April 2019
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Bowers & Wilkins announces Formation Suite

By | April 22nd, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Having purchased venerated loudspeaker manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins back in 2016, the now five-year-old EVA Automation has injected their streaming platform into a suite (not a ‘series’) of new B&W models that talk to die-hard audiophiles and the man in the street alike.

The Formation Suite comprises a standalone loudspeaker (Wedge, US$899), a 9-driver soundbar (Bar, US$1199), a subwoofer (Bass, US$999), a network streamer (Audio, US$699) and – of sharper interest to Darko.Audio readers – a pair of active standmount loudspeakers (Duo, US$3999) where “carbon-domed, tweeter-on-top technology and Continuum cone drivers” are juiced by Class D amplification with a 24bit/96kHz interlink keeping left and right channels in sync.… Read the full article

Andrew Jones on the realities of loudspeaker design

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

Seriously impressive. But you won’t be hearing this at Munich High-End 2019.” — that was yours truly laying down the Rammstein challenge over on Facebook.

Picking it up was Andrew Jones of ELAC. “This is strange because today I was preparing my playlists for AXPONA and added some tracks from a colleague. Scanning through them I found Rammstein! Might be interesting to try it out. Infected mushroom is already one of my favourites, so why not try this!”

A week before AXPONA, Andrew Jones and I went long over internet wire to talk about his work as a loudspeaker designer.… Read the full article

Munich High-End 2019: ELAC’s Carina are JET-powered!

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

JETpacked. The latest loudspeaker to designs to spill from ELAC Americas are the 2-way Carina BS243.4 standmount and the 2.5-way 241.4 floorstander, both of which take strong cues from ELAC Germany‘s speaker designs to feature the company’s JET folded ribbon tweeter.

According to ELAC, the JET tweeter offers “lightning-fast response”, “wide dynamic range”, “minimal distortion”, “lots of headroom” and a “wider frequency range than conventional dome tweeters”.

In the BS243.4 , the JET tweeter is married to a single 13.5 cm aluminium mid/bass driver for a 2-way design.… Read the full article

Morel’s Högtalare is peak Kallax-Fi

By | April 17th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Kallax-Fi? We’ve covered electronics. What about loudspeakers? Many standmounts will make good on their bookshelf promise to fit comfortably inside an IKEA Kallax unit’s 33cm x 33cm shelf hole. The compromise is the cavity will act as a bi-directional acoustic horn. Not too dissimilar to how we cup our hands around our mouth to further project our voice.

Taking a bespoke approach to eliminate the problems of an additional enclosure is Israel’s driver and OEM manufacturer Morel. Their Högtalare loudspeaker fits snugly into any Kallax shelf with its reinforced MDF cabinet housing a pair of soft dome tweeters, a “double magnet” 6″ mid/bass driver (with front firing port) and a trio of corresponding 50 Watt amplifier, all stitched together via a DSP crossover.… Read the full article

Munich High-End 2019: Gold Note’s DS-10 & PH-1000

By | April 16th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

We know Italy’s Gold Note best for their IS-1000 super-integrated amplifier: a DAC and MM/MC phono stage that feeds a Class A/B loudspeaker amplification stage. Phil Wright reviewed it here. I previewed it a few months prior; at Munich High-End 2018 (here). I don’t attend shows to listen to gear but to scope out new products for further listening at home.

To this year’s Munich event, Gold Note will bring two new products for our previewing pleasure.… Read the full article

Audiolab readies 6000N DTS Play-Fi streamer

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

A network streamer for less than five hundred British pounds? With Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity? Plus: analogue and digital outputs? The obvious (if dated) choice is the Sonos Connect whose breadth of streaming service integration is unsurpassed but whose sound quality is found wanting when sat next to more recent rivals such as the Bluesound Node 2/i, Volumio Primo and the (now discontinued) AURALiC Aries Mini.

Throwing their hat into the Sonos Connect-rival ring this week is Audiolab whose 6000N Play streamer will join the 6000CDT CD player and 6000A integrated amplifier as part of the British company’s more affordable 6000 series — see header image.… Read the full article

Letters to the editor: AXPONA 2019, CDs & electronic music

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

Mark M. writes in about AXPONA 2019…

Hey John and company,

I read your AXPONA post before attending and you were spot on, not great for critical listening but fantastic for seeing and hearing new equipment normally only seen on screen. This was my first audio show and all I can say is what a great group of people. (Exhibitors, attendees, and staff) The discussion between Steve Guttenberg and Andrew Jones was a good listen and I had a great chat with Scott Mcgowan from PS Audio.… Read the full article

In absentia: an AXPONA 2019 preview

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

AXPONA is the USA’s largest regional audio show. It takes place this weekend at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center in Chicago. I won’t be there. Ha! As with every year, this Stateside event is too close to Munich High-End to justify punching a 12-day hole in my review schedule: five days to get to and from Chicago; five days to report on what I saw; and two or three more days for the double dose of jetlag to subside.… Read the full article

A short film about CD playback w/ Hegel, PS Audio & Pro-Ject

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

Life begins at forty? Not for the Compact Disc. The CD format was co-developed by Sony and Philips in 1979 but wasn’t shown to the public until 1982. The format picked up steam throughout the eighties to become the number one mainstream choice by 1990. Twenty-five years later, the CD is the music format equivalent of smoking indoors, its mid-nineties heyday as remote as a Counting Crows b-sides compilation.

CD sales have been in steep decline since 2008, giving way first to downloads and then to the now ubiquitous/dominant streaming services.… Read the full article