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A short film about CanJam NYC 2019

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

With up to 100 exhibitors in tow, we might see Head-Fi.org’s CanJam as the travelling circus of audio shows. This headphone-centric audio show now runs in six cities around the world and throughout the year: Denver, Singapore, London, Shangai, Los Angeles and, on the second weekend of February, New York.

CanJam NYC is now in its third year and in 2019 attracted 65 exhibitors. No high-end headphone store on the planet could hope to match that level of product audition potential but with 2200 attendees spilling through the doors of the Marriott Marquis at Times Square, background chatter was bound to intrude upon definitive product assessment.… Read the full article

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Boom, boom, boom, boom! A dCS factory tour!

By | February 11th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

Ben Ashcroft (pictured above) – he’s head of dCS’s service department and he’s deep into techno music. He’s still smiling too, despite the ‘help’ provided by Andy McHaig, dCS Technical Director. When Ben first joined the company as an apprentice he was tasked with developing a ladder DAC (dCS make DACs). McHaig assisted Ashcroft hard-wiring some of Ashcroft’s beloved techno into the logic board to expedite listening tests. How thoughtful.

Vengaboys is techno, right? Worse: McHaig had made this Euro dance pop non-defeatable so that Ashcroft would have to endure it for the entire project.… Read the full article

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nd_baumecker is Berghain’s audiophile DJ

By | December 28th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

A high-quality experience. It’s not a term we readily associate with DJ culture where an all too easily a quick turnover in musical trends leads to a quick turnover at the turnstile and record counter. Play it loud and play it fast.

Exceptions exist. Playing the long game in the no-mans land between the River Spree and Karl Marx Allee is iconic Berlin nightclub Berghain. An imposing building – and a power station in a past life – that takes its name from the largest of its three spaces: Säule doesn’t keep the extended weekend club hours of Berghain and Panorama Bar, opening only occasionally and for more experimental music.… Read the full article

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Darko.Audio’s Holiday Gift Guide 2018

By | December 13th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , |

You won’t see it in the nighttime happy snaps of Berliners huddled in groups at Christmas markets, sipping on Glühwein. And you won’t see it in the opulence of KaDeWe’s seasonal displays, nor in Friedrichstraße’s understated lights. At this time of year, Berlin says Auf Wiedersehen to the sun until March to deliver day after day of slate grey skies and snow unable to make good on any threat. The temperature barely makes it above 5C (41F). Daylight vanishes at 3.30pm after showing up at 9am only to spend the day kicking around the house in its pyjamas.… Read the full article

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Cables & consistency

By | December 11th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

Tell the Average Joe not versed in the double trouble of electrical noise and jitter that you dropped US$350 on a USB cable and s/he’ll likely question your sanity. Audiophiles know what Joe does not: that not all USB connections are born equal.

For this commentator, there’s no doubting the Curious USB cable’s audible superiority to vanilla wire – some of which doesn’t even meet the USB spec. The Curious also knocks out other audiophile-aimed offerings like AudioQuest’s Carbon. Old Yella lends music more pep, more detail and a better sense of space but without straying into the Carbon’s occasional brightness — a handful of reasons why the Curious has been my goto USB wire for the past three years.… Read the full article

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I’m chairman of the board!

By | December 6th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

“I’m bored.
I’m the chairman of the board.
I’m a Lincoln monologue,
I’m livin’ like a God,
I’m bored.”

— Iggy Pop


Hi-fi racks – we audiophiles use them to organise our components, to more attractively display them and, sometimes, to minimise the negative influence of vibrations, which not applied to mechanical devices like turntables but also electronics. Our amplifier and/or DAC’s circuitry can, to varying degrees, translate (airborne) mechanical vibrations into deleterious electrical noise – that’s microphony at work. The fewer the vibrations reaching our gear, the lower the electrical noise generated and the better the sound quality.… Read the full article

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EarSpace w/ Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature & Harbeth 40.2

By | November 27th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

New room, new broom, new possibilities and – for the hi-fi system owner – new challenges: standing waves and suck-outs in the low-end plus soundstage smear caused by wall, ceiling and floor reflections.

I’m now two years into my first Berlin apartment and I have my listening room dialled in so that it sounds pleasing to the ear but also looks and feels cosy enough to sit in when not listening to music. I work hard to keep the electronics tidy so that the room doesn’t appear overrun with audio gear and the (judiciously-placed) acoustic panels don’t have it looking like a sound lab.… Read the full article

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Letters to the editor: Hegel’s SoundEngine explained

By | October 27th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

“Hello John,

I just finished watching the Hegel Video. I thoroughly enjoyed it. You make it look so easy…but I assume it isn’t; making it look easy is very hard as far as my experience goes.

I very much appreciate your non-audiophile take on things and the gentle winks and nods. I hope your audience can enjoy many more of these very well made longer form films in the future.

Your approach brings a very much needed breath of fresh air to audio gear coverage.Read the full article

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A short film about the Meze 99 Classics

By | September 18th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

Sunday, Sunday here again, tidy attire. You read the colour supplement, the TV guide.

Music on, hi-fi world off. With six and a half days of the week devoted to hi-fi reviewing – couriers, packing/unpacking, setups/configurations, listening, note-taking, write-ups, photo/video shoots and associated editing – Sunday morning calls timeout on the day job: a chance to lazily read a few chapters of a book, to sip on a (very long) black coffee – until it goes cold – and to sink into music behind headphones.… Read the full article

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IFA 2018: Sony launch €8500, 2.5kg DMP-Z1 Walkman

By | September 1st, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , |

At €8500/US$8000/£8000, the DMP-Z1 is easily Sony’s most expensive Walkman to date. The press release tells us that it is a battery powered device. From the accompanying press shots scream a large gold volume knob with neighbouring 4.4mm balanced and 3.5mm unbalanced headphone outputs.

However, only on the ground in Berlin at IFA 2018 do we get to see just how big and heavy the DMP-Z1 actually is. Sat in a glass case, the new Walkman fails to be dwarfed by Sony’s TA-ZH1ES desktop headphone amplifier and apparently tips the scales at a whopping 2.5kg (5.5lbs)!… Read the full article

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