February 2018
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K&K Audio Premium MC Phono Step-Up Transformer Review

By | February 23rd, 2018|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , , , |

The ugly duckling of the analog world gets a chance to morph in to a beautiful swan.

By Steve Graham

Features and prices:

-Uses Swedish Lundahl LL1931 amorphous-core transformers

-Coils wound with high-purity copper

-Two switch-selectable gain settings

-Configurable grounding to minimize hum

-Rhodium-plated Cardas RCA jacks

-Solid silver DH Labs wire (connecting jacks to board)

-Available with Lundahl LL1941 transformers for very low-output cartridges

-Transformers available wound with high-purity solid silver wire ($$$)

-Standard Transformer version: $600 US kit, $650 US assembled

-Transformers wound with silver wire: $1,500 US assembled



If you’re new to the phonographic experience, i.e.… Read the full article

Coherent Audio Winter Meet – March 4th in Hamilton

By | February 22nd, 2018|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Coherent Audio is hosting another audio meet, this time at one of Hamilton’s downtown hotspots, Thirty-Three Bowen. The last two events – held in 2017 – were fun and very informative…these are free to attend and they’re a great opportunity to meet some local enthusiasts, and of course to hear Frank Fazzalari’s amazing creations – the Coherent loudspeakers. (I’m in the process of writing the Coherent Model 8 review – coming very soon!)

Nordost will be on hand, supporting once again and bringing their goodies.… Read the full article

Review: Tisbury Audio’s Incredible £139 Domino MM/MC Phono

By | February 19th, 2018|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , |

Review by Noam Bronstein

Most audio products are produced in mainland China nowadays – so locally-made gear always gets our attention. Well, Tisbury Audio isn’t exactly local to us, being that they’re in London (UK). But they are one of a handful of companies (like Lounge, or Schiit) who eschew production outsourcing, make everything obsessively by hand, and also set very competitive market pricing.

We reviewed Tisbury’s ‘Mini II’ passive attenuator a couple years ago (I loved it), and clearly, their new Domino phono stage, the subject of this review, retains the same look and footprint.… Read the full article

Review: RJM Audio VSPS 400 Phono Stage

By | February 12th, 2018|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

A Canadian Double-Double, by way of Japan*

By Steve Graham

*For non-Canadians: this is a coffee with double sugar and double cream, typically from our nation-wide coffee and donut chain.

Does DIY have a place in mainstream audiophilia?  Hard core DIY, we’re talking soldering irons and drill presses, will likely never be statistically significant.  But does even mild DIY have any place at all?  I would argue it does, though I’m going to stretch the definition a bit.  I contend that anyone involved in perfectionist audio is a DIY’er at heart. … Read the full article

Upcoming Review Update: Finale Maestro-Six Full-Function Preamplifier

By | February 5th, 2018|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Upcoming Review Update:

Finale Maestro-Six Full Function Preamplifier

By Steve Graham

This will be a departure from the norm for me.  The Finale Maestro-Six is a minimalist design, compared to my usual ranks of separate tubed stages.

Finale Audio is a small Canadian company that makes bespoke audio components, along with its sister company Triode Lab (WoS has reviewed pieces from both brands before).  A prospective owner may order one with his or her choice of volume potentiometers, selector switches, various other bits and pieces and even custom stainless steel knobs.… Read the full article

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Upcoming Review: K&K Audio Premium SUT

By | January 29th, 2018|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , |

Upcoming Review Update:
K&K Audio Premium Step-Up Transformer,
Some Tips on Eliminating Hum in a Phono Rig

By Steve Graham

A Step-Up Transformer (SUT) is probably the most important and at the same time, least glamourous purchase you’ll ever make if you have a low to very low output moving coil cartridge.
Audio reviewers in the know say that a SUT is the preferred way to couple a low-output, and the only way to couple a very low-output moving coil cartridge to a phono preamplifier.… Read the full article

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Update on two reviews in progress

By | January 26th, 2018|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , |

Review-in-Progress Updates:

-RJM Audio VSPS 400 Phono Stage

-Funk Firm Flamenca

By Steve Graham

RJM Audio VSPS 400

The RJM boards and power supply have been installed in their cabinets.  They fired up without incident late in 2017, and about 200 hours of break-in time has accumulated since then.  They look quite presentable in their generic eBay-sourced boxes, if I do say so myself.

Mark Miller of LaserMARK Engraving did his usual superlative job of making the cabinets look more professional than I could have done on my own. … Read the full article

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Finally, The Schiit JIL A to D Converter Review

By | January 10th, 2018|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , , |

A time machine worthy of Marty McFly

By Steve Graham

Let’s deal with the name and get it out of the way.  If your mother-in-law, pastor, imam, rabbi or your non-audiophile buddy drops by and asks what the stylised “S” stands for on the front panel, you need to have a story ready.  You won’t want to risk offending anyone – or in the case of your audio buddy, you’ll want to keep him from taking the piss.

Stanley, maybe? … Read the full article

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Treating S.A.D. (Seasonal Amplifier Disorder)

By | December 17th, 2017|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , , |

by Steve Graham

Living near 45 degrees North latitude and 80 degrees West longitude means short days, long nights, cold temperatures, howling winds and blinding blizzards this time of year.  Once I compiled my list of woes and stopped feeling sorry for myself, I suspected that a touch of seasonal affective disorder, aka S.A.D., might be the reason behind my funk.  A little activity (that doesn’t involve shovelling snow) might be diverting and beneficial to my amplifier specifically and the sound of my system overall.… Read the full article

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Upcoming Review: RJM Audio VSPS 400 Phono Stage

By | November 26th, 2017|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , |

Steve Graham digs deeper into LP grooves with a Canadian phono board.

Richard Murdey is a Canadian originally from Newfoundland and Labrador.  The audiophile bug bit him early on courtesy of his Dad, but Richard discovered DIY while doing his PhD at the university of British Columbia.  He lives in Japan with his family and does post-doctoral work at Kyoto University, exploring solid state physics and physical chemistry.  Specifically, he studies the conductivity and photoconductivity of molecular semiconductors.  (WOW!)  Through his Phonoclone website, Richard promotes some of his DIY ideas on topics ranging from phono amps, line and headphone amp design, D to A converters, and interconnect cables. … Read the full article

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