience ClairAudient 1+1 Loudspeaker

February 15, 2014
Audience ClairAudient 1+1 Loudspeaker

Audience is perhaps best known for their interconnects, speaker cables, and power cords, and of course their highly regarded power conditioning products. (I reviewed the adeptResponse aR2p power conditioner favorably here), but their loudspeakers undeservedly fly under the radar of reviewers and audiophiles alike. Audience currently offers four models of loudspeakers: the ClairAudient The...
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Meridian Prime USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier Review

November 21, 2013
Meridian Prime USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier Review

Meridian makes some very expensive state-of-the-art components, including the 808.5 CD player ($22,000), 818v2 digital preamplifier ($16,000), 861v8 surround sound processor ($25,000), and DSP8000.2 digital active loudspeakers ($65,000/pair). What is interesting is that Meridian’s emphasis over the past 12 months has been on releasing more affordable products, both to compliment their reference components and...
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ENIGMAcoustics Sopranino Super Tweeter Review

November 5, 2013
ENIGMAcoustics Sopranino Super Tweeter Review

Twenty years ago I went shopping for a new pair of loudspeakers. At the time, there were no hi-fi shops close by. The best I could do was one dealer, who carried Thiel and Vandersteen, about 60 miles in one direction, and another dealer, who carried Thiel and MartinLogan, about 40 miles in the...
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AURALiC VEGA DAC Review

October 20, 2013
AURALiC VEGA DAC Review

Based in Vancouver, Washington and Beijing, China, AURALiC is a relative newcomer to the high-end audio arena. The company was co-founded by Xuanqian Wang and Yuan Wang (unrelated), who met in 2008 Festival of Waldbühne Berlin, an outdoor festival of music and film. Xuanquian Wang, an accomplished pianist, was trained as a professional engineer,...
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Dirac Live Room Correction Software Review

October 5, 2013
Dirac Live Room Correction Software Review

Room and speaker correction have been with us for sometime now, and are getting more sophisticated with every new iteration. I have been using the room correction built into my Meridian G68ADV surround sound processor to good effect for the past five or six years in my media room. But I have not made...
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Merrill Audio Veritas Monoblock Amplifier Review

September 15, 2013
Merrill Audio Veritas Monoblock Amplifier Review

Class D amplifiers. Great for subwoofers, active monitors, and PA systems, but certainly not for audiophile system. At least that’s what I’ve read. And everyone knows you can believe everything you read on the internet. In the past, it even may have been true. However, there is a new player on the field named...
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Sony SS-NA2ES Loudspeaker Review

August 20, 2013
Sony SS-NA2ES Loudspeaker Review

Non-audiophiles consider Sony high-end; audiophiles, not so much. In this case, non-audiophiles are the better informed, though they don’t know it. Sony as a high-end product first showed up on my radar in 2009 at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, where they debuted the prototype of what was to become the SS-AR1 ($27,000/pair) in Ray...
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Meridian Director DAC Review

August 5, 2013
Meridian Director DAC Review

Since introducing the world’s first audiophile CD player in 1984, Meridian has been on a relentless mission of improving the sound of digital playback. It has been vastly successful, and continues on what has been a non-stop roll of introducing groundbreaking technologies and products for thirty years. In the past twelve months alone, they...
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Pass Labs INT-30A and INT-150 Integrated Amplifier Review

July 15, 2013
Pass Labs INT-30A and INT-150 Integrated Amplifier Review

When choosing an amplifier, to paraphrase Hamlet, to Class A or to Class A/B, that is the question. There are ardent supporters of Class A designs, while others, citing the limitations of generally low power, low efficiency, and high heat, champion the more potent Class A/B designs. To be honest, most audiophiles probably do...
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Zesto Andros PS1 Phono Stage Review

June 15, 2013
Zesto Andros PS1 Phono Stage Review

I first laid eyes on the Zesto Audio Andros PS1 phono stage ($4300) at RMAF 2011, where it was introduced in several rooms with little fanfare. I was immediately smitten with its distinctively curved, powdered-coated and chrome chassis, which I later learned was designed by the talented Carolyn Counnas, wife of Andros’s designer, George...
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Meitner MA-1 DAC Review

May 15, 2013
Meitner MA-1 DAC Review

Ed Meitner has been creating audio components for four decades. His early work included professional analog mixing consoles and audiophile components for Museatex and Melior. He is also responsible for the offering the first commercially available cryogenically treated cables. But his work in the digital domain is what gives him legendary status in both...
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Maker Audio G9 Power Amplifier Review

April 15, 2013
Maker Audio G9 Power Amplifier Review

Maker Audio is a relatively new name on the audiophile scene; however, its principal, Tom Maker, is anything but new to the high-end, having designed and marketed the well-regarded and breathtakingly expensive Edge amplifiers for over 20 years, until he sold the company in 2008 to focus his attention on developing the M10 powered...
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dCS Debussy DAC Review

March 15, 2013
dCS Debussy DAC Review

Two products generated the lion’s share of the buzz at RMAF 2012: the Wilson Alexia loudspeaker ($48,500/pair) and the dCS Vivaldi four-box digital playback system comprised of the Vivaldi Transport, DAC, Upsampler and Word Clock (together, $108,500). Perhaps not coincidentally, they were available for audition in the same room, and the crowds were stretched...
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Meridian Explorer USB DAC Review

February 11, 2013
Meridian Explorer USB DAC Review

It was the first day of CES 2013. I was talking with Ken Forsythe, Meridian’s Director of Product Management, about its surprise introduction of two new digital active in-wall speakers – the DSP520 and DSP640, as well as their recent announcement of performance enhancing upgrades to the Reference 808 CD player, Reference 818 Digital...
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YG Acoustics Carmel Loudspeaker Review

January 15, 2013
YG Acoustics Carmel Loudspeaker Review

YG Acoustics received a great deal of well-deserved attention and accolades at CES 2013 for its new flagship Sonja loudspeakers. Not only are they beautiful to behold, with seductive curves replacing the angular design of the Anat III, but they take the sonic achievements of their predecessors to new heights, remarkably with barely a...
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Krell Evolution 302e Stereo Power Amplifier Review

December 15, 2012
Krell Evolution 302e Stereo Power Amplifier Review

Following my tour of the the YG Acoustics factory, Yoav Geva sent me a pair of his Carmel loudspeakers for audition (review forthcoming). YG Acoustics uses a dCS digital source and Krell amplifiers in its listening room, as well as when demonstrating its products at trade shows. Fortuitously, I had been in discussions with...
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