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>> Breadcrumb :/Tag:Preamplifiers

Review: Tortuga Audio’s LDR3.V25 Passive Preamp And TPB.V1 Tube Preamp Buffer

By | June 7th, 2019|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Review by Noam Bronstein

Transparency – if there ever was an overused word in home hi-fi circles, this one might take top prize. But I’ve noticed a decline in its usage over the years, too. As electronics (and speakers) have improved over time, transparency has become a basic expectation: the days of euphonic and unresolving components is largely a thing of the past. In high-end circles, harmonic distortions today tend to be more a facet of room interactions, poor recordings, and other factors that aren’t in the equipment manufacturer’s control.… Read the full article

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C.L.E.A.R. 834L: The Rejuvenation of an Esoteric Audio Research classic (Part 2)

By | April 14th, 2019|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

C.L.E.A.R. 834L: The Rejuvenation of an Esoteric Audio Research classic

Part 2, by Steve Graham

Modifying or rebuilding anything, be it a piece of classic stereo equipment or, perhaps, a classic car, will involve many value judgements and personal decisions.  Some subtle, some not.  No two audiophiles, or classic car buffs, departing from the same point, will finish in the same place.  Be that as it may, this is my take on a cost-effective rejuvenation.

I think I might have solved the mystery of the “two 12AU7 and one 12AX7” tubes that I noted in Part 1, had been installed in this unit. … Read the full article

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Benchmark Media Systems LA4 Line Amplifier

By | April 9th, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , |

The LA4  Line Amplifier is a linestage preamp introduced by Benchmark Media Systems in 2018. Priced at a very competitive $2495 USD, the small, squarish LA4 comes securely packaged, and includes a power cord, 12V trigger cable, and a manual complete with test reports. The review LA4 was furnished with the optional remote (add $100 dollars) which controls on, off, volume, mute, -20 dB volume reduction, and input (plus functions available on Benchmark DAC products).

The LA4’s main frontal attraction is not its teeny-tiny power button, or the small rotary volume control knob; it’s the capacitive touch screen.Read the full article

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CHE Files: CLEAR/EAR 834L (Or Is It An 834P..?)

By | March 24th, 2019|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Pax Britannia, The C.L.E.A.R. 834L shoulder to shoulder with another famous Brit
The C/H/E Files (Classic/Heritage/Exotic): The C.L.E.A.R. 834L: Rescuing an Audio Classic

Steve Graham rejuvenates a neglected EAR preamp.

Part 1 of a 2-part series.

Those familiar with the EAR-Yoshino marque will wonder if the C.L.E.A.R. 834L pictured above is a real EAR component.  The answer is yes, basically. But first:

Most audiophiles have heard of Esoteric Audio Research (EAR), the British hifi and recording equipment manufacturer.  Like so many equipment manufacturers in the specialist audio field, EAR is built on the vision of one man, Tim de Paravicini.  … Read the full article

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Parasound Halo P 6 2.1 Channel Preamplifier and DAC

By | March 21st, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , |

It Even Makes Julienne Fries

It was a golden age for Television, or perhaps commercials in the 1960s. The Ronco Veg-O-Matic hit the market, promising  to ease the life homemakers everywhere. This food slicer did it all; its catch-phrase, “It slices! It dices! It even makes julienne fries!” became the go-to reference for multi-function devices for years. The real catch, however, is that the Veg-O-Matic did all of its functions well.  Modern devices are not much different than the Veg-O-Matic.… Read the full article

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Constellation Inspiration 1.0 Linestage and 1.0 Stereo Amplifier: The Definition of Value

By | February 17th, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , |


The Constellation Audio Inspiration 1.0 Linestage and pair of 1.0 Stereo amplifiers, driving the GamuT Flagship Zodiac Loudspeakers.

From the Beginning

For a company that just recently celebrated only its 8th birthday, Constellation Audio has proven itself virtually unparalleled in both accomplishment and acceptance. My first take was at their 2010 CES introduction, where I caught up with designer Peter Madnick for the first time in some years. Peter’s track record is, staying with the cosmic theme here, stellar.

In the mid-1990s, his Audio Alchemy products redefined the budget market and promulgated the use of a multi-box digital playback system, the use of a separate transport, DAC, power supply, and re-clocking device, rather than the previous paradigm of the one-box optical disc player.… Read the full article

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Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ and Brooklyn Amplifier

By | February 14th, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , , |

I was recently introduced to Mytek, a company out of Brooklyn, NY that specializes in digital electronics. Not being known for being the go-to guy for digital I thought the opportunity to try something completely different was something I could not pass up. Suffice it to say right up front that I am glad that I didn’t pass. Mytek HIFI produces some impressive gear. This is a review of both units.

The very first thing that caught my attention was the diminutive size of both the preamp/DAC and the amplifier.… Read the full article

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Experiences with Gryphon Audio

By | February 11th, 2019|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , , |

Mythical Sound from the Winged Lion.

How many manufacturers offer fully designed turn-key systems? How many do it with the panache of Gryphon Audio of Denmark? The answer can fit on one hand if you were missing at least two fingers.

My first encounter with Danish designer Fleming Rasmussen’s Gryphon Audio came with the review of the Gryphon Encore stereo amplifier, and Prelude preamplifier in 2004. In what seems to be another lifetime, the Encore displaced my Jeff Rowland 302 stereo amp as I fell for the spell cast by the Gryphon center of the earth weight, and warm slightly dark tonal balance.… Read the full article

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From an Editor’s Notebook: Glances in the Rearview Mirror

By | November 8th, 2018|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , |

Robinson_on_porch_with_pipe

[Note:  All components in BOLD are loaned; all components in standard face are owned by me.]

Last updated 09/11/2018.

The current system (09-2018) with a pair of the beautiful and powerful Merrill Audio Element 118 monoblocks on the top shelf of the Critical Mass Systems QXK rack.

The return of the Wave Kinetics NVS Direct-Drive Reference Turntable! Now updated with a new Durand tonearm, outfitted with a ZYX UNIverse Optimum reference MC cartridge, and the heavy-duty EAT Massive (2 lb.) LP record weight.Read the full article

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The CHE Files: Shindo Lab’s Aurièges Preamplifier Reviewed

By | October 29th, 2018|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , |

Shindo Laboratory Aurièges
Original Two-Chassis, Full-Function Preamplifier
Review Number 1 in the C/H/E* Files.
By Steve Graham

*Classic/Heritage/Exotic
This is the first instalment of what, hopefully, will be many evaluations of what I call the Classic/Heritage/Exotic equipment category.  I think the original, two-chassis Shindo Aurièges pictured above could fit in all three.

The esteemed Art Dudley of Stereophile usually bangs on about his Shindo gear nearly every other month in his column.  I’m being a bit snarky with Mr. Dudley, but he is doing his reviewer’s job, using what for him is his reference as a guide to new equipment sent to him for review. … Read the full article

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