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ModWright Instruments PH 9.0 Phono Stage: A New Paradigm in Affordable Excellence

By | June 2nd, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , |

ModWright Instruments PH 9.0 Phono Stage

Honey, I Shrunk the Phono stage

I’ve had the privilege of knowing Dan Wright for the past twenty years. Over that time, I’ve seen ModWright burgeon from its humble beginnings as an upgrade or modification-only service provider, to becoming a respected manufacturer of a full line of products. Over the past two decades, ModWright has established an unwavering benchmark in providing both remarkable sounding gear and exceptional value. In fact, I was so impressed with ModWright’s flagship phono preamplifier, the PH 150 Reference introduced in 2015, that I purchased mine after reviewing for another publication.… Read the full article

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What isn't Black? Roger Skoff Writes about the Real Sound of Sound

By | June 1st, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: |

How many times have you read a review of some recording, some system, or some individual piece of gear that said something like this? “The orchestra was rendered perfectly, with each individual instrument hung in its own separate space, emerging from a perfectly black background…” Or maybe the reviewer had enthused that “It was easy to tell that there were three rows of violins,” and had gone on to describe the spaces between them and between the violin section and the other instrumental sections as “velvety black,” “…with no sound at all to interfere with sonic imaging or mar the purity of the soundstage.” Perhaps he just wrote that “Each individual note was crystal-clear, against the perfect silence of a dead-black background.”

That’s vividly poetic, but can it really be true?… Read the full article

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Impressions: My Audio Oasis! Awards from AXPONA 2019 – Part the Third

By | May 31st, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , |

Continuing my Audio Oasis! Awards, reflections on AXPONA 2019, and my photographs…

Merging Technologies/Evolution Acoustics/Wave Kinetics/darTZeel/Durand Tonearms/ATR/Analog Audio

 In the Blue Light Audio room…world-class components, all!

Another big-time non-surprise:  The Blue Light Audio et al. room was gassed, stoked, and ready-to-go! once again. Jonathan Tinn, Kevin Malmgren, and Joel Durand hosted a really seductive room, filled with state-of-the-art designs, and the amazing Maestoso Loudspeakers with their Exact external crossovers.

The system:

  • Wave Kinetics NVS Reference Turntable ($45,000)
  • Durand Tonearms Tosca 10″ Gimbal Tonearm ($14,900)
  • Ortofon MC-Century Cartridge ($12,000, limited edition, sold out)
  • darTZeel NHB-18NS MkII Preamplifier ($44,000)
  • darTZeel NHB-108 Model Two Stereo Amplifier ($44,000)
  • Merging Technologies MERGING+NADAC DAC ($10,000)
  • Merging Technologies MERGING+CLOCK ($36,000)
  • Merging Technologies MERGING+POWER power supply ($6000),
  • ATR Services Ampex ATR 102 RTR Tape Deck (price varies; contact ATR Services)
  • Evolution Acoustics Maestoso loudspeakers ($18,900 per pair)

The Evolution Acoustics Maestoso Loudspeaker with a Merging Technologies stack; in the lower right rear is the Exact external crossover, a technical tour de force

The unique Evolution Acoustics Maestoso Loudspeakers have impressed me every time I’ve heard them at audio shows.… Read the full article

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Master & Dynamic MW07 Wireless Earphones

By | May 31st, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , |

New York based audio company Master & Dynamic are a vision of class, delivering beautiful and well-thought out products in their impressive line-up of headphones and IEMs. Although a newcomer to the world of audio, they have quickly learned the ropes through releasing precision-designed boutique headphones with a sound to match. Their website itself shows off their class and flair in creativity with a clear and ambitious goal; to marry sound with design.

And now in keeping with the recent trend for wireless consumables, Master & Dynamic have released the MW07 wireless earphones—a small but powerful addition to the growing company’s collection.… Read the full article

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Toes in My Head, er Sand – MrSpeakers' Aeon Flow Headphones, Schiit Gungnir Multibit DAC, and Ampsandsound Kenzie Amplifier

By | May 30th, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , , |

This note reflects, essentially, my first toe in the water of a higher end headphone setup, at least as a reviewer. I’ve heard high end speaker systems for decades. My first “high end” headphone setup was sometime in the late 1970s, an unknown model of magical Stax “earspeakers.” At the time I thought them better than any regular speakers I’d heard. Since then, I’ve heard numerous excellent two channel setups, but I have made little or no effort to familiarize myself with headphones.… Read the full article

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Lyn Stanley, London Calling | The Vinyl Anachronist

By | May 30th, 2019|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile, Positive Feedback|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

It seems like I’ve had Lyn Stanley‘s London Calling: A Toast to Julie London on my review pile forever, probably because I’ve known about this project since I reviewed The Moonlight Sessions, Vol. 2 for Positive Feedback in November of 2017.  (I also reviewed Vol. 1 on my blog back in August of 2017.) After I raved about that album and its sublime sound quality, Lyn emailed me to thank me and we started an email exchange that continues almost to this day.… Read the full article

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Schiit Audio Yggdrasil Analog 2 DAC

By | May 30th, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , |

Headed by two industry veterans, Schiit Audio is a company that has taken the world of high-end personal audio by storm with their focus on value and commitment to developing game-stopping products. 

The original Yggdrasil represented Schiit’s flagship DAC product, and garnered the company a loyal following. Now, the company have further modified the internals to produce a new iteration—the Yggdrasil Analog 2 DAC (which can be upgraded from the original for a cool $550, or sold stock on Schiit’s website).… Read the full article

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Video Interviews from Munich 2019, Part 2: NativeDSD.com Talks with the Industry About DSD

By | May 29th, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , |

Continuing their video interview series from Munich 2018, the good folks at NativeDSD share more of their conversations with people from that event. Great stuff!

1. Giulio Cesare Ricci, Fonè Records

Floor van der Holst from NativeDSD Music catches up with Giulio Cesare Ricci from Fonè Records at High End Munich 2019. They discuss 2 new Fone albums from Sax Player Scott Hamilton and Guitarist Andrea Castelfranato that have just been released in DSD Stereo at NativeDSD.

The new albums are recorded live, with no editing, “with a natural sound that captures the music’s emotion.”

Giulio Cesare Ricci also talks about the special nature of the DSD format and how it enables the listener to experience “the emotion from the music in your home.”

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEgQAwpuCKY

2.Read the full article

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Bricasti Design M25 Power Amplifier

By | May 29th, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , |

Bricasti Design M25 Stereo Power Amplifier

This is the real deal. Or at least that was the knee-jerk emotion that flooded in during the first few notes from the Bricasti Design M25 power amplifier (M25) as it first drove my loudspeakers. Sure; the M25 had drive, poise, a neutral tonality, and an impeccably tidy soundstage. But most well designed high-power amplifiers do, so what was this initial whip-snap about? While there is no absolute perfection in the world of audio, that is a question worth digging into, since the M25 has settled itself right at the crossroads of real high-performance, and life-like (not simply “live”) presentation of the music.… Read the full article

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Leaving Class A – 2019 Redux: A Biased Opinion from Nelson Pass

By | May 29th, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: |

In spite of the improvements in efficient Class D switchers, watt-sucking Class A power amplifiers continue to attract high-end audiophiles. The breed remains as popular as ever—and why not? Any product of our school system knows that A is better than B, or C or D…

I get quite a bit of email, and it is filled with general questions about compatibility of components, the sound of different products, how high the cables should be lifted and so on, but there is a topic which comes up a regularly: “Where does this amplifier leave Class A?”

It is generally understood that ordinary Class AB amplifiers operate Class A at some low power level and then fall to Class B at higher levels.… Read the full article

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