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U.S. Audio Shows in 2018: Bigger, Better, More

By | February 7th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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It appears 2018 is going to be another hectic year for U.S. audio shows. One California event that was postponed last year is set to return — less than a week before another major show in the same city — and several others are upgrading to new venues.

The Home Entertainment Show (T.H.E. Show) cancelled its planned September 2017 event at the eleventh hour, but president Maurice R. Jung told me this week his show will return on June 1-3 in Irvine.… Read the full article

RMAF 2017: SPL Offers New Features and Price Points

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

spl3Outside of the big CanJam ballroom at RMAF, several manufacturers like iFi Audio, Centrance, and SPL were setup  and the extra space there (and proximity to Pint Brothers bar) was welcome. SPL offers some of my favourite headphone amplifiers so I had to stop by.  SPL is a German company who seems to be as much, or more popular with the pro-audio community as it is the hifi-enthusiast market.  Their Phonitor became a dream piece for me when a friend here in Atlanta bought one and I heard it.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Headamp Introduces the Gilmore Lite 2

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

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Headamp always has their great Blue Hawaii and GS-X amplifiers sounding excellent at RMAF but this year was an introduction of the much more affordable Gilmore Lite 2 at $499 USD.  Shipping in a few weeks time, this amp really impressed me for its price point.

This device uses the same circuit (!) as their flagship dynamic amp the GS-X Mark II driving even difficult magnetic planar designs with 1.5W of pure Class-A power. The casework is superb but the amber light on the front gives almost an industrial/steam punk kind of vibe.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Rafe wraps up the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver

By | November 12th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Risky Business is a classic American film about coming of age, materialism, capitalist society, and taking chances. My son brought it up in a recent conversation about movies, and I couldn’t help but mentally compare it to the current state of high fidelity after reading John Stancavage’s closing piece on RMAF published HERE. Stancavage wondered aloud if high-end audio sales could remain buoyant riding a prosperous US economy, or (as I was imagining) if they would end up sinking like the Porsche 928 Tom Cruise’s character Joel lets slide into Lake Michigan during the film.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Sonore Renders Sublime Sound

By | November 12th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Streaming.  All the cool cats are doing it.

However, confession time…I’m a bit lost. I have some pieces of a puzzle but I don’t know how to put them together. Network bridge? Tidal HiFi? Roon? Ethernet connection on the Uverse router? quality DAC? Yep, got ’em all.  But how do I put them all together to create the best possible sound?

I was about to dig into this streaming business and advance my computer audio education.  Oh sure, I know DACs, USB to SPDIF converters, and USB power conditioners and all that.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Spatial Audio and Vinnie Rossi declare for Sparta

By | November 12th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , |

Clayton Shaw is a quiet man with a room-filling plan. His company, Spatial Audio, has made quite a splash crafting inexpensive, open-baffle, loudspeakers and using them to embarrass the living tar out of his colleagues and competitors at audio shows.

This year, Shaw brought his newest — the $9,600/pair M2 Modular, another open-baffle loudspeaker with significantly updated and upgraded drivers and design.

The X2 introduces an advanced Air Motion Transformer (AMT) that cover both mid and treble ranges up to 23kHz, with virtually zero sonic signature.

Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: It’s still GamuT, dammit

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

Some experiences defy expectation. Just like some choices. Like peas and carrots — why on earth do those go well together? And really, chocolate and peanut butter? Ugh. And a businessman with zero government experience for president — wait, sorry, we’re wandering off topic. I meant to say, gigantic Zodiac loudspeakers jammed into a modestly sized (and square!) hotel room. Who ever thought that would work? But unlike a few of the other improbably combos I mentioned, this room — stuffed with flagship loudspeakers from GamuT — did work.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Firing on a different Wavelength

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

I spent an all-too-short, yet completely delightful, time visiting with my friend Gordon Rankin of Wavelength Audio. You probably know Gordon, but you probably don’t even know that you’re familiar with his work. He’s the guy behind the Dragonfly DAC from Audioquest, and has had his work featured by Ayre and Pono (remember Pono?) and more.

But before all that was Wavelength Audio.

I feel like I need to recall for you that Wavelength is an audio company in its own right, and Gordon still makes some spectacular tube-based audio electronics, including some of the world’s first and still best UBS DACS, amplifiers and preamps.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Zu, Peachtree create club vibe

By | November 7th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Each year at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Peachtree Audio and Zu Audio take a large corner room on the mezzanine level of the Marriott Denver Tech Center. First-time visitors likely are surprised by what they find there, which is less a structured product demo, and more a nonstop party.

The master of ceremonies typically is Peachtree’s David Solomon, who stands in the near-darkness armed with an iPad filled with kickin’ tunes. He enthusiastically introduces each with stories about what the track means to him, how it was recorded or its rarity.… Read the full article

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RMAF 2017: Bang & Olufsen’s BeoLab 50 goes boldly where no speaker has gone before

By | November 7th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Sitting in the darkened SmartLife Audio Video room at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I had a flashback to “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.” In the film, which I’d just watched again a few weeks back, Ricardo Montalban’s genetically enhanced super-villain plots his final revenge on William Shatner’s James T. Kirk after an intense space battle.

As Kirk struggles to get the Enterprise’s engines online, Khan is on another ship rushing to activate the Genesis device, a matter-reorganizing bomb that will obliterate anything close by.… Read the full article

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