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Parasound’s New Zphono XRM is a Big Step Up from Entry-level Zphono

By | December 20th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , |

ZphonoXRM

Our good friend, Gordon Sell of GSPR, alerted us to some genuinely exciting news from Parasound. The wildly popular Zphono phono preamplifier from Parasound’s ulta-compact Z line of components get’s updated in a huge way. For those in the know, the existing Zphono at $200 USD is already a bargain player that hit’s hard for it’s asking price. The new Zphono XRM at $599 USD now takes all things analog to another level.

The new Parasound Zphono XRM phono preamplifier offers higher performance, dual-input MM and MC, with XLR outputs, adjustable MC loading, rumble filter, and mono/stereo switch.… Read the full article

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KEF, Parasound, Straight Wire, The Vinyl Revivers, The Audio Hunters – CAF 2018

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

I’m a fan of the KEF Uni-Q driver. I own pair of KEF Q100’s that I keep on hand for road warrior duties. I take them to vinyl parties (the records, not the sex), the occasional record store day event, and sometimes I have even brought them along on a third date. Trust me, the KEF Uni-Q sound is seductive, and thoroughly cooperative with my varied social agendas.

Arriving to the KEF room on Sunday, much later than I expected, I ran into Johan Coorg (KEF’s global brand manager).… Read the full article

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CAF 2018: The Vinyl Revivers, MyTek, Accuphase, Sonner Audio; A sound I would love to come home to

By | December 4th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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The Vinyl Revivers bring value to the game, MyTek brings a big apple, Accuphase reminds me of my childhood, and Sonner Audio definitely is the all joining smooth one.

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The Vinyl Revivers is a passion project created by Russ Katz. Russ is a music lover, whose passion for involved listening runs deep. Delving into his childhood experiences of listening to music of all genres with his father and mother, his devotion to good sound and attentive listening experiences show through in his cultivation of high-end audio products.… Read the full article

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CAF 2018: KEF Reference 1 and a Saturday Morning Wake-Up Call

By | November 29th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , |

“We’re going to start off Saturday morning with some RAWK!”

Mornings at high-end audio shows, at least the first hour or so, are usually dedicated to quieter music. The hallways haven’t quite filled up yet, and many of the exhibitors are still nursing hangovers from partying the night before. Okay, maybe I’m generalizing here, or at least bringing a few too many of my personal experiences into it. But heavy metal at 10am?

KEF (website), along with the folks at The Audio Hunters and The Vinyl Revivers says yes.… Read the full article

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2018 RMAF: Marc’s Wrap-Up

By | November 25th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

I haven’t attended a high-end audio show as a member of the press in nearly a decade, and I’ve never done a “wrap-up” before, so this will be both an honor and a stroll into the wilderness. The 2018 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest was indeed a thrill–I haven’t been there for the last two or three years and it was a pleasure to return. I had one small problem, however, with getting lost. This was the first time I’ve been to the DTC Marriott since the renovation, and everything was moved around.… Read the full article

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Parasound Halo JC 3 Jr. Phono Preamplifier by John Curl:  Premier Review

By | October 23rd, 2017|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , , , , , |

All components in BOLD are loaned; all components in standard face are owned by me.

LOUDSPEAKERS

Marten Bird Loudspeakers, Marten Duke 2 Loudspeakers, and REL Stadium III subwoofer.

ELECTRONICS

E.A.R. 324 phono preamplifier, two E.A.R. 890 amplifiers (ran as monos), E.A.R. 534 stereo amplifier, E.A.R. 912 Professional preamplifier, E.A.R. 834L tube line stage, E.A.R. HP4 headphone amplifier, Grado Battery headphone amplifier, and KingRex headphone amplifier.

SOURCES

Analog: E.A.R. Disk Master Turntable with two Helius Omega Tonearms.

Cartridges: Koetsu Rosewood Signature, London Reference and Grado Statement1.… Read the full article

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A Fantastic Little Stereo System – Part 2

By | February 4th, 2017|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , , , , , |

All components in BOLD are loaned; all components in standard face are owned by me as of fall 2016

J Marks System fall 2016

The essential sound of this system is determined first by the loudspeakers, prototypes called Esperanto Parolantos. That’s something of a pun, in that it means “Esperanto Speakers.” (Esperanto, from the audio company I started after leaving Stereophile magazine.)

Mike Zisserson designed the Esperanto Parolanto loudspeaker while taking into account my “Wish List” of desired characteristics and capabilities. In that list I tried to express both in technical terms and in musical terms what I believe a music lover’s relatively affordable two-way non-mini monitor loudspeaker should sound like.… Read the full article

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Redefining Neutrality – The Stealthy Silnote Audio Orion-M1 Master Reference Series XLR Interconnects

By | December 7th, 2016|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , , , , , , |

For several months, the superb Silnote Audio Orion-M1 Master Reference XLR interconnects have anchored my reference system. The time spent testing their sonic mettle has proven an unmitigated delight, and a revelation. I first encountered Silnote’s superb line of audio cables at the 2014 AXPONA audio show. I stumbled upon the Silnote Audio room purely by accident and was immediately taken by the superb sound the firm’s approachable proprietor and chief designer, Mark Williams, conjured from the less-than-ideal listening space. Smooth yet detailed, dynamic yet relaxed, the Silnote room stood out as one of the show’s best.… Read the full article

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The Parasound Halo Integrated Amplifier – Raising the Bar for Price/Performance

By | December 2nd, 2016|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , , , |

The world of high-end audio is wondrous, but can easily reach the realm of unrealistic indulgence for all but the very wealthy. I have been fortunate to hear two channel audio systems with price tags well into the six-figure range (plus custom or acoustically treated listening rooms) and have wonderful sonic imprints of the experiences. Yet shy of winning the lottery (which apparently can’t happen if you don’t buy lottery tickets, so my chances are zero), such sonic bliss will not be a nightly occurrence in my home.… Read the full article

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AXPONA 2016: exaSound finds synergy with Magnepan

By | May 11th, 2016|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , |

AXPONA-exaSound-1297

axponaThis room got me going right out of the gate.  The system used one of my all-time favorite speakers, the Magnepan 1.7s which I have lived with and loved for many years, using both solid state and tube electronics.  Maggies work well with both.  The 1.7s at just a hair over $2K are just a dynamite speaker with a lovely, balanced sound and strong resolution and openness.

Of course, I’m a bit biased as an owner, but I hear a lot of speakers and the 1.7s are honestly among the very best, a tremendous value.… Read the full article

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