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2018 Golden Ear Awards: Kirk Midtskog

By | December 26th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , , |

2018 Golden Ear Awards: Kirk Midtskog

YG Acoustics Sonja 2.2 loudspeaker $76,800/pr. I reviewed the original Sonja 1.2 in 2015 and gave it a GEA last year. As good as the 1.2 still is, the current 2.2 improves upon that speaker in dynamic ease, bass weight, soundstage continuousness, and resolution of fine detail. The main technical improvement comes from a brand-new kind of tweeter that combines a soft-dome membrane with a very lightweight, strong, and acoustically transparent supporting “air frame.” The result is a remarkably articulate tweeter capable of withstanding G-forces similar to those of good metal domes but without the oft-associated telltale metallic ringing.… Read the full article

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Run Out Groove

By | December 21st, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , |

Run Out Groove

Formed in 2017, Run Out Groove is a vinyl-only and fan-engaged music label. Each month music lovers vote to decide which title will become the next limited edition one-time pressing. An imprint of Warner Music Group, Run Out Groove has access to recordings going back several decades—in other words, a treasure trove of music. As a result, the label is free to wander far and wide stylistically, with genres as diverse as garage/punk (MC5, The Stooges), alternative rock (Morphine, Luna), folk (Judee Sill), soul (Betty LaVette, Solomon Burke), and jazz (Bill Frisell).… Read the full article

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Q&A with Nick Doshi of Doshi Audio

By | December 21st, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , |

Q&A with Nick Doshi of Doshi Audio

What ignited your interest in the high end? Did it come from the music side or the electronics side? Both, actually: I was fortunate to have music-loving parents who played instruments and immersed me in Eastern as well as Western Classical music. Growing up in a musical household sparked my interest in sound reproduction and inspired me to study audio electronics. When did audio develop from a hobby to a career? Audio has always been my profession, as well as my passion.… Read the full article

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Mojo Audio Mystique v3 DAC

By | December 21st, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Mojo Audio Mystique v3 DAC

What does it take to build a good-sounding DAC these days? In general, it requires a mixture of the latest technology plus engineering practices that have stood the test of time. Some DACs focus on implementing the fastest sampling rates or on the latest file format or technology, e.g., MQA, DXD, and DSD256. Others might pay more attention to reducing electronic noise and vibration. But here’s another DAC for your consideration, the Mojo Audio Mystique v3, which focuses on delivering the basics as well as possible rather than trying to push the digital envelope.… Read the full article

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Esoteric F-03A Integrated Amplifier

By | December 20th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Esoteric F-03A Integrated Amplifier

Esoteric’s F-03A integrated amplifier proves the audio truism that not all watts are created equal. With an output power of just 30Wpc, the F-03A isn’t anyone’s idea of a powerhouse. Yet the F-03A’s 30 watts are not only among the sweetest sounding you’ll find; they are also far more potent than those of lesser-quality amplifiers with a similar power rating. The F-03A’s sweetness is provided by its Class A operation, the potency from its robust output stage and power supply. Two amplifiers with the same power rating into 8 ohms “on paper” can have radically different real-world performances.… Read the full article

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Audio Mirror SET Monoblock Power Amplifier

By | December 19th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Audio Mirror SET Monoblock Power Amplifier

To confess, I developed a soft spot for the Russian 6C33C-B power triode after I first heard it perform in a Balanced Audio Technology (BAT) amplifier many years ago. Even under CES show conditions, while driving Avantgarde Acoustics loudspeakers, the BAT’s warm and spacious acoustic etched itself indelibly in my auditory memory bank. This tube has been championed by Russian-born designers such as BAT’s Victor Khomenko and Lamm Audio’s Vladimir Lamm, but it was totally unknown in the West prior to the defection in 1976 of Soviet pilot Viktor Belenko.… Read the full article

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MSB Reference DAC and Transport

By | December 18th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

MSB Reference DAC and Transport

Well, what do you know? I’ve finally found digital components I can live with! Of course, the MSB Reference DAC and Reference Transport under review here aren’t gonna push my record players and tape deck off the equipment stand, but they will occupy a place of honor right beside them. What’s changed? The thing that matters most: The MSB Reference DAC and Transport make digitized music sound like the real thing. And, thanks to MSB’s optional preamplifier module with multiple I/Os and world-class, constant-impedance, passive analog volume control, the Reference DAC doesn’t need to be hooked up to an $80k …… Read the full article

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Atlantic Technology Releases 8600e LR Loudspeaker

By | December 18th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Atlantic Technology Releases 8600e LR Loudspeaker

The following is a press release issued by Atlantic Technology. Norwood, MA | December 18, 2018 – Atlantic Technology is now shipping the highest caliber tower speakers they’ve ever created in their 30-year legacy of producing some of the industry’s finest sounding speakers, expanding their extensive range of speakers to higher-end segments such as uncompromised two-channel or large-room surround systems. “With the design of the 8600e LR, we decided to set new standards and create a next-level of speaker system for Atlantic Technology,” said Mike Miller, National Sales Manager Atlantic Technology.… Read the full article

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MBL Noble Line N11 Preamplifier and N15 Monoblock Amplifier

By | December 17th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , |

MBL Noble Line N11 Preamplifier and N15 Monoblock Amplifier

MBL’s Noble Line electronics sit midway between its ultra-expensive Reference Line offerings and its least costly Corona gear. Though the Noble N11 preamp and N15 monoblock amps aren’t stripped down compared to their Reference counterparts, they do differ in price, size, power, and mode of operation. The enormous $106k/pr. Reference Line 9011 monoblocks, for example, one of the world’s great amps, generate 840W/50A/100V into a 4-ohm load, have a signal-to-noise ratio of 118dB and distortion of under 0.001%, and run in Class AB.… Read the full article

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2019 High-End Audio Buyer’s Guide: Music Servers and Peripheral Products

By | December 14th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

2019 High-End Audio Buyer’s Guide: Music Servers and Peripheral Products

Audirvana Version 10 $50 If you have so far resisted buying any third-party music playback software for your Mac, Audirvana offers some compelling reasons to reevaluate that decision. Especially if you use multiple DACs or listen to higher-res files and DSD, Audirvana Plus is a more ergonomically elegant and sonically superior alternative to iTunes. And for readers who need to see and hear for themselves, you can download the trial version of Audirvana Plus for free. For fifteen days you can use the full version with no restrictions.… Read the full article

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