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Review: Getting my groove on with one-step vinyl releases

By | December 17th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In business, it can be advantageous to cut out the middle man. In vinyl record production, too, less can be more. The latest mini-trend in the audiophile world is one-step recordings, which eliminate two parts of the manufacturing process.

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab dropped its first one-step record in 2016 with Santana’s Abraxas, followed early this year by the Bill Evans Trio’s Sunday at the Village Vanguard. Both quickly sold out. This fall, MFSL added Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly and reportedly is planning a handful more in 2018.… Read the full article

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Last chance to register to win an AudioQuest DragonFly Red DAC

By | December 16th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Seeing (Dragonfly) Red.

Time is running out to start 2018 with a brand-new DAC/headphone amp, courtesy of AudioQuest and Part-Time Audiophile. So, put down that eggnog and enter our Best of 2017 contest now, before the clock hits midnight.

In a few weeks, the editors and writers at PTA will publish a list of their top gear of the year. We recently asked you, our astute readers, to weigh in with your choices as well, sweetening the offer with a chance to win an AudioQuest DragonFly Red.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Best In Show

By | November 11th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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This year dawned with plenty of questions facing the high-end audio industry. The most pressing were: Would the U.S. economy hold up, allowing manufacturers and retailers to stay afloat? Would vinyl continue its revival, possibly enticing young people into a hobby that’s in danger of aging out? And, would the recent growth in the show circuit create too much of a good thing?

That third question was still hanging in the air as September arrived and the last two of the record seven major domestic gatherings for 2017 were scheduled to go off within weeks of each other, putting a strain on the finances and staff of audio companies and creating decisions for potential out-of-town attendees.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Lone Star Audio creates atmosphere with Synergistic, Magico, Constellation

By | November 11th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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At first glance, the Lone Star Audio rig at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest looked fairly conventional. There was a handsome wood rack filled with Constellation Audio electronics, flanked by floor-standing Magico speakers. But what was that tall, black post doing in front of the gear?

The beam was rectangular, about 4.5 feet tall and a few inches wide on each side. It was fixed to a triangular base. On top of the post was a small, circular feature with perforations.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Aaudio Imports, Wilson Benesch make a statement with Cardinal loudspeaker

By | November 9th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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I first auditioned a pair of Wilson Benesch speakers about a decade ago at a Dallas dealer. I had come in primarily to listen to a tube amp I fancied, but the sight of the large floorstanders got me curious.

I had read positive reviews on the company’s products. Seeing them up close was intriguing, as the woodwork – in this case, a gorgeous cherry – was beautiful. What I remember was that I came away impressed by their sound, too, especially the detailed high frequencies.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2107: Nagra, Wilson define the state of the art

By | November 6th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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I found myself getting short of breath at RMAF not long after I entered room 1030 at the Marriott Denver Tech Center. I put most of the blame on my general middle-aged poor health, combined with the altitude. But I also might have been hyperventilating from hearing $200K worth of impeccable electronics playing some classic blues records on the new Wilson Audio Alexia 2s.

I’d only sunk into a chair for a short time when my oxygen-starved brain began to process the sounds coming out of the new Alexias ($57,900 USD).… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Wyred 4 Sound, Acoustic Zen combine for sonic harmony

By | November 5th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Robert Lee tends to exhibit his well-regarded Acoustic Zen speakers at shows with an ever-changing list of electronics partners. Despite the diverse group of components — tubes, solid-state, Class A, Class D — he never fails to make a good sound.

The Zen master may have found his best match yet at the 2017 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Lee, who’s based in California, teamed up with another Sunshine State manufacturer, Wyred 4 Sound.

Lee paired his flagship Maestro speakers ($43,000/pair USD) with a rack of gear from Wyred that included no fewer than four new products.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Esoteric gets lush sound from new gear

By | November 3rd, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Veteran manufacturer Esoteric had not one, but two, major product introductions at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Reflecting general trends in the industry, one new piece of gear is aimed at vinyl fans, while the other is for those embracing digital-file playback.

The Esoteric E-2 phono preamplifier ($9,500 USD) improves on the E-1, which has been on the market for eight years, adding balanced operation and enhanced circuitry for MC cartridges. The unit has one XLR input and output, as well as one RCA in and out.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Sanders creates electrostatic bliss

By | November 3rd, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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There were a lot of impressive-looking rooms at the 2017 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest – special mood lighting, huge product posters, rented greenery. There also were loud after-hours listening sessions, cocktail parties and even some swag.

While this promotional frenzy was going on during the three days of the event, the owner of one small high-end company was sitting patiently in a corner room on the somewhat isolated fifth-floor atrium. There weren’t any attractive greeters outside his door or banners and LED spotlights inside.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Nordost shows the power of better cords

By | November 2nd, 2017|Categories: Nordost, Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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OK, you’ve decided to upgrade your cables. What should you start with? Speaker cables, right? They usually are the longest wires in a system and the last to handle your delicate signal before it emerges as music.

Wrong, says cable maker Nordost. If you guessed interconnects or even your digital link, you also are mistaken. In fact, if you were going to try to improve your rig and could only change a few cables, Nordost says to focus on your power cords.… Read the full article

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