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>> Breadcrumb :/Phil Wright

About Phil Wright

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So far Phil Wright has created 16 blog entries.

The big & beautiful Klipsch Forte III

By | May 24th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

Baby of the Heritage range, the Klipsch Heresy III’s sojourn at my home (review here) was mildly infuriating at times. Its unevenness disqualified it from the Do-No-Harm club and the sound of a piano never quite gelled. It got its hooks into me big time though with its uncanny ability to conjure a live event out of a studio recording.

Serious fun, more please. Which brings us to Klipsch’s Forte III (£4k / €4.4k / $4k). A chance to see what moving one step higher up the ladder brings forth.… Read the full article

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The uncompromising Sistema M2 amplifier

By | May 15th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

Sistema’s M2 is a dual-mono loudspeaker amplifier offering 85W per channel into 8Ω. Yours for €5000 plus taxes with optional 15-day money-back trial period. Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? Not quite.

On inputs, there’s no analogue, just a single USB socket to play catch on PCM up to 384kHz and DSD64. No volume control or remote control either. Both are handed off to the connected PC/Mac’s software player. Think of the M2 as a digital-direct power amplifier.

Users must also provide their own 12-24V power supply to bring the M2 to life and there’s no on/off button on the unit itself.… Read the full article

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Ayre’s EX-8 streaming amplifier is ECM in a box

By | April 29th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

One-boxers seem to be catching. Look at Naim, Linn, NAD and Devialet et al. The main attraction of a streaming amplifier is system simplicity – just add speakers. A single box introduces us to an aesthetic calm where both space (and the patience of significant others) is often at a premium. Music is streamed from a NAS device or a cloud service (Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify etc.).

Separates enthusiasts highlight (valid) compromises – RFI and shared power supplies – whilst playing down the audible potential of shorter signal paths or the manufacturer retaining voicing control over a complete chain of electronics: streamer, DAC, amplifier.… Read the full article

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Have your Pi & eat it: Pro-ject’s Stream Box S2 Ultra

By | March 19th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

‘£600 is flipping expensive for a tarted up Raspberry Pi!’

Not quite the words of the forum poster but in line with the sentiment: that Pro-ject is ripping off customers by charging silly money for a Pi with open source software and a nice case. Fairy dust or what?

Actually, strip away the invective and we find a reasonable question. Pro-ject are quite open about the Stream Box S2 Ultra (Stream Ultra) being based on the (CM3 industrial version of a) Raspberry Pi running a customised Volumio operating system.Read the full article

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Gold Note CD-1000 MKII review

By | February 20th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

“You’ve got a what?!” said my ex-wife and daughter in unison. My son was even blunter: “Why are you reviewing obsolete technology?”. The object of their ire – Gold Note’s new CD player, the CD-1000 MKII. Did they have a point?

CD sales are struggling whilst streaming is powering ahead. And many with large CD collections have long since ripped them to a computer (haven’t they?) with the donor discs, at best, relegated to aesthetic service? And hasn’t the steady flow of new CD player models coming to market been reduced to a trickle?… Read the full article

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Boom, boom, boom, boom! A dCS factory tour!

By | February 11th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

Ben Ashcroft (pictured above) – he’s head of dCS’s service department and he’s deep into techno music. He’s still smiling too, despite the ‘help’ provided by Andy McHaig, dCS Technical Director. When Ben first joined the company as an apprentice he was tasked with developing a ladder DAC (dCS make DACs). McHaig assisted Ashcroft hard-wiring some of Ashcroft’s beloved techno into the logic board to expedite listening tests. How thoughtful.

Vengaboys is techno, right? Worse: McHaig had made this Euro dance pop non-defeatable so that Ashcroft would have to endure it for the entire project.… Read the full article

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Graham Audio Chartwell LS6 review

By | January 28th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

Brit restraint alert: I was somewhat taken with the LS6 speakers from Graham Audio.
The design principles behind them swim against the tide. It’s simple – the cabinets are supposed to vibrate. Forget Fort Knox solidity, forget 25mm side walls. Say hello to thin cabinet walls that oscillate with the music. The trick is in the cabinet damping and bracing. It shifts resonances out of the way, leaving a natural tone. With skilled design, the thin-wall approach works well.

The grandfather of the BBC sound was Dudley Harwood, a senior BBC engineer who went on to found Harbeth.… Read the full article

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Showdown! Mytek Brooklyn+ vs. Mytek Liberty

By | January 10th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Mytek’s Liberty DAC (£895, $995, €995) was reviewed by me (here) and put in a stellar performance, more than holding its own in the company of an Ayre AX-7e (£2,750) and Harbeth C7/2 speakers.

The Liberty mates the ESS9018 chip of the original Brooklyn (review here) with the output stages of the newer Brooklyn+ (review here). It’s also simpler, eschewing the analogue side of the Brooklyn/+ – inputs and phono stage – as well as the balanced headphone output and colour display.… Read the full article

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Big sky sound from Neat’s compact Iota Xplorer

By | November 6th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

Little bro just got a bigger bro, for to kick the sand back at the sceptics.

Say what? Well according to Doug Graham, Sales Director at Neat Acoustics, the little Iota Alpha floorstanders were too small and weedy to be taken seriously…by some audiophiles. Novelty value, not real speakers. Never mind that they were seeded by the acclaimed original Iota, a diminutive shelf/desktop speaker with planar magnetic tweeter and optimised to work close to a wall. I heard the Iota first – king of where’s-the-sub – at a Manchester show.… Read the full article

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Audirvana Plus for Windows review

By | October 17th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

“Roon. Great functionality, metadata2die4, a user interface that trounces others Hulk-style. All for the price of a good interconnect. Or rent it, like your music.”…say some. It’s not the only party in town though.

I use it. I know it’s good. It does cost a fair wedge and Roon’s in-house coded RAAT protocol is theirs and theirs only. I’m two years in and things move on both inside Roon (via a wealth of updates) but also elsewhere.

Time to revisit an alternative: the new version of Audirvana+.… Read the full article

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