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The uncompromising Sistema M2 amplifier

By | May 15th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

Sistema’s M2 is a dual-mono loudspeaker amplifier offering 85W per channel into 8Ω. Yours for €5000 plus taxes with optional 15-day money-back trial period. Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? Not quite.

On inputs, there’s no analogue, just a single USB socket to play catch on PCM up to 384kHz and DSD64. No volume control or remote control either. Both are handed off to the connected PC/Mac’s software player. Think of the M2 as a digital-direct power amplifier.

Users must also provide their own 12-24V power supply to bring the M2 to life and there’s no on/off button on the unit itself.… Read the full article

The look of love (Part 2): Q Acoustics Concept 300

By | May 13th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Contiguous: “to share a common border or touching”. The traditional loudspeaker stand’s top and base plates act as common borders to its pillar/s. In unboxing the loudspeaker stand that Q Acoustics ship with their Concept 300 2-way standmount (US$4499/£2999), we are confronted with something completely different: three non-contiguous poles that don’t touch and have no ‘common border’ base plate. Instead, they are kept separate and held together by a series of contiguous and tensioned wires to meet the definition of tensegrity, a portmanteau of tensional integrity: “the characteristic property of a stable three-dimensional structure consisting of members under tension that are contiguous and members under compression that are not.”

It isn’t just smart engineering, inspired by the work of Bucky Fuller and Kenneth Snelson, that sets this loudspeaker stand apart from the steel-pillared norm.… Read the full article

Impressive sound from Pro-Ject’s tube phono preamp

By | May 10th, 2019|Categories: Av2day|Tags: , , , , |

You can adjust the loading and gain on the fly with controls on the front panel.


By Lam Seng Fatt


From the outset, I must say that the Pro-Ject Tube Box DS2 is one of the best affordable phono preamps that I have heard. The key word is ‘affordable’ as there are better ones out there, but they come at much higher cost.


At RM2,995 for the black or silver version and RM3,500 for the silver with wooden side-panels (there is also a black with wooden side panels version) model that I reviewed , it is certainly very affordable in this age of super expensive super high-end components.… Read the full article

A short film about the Klipsch RP-600M

By | May 1st, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Klipsch is one of the USA’s longest-running loudspeaker companies. Their calling card is horn-loaded drivers that keep sensitivity higher than average to broaden amplifier agreeability, thus putting a firm tick in the ‘positives’ column.

Concerned about horn honk – the horn’s vibration colouring the tweeter’s lower treble? Klipsch has lined the RP-600M’s (Tractrix) horn surround with a silicone composite to tame any colouration. Still – a quick listen might lead some listeners with certain types of music to dismiss the RP-600M’s 1″ rear-vented titanium tweeter as leaning too far in the direction of etched.… Read the full article

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Ayre’s EX-8 streaming amplifier is ECM in a box

By | April 29th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

One-boxers seem to be catching. Look at Naim, Linn, NAD and Devialet et al. The main attraction of a streaming amplifier is system simplicity – just add speakers. A single box introduces us to an aesthetic calm where both space (and the patience of significant others) is often at a premium. Music is streamed from a NAS device or a cloud service (Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify etc.).

Separates enthusiasts highlight (valid) compromises – RFI and shared power supplies – whilst playing down the audible potential of shorter signal paths or the manufacturer retaining voicing control over a complete chain of electronics: streamer, DAC, amplifier.… Read the full article

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Ayre Acoustics QX-8 Digital Hub review

By | April 23rd, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

With the recent release of the QX-8 Digital Hub (US$5950), Ayre Acoustics has filled a major gap in its DAC product line-up, one that previously comprised the Codex (US$1795) and the top-of-the-line QX-5 Twenty (US$9950) to leave a gaping hole in between. On a personal level, I have been awaiting the release of the QX-8 to see how close it comes sonically to my QX-5; a DAC that has served as one of my review references over the last 2 years.… Read the full article

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Review: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

By | April 4th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , |

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

In a hobby where favored technology doesn’t usually advance as fast as the bleeding edge, there are still a few areas that crawl forward into the future along with the rest of the changing pixels, shrinking silicone, and general collective of plastics and metal. One of those areas is wireless tech, especially on the headphone front.

While Apple certainly blazed the trail with their EarPods (now in generation 2) others companies have made due with the bigger real-estate afforded by dongles, neckbands and all other matter of creative fixes.… Read the full article

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A short film about the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge & AMP

By | March 27th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Designed in Brooklyn, made in Poland, Mytek has removed the WCK IN/OUT and AES/EBU connectors from the rear of the Brooklyn DAC+ (review here) to make way for a 24bit/192kHz/DSD64-capable streaming board and a third Brooklyn: the Brooklyn Bridge (US$2995/€2995, previewed here).

The Brooklyn Bridge connects to a home network via Ethernet or Wi-Fi using the associated mControl smartphone app (iOS/Android), which in turn gives us direct access to cloud services – Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer and Spotify Connect – as well as local UPnP/DLNA and Roon servers.… Read the full article

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Have your Pi & eat it: Pro-ject’s Stream Box S2 Ultra

By | March 19th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

‘£600 is flipping expensive for a tarted up Raspberry Pi!’

Not quite the words of the forum poster but in line with the sentiment: that Pro-ject is ripping off customers by charging silly money for a Pi with open source software and a nice case. Fairy dust or what?

Actually, strip away the invective and we find a reasonable question. Pro-ject are quite open about the Stream Box S2 Ultra (Stream Ultra) being based on the (CM3 industrial version of a) Raspberry Pi running a customised Volumio operating system.Read the full article

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A short film about the ELAC Navis ARB-51

By | March 14th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Instead of activating ELAC’s Uni-Fi series of passive loudspeakers (see here and here) celebrity loudspeaker designer Andrew Jones created an all-new active loudspeaker called Navis — formerly Argo.

“The original name, in full, was Argo-Navis. This based on a constellation and in keeping with nautical themes that we have chosen for recent naming conventions. It is in recognition of ELAC’s headquarters in Kiel Germany, an important sailing centre. Hence Vela (sail) and Carina (keel). We used Argo for short but were challenged by someone registering the Argo name after we started using it.Read the full article

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