High-End Audio / Audiophile
/ Immersivephile Premium Luxury Hi-Fi Equipment
Music Mixing Console Blues
Roger Skoff gives another view of that thing with all the knobs and dials.
By Roger Skoff
than a forest of microphones, what do you think of when you think of the
equipment for a professional recording session? Chances are it's a mixing
console – a big mixing console, filling a control room, with a window
right in front of it for watching what's happening in the recording area, a "talk-back"
microphone somewhere on it for communicating with the artists, a pair of
nearfield monitors properly positioned for the engineer to hear exactly what's
being recorded, and virtually every other square inch of its surface covered
with meters, knobs, dials, and slide-pot attenuators. Yeah, that's what I thought, too, before I thought
about it. And for much of my time as an audiophile, that's what I secretly
wished to own.
---> Music Mixing Console Blues.
Greg Borrowman Is Stepping Out As Editor Of Australian Hi-Fi
But fret not, as this goodbye is not a final
Editorial By Greg Borrowman
Dear reader, this will be my last
Editor's Lead-in, as I have retired from full-time employment and therefore stepped down from my position as being editor of
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine, one that I have held for almost 45 years. I am enormously pleased to be able to say that the magazine will be in very capable hands, as the new editor is none other than Becky Roberts, a long-time audiophile and a very experienced hi-fi journalist who has been writing news stories, articles and equipment reviews for the
UK's What Hi-Fi Magazine for almost nine years, during which time she attained the position of Hi-Fi and Audio editor. Her recent move from the UK to take up residence in Australia was an example of her perfect timing, as well as an extraordinary demonstration of the principle of serendipity.
---> Greg Borrowman Is Stepping Out As Editor Of
Driving Audio Innovations
Sound systems inside the car are at the core of all user interactions with the vehicle.
Editorial By J. Martins
This issue of audioXpress focuses on the vibrant segment of automotive audio, which is where a lot of exciting technologies are being explored. Automotive cabin acoustics are not an easy environment but when we combine the latest transducers, amplifiers, and DSP, with careful design and tuning by system experts that now have access to the most sophisticated computer simulation and measurement tools,
it's easy to understand why cars are currently at the cutting edge of applications in
audio. The transition to electric engines has completely changed the possibilities for car sound, as our annual Market Update details. We are now able to have consistent sound experiences inside the latest cars that the vast majority of people will never be able to experience elsewhere.
---> Driving Audio Innovations.
Many Music Lovers Still Want A Decent CD Player
I suspect many buyers will be happy to hear CD
with a modern top chip.
Editorial By Noel Keywood
Buses come along in threes, they say – and CD players come along in pairs these days it seems. We have two for you in this issue. People still want to buy a decent CD player – like the now unavailable
OPPO BDP-205D we use as a reference, with ESS ES9038 Pro DAC chip inside. Top analogue-to-digital
converter chips like this give superb results with CD but for them steam-punk digital delivered by lasers on sleds is a side
issue. That was yesterday; such chips are capable of so much more today – but that means they must be connected to outside sources, not an old silver disc, in order to play high resolution 24-bit digital. All the same, I suspect many buyers will be more than happy to hear CD from a modern player with a top chip, rather than an old cooker – and in this issue we review two interesting ones.
---> Many Music Lovers Still Want A Decent CD Player.
HIGH END 2022 Munich Show Report
Largest Premium / Luxury Hi-Fi Event
From May 19th to 22nd, 2022, the 39th HIGH END trade show in Munich shined the spotlight on
luxurious premium music reproduction systems, inspiring listening enjoyment, and exquisite
high-end audio technology. For many years, the HIGH END has been providing both the big players in the industry and smaller owner-managed companies with their ideal presentation platform as the
world's leading audio trade show. It is the perfect place to establish business relationships, expand networks and exchange ideas and experiences with other industry
---> HIGH END 2022 Munich Show Report.
AXPONA 2022 Show Report
Audio Expo North America 2022 Show
(Audio Expo North America) 2022 took place from April 22nd through 24th at the The Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.
Sit, relax and surround yourself with the best in high-end audio equipment and gear by visiting
AXPONA's 130+ Listening Rooms. Attendees were encouraged to experience rooms by listening and comparing the superbly designed, high performance systems and components from some of the
world's most prestigious manufacturers. In all, hundreds of global manufacturers, retailers, and brands gathered at
AXPONA 2022 to showcase the newest high-end products and services to
---> Audio Expo North America 2022 Show Report.
Hi-Fi And Music Industry News
Essential high-end audio news you need to know.
Enjoy the Music.com posts audiophile news virtually every day.
The Association Of International Audiophile Publications
Enjoy the Music.com, high-end audio's celebrated site
for over 26 years and a leader in providing premium audio and music industry news, hardware reviews, and show reports, is pleased to announce that we're
a Founding Member of the Association Of International Audiophile Publications
(AIAP). The AIAP is a voluntary professional organization composed of high-end audio and video publishers from around the world. Framed in 2021, and officially launched in 2022, the AIAP has established an agreed ethical and professional set of principles to which all signatories have committed
themselves. The AIAP is composed initially of ten audiophile publications from around the world, all dedicated to a set of ethical and professional standards. These have been organized as a Statement of Principles, which the founding member publications have all agree to adhere to as guidelines for ethical and professional operations at their publications.
Read the Association Of International Audiophile Publications press release.
Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors T.H.E. Show 2022 Media
& Exhibitor Celebration
Enjoy the Music.com, high-end audio's celebrated site
for over 26 years and a leader in providing premium audio and music industry news, hardware reviews, and show reports, is pleased to announce that we're sponsoring
T.H.E. Show's Thursday night media and exhibitor celebration! To be held from Friday, June
10th through Sunday, June 12th at the Hilton Long Beach in Southern California,
exhibitors and members of the press are invited to join us for drinks, music, and good
times. For decades, T.H.E.
Show has been the must-attend event for Southern California music lovers, audiophiles, and hi-fi
Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors T.H.E. Show 2022 Media & Exhibitor Celebration.
Acoustical Systems Aquilar Anniversary Tonearm & Palladian
Moving Coil Phono Cartridge Review
The a golden age of analog playback.
Robert C. May
Systems Aquilar Anniversary Tonearm, and their Palladian cartridge are
exceptional pieces of audio equipment. Beautifully engineered, when mated they
present state-of-the-art analog performance, allowing the listener to simply
sink into the music. For quite a while now, my good friend, philosophical
colleague, and fellow reviewer Jules Coleman and I have been having an ongoing
conversation about what we have dubbed, perhaps somewhat pretentiously, but
certainly tendentiously, the philosophy of audio. In this branch of the
philosophical tree, the philosophical issue that has animated our discussion is
this: In what terms can we truthfully and fruitfully describe the experience of
listening to an audio system? Jules and I have discussed this question from the
four corners of the philosophical landscape, epistemology and metaphysics,
ethics, and aesthetics, and our conclusion has been maddingly philosophical –
it is complicated, and we had better keep talking about it!
Acoustical Systems Aquilar Anniversary Tonearm & Palladian Moving Coil Phono Cartridge
Soundastic Reference Stereo Integrated Amplifier Review
From Poland, a passive pre with solid-state output.
Review By Ric Mancuso
The founder, head engineer of Struss Audio and designer;
the late Zdzisław Hrynkiewicz-Struss 1951 to 2021, Started up Struss Audio
about 40 years ago dating back to the early 2000s. He passed away recently, and
the company has reformed under the name Soundastic. Their first product in the
line is the model Reference, which is the subject of this review. Struss began his career at the Polish Academy of Science as a
specialist in Engineering and Electronics. Zdzisław was inspired by the
work of the late Finnish professor and top-notch audio engineer Matti Otali.
Matti passed away in 2015. Matti had collaborated with Phillips and other audio
manufacturers. The basic designs are based on the concept of a three-part
amplifier. Zdzisław and Struss Audio held many patents for amplifier
designs, which have been incorporated into the Reference integrated amplifier.
Soundastic Reference Stereo Integrated Amplifier Review.
Aavik I-180 Integrated Stereo Amplifier Review
You call this entry-level?
Review By Michael Lang
With the integrated amplifier
from the entry-level 180 series, Aavik took a radical turn: leaving behind heavy
castles of aluminum in favor of natural materials and shapes derived from
musical instruments. Aavik is the electronics side of a company-triumvirate, the
other two being Borresen as a loudspeaker brand and Ansuz as a supplier of
cables and accessories. Regular STEREO readers might be familiar with Aavik
thanks to the impressive U-300 integrated amplifier equipped with a phono stage
and DAC. Or maybe also due to the D-180 DAC or R-180 phono
preamp, which has already received excellent reviews recently. The device featured here has almost nothing in common with the
U-300 – neither the martial exterior nor the idea of amplifiers having to have
"everything under one roof" made its way into the here and now. Beyond
that, no stone was left unturned either!
Aavik I-180 Integrated Stereo Amplifier Review.
Canor DAC 2.10 Digital-To-Analog
It don't mean a thing, if you ain't got that swing.
Review By Paul Schumann
One of the
things Enjoy the Music.com's Creative Director Steven R. Rochlin and I
have in common is that we were both Heathkit kids. Decades ago Heathkit was
widely known for offering electronic kits that were, generally, easy to build
and of very high quality. I made some simple projects when I was young and then
graduated to more sophisticated things like a shortwave radio and electronic
timer. Although what I built paled in comparison to my dad, who
assembled our first color television, I kept the skills, so later on, I was able
to make simple repairs to my JoLida amp and other components. Two years ago, I
built my loudspeakers. Last year I started working on a Zen amp clone before I
had a bit of a nervous meltdown and halted. (Note to self, never work on a
challenging project again during a pandemic and a record snowstorm).
Canor DAC 2.10 Digital-To-Analog Converter Review.
Focal Celestee Closed-Back Headphones Review
A wide front row soundstage with little depth.
Review By Gary Alan Barker
It has been a long wait to get a review sample of the Focal Celestee Closed-Back
Dynamic Headphone, over a year in fact, due to the extreme popularity of Focal's
latest closed-back design, but it has certainly been well worth waiting for.
Focal has a long history of designing and manufacturing some of the world's
highest-performing loudspeakers and headphones. As a driver
designer/manufacturer they have a certain advantage over those who need to
outsource their drivers, and it has shown in their delivered product. One
constant with Focal headphones going back to the original Spirit is a level of
refinement of sound not found in comparably priced headphones, and on this
score, the Celestee is no exception. The Focal Celestee Closed-Back Headphones are the latest
offering in their closed-back designs, which are unique in that they offer the
more open soundstage of open-backed headphones....
---> Focal Celestee Closed-Back Headphones Review.
Rotel Michi X3 Integrated Amplifier Review
More than the sum of its parts. Review By Francisco Duran.
Review By Francisco Duran
This has been one of the hardest
reviews I have ever done because the MichiX3 integrated amplifier really
surprised me. Out of the box and into my system it performed so well that I was
at a loss for words. Not so much as in spectacular audiophile terms, but because
it just went straight to work and played music, all kinds of music, and from all
kinds of sources in such a relaxed but inviting manner, critique just kind of
went out the window. But unless you have been living under an audiophile rock
for the last few years, you probably have seen, even in passing, a review of the
latest Rotel amplifiers. In fact, I have recently written about their neat
A14MK.2. A solid performer, the sound signature of that unit being quite
different from its big brother, the Michi X3.
Rotel Michi X3 Integrated Amplifier Review.
Chord Mojo 2 Portable DAC/Headphone Amplifier Review
Priced at $845, the Chord Mojo 2 needs to be spectacular to merit a strong recommendation. Does it deliver? In every
Review By W. Jennings
you are a member of the Head-Fi community, Chord has been part of your life for
the past decade with its award-winning, and often groundbreaking products. While
many of the British manufacturers' products are very expensive, there are a
growing number below $1,000 that merit serious attention from both headphone
enthusiasts and music listeners looking to assemble a first-class system for
either the home or desktop. Products like the Chord Mojo 2 offer a level of
technical sophistication you don't see in very many products in the price
range or even above it. Chord Electronics was founded in 1989 and spent its early
years making amplifiers for the professional market. Today, they still operate
out of their headquarters in Kent, but the product line has expanded to include
both home systems and portable gear.
Chord Mojo 2 Portable DAC/Headphone Amplifier Review.
The White House Recording Library
The forgotten vinyl LP collection.
Featuring John Chuldenko, the grandson of President Jimmy Carter
Video By The 1600 Sessions
A donation from the Recording Industry Association of America to the Nixon White House, the White House Recording Library was comprised of
2000 LPs, and overseen by a committee of scholars, journalists, and musicians. The library was then stored away and forgotten. John
Chuldenko, the grandson of President Jimmy Carter, recalls hearing stories of the collection and began his search to uncover the lost music. He shares his quest and discovery with White House Historical Association President Stewart
McLaurin. This video is hosted by the White House Historical Association President Stewart
McLaurin, with guest John Chuldenko,
Grandson of President Jimmy Carter.
---> The White House Recording Library.
1967 Gibson Guitars Factory Tour
The more that things change....
Video By Gibson Guitars
In the fall of 2020, Gibson unearthed an unmarked reel while digging through vault archives. Intrigued by the discovery, Gibson TV producers took that reel and had it digitally
remastered. Gibson was founded in 1894 and has been synonymous with creating, shaping, delivering, inspiring, and owning the
'share of sound.' In 1906, Gibson realized the benefits and power of music and music education. Instead of using traditional sales-reps to sell instruments, Gibson engaged with teacher agents to get guitars in the hands of students of all ages. Gibson realized early on that getting instruments into the hands of those with a desire to make music is a truly life-changing
---> Recently Discovered 1967 Gibson Guitars Factory
Magazine: The Intro
The heart of our hobby.
Editorial By Art Dudley
Apart from reminding Listener's
readers how seldom I have been arrested compared to George W. Bush (the score stands at "zero" to "three that we know of"), I vow to keep the following observations as non-political as I
can. Today's concern goes to the heart of our hobby. Specifically, what should we, as audiophiles, be doing with our hi-fi gear? Should we use our stereos to lay bare every nuance of sound on our recordings, as faithfully and thoroughly as technology allows? Or should we use them as we would a drug, to achieve a musical bliss-out whenever the fancy strikes
us? And: Is it acceptable for us to even think of these as separate
goals? The old musical kicks-vs.-fidelity to the master tape argument has been around longer than Goldie
Hawn, and it gets trotted out at least every other week on the various internet hi-fi forums.
Magazine: The heart of our hobby.
Article By Joe Roberts
From Sound Practices
There is a lot of confusion regarding the cultural significance of vacuum tube audio in general and single-ended audio in particular. All of a sudden, we are confronted with a harvest of new stuff which apparently has a lot to do with very, very old stuff. Some mainstream journalists were quick to dismiss the whole phenomenon as a
"retro" movement, a term of pointed disdain in high-tech circles signifying an unnatural preoccupation with an imagined past. "Now is better" is the cry of the old guard rallying in defense against this blast from the
past. Well, now is better. But "now" is composed of our collective and individual past experiences and it offers a diverse set of
possibilities for the future. The rise of single-ended amplifiers is a NOW thing. You can build one of these so-called
"retro" amplifiers with parts manufactured last week and designed after the Intel 486 chip was well on its way to obsolescence.
---> Sound Practices:
Article By Dan 'Doc B." Schmalle
From VALVE Volume 2 Number 8
Sitting here writing this in a heat wave. Somehow those pretty fire bottles that keep the basement shop warm in the winter seem like a real liability this 90 degree day.
But if this isn't blues weather, I don't know what is. So I pull out Elmore, B. B. and Blind Lemon, and pretend I'm the third Blues
brother. Man, after listening to stuff like Living Stereos and Telarcs, this stuff is funky. Makes your system sound like one of those
Rockola's (you know, that was really the guy's name) with the tail fins. I love it. This is listening that has nothing to do with the word 'audiophile'. Yes, the Muddy Waters redo has fabulous so
nice (by the way, I found the CD and the vinyl very close in quality) but a reissued 1951 Elmore James has the same stuff a 20 year old Bordeaux has, that real warm, soft velvety kind of presentation, that gives you the intensified essence of the thing rather than the clarity of the original offering. Sort of an aural
---> VALVE Magazine:
Historic Video: A Dream Of Audio Perfection
Stereo: Three dimensional sound.
contribution to music since Barnum & Bailey.
the years, even from the very beginning, there was audio gear... and critics
soon thereafter. Audio
gear evolved, just as audiophiles carefully adjusted our listening space to accommodate it
all. Finding the best recordings can be a challenge, too! Here's a great look
back at the beginnings of high fidelity home audio equipment, and the reviewers
in hopes of finding gear that achieved sound perfection. Call it what you will,
perfect sound forever or the absolute sound, audiophiles seek to reproduce music
within homes that is indistinguishable from what was heard during the live
Watch A Historic Video About Audio Perfection.
Chisto Easy Groove Solutions Review
Concentrate, Virgin Concentrate, Extreme,
Enzycaster, Concentrate, Spray & Wipe, Disk Analoguer, and Hi-End Show-Gloss.
Review By Tom Lyle
the last few years, I've been cleaning my records by using a VPI 16.5 wet/vacuum
record cleaner. My record cleaning liquid of choice has been for quite some time
a simple solution of distilled water and a surfactant (the surfactant reduces
the solution's surface tension, making it spread more easily on the surface of
the record). Before the VPI, I used a Nitty Gritty record cleaner, and before
that, an Audio Advisor record cleaner. With those machines I've tried countless
solutions sold by many different companies. None were worthy of a review.
---> Chisto Easy Groove
The Music Industry Just Took A Backwards Step
On Streaming Pricing... In Glorious HD
Editorial By Tim
Founder Of Music Business Worldwide
Amazon's Echo Studio launched in Q4 2019 at a
$199.99 price point in the US. "In
2019, Amazon launched
Amazon Music HD, a high-quality audio streaming offering that is available to
customers at a premium price in the United States. We believe the value
proposition that streaming provides to consumers supports premium product
initiatives." This, from Warner
Music Group's pre-IPO
filing last year, is a key part of the modern music industry's big
sell to investors. Just you wait, it says: streaming is $9.99-a-month today, but
tomorrow, oh man, the possibilities for building on this price-point are
endless. Today (May 17), those possibilities hit the floor with a thud.
A thud captured in stunning HD sound. It was a noise that hurt my ears – and reiterated a
troubling power balance between music rightsholders and Big Tech.
The Music Industry Just Took A Backwards Step On Streaming Pricing... In Glorious HD.
North America Premiere Review!
Lindemann Limetree Phono II Review
Small package – Big impression!
Review By Clive Meakins
is very well versed with digital technology and Class D amplifiers. For some
people, they've been "flying under the radar" with their Phono stage. The
Limetree Phono II is the successor to the well-regarded Limetree Phono. Being
very candid; my initial reaction to the suggestion to review the Phono II was, "another
relatively affordable Phono stage – I really hope it stands out from
the crowd". What I will say at this point is that I'm very pleased I accepted
the challenge! A Phono stage can make or break a vinyl-playing system – it
needs to match the deck and cartridge electrically plus be a good match in terms
of character. It's not hard to put together a couple of OpAmps with an RIAA
correction network in between and voila, you have a Phono stage... but that's not
to say it'll be a good one that makes systems shine. I've already hinted that
auditioning the Phono II was a good use of my time so rest assured that if you
are looking for a Phono stage at around €600, finding out more about the Phono
II will be very worthwhile. The Lindemann Limetree range covers the Bridge, Network,
Headphone, and Phono II....
---> Lindemann Limetree Phono II
The Art Of Listening
The emotional power of sound.
Article By Frederick J. Ampel of
Technology Visions Analytics
Original article was aimed at custom installers, yet this information is also beneficial to audiophiles and videophiles
Listening to and experiencing an audio environment is a unique and intense
multilevel encounter. Stephen Handel, Professor of Psychology at the University of
Tennessee, put it as well as anyone in the preface to his wonderful book: Listening:
An Introduction to the Perception of Auditory Events (MIT Press,
1993, ISBN13: 978-0262081795, $62): "Listening puts me in
the world. Listening gives me a sense of emotion, a sense of movement, and a
sense of being there that is missing when I am [just] looking. I am more
frightened by thunder than by lightning, even though I know that thunder is
harmless and lightning is deadly. I feel far more isolation living with ear
plugs than living with blinders. Listening is centripetal, it pulls you into the
world. Looking is centrifugal, it separates you from the world." Let's understand precisely what Handel is saying: If the audio
system's re-creation capability is working correctly, it can and should pull the
listeners into the presentation with the power to make them believe that they
are "there," wherever there might
---> The Art Of Listening.
This Is The Best Time To Be A Music Enthusiast
Product development, reviews, and true lossless
hi-resolution on the rise!
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin
25 years ago when I started Enjoy the Music.com there was very little
info about high-end audio / audiophiles online. Today, that has all changed as
we have thousands of websites from the latest and greatest gear to vintage
audio, DIY, headphones, etc. In addition, we now have more manufacturers than in
the history of our hobby! It is virtually impossible to keep up with it all, let
alone report on every new piece of high-end audio equipment. I'd be slapped
silly by not mentioning that true lossless high-resolution music, without
the 'need' for typical music BUSINESS lossy compressed scams and schemes, is now
mainstream and not limited to only a few niche' streaming music players. Without
a doubt, this is the best time to be a music enthusiast! Way back when in the 1980s and 1990s there were
only a tiny few small digest-sized print publications plus Audio and Stereo
Review (to name a few) here in the States. Europe and other parts of the
globe had their fave publications. It was like we were part of a super-secret
hobby we all love. There was a tribal feeling about it all too!
---> This Is The Best Time To Be A Music Enthusiast.
Cable Monet Network Ethernet
With just a taste of their Diamond network cable as well.
Dr. Matthew Clott
audio reviewer to review a network cable is sort of like asking a car reviewer
to review an alternator belt or a particular gasoline (although gasoline would
likely equate more correctly to power cords in this scenario). I might even
liken speaker cables or interconnects to tires if I continue the analogy; which
have a more direct connection to the signal path, or similarly connect the
engine, chassis, and suspension to the road. Under most circumstances, I humbly
and politely pass when asked to formally review cables. Not because I don't think they make a massive difference in
the system's performance (which they unquestionably do), but because in most
cases cables affect an overall sense of voicing and presentation that is
personal and subtle....
Crystal Cable Monet Network Ethernet cable review.
Furutech NCF Clear Line AC Power Line
A skeptic gets his comeuppance.
Review By Paul Schumann
read any of my previous reviews, you know that I'm a bit of a skeptic when it
comes to audio. More than one time I've read about some amazing piece of gear,
rushed down to the high-end audio parlor (remember those?) to take a listen, and
came away disappointed. It's not that it always sounded bad (although, sometimes
it did), it just didn't wow me as I was expecting. Where I especially cast a
wary eye is an accessory item that promises to improve the overall sound of the
system. The Furutech NCF Clear Line is just such a product. So when Steven asked
if anyone wanted to review it, of course, I said yes. Okay, full disclosure here, I have been wanting to review a
power conditioning device for quite a while. One area I have been remiss in the
development of my system is the AC end of things. I've almost bought one a
couple of times, but always backed off. Then during the middle of summer, when
the AC quality goes dramatically down because of all the air conditioners I
start kicking myself. Yet I never seem to pull the trigger on getting one when I
have the chance.
Furutech NCF Clear Line AC Power Line Optimizer review.
Audiophile Gift 2021 December
Audiophile Gift 2020 December
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