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Cooking up a summer storm with the KEF LSX

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

Bluetooth. AirPlay 2. Spotify Connect. Roon. Room tuning. DSP. Firmware updates. Every one an audio tech abstraction until it meets the real world where many of us un/consciously look beyond our sub-optimal listening environments.

With the Berlin summer in full swing over the weekend, it was time to bust out the BBQ. My rooftop apartment offers a balcony long enough for a large group of people and wide enough for a large Weber-on-wheels — but not a four-seater table. We’d cook, chat and sink cold adult beverages outside but we’d eat in the kitchen.… Read the full article

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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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Prize giveaway #10: Roon for your room

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

I woke from a nightmare. I was sat, alone in a room, a pair of 2m-tall floorstanding loudspeakers bearing down on me with all the force of “Tin Pan Alley”; snaking from the car engine-sized monoblock amplifiers that internally flanked each loudspeaker were 2-inch thick power cords; sitting further back, a double-width rack with power conditioner, pre-amplifier and outboard power supply, phono stage and outboard power supply, tube-loaded D/A converter and a high-mass turntable whose platter would be heavy enough to sink a small boat; bass traps were judiciously placed in each corner; a 2m square diffusion panel adorned the front wall; absorption panels lined the side walls.… Read the full article

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OnSight: an afternoon at Berlin’s SENIC

By | June 16th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

The move from CDs to rips, downloads and cloud streaming has robbed us of the button pushes one used to open and close a CD player drawer, to play the CD, to pause it, to skip tracks and, in many cases, the immense satisfaction of using a rotary to adjust the volume. Many of us now control music playback and volume with a smartphone (and little else).

One downside (especially when the phone rings with an incoming call) is that we must pull the smartphone from a pocket, unlock it – with fingerprint, finger-drag or PIN – before launching the control app (Sonos, BluOS, Roon, etc.) that allows us to hit pause or finger-slide the volume downwards.… Read the full article

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Freshly squeezed streaming!

By | June 5th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The dead don’t die. Logitech put a bullet in the Squeezebox Touch (pictured above) back in 2012 but the software ecosystem lives on: Logitech Media Server (LMS) continues to enjoy community development and distribution as a free download under a GNU GPL; software client SqueezeLite can be installed to turn the host device into a virtual Squeezebox, complete with hi-res audio support up to 384kHz and – even more crucial – gapless playback.

Squeezelite on a Raspberry Pi gives us a virtual Squeezebox for a fraction of the originals’ pricing.… Read the full article

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Verdant Audio, Art Audio, Roon, Musical Fidelity, PS Audio | AXPONA 2019

By | April 25th, 2019|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

AXPONA 2019 Verdant

AXPONA 2019 Show Coverage brought to you by Core Power Technologies

CHICAGO (PTA) — Verdant Audio launches itself as a company, and debuts two beautifully made monitors at AXPONA 2019. In partnership with Verdant Audio, bespoke UK tube electronics manufacturer Art Audio returns to the US audio show circuit.

AXPONA 2019 Verdant

The major news for this room is twofold: Firstly, the launch of Verdant Audio as a company. The speakers on display at AXPONA 2019 feature composite cabinets. Specifically the Blackthorn 1 monitor features a cabinet that is a sandwich of carbon fiber and a dupont Nomex honeycomb.… 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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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 DALI Callisto 2C

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

What does a modern hi-fi system look like? If you’re Denmark’s DALI, a pair of active loudspeakers fed via a control hub fitted with a streaming module. No hi-fi rack full of amplifiers and DACs – they sit inside the loudspeaker – and no cable salad. In other words: unobtrusive.

Plus! The engineering prowess of a DSP crossover and an amplifier tailored to each driver’s input that no similarly configured and similarly priced passive loudspeaker system could touch. (Think about it: one of the most costly components of an outboard amplifier is its chassis).… Read the full article

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Roon 1.6 arrives with Qobuz support and tasty updates

By | January 22nd, 2019|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The train never stops over at Roon and today’s release of Roon 1.6 brings a host of welcome updates and a fresh look. Most notability official support for Qobuz.  At CES 2019 Qobuz US Beta went live, so if you are a Qobuz beta tester, you can add your account to ROON and access all of your Qobuz content seamlessly. Official support for Qobuz arrives with Roon 1.6 software update.  

From the Roon Press release:

Now you can access the entire Qobuz catalog in Roon, allowing you to take advantage of Roon’s metadata with all of your favorite Qobuz content.

Read the full article

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