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10 more thoughts on the AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt

By | July 9th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Relatability and inclusivity. The top two watchwords of the Darko.Audio YouTube channel that, as of this week, is now attracting as many unique visitors per month as the Darko.Audio website: 250,000 apiece.

In scripting, shooting and cutting a short film about an audio product, our intent is for the bigger picture not to be lost to the details that can otherwise cause the pursuit of better sound to be seen as an elitist geek fest. For some veteran audiophiles, that’s all part of the fun but for newcomers, too much tech talk is a turn-off.… Read the full article

A short film about the AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt

By | July 8th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

AudioQuest’s first DragonFly DAC was released in 2012. Its pocketable thumb-drive form factor brought better sound quality any computer user with a spare USB socket. The DragonFly extracts digital audio from a Mac or PC to execute its own D/A conversion. A conversion that sounds superior to the host computer’s own, either via headphones or connected to an amplifier or pair of powered loudspeakers.

Three years later, AudioQuest’s collaboration with Arizona’s Microchip Technology saw the development and release of two new and improved DragonFly models – the DragonFly Black (US$99) and DragonFly Red (US$199) – whose low power draw added smartphone connection capabilities via a short adapter cable.… Read the full article

A short film about the NAD M10

By | June 28th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Kallax-Fi: hi-fi hardware that sits comfortably inside an IKEA Kallax unit, arguably the world’s most popular (and affordable) vinyl storage system. Future-Fi: hi-fi hardware that sees multiple functions coalesce inside a single box that keeps at least one eye on handsome industrial design.

Announced in January at CES 2019, NAD’s M10 (US$2499/€2999) is both Kallax-Fi and Future-Fi. Its shoebox form factor is comfortably accommodated by the Kallax’s 33cm shelf width, height and 38cm depth. On the inside, the M10 marries BluOS/Roon/SpotifyConnect streaming functionality to a 100wpc Hypex nCore amplifier with external DAC inputs (no USB) and a pair of instantly digitised analogue inputs to keep pragmatic vinyl spinners in play.… Read the full article

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Nativ’s Vita is the complete high-end streaming package

By | June 25th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

There is no shortage of music servers, streaming players, and other such devices on the market today. It’s a booming category which I’ve seen go from relative niche to mainstream in a rather short time – no surprise given that standard PC or Mac playback is necessarily limited by the general-purpose hardware involved. True, an off-the-shelf computer can be improved via special software like JPLAY – not to mention various tweaks for power, USB or networking – but at some point, folks looking for superior audio quality will hit their PC or Mac hit a glass ceiling.… Read the full article

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A Four-Way Schiit Shootout – Freya S/+ Vs. Saga S/+

By | June 19th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , |

Freya + vs Freya S vs Saga S vs Saga +

So what’s the difference between Schiit’s new pre amplifiers?

It’s not often enough that I get the chance to participate in blind auditions of hifi gear. So when the invitation came across my desk to check out the 4 new pre amps from Schiit audio in a real life mano-a-mano duke out, I had to attend. 

For those not familiar, Schiit recently released four new 2-channel pre amps broken out along a few simple feature sets to replace the current tube-only models.… Read the full article

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A short film about the Volumio Primo

By | June 18th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Holes — dug by little moles. Logitech and AURALiC. The former’s Squeezebox Touch – a frugalphile favourite – was discontinued in 2012. The latter’s Aries Mini – another goto entry-level streamer – quietly slipped away in 2018. Those are big holes to fill.

Stepping forward is Volumio, coders of the SBC OS of the same name. The Italian company’s first piece of hardware, the Primo network streamer (€379), mounts an ESS Sabre DAC board to an Asus Tinkerboard S to convert Ethernet or Wifi inputs to digital S/DPIF (up to 24bit/192kHz) or analogue (up to 24bit/192kHz, DSD128).… Read the full article

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Pro-Ject’s Xtension 9 Evolution turntable is a smooth operator

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

The Pro-Ject Evolution turntable. You must use the supplied record weight to get the best sound.
The Pro-Ject Xtension 9 Evolution turntable. You must use the supplied record weight to get the best sound. Note the small magnet in the tonearm rest to keep the tonearm in place.

By Lam Seng Fatt

 

The Pro-Ject Xtension 9 Evolution turntable is one of those designs that uses mass loading to suppress resonances and vibrations, which is the opposite of Rega’s light-is-more philosophy.

 

Therefore the turntable is rather heavy. Pro-Ject states that the Xtension 9 plinth is made from MDF filled with metal granulate, that gives high mass and is non-resonant and the entire package weighs 16kg.… Read the full article

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Great sound from Bluesound Node 2i

By | June 4th, 2019|Categories: Av2day|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

 

By Venoth Nair

 

Bluesound has previously delivered a stellar lineup of network based home audio equipment that would amalgamate to form a complete musical eco-system. The ethos for this is applied simply by utilizing a simplified control scheme that’s centered more on app-based operation with the equipment purpose-built to shine according to what they are made for. The Node, as the name would imply, functions as a branch of communication which delivers the raw digital data in a communicable form to the typical Hi-Fi components it’s paired with or a pair of powered speakers if your system is simple like that.… Read the full article

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Unfinished business with the Dutch & Dutch 8c

By | May 26th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Looking back, it fell to my own lack of experience: making good on a 15-day ‘no questions asked’ return policy because the floorstanding loudspeakers that I’d ordered didn’t live up to the expectations drummed up by a formidable online reputation and a promotional pull quote that read “Best bass in the world”. Not in my room it wasn’t.

My mistake – as suggested by the manufacturer just prior to the speakers’ return – was that I’d not considered the room in which the loudspeakers would sit.… Read the full article

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The big & beautiful Klipsch Forte III

By | May 24th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

Baby of the Heritage range, the Klipsch Heresy III’s sojourn at my home (review here) was mildly infuriating at times. Its unevenness disqualified it from the Do-No-Harm club and the sound of a piano never quite gelled. It got its hooks into me big time though with its uncanny ability to conjure a live event out of a studio recording.

Serious fun, more please. Which brings us to Klipsch’s Forte III (£4k / €4.4k / $4k). A chance to see what moving one step higher up the ladder brings forth.… Read the full article

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