January 2019
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
>> Breadcrumb ://DAR

Try walking in my shoes

By | December 31st, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

Empathy – to place oneself in another’s position – is this reviewer’s most valuable skill.

To understand that journeyman audiophiles see their multi-box systems, complete with hi-fi rack and cable salad, as an audio playground BUT ALSO that many others are repelled by such monstrous setups, preferring instead the Future-Fi minimalism of a pair of active loudspeakers and a streamer or a pair of passive loudspeakers juiced by a super-integrated (where streamer, DAC and amplifier play from one box).

To understand that state-of-the-art audio invariably means small production runs and a price tag that would otherwise buy a six-month vacation BUT ALSO that many would-be hi-fi buyers are horrified by the idea of dropping new-car-money on an amplifier or DAC.… Read the full article

Comments Off on Try walking in my shoes

Stand in the place where you live

By | December 29th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

“Stand in the place where you live
Now face north
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven’t before”

– R.E.M.


In the days sandwiched by Christmas and New Year, we find ourselves in the anteroom of the year ahead, looking back on the year soon to close. We sit between the future and the past.

Standmount loudspeakers coming my way in 2018 were evenly split between passive and active designs. From the former camp, the Harbeth Compact 7ES3, the ProAC Tablette 10 (and its Signature variant) plus a new found favourite in the DENSO Ten Eclipse 510Z MKII.… Read the full article

Comments Off on Stand in the place where you live

nd_baumecker is Berghain’s audiophile DJ

By | December 28th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

A high-quality experience. It’s not a term we readily associate with DJ culture where an all too easily a quick turnover in musical trends leads to a quick turnover at the turnstile and record counter. Play it loud and play it fast.

Exceptions exist. Playing the long game in the no-mans land between the River Spree and Karl Marx Allee is iconic Berlin nightclub Berghain. An imposing building – and a power station in a past life – that takes its name from the largest of its three spaces: Säule doesn’t keep the extended weekend club hours of Berghain and Panorama Bar, opening only occasionally and for more experimental music.… Read the full article

Comments Off on nd_baumecker is Berghain’s audiophile DJ

Stack Audio announce the Link: a streamer with surprises!

By | December 27th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

First blood on digital audio streamer news for 2019 (and we’re not even there yet) goes to the Stack Audio. The UK company’s forthcoming WiFi/Ethernet-connectable Link is a network bridge; it will drop into any UPnP/OpenHome (powered by Volumio), Shairport-powered Airplay, Roon (TBC) or Spotify Connect streaming system to output via USB (and USB only) to a neighbouring DAC. The Link also features a Bluetooth input for when convenience is more important than sound quality.

Up the Link’s sleeve sits a trio of party tricks: 1) the Link is a CD ripper with a second USB port allowing for the connection of an external optical drive ; 2) the Link is a USB pipe cleaner where its Type B USB port will play catch on any other USB source to clean up its signal before sending it on the DAC; 3) an HDMI display port for big screen display of the Link’s Volumio interface.… Read the full article

Comments Off on Stack Audio announce the Link: a streamer with surprises!

ACHTUNG: the loudspeaker bargain of 2018!

By | December 24th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Look — we’re not usually ones for pointing out discounts. To promote a hi-fi store’s end of financial year clearance sale or a distributor’s seasonal pricing just isn’t a reviewer’s job. Whilst acknowledging that it’s a side-effect of Darko-Audio hi-fi coverage, my main priority as a publisher isn’t to explicitly promote a company’s products or price changes. (That’s what banner ads are for).

But it’s Christmas and this, ladies and gentlemen, is a bargain that screams “Add to cart”: the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 are presently selling for half price over at Crutchfield.… Read the full article

Comments Off on ACHTUNG: the loudspeaker bargain of 2018!

Michael Zähl – from Conny Plank to Mark Ernestus

By | December 22nd, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

Best of 2018? We’ve done the professional. What about the personal? For that, we journey back to late April and a Kreuzberg kitchen. Serving tea is Mark Ernestus whose pioneering work with Moritz von Oswald as Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound isn’t up for discussion. Not tonight. And not three months later at Berlin’s HAU Theatre sitting on a panel with Tresor founder Dimitri Hegemann, Underground Resistance’s (‘Mad’) Mike Banks and the Night Mayor of Detroit, to discuss how, during the Nineties, techno jumped from its Motor City birthplace to the German capital.… Read the full article

Comments Off on Michael Zähl – from Conny Plank to Mark Ernestus

Product/s of the Year 2018: Kii Three & Sony WH-1000XM3

By | December 20th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

DSP. Digital Signal Processing. Three words that cause tummy trouble for the analogue purist whose idealistic rigidity and theoretical objections quickly see any early product consideration turn to cramps. Plink-plunk goes the Alka-Seltzer.

In the real world, the following two pieces of hardware turn any theoretical objections inside out to present such a compelling case for DSP’s deployment – where we gain far more than we (might) lose – that they enjoy equal billing as Darko.Audio Product of the Year 2018.… Read the full article

Comments Off on Product/s of the Year 2018: Kii Three & Sony WH-1000XM3

Darko.Audio podcast #13 – Best of 2018

By | December 19th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , |

In which Jeff Dogay of TONEAudio and I select five of our favourite products of the past twelve months and the industry trends to which they speak. Listen here:

Follow us on Soundcloud here and subscribe to the iTunes feed here.


My picks…

Naim Uniti Atom £1,999 [Review here]

Chord Qutest DAC £1,195 [Review here]

Devialet Expert Pro 140 €4,999 [Review soon]

Campfire Audio Atlas IEM US$1,299 [Preview here and here]

MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Open US$799 [Review here]
Campfire Cascade US$799
Audeze LCD 2 Classic US$799

(I’ll be nominating my Product of the Year 2018 in a separate post)

Jeff’s picks…

Hana SL US$749

Boulder 508 US$5,000

PS Audio DirectStream PowerPlant 15 US$7,499

Roon Nucleus €1,500 – €2,500

dCS Vivaldi One US$88,000Read the full article

Comments Off on Darko.Audio podcast #13 – Best of 2018

Audiophile album of the year 2018: Morphology’s Traveller

By | December 18th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Album of the year? In 1996, it might have been B12’s Time Tourist. The London duo’s sophomore outing, released on Warp, was a moody, twitchy electronic ride into the future with its sci-fi influences worn, quite literally, on its sleeve. Executed by The Designers Republic, the back plate carried encoded references to Star Wars, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick whose novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” provided the source material for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.… Read the full article

Comments Off on Audiophile album of the year 2018: Morphology’s Traveller