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SVS, The Prime Pinnacle & A New 13 – CES 2019

By | January 17th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , , , |

SVS Prime Pinnacle

A New Floorstander

It’s always a thunderous stop at the SVS room. Focusing on both monster subwoofers and audiophile 2-channel has been the play for the past few years, hence their presence in a Venetian listening room suite at CES this year. The big talking point: a new set of Pinnacle Floorstanders.

The product spread is getting progressively wider for the site-direct company, recently launching a range of wireless prime speaker options as well as filling out the sub line with a the new 3000 series a few months back.… Read the full article

The Elac Carina Series – CES 2019

By | January 14th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Elac Carina Bookshelf Loudspeaker

A new speaker line from Andrew Jones

It is now a sight that the general audio press is becoming more familiar with, but still enjoys at much as the first release (at least for this individual). Andrew Jones and the Elac team crowded into a listening room talking about a new loudspeaker series. At CES this year its a new take on the formula with the addition of a JET folded ribbon tweeter called Carina.

The Carina series starts with 5″ bookshelf for $1.2k (per pair) and includes a center ($849) and floorstander ($1.2 each).… Read the full article

Sonus Faber Sonetto II Speakers | Review

By | December 30th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Should audio components always be 100% truthful to the source? Ahhh, that’s one of those questions that has resulted in untold audiophile angst, much like the supposed supremacy of analog over digital, or tubes vs. solid state. In the end, it’s ultimately up to the ear of the listener, and nothing else. If it sounds good to you, then it’s probably good.

Me? I’m an unabashed truth guy. That’s perhaps why I tend to gravitate toward pro audio DACs and speakers for instance, which are purposely designed to tell the truth: nothing more and nothing less.… Read the full article

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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

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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

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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

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Kharma Elegance dB7-S Loudspeakers

By | December 19th, 2018|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , |

Monologue: Kharma Loudspeakers…producing the sound of bowed and plucked strings alike with color, humanness, and texture.

In this age of industrial wealth and manufacturing proficiency, the audio industry has leaped forward with a proliferation of companies now capable of adopting engineering and construction techniques that elevate quality to unforeseen levels. You only have to look at the manufacturing marvel that is Kharma to appreciate that such levels of design, fabrication, and fit and finish were once only made in dreams. This unprecedented level of build quality has also been adopted in the loudspeaker realm.… Read the full article

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German Physiks HRS-130 Loudspeakers

By | December 14th, 2018|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , |

German Physiks HRS-130 Loudspeakers

One of my fondest memories as a teen was poring over the pages of the Tech Hifi catalog. Located on Route 35 in Eatontown, NJ, it was the closet thing the Jersey Shore offered to high end audio, and to me it represented the state of the art in home sound reproduction. The catalog lay out was organized around a number of systems starting with entry level in the front of the catalog, gradually building to what was touted as the NE plus ultra.Read the full article

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KIH #63 – Passive struggles, active solutions

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

Dynamically challenged? Being referred to as dynamic speakers makes the breed distinct from planars like classic MartinLogan, Quad and Magnepan. Following nomen est omen, one might conclude that dynamics would be a dynamic speaker’s greatest forté. But speaker designer Pat McGinty (of Meadowlark) explains why they’re more challenged than you might think.

He begins by explaining what creates the notion of slow bass. “Three common causes are poorly aligned vented enclosures, cheap drivers and elements that cause poor electrical damping.Read the full article

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The New Apartment Lounge: Mighty Midgets – The Gravity Defying Studio Electric M4 Monitor Loudspeakers

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

Great First Impressions

I’ll never forget the look on Greg Weaver’s face the moment he and I got to hear (at the AXPONA 2018 high end show) what Studio Electric and chief designer Dave McPherson’s latest thinking on what small loudspeakers, the diminutive M4, could do. Greg had that classic “I told you so” grin on his face, one that seemed to say, “Dude, can you believe how good this thing sounds?” a few seconds after Dave lowered the stylus of what I think was a Hana MC cartridge (here tethered to a Fern & Roby turntable/arm combo with ModWright Instruments supporting electronics) into the lead groove of Janis Ian’s dark reflections on the Holocaust “Tattoo,” from her seminal 1993 release Breaking Silence.Read the full article

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