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So far John H. Darko has created 725 blog entries.

Fight the power with AudioQuest’s PowerQuest2 & 3 AC filters

By | May 22nd, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

How many power sockets are occupied by your hi-fi system? Asking this question of Darko.Audio’s YouTube community, 1,300 respondents begat the following results:

That’s invaluable intel for a company like AudioQuest who this week formally announce the availability of their PowerQuest2 (US$199) and PowerQuest3 (US$299) AC filters, teased for some time on the audio show circuit.

The name of this game is affordability in which designer Garth Powell (interviewed here) brings his electrical noise reduction smarts to lower price points.… Read the full article

Fight the future with McIntosh’s C49 ‘super pre-amplifier’

By | May 21st, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

C49. Not a 49-minute cassette tape from TDK but McIntosh’s all-new “super pre-amplifier” that caters to digital streamers, vinyl fiends and headphonistas via a whopping 13 inputs: 2 x balanced, 3 x unbalanced, MM phono, MC phono, 2 x coaxial, 2 x TOSLINK, USB and MCT (“for use with McIntosh’s MCT-enabled SACD/CD transports”).

Does the C49 do MQA? Not yet. But it could in the future. Tackling possible future obsolescence head-on, McIntosh has made the C49’s internal DAC board fully field-upgradeable.… Read the full article

Into tomorrow…

By | May 17th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: |

The headcount is in for the 2019 edition of Munich High-End: 551 exhibitors from 42 countries (up 3.8%), 21,180 visitors (up 6.5%), 8,208 trade visitors from 72 countries (up 8.6%). That’s a total of ∼30,000 visitors and a turnaround from last year’s minor downturn on the 2017 event.

Whatever the numbers or trend, the greatest audio show on earth is done and dusted for another year. Tomorrow, it will be yesterday’s news.

So – what’s next?

Audio shows like Munich High-End are delicious tasting plates but they lacks the substance and nutritional value of at-home reviews.… Read the full article

A short film about Munich High-End 2019

By | May 16th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , |

Enjoy the music? Not so easy when the loudest sounds at Munich High-End don’t spill from loudspeaker systems but people. For four days in May, the M.O.C. hosts 20K+ visitors and when a few hundred convene in the glass-lined atria or warehouse-like halls, the background din becomes a roar. A problem bent double (for some) when the music we’re exhorted to enjoy is mostly not to our taste or when even the quietest in-room conversation will interfere with a product demonstration.… Read the full article

The look of love (Part 2): Q Acoustics Concept 300

By | May 13th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Contiguous: “to share a common border or touching”. The traditional loudspeaker stand’s top and base plates act as common borders to its pillar/s. In unboxing the loudspeaker stand that Q Acoustics ship with their Concept 300 2-way standmount (US$4499/£2999), we are confronted with something completely different: three non-contiguous poles that don’t touch and have no ‘common border’ base plate. Instead, they are kept separate and held together by a series of contiguous and tensioned wires to meet the definition of tensegrity, a portmanteau of tensional integrity: “the characteristic property of a stable three-dimensional structure consisting of members under tension that are contiguous and members under compression that are not.”

It isn’t just smart engineering, inspired by the work of Bucky Fuller and Kenneth Snelson, that sets this loudspeaker stand apart from the steel-pillared norm.… Read the full article

Chord introduces Huei phono pre at Munich High-End 2019

By | May 9th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

It might look like it but this is not Chord’s Qutest. It’s not even a DAC. It’s the Kent company’s forthcoming £990 phono stage.

Meet Huei: compatible with MM and MC phono cartridges and wrapped in the same machine-milled aluminum chassis as the Qutest DAC. Any colour you like as long as it’s black. Lining Huei’s front edge, Chord’s signature “polychromatic control spheres” handle microprocessor control of cartridge gain (8 levels) and impedance adjustment (16 settings), plus rumble filter on/off.… Read the full article

Munich High-End 2019: Hegel’s H390 integrated amplifier

By | May 9th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

Hegel amplifiers are an iron fist in a velvet glove; elegant beasts dressed in the plainest of attire. We’ve already seen their H190 integrated up close and taken a deep dive on the flagship H590 integrated that launched a year ago to the day at Munich High-End 2018.

At this year’s Munich event, the Norwegians are tending to the middle of their amplifier range with the introduction of the H390 — an H360 replacement that borrows tech from the H590 to offer up 250wpc of Class A/B power armed with Hegel’s not-so-secret Soundengine 2 feed-forward circuitry that compares input to possible output and before adding that difference – phased inverted – to the output, thus cancelling any detected distortions.… Read the full article

AURALiC announces Altair G1 at Munich High-End 2019

By | May 8th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

AURALiC has announced an update to their mid-tier streaming DAC/pre-amplifier; the ALTAIR is now the ALTAIR G1. AURALiC has switched up the D/A converter from an ESS 9018 DAC chip to an ESS 9038Q2M, improved the analogue output stage, lifted the processor platform to G2 status (with 2GB RAM) and wrapped the whole shebang in a G1 chassis, complete with 4″ colour display and Smart IR.

Like the original ALTAIR, we look to AURALiC’s own Lightning DS streaming platform to stream music from elsewhere on our home network, from Tidal, from Qobuz, or from a hard drive fitted to the unit’s underbelly.… Read the full article

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The look of love (Part 1): Peachtree nova300

By | May 8th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

Review loaners. Most units come and go within a three-month window. Others stick around for the long haul, ready to be plucked from the shelf to play comparative support in other reviews as required.

Peachtree’s nova300 integrated amplifier was reviewed by yours truly some two years ago but the review unit never went back to the manufacturer. It sat and waited….for this site’s turn towards video — a format that begs for boxes that transcend the usual black or silver to be featured.… Read the full article

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Munich High-End 2019: Borg’s feature-packed Future-Fi

By | May 6th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

From Michael Sallustro: “Allow me to introduce our company GmbH. We design and manufacture unique and innovated high-resolution audio players, multiroom streamers, amplifiers & other quality devices. We have a full range of ultra-high quality audio devices with innovative functions not seen yet on the market. Please have a look: Borg.Audio. Just for you to know we always spell in small letters – no capitals – and the name of the products also always in small letters.”

Sallustro and his business partner Christian Gunther’s talents with another kind of casework are likely to be more successful.… Read the full article

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