December 2018
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Review: ZMF Pendant

By | December 11th, 2018|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , , |

ZMF Pendant Review

ZMF Pendant Headphone Amplifier Review

Over the years Zach from ZMF headphones has partnered with a varying companies to bring complimentary products to his consumer base. With the introduction of his own range of dynamic headphones in 2016, ZMF recently took up residence with tube amplifier maker ampsandsound for a partnership that we currently find ourselves staring directly into the warm glowing tubes of. 

The collaboration is an interesting one, bringing together more than one theme for personal audio enthusiasts. There are hints of classic technologies and tried-and-true design elements aligned with more cutting edge design and material work that run through the system like veins of sonic lifeblood. … Read the full article

OnSight: a video view of the Linn Selekt DSM

By | December 10th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

Boxen Gross. Big speakers? Not for this commentator’s first visit to the Kreuzberg hi-fi store of the same name. Instead, I’m here to meet one Guido Schuetze – Brand Ambassador for Linn in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – for an extended introduction to the Scottish company’s first foray into a more mainstream-friendly all-in-one device: the Selekt DSM.

At its heart, Linn’s Selekt DSM is a streaming DAC – with Ethernet, USB, 2 x TOSLINK, 2 x coaxial and HDMI ARC inputs – plus MM/MC phono stage with options for integrated 50wpc (into 8 Ohms) in-house-designed Class D power amplifier and/or upgraded Katalyst DAC.… Read the full article

Burson announces opamp-rollable DAC, headphone amplifier

By | December 7th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

Swing and Playmate. Channelling the ghost of Hugh Hefner, Melbourne’s Burson Audio’s have announced two new models: the respectively-named digital pre-amplifier (US$399) and 2-watt headphone amplifier w/DAC (US$399).

The Swing sports a line-level output to run as a DAC and variable gain RCA outputs for pre-amplifier duties. Inside, a sextet of Burson’s ‘Maximum Current Power Supplies’ (MCPS) each juice six different stages of the DAC.

However, with its headphone output occupying more internal real estate, the Playmate gets one less MCPS and a single set of variable gain RCAs.

Read the full article

McIntosh Announces A 70th Anniversary LE Commemorative System

By | December 6th, 2018|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , , , |

McIntosh 70th Anniversary

Just in time for the holidays, McIntosh is releasing a 70th anniversary collectors edition of the MC2152 amplifier and C70 Pre. 70 years is a long time to keep on truckin’ in this business, and fans of the brand will no doubt be excited. All units offer special badging and unique external design. Matching pairs can be purchased as a system with collaborative serial numbers and include a commemorative book of Mcintosh history.

70 pairs of the commemorative system will be produced, and McIntosh is donating $1k to a charity for each system sold.… Read the full article

McGary SA-1 Vacuum Tube Stereo Amplifier

By | December 4th, 2018|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , |

McGary SA-1 Vacuum Tube Stereo Amplifier

Okay everyone! Time for the obvious disclosure! How could I not want to review an amplifier that emblazons my name right on the front of the amp in such fashion? Just ignore that Mc part. This is truly a Gary amp!

I was a bit surprised when the unit showed up at my door as I completely spaced on doing the review. (Let’s hand that off to advanced age.) So I unpacked the amp from its shipping container and set it in between my mono blocks, installed the tubes, powered it up, and we were off to the McRaces!… Read the full article

Review: Schiit Vidar

By | December 4th, 2018|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , |

Schiit Vidar

Schiit Audio Vidar Power Amplifier Review

Schiit Audio pretty much always pushed the idea of separates fairly hard into their product lines. While smaller, budget aspirations like the $99 Fulla headphone amp/dac have always been around, much more online buzz (and most likely sales) have revolved around the buzz-worthy Schiit-stack of $99 separates, standalone ladder dacs and tube-based gear the Southern California company manufactures.

So it only made sense that designer Jason Stoddard would eventually end up back within the thralls of the loudspeaker world after a stint with amplifier company Sumo some years ago.… Read the full article

Gold Note announces PA-1175 MK2 amplifier

By | December 2nd, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

Prefer your amplification big n ballsy? Introducing a revision of the first stereo power amplifier from Florence’s Gold Note. Inside its 22kg aluminium and steel chassis, the PA-1175 MK2 sets a 640VA custom toroidal transformer to work on four ‘matched’ output transistors per channel for a fully-balanced circuit that nets 200wpc into 8 Ohms, extendable to 520wpc when bridged into mono.

According to the Italian manufacturer, a proprietary “BIAS constant current generator” ensures high-current delivery, low distortion of <0.01%THD @ 20Hz-20kHz and a slew rate – “the maximum rate at which an amplifier can respond to an abrupt change of input level” – of 20V/μs.… Read the full article

Impressions:  The Ayon Audio HA-3 SET Headphone Amplifier and the Focal Utopia Headphones

By | November 30th, 2018|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , |

High-end headphones and Personal Fi. I’ve evaluated a goodly handful of ‘phones and headphone amps over many years, with some excellent results. Some were large cost-no-object designs, built for home, listening room, or office use only; others were compact and portable, for the music lover on the go. (I do a fair amount of flying, and appreciate good portable gear.) I also have some great headphones and headphone amps for stay-at-home. Either way, I’m well served.

As a result, over the years I’ve built up a collection of reference headphones, of various types.… Read the full article

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EarSpace w/ Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature & Harbeth 40.2

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

New room, new broom, new possibilities and – for the hi-fi system owner – new challenges: standing waves and suck-outs in the low-end plus soundstage smear caused by wall, ceiling and floor reflections.

I’m now two years into my first Berlin apartment and I have my listening room dialled in so that it sounds pleasing to the ear but also looks and feels cosy enough to sit in when not listening to music. I work hard to keep the electronics tidy so that the room doesn’t appear overrun with audio gear and the (judiciously-placed) acoustic panels don’t have it looking like a sound lab.… Read the full article

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Luxman LX-380 Integrated

By | November 24th, 2018|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , |

The image above is presented as proof of my credentials for reviewing vacuum tube integrated amplifiers. The photo of my younger son was taken two decades ago sitting next to the Air Tight Acoustic Masterpiece M-101 integrated amplifier (audioMusings Issue 6, 1998 HERE). The infant is now a grown man and moved on to pursue his fortune in the world. I wish him peace and happiness.

Luxman LX-380

Luxman LX-380

Luxman has been producing highly regarded audio components in Japan since 1925.… Read the full article

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