October 2018
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FiiO M3K Review

By | October 14th, 2018|Categories: Headfonics|Tags: , , , , |

8.3ScoreFiiO has been inside the market for portable music players for some time now. Ceaselessly expanding their prowess in the DAP field of tomorrow with new entries for our ears to enjoy. Today, we will be looking at their ultra budget M3K, which is a $69USD model that might be one that redefines the best […]

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Wrapping up RMAF 2018 with Angela Cardas (& more)

By | October 14th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , |

As RMAF 2018 drew to a close, I joined Angela Cardas in the Marriott hotel bar for a chat about her role as manager of Cardas Audio and what she thinks of the term ‘WAF’. Guess what! She’s “not a fan”. The way Cardas tells it, the days of audio shows being an escape from the family are over. Now is the time to include the family (as exemplified by Munich High-End).

Echoing this sentiment is Zu Audio‘s own RMAF 2018 reflection: “If it’s one thing exhibitors at these hi-fi shows need to do better is play music that more people want to hear—the days of playing ten safe cuts of pretty and impressive music are long gone.” The majority of exhibitors still pull from a shallow pool as beige as the name given to the refurbished Marriott’s bar: Pint Brothers.… Read the full article

Eat Schiit, audiophiles!

By | October 13th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Aegir (“Ay-jjj-ear”?) is the forthcoming stereo (and mono-blockable) amplifier from California’s Schiit Audio and teased at RMAF 2018: a Class A-ish circuit dropped into a Vidar chassis that borrows from the Lyr 3’s Continuity output stage to deliver 20wpc into 8 Ohms, 40wpc into 4 Ohms. It was designed by Jason Stoddard and will be available for purchase from Q1 2019. Price? US$799.

That same (estimated) price and release quarter will be shared by the Mike Moffat-steered Sol turntable that threatens to shake up the entry-level(ish) vinyl playback world for those willing to put a little time into ‘table setup.… Read the full article

The talking heads of RMAF 2018: Gordon Rankin

By | October 12th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , |

The USB stick, handed to me early Saturday morning by Wavelength Audio’s Gordon Rankin, detailed the five new models being shown at RMAF 2018: the Duetto v5 8w 300B amplifier, the (flagship) Crimson HS3x ES9038 USB DAC, the Cosecant HS3x ES9038 USB DAC, the Brick N2 Hybrid NOS Ladder DAC and, most newsworthy of all for this commentator, the Ethernet Spacelator — an optically isolated, dual-clocked repeater ($TBC) that sits between streamer (or streaming DAC) and network.

Rankin’s USB stick elaborated: “The input side of the circuit goes to a really high-quality reclocker, this is then converted to a digital parallel interface that is optically coupled in both directions to the clean side reclocker.Read the full article

Earsonics Birdy Review

By | October 12th, 2018|Categories: Headfonics|Tags: , , , , |

Tonality8.5Build Quality8.4Matchability8Functionality8 8.2Score$290EarsonicsDisclaimer: The Earsonics Birdy was sent to us a sample in exchange for our honest opinion and does not have to be returned. We thank Earsonics for this opportunity. Bluetooth wireless streaming. Love it or loathe it is here to stay. Thankfully developers such as Sony and Qualcomm have taken notice of the […]

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The talking heads of RMAF 2018: Sean Casey

By | October 11th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Numerous high-end loudspeaker manufacturers show at RMAF but none are quite like Utah’s Zu Audio. They are the only exhibitor to constantly play interesting music all weekend, to consistently throw a kick-ass party with their main system on the show’s Saturday night and to demo their gear in visual and – this year – olfactory contexts.

For RMAF 2018, Zu Audio put Druid VI floorstanders (US$10,000/pair), Pass Labs amplification and Mo-Fi turntables at the centre of a dark meditative space in which incense continually burned.… Read the full article

Andrew Jones must be stopped!

By | October 11th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

“Dear John. I don’t know about you but I’m becoming heartily sick of Andrew Jones. His US$20,000+ loudspeaker designs for TAD were great and all – and the US$129 Pioneer SP-BS22-LR was a cute attempt to snag entry-level buyers – but ever since he decamped to ELAC a few years back, I can’t open a web browser for fear of seeing his beaming smile and man-of-the-people disposition staring right back at me. The Debut Series. The Uni-Fi Series. The Uni-Fi Slim.Read the full article

Effect Audio Leonidas II Review

By | October 10th, 2018|Categories: Headfonics|Tags: , , , , , |

Tonality9Build Quality9Comfort & Handling9.1Matchability9 9Score$888Effect AudioDisclaimer: The Effect Audio Leonidas II was sent to us in advance of retail release to allow us to complete this review. Many thanks to Effect Audio for giving us this opportunity. Some time ago I asked Eric Chong, the Marketing Manager, what was Effect Audio’s most critical products releases? […]

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Future-Fi Now (Redux): Devialet announce Phantom Reactor

By | October 9th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

The best Bluetooth speaker in the world? That could easily be the Devialet Phantom. And yet such a feature-limiting title sells the Phantom short. Configured with the Dialog router as a stereo pair, this Alien Egg of a streaming-service-equipped loudspeaker would take on – and take down – many similarly priced traditional hi-fi rigs. It’s the epitomé of Future-Fi. Anyone telling you otherwise is probably overly-invested in audiophile snobbery.

Devialet’s all-new Phantom Reactor (announced today) is a digitally active and streaming-capable Alien Egg but reduced in size and price to better suit smaller listening spaces and budgets.… Read the full article

Sonicorbiter v2.7 comes to Sonore streamers/servers

By | October 9th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

Small Green Computer has announced the availability of Sonicorbiter v2.7, the latest – and reportedly greatest – operating system for all Sonore Rendu series streamers (microRendu, ultraRendu, Signature Rendu SE) and the sonicTransporter server.

Causing the Small Green Computer coders refer to v2.7 as the ‘greatest’ OS to date is the addition of: 1) Resilio Sync which “gives customers the ability to easily sync their music files on their computer with their sonicTransporter series servers”; 2) HQ Player to the SonicTransporter and 3) Roon-less Tidal to Rendu streamers where users can now repurpose Linn’s Kazoo with Tidal login to talk directly to any Sonore endpoint.… Read the full article