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A short film about the ALLO DigiOne Signature for Raspberry Pi

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

If bits were just bits, high-end streamer manufacturers would be snake oil peddlers and their (many thousands) of customers deaf dopes. Experience tells us otherwise: that not only do digital sources sound different but there exists a substantial audible delta between the very best-sounding digital audio sources – like the Innuos’ Zenith SE – and the worst – hello Raspberry Pi. Furnishing us with the ‘why’ are experienced digital audio engineers like Gordon Rankin.

Closing the Pi’s sound quality gap on the big boys are third-party manufacturers like France’s ALLO Digital whose terrific DigiOne HAT add-on directly connects to the Pi’s 40-Pin socket to pull digital audio upwards to output via S/PDIF with reduced amounts of jitter and/or electrical noise. … Read the full article

A short film about the KEF LSX

By | October 31st, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

“Honey, I shrunk the LS50 Wireless” might be the snappiest way to describe KEF’s latest active loudspeaker: into a compact, Danish-fabric-wrapped cabinet, designed by one Michael Young and landing in five colour options, goes a new version of the British loudspeaker company’s Uni-Q driver array, internally juiced by Class D amplification – 70w for the mid/bass, 30w for the tweeter – and crossed over in a DSP engine that takes its binary feed from the (also internal) digital streaming board. An attractive hi-fi system in a box for apartment dwellers and bedroom producers.… Read the full article

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A short film about the Hegel H590 integrated amplifier

By | October 26th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

(The following is based on a true story)

Darko.Audio presents: A Short Film About the Hegel H590

Starring: the Hegel H590 integrated amplifier

Co-starring: Harbeth Compact 7 and KEF LS50

Special guest appearance: ALLO DigiOne Signature

Also featuring: The Smiths, Thin White Rope, Momus, American Music Club, The The, Planetary Assault Systems and Deadbeat.

Camera / colour: Line Kühl

Editor: Jana Dagdagan

Director: John Darko

Further information: Hegel Music Systems

Read the full article

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Chord’s Hugo M Scaler gives us what hi-fi shows do not

By | October 21st, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Keeping it honest: comparisons are the cornerstone of a good hi-fi review. Why? Because comparisons are also the cornerstone of the consumer decision process. Our decision trees tell us that it isn’t enough for us to enjoy the sound of a piece of audio gear in isolation. We also want to know if we might better enjoy something else.

In short: no A/B, no conclusion. No conclusion, no sale.

At the 2018 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Chord Electronics took up residence in the Marriott Hotel’s tower – demonstrating the Hugo 2 TT (info here) with the TToby amplifier (info here) and loudspeakers – and in the CanJam area where the Hugo 2 TT fired directly into headphones.… Read the full article

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Wrapping up RMAF 2018 with Angela Cardas (& more)

By | October 14th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , |

As RMAF 2018 drew to a close, I joined Angela Cardas in the Marriott hotel bar for a chat about her role as manager of Cardas Audio and what she thinks of the term ‘WAF’. Guess what! She’s “not a fan”. The way Cardas tells it, the days of audio shows being an escape from the family are over. Now is the time to include the family (as exemplified by Munich High-End).

Echoing this sentiment is Zu Audio‘s own RMAF 2018 reflection: “If it’s one thing exhibitors at these hi-fi shows need to do better is play music that more people want to hear—the days of playing ten safe cuts of pretty and impressive music are long gone.” The majority of exhibitors still pull from a shallow pool as beige as the name given to the refurbished Marriott’s bar: Pint Brothers.… Read the full article

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Eat Schiit, audiophiles!

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

Aegir (“Ay-jjj-ear”?) is the forthcoming stereo (and mono-blockable) amplifier from California’s Schiit Audio and teased at RMAF 2018: a Class A-ish circuit dropped into a Vidar chassis that borrows from the Lyr 3’s Continuity output stage to deliver 20wpc into 8 Ohms, 40wpc into 4 Ohms. It was designed by Jason Stoddard and will be available for purchase from Q1 2019. Price? US$799.

That same (estimated) price and release quarter will be shared by the Mike Moffat-steered Sol turntable that threatens to shake up the entry-level(ish) vinyl playback world for those willing to put a little time into ‘table setup.… Read the full article

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The talking heads of RMAF 2018: Gordon Rankin

By | October 12th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , |

The USB stick, handed to me early Saturday morning by Wavelength Audio’s Gordon Rankin, detailed the five new models being shown at RMAF 2018: the Duetto v5 8w 300B amplifier, the (flagship) Crimson HS3x ES9038 USB DAC, the Cosecant HS3x ES9038 USB DAC, the Brick N2 Hybrid NOS Ladder DAC and, most newsworthy of all for this commentator, the Ethernet Spacelator — an optically isolated, dual-clocked repeater ($TBC) that sits between streamer (or streaming DAC) and network.

Rankin’s USB stick elaborated: “The input side of the circuit goes to a really high-quality reclocker, this is then converted to a digital parallel interface that is optically coupled in both directions to the clean side reclocker.Read the full article

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The talking heads of RMAF 2018: Sean Casey

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

Numerous high-end loudspeaker manufacturers show at RMAF but none are quite like Utah’s Zu Audio. They are the only exhibitor to constantly play interesting music all weekend, to consistently throw a kick-ass party with their main system on the show’s Saturday night and to demo their gear in visual and – this year – olfactory contexts.

For RMAF 2018, Zu Audio put Druid VI floorstanders (US$10,000/pair), Pass Labs amplification and Mo-Fi turntables at the centre of a dark meditative space in which incense continually burned.… Read the full article

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The talking heads of RMAF 2018: Jude Mansilla

By | October 9th, 2018|Categories: DAR, Head-Fi|Tags: , , , , |

Jude Mansilla is the founder of Head-fi.org — the world’s largest online community for headphones and personal audio. He is also the founder of CanJam — real-world events in which headphone manufacturers and distributors show off their wares to the public.

CanJam now runs annually in SoCal, New York, London, Singapore, Shanghai and Denver, the latter attached to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF). I sat down with Mansilla just before CanJam @ RMAF 2018 kicked into life to ask him about his work as a scientific measurer of headphone performance:

Further information: Head-fi.org | CanJamRead the full article

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The talking heads of RMAF 2018: Gayle Sanders

By | October 8th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

From icon to EIKON. Gayle Sanders is well-known to hi-fi industry enthusiasts as the former owner of Martin Logan. He sold the company in 2005 before taking an extended break from loudspeaker design.

Thirteen years later Sanders is back with a new company and a new (old) message: the room can limit the performance of any loudspeaker, no matter how luxurious, and attractive room treatments can be costly. Active loudspeakers with DSP crossover to the rescue!

The EIKON system (US$24,500) comprises the Eikontrol unit – that houses the crossover maths and driver-level amplification – loudspeakers and cables.… Read the full article

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