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>> Breadcrumb :/Tag:Preamplifiers

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

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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DIY All-Tube Phono Stage Project, Part 3: Metal Working For Dummies

By | October 21st, 2018|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , , , |

DIY All-Tube Phono Preamp Project

Part 3, Metal-Working for Dummies

By Steve Graham, chief dummy

Working with fire and steel?  Would you believe alcohol and aluminum?  Bonus points to those who can name the 80’s pop group that issued the album shown above.  No cheating searching the title online.

Before we start torturing some metal: If you are sitting on the fence, wondering whether or not to build one of these for the following reasons:

  1. You think this preamp won’t have enough gain because it uses a 6DJ8 for the first stage (a 12AT7 is used for the second stage): Most line stages have plenty of gain so it takes some of the gain burden off of the phono stage. 
Read the full article

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DIY All-Tube Phono Preamp Project: It’s on!

By | October 8th, 2018|Categories: Wall of sound|Tags: , , , , , , |

Update: DIY All-Tube Phono Preamp Project / Part 1

By Steve Graham

Prototype shown above, the one I’m building for our kind patron will be similar but somewhat prettier

Thunderbirds are GO!

Hopefully International Rescue won’t need to be called.  (link)

I was a bit old for it when the Thunderbirds TV series arrived in the mid 1960s, but my two younger brothers enjoyed it. Now I find them charming, in that endearingly hokey way the Brits sometimes do things.… Read the full article

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Impressions:  The Audionet STERN Preamp and HEISENBERG Monoblock Amp, Finale

By | September 29th, 2018|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , |

Ye Olde Editor:  a portrait by John Robinson

Audionet’s STERN and HEISENBERG:  Back to the mountaintop again!

Fair warning:  This is yet another one of my evaluations that is not going to be a typical “review.”

No, not with these designs.

This is going to be more of a culminating mediation on my experiences with the STERN and HEISENBERGs, and the quality of these extraordinary designs. I’ll link back to several earlier reports, which I invite you to read or re-read, in order to get the progression of my thinking and evaluation.… Read the full article

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Impressions:  the Accustic Arts Tube Preamp II Mk2 Preamplifier and Mono II Monoblock Amplifier

By | July 1st, 2018|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , |

Accustic Arts Tube Hybrid Preamp II and Mono II Amps

Image courtesy of Accustic Arts

A bloody busy year so far, with much more to go.

One of the projects that I took on very early in 2018…with some hesitation, I confess, due to the workload that was already building…was an offer to hear the Accustic Arts Tube Preamp II Mk2 and Mono II Monoblock Amplifiers. It was going to be tough to work them in, since I had other obligations that had already been taken on. Furthermore, I’d be at AXPONA 2018 in Chicago in April, and the Munich Show in May.… Read the full article

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