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So far John Atkinson has created 624 blog entries.

ListenUp's Music Matters in Denver Wednesday & Thursday

By | April 22nd, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Wednesday April 24 and Thursday, April 25, starting at 5pm, Denver high-end audio retailer ListenUp (685 South Pearl Street, Denver, CO 80209, (303) 778-0780) is presenting its Music Matters 2019. Titled “Mastering the Art of Sound,” the event will celebrate what’s next in sound and the keynote speaker will be Stereophile‘s erstwhile Editor and now Technical Editor John Atkinson.

Company representatives from Bowers & Wilkins, Sonus Faber, McIntosh, NAD, Bluesound, Mark Levinson, Revel, AudioQuest, VPI, Roon, Qobuz, Technics, Cambridge, GoldenEar, Moon, Focal, Audeze, and Chord will be there to demo their latest products and show attendees how to recreate the art of live music at home with turntables, headphones, speakers, amps, receivers, vinyl and more for all budgets.… Read the full article

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JA's Best Sound at AXPONA: MBL N31 DAC, N15 Monoblocks, 101E Mk.2 Speakers, WireWorld Cables

By | April 17th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

The last room I visited at the 2019 AXPONA was the best-sounding: MBL’s big room on the Renaissance Hotel’s 15th floor. The system comprised the Noble Line N31 CD player/DAC ($15,400) that I reviewed in February 2018, the N11 preamplifier ($14,600), four N15 monoblock amplifiers ($35,600/pair) and the omnidirectional 101E Mk.2 loudspeakers ($70,500/pair), all hooked up with WireWorld Eclipse Series 8 cables. (The N31 is being updated to act as a Roon endpoint, so I hope to be writing a followup.)

As luck would have it, Jürgen Reis’s laptop crashed as I walked into the room, but once he had rebooted it and got the music playing—”Fit Song” from Japanese DJ Cornelius, which has superbly live sounding drum samples—I was blown away not only by the dynamics and the full-range sound but also by the enormous yet stable soundstage.… Read the full article

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Bending Wave – CH Precision – Goebel – TechDAS

By | April 17th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Florida-based Bending Wave USA were showing the ginormous Divin Noblesse loudspeakers ($220,000/pair) making their US debut—I wrote “ginormous” but these are actually just the second largest speakers in the German company Goebel’s line—driven by the Swiss CH Precision phono preamp, preamplifier, and power amplifiers.

I missed the seminars at AXPONA from Motofumi Hirata from TechDAS, who was discussing turntable design, but I did get to listen to “Hotel California” from the live Hell Freezes Over Eagles LP on the TechDAS Airforce One Premium turntable.… Read the full article

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Gayle Sanders Eikon & DSP Optimization

By | April 17th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

MartinLogan co-founder Gayle Sanders emerged from retirement at the 2018 AXPONA with a new loudspeaker brand, Eikon. But Eikon is not just a loudspeaker but a complete system ($25,000 in standard finish or $30,000 in the carbon-fiber finish shown in my photo), with DAC, preamplifier, and digital signal processor incorporated into the Eikontrol unit, which has both analog inputs and digital (USB and S/PDIF but PCM only) inputs, and each of the speaker’s drive-units has its own amplifier.

The speaker has two woofers, one on the front, the other on the back, as well as a 5″ midrange unit and AMT tweeter mounted close together at the top of the enclosure.… Read the full article

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Lyn Stanley Comparisons in the Playback Designs Room

By | April 17th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

I sat down in the Playback Designs room to listen to a system featuring Playback’s MPS-8 SACD player/DAC ($25,000 plus $2400 for the Stream_X option) and Stream-IF streaming interface ($3300), both from the company’s Dream series, with an Playback IPS-3 integrated amplifier ($14,000), these all sitting on an English Lateral Systems 4-shelf rack ($4100), driving Verity Parsifal Anniversary loudspeakers ($25,000/pair) and wired with Kubala-Sosna Emotion interconnects and Fascination AC cord and speaker cables. Playing was the DSD256 file of “Let There Be Love,” copied from an analog Ampex 468 ¼” tape running at 30ips that had been recorded in parallel with Lyn Stanley’s new direct-to disc album London With a Twist: Live at Bernie’s.… Read the full article

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Blue Light Audio, Evolution, darTZeel, Merging Technologies, Wave Kinetics, Durand

By | April 17th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

“Why is there a box of parts next to each of the Evolution loudspeakers?” I jokingly asked Blue Light Audio’s Jonathan Tinn. He explained that those were the external crossovers for the three-way Maestoso loudspeakers ($18,900/pair) with their lids off. The speakers were being driven by the darTZeel NHB-108 Model Two power amplifier ($44,000), which was making its North American debut at AXPONA, and preamp was that Mikey Fremer favorite, the darTZeel NHB-18NS Mk.II ($44,000 with phono stage).

I listened to a CD transfer of Ray Lamontagne singing and playing acoustic guitar played with Merging Technologies’ Merging+NADAC D/A processor ($10,000) with its optional external power supply ($6000) and the new Merging+Clock-U external clock ($36,000 making its first-ever appearance), and was impressed by the smooth, clear, detailed presentation.… Read the full article

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Nokturne Audio, Lejonklou HiFi's SINGularity, and the Quad Electrostatics

By | April 16th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

“Good grief! They are using Quads!” I used to use Quad ESL-57s in the mid 1980s before I moved to the US and in some ways, no other speaker has come close to the sonic transparency offered by these idiosyncratic-looking electrostatic speakers. But to see and hear an original pair dating from 1958 in the room shared by Michigan dealer/manufacturer Nokturne Audio and Lejonklou HiFi from Sweden was a highlight of the 2019 AXPONA.

The Quads were being driven by a Lejonklou Tundra 2.5 amplifier ($4950), a Lejonklou Sagatun 1.4 preamplifier ($4950), and the front end was a Linn Sondek LP12, with its Radikal power supply.… Read the full article

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EveAnna Manley & the Manley Labs Absolute Tube Headphone Amplifier

By | April 16th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

It’s a beautiful device, even gorgeous, attractive & ergonometric, 12ax7s & 6aq5a tubes rollible, transformer output with switchable impedance in 3 levels.

Like all Tube gear ( my opinion ) it sounds just as good as it’s tubes and power supply.

I could impulse buy one but haven’t. I like the Silver.

Rear Power Switch, dammit, just like Schiit. ( kills it for me )

Why pay 10X the Price of a Valhalla 2 ?

I would buy one at a Estate Sale though!… Read the full article

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Monitor Audio Gold Speakers, Roksan Blak Amplifier & CD Player

By | April 16th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

I was impressed by the new Monitor Audio Gold 300 speakers when I auditioned them at the recent Montreal Audio fest. At AXPONA, Chicago retailer Saturday Audio Exchange was showing off the smaller Gold 200 tower ($5000/pair) and Gold 100 bookshelf ($2100/pair) driven by a Roksan Blak integrated amplifier (4499) and Black CD player ($3999) and hooked up with AudioQuest cables. Like the 300, the smaller speakers feature midrange units and woofers that use Monitor Audio’s RDT II (Rigid Diaphragm Technology) sandwich diaphragms, with a “Micro Pleated Diaphragm” tweeter.… Read the full article

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Paradigm Persona 3F loudspeakers, Anthem STR integrated amplifier

By | April 16th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

The impressive-sounding room from dealer Audio Video Interiors featured the Anthem STR integrated amplifier ($4499) that Tom Norton reviewed for Stereophile in July 2018. Speakers were the Paradigm Persona 3Fs ($10,000/pair), a smaller sibling to the similar-looking Persona 5F ($17,000/pair) that Kal Rubinson reviewed in October 2018.

Through there were subwoofers in the room, they weren’t operating when I listened to a percussion recording sourced from an Aurender server. Nevertheless, the bass drum almost nocked me off my chair, it was so deep and tight—a tribute to the effectiveness of Anthem’s Room Correction, which is incorporated in the amplifier.… Read the full article

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