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High-End Audio / Audiophile / Immersivephile Hi-Fi Equipment Reviews And Think Pieces

August 2021

 

High-End Audio & Music Industry News

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.

 

 

Making Your Hi-Fi System Better Roger Skoff writes about music and your System.

Making Your Hi-Fi System Better
Roger Skoff writes about music and your system.
Article By Roger Skoff
Many years ago, when I was first starting XLO, I got a phone call from a guy named Roy Harris, asking me what XLO cables sounded like. Not realizing that the Roy Harris who had been a famous American classical music composer was already long dead by that time, I was impressed (and, frankly, a little prideful that someone of his imagined prominence would be considering my cables) and tried to be as helpful as possible.... After another couple of rounds of him asking, and me trying to explain to him that XLO cables were designed to be as neutral as possible and to have as little sound of their own as possible in order to properly perform their intended function of just carrying the music from one point to another without addition, subtraction, distortion or any kind of change along the way, he finally said: "No, no, no; you don't understand."
---> Making your hi-fi system better.

 

 

Video: Björn Ulvaeus Of ABBA Discusses Streaming Music's Transformation On Songwriting

Björn Ulvaeus Of ABBA Discusses Streaming Music's Transformation On Songwriting
Björn Ulvaeus, Swedish songwriter, musician, singer, guitarist, producer and a member of the musical group ABBA gave an excellent TED Talk. Björn Ulvaeus's songs, co-written with his ABBA partner and close friend Benny Andersson, became some of the most famous hits of all time and selling more than 400 million records all over the world. "Money, money, money... in the music business, there seems to be little left for the songwriters that fuel it" says TED Talk. "ABBA co-founder Björn Ulvaeus calls for the industry to support its most valuable asset, breaking down how the streaming revolution impacts creator royalties, careers and craft — and outlines what can be done to truly thank artists for the music."
---> ABB's Björn Ulvaeus discusses streaming music's transformation on songwriting.

 

 

Kostas Metaxas Lecture On Purist Recording

Kostas Metaxas Lecture On Purist Recording
During the Munich HIGH END Show years ago Kostas Metaxas, an award winning artist-designer as well as an electrical and recording engineer, was asked to lecture on purist analog tape recording techniques. Below is an edit including some recording excerpts. One of Kostas' biggest pleasures in life is recording music. It is an indescribable pleasure — bliss. Particularly when all the planets are aligned — when the musician is "in the zone", the audience is on the edge of their seats... you literally get "lost in the music". "Sadly," says Kostas, "I wasn't able to release lots of this music, only use excerpts for Broadcast TV interviews, but the pure pleasure was worth it. From 2003 to 2008, I recorded over 300 concerts including covering two Melbourne Jazz Festivals, two Bangalow Classical Music Festivals, over 50 Opera Australia Operas, The Asia-Pacific Chamber Music competition, and many others."
---> Kostas Metaxas lecture on purist recording.

 

 

Accustic Arts Preamp III Review

Accustic Arts Preamp III Review
Higher Goals... but how to hit them?
Review By Matthias Böde
With the new Preamp III, Accustic Arts wants to surpass their previous top model. STEREO tested whether they were successful. Both the effort taken as well as the financial commitment are considerable, in any way.... When the brand new top preamplifier from the Southern German high-end manufacturer Accustic Arts finally arrived in our office, already eagerly awaited, we had to swallow hard three times. First when unpacking. The reason for this was that the device we took out of the box, with its aluminum-covered housing featuring a striking cut-out logo in the lid, looked incredibly impressive in a dignified way. It seemed as if the Preamp III wants to replace its tried and tested predecessor Tube Preamp II MK2 simply by making it seem and look puny in comparison.
---> Accustic Arts Preamp III review.

 

 

Vermouth Audio Reference Series Cables Review Reference Balance Interconnect, Reference RCA Interconnect, And Reference Power Cord

World Premiere Review!
Vermouth Audio Reference Series Cables Review
Reference Balance Interconnect, Reference RCA Interconnect, And Reference Power Cord

A big box of cables from Bali.
Review By Dwayne Carter
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing a pair of Vermouth Audio Little Luccas MkII Limited Edition Speakers, along with their Red Velvet, and Black Pearl Cables. They arrived in a large wooden crate, direct from Bali. Meticulously packed and well cared for, the audio cables were individually boxed and wrapped in cloth bags. We were impressed from the moment we began unboxing until the moment we sent them back to Bali. The delivery of the Vermouth Audio's Reference Series Cables prompted the same expectation. Vermouth Audio sent three of their Reference Series Cables: The Reference Balance Interconnect, Reference RCA Interconnect, and Reference Power Cord. Inside the thick cardboard box; each Reference Series Cable (or cable pair) arrived in a separate, decorative cardboard box. Inside that box, each cable (or cable pair) was tucked inside a heavy cloth bag, adorned with the Vermouth logo.
---> Vermouth Audio Reference Series cables review.

 

 

Alluxity Power Two Stereo Amplifier Review

Alluxity Power Two Stereo Amplifier Review
Making great look, and sound, easy.
Review By Rick Jensen
The Alluxity Power Two is a beautiful new stereo power amplifier from a fairly new company. Alluxity, the brand, is manufactured by AVM-TEC. The company and brand were formed in Denmark in 2010, and while the company is new, it has an excellent pedigree. The head of AVM-TEC is Alexander Vitus-Mogensen, the son of Hans-Ole Vitus of Vitus Audio. The goals for Alluxity products are to design products that fit into the home (unlike so many current high-end products), that sounds very good, and that is fairly priced but built with a focus on quality. Those sound like relatively anodyne goals but, to jump ahead, they are achieved with ease. And I might add that for me (being half-Danish by background, with some relatives named Mogensen!) such modesty is not unexpected – hyperbole is not part of the usual marketing of Danish products.
---> Alluxity Power Two stereo amplifier review.

 

 

Revisiting The NPS 1260 3D Enhancer Solution Review

Revisiting The NPS 1260 3D Enhancer Solution
Too good to keep a secret!
Review By Rick Becker
Rick Schultz assured me that letting the NPS 1260 settle in for at least six weeks would reveal the optimal performance, but what I heard in the first three weeks was so phenomenal that I felt compelled to rush it into the July issue. In a whirlwind go-around at the last minute with Enjoy the Music.com's Creative Director, Steven R. Rochlin, we decided to publish in July 2021 with a follow-up to be added in the August issue. I've held off to the last minute again to give this goop as much time as possible to do its thing, so here we go.... The description on their website makes a big issue of the "flow" that NPS 1260 imparts to the music. I was beginning to feel that flow by the time I concluded the initial review but not strong enough to make a big deal of it. Now, at eight weeks out from the first application and six weeks out from my final application, I'm ready to talk the talk.
---> Revisiting The NPS 1260 3D Enhancer Solution.

 

 

Zu Omen MK.II Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review

World Premiere Review!
Zu Audio Omen MK.II Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review

A classic loudspeaker from Zu Audio that remains new. 
Review By Ric Mancuso
I asked this question of Sean Casey, owner and creator and founder of Zu Audio loudspeakers. "You know, how did you come with the name for the company?" He said, One evening having some conversation about birthing the company with his wife, the name Zu popped into her head! It sounded cool and they came up with a logo and from then on it was Zu Audio. Sean heard members of the industry say never to disclose the origin of the name, fearing it would evoke a perception of fictionalization, that would somehow undermine the brand's quality. What's in a name? Well, Prince did pretty well with his symbol and his brand. Sean Casey's background in audio is an interesting one. He and Ray Kimber, both Utah audio heads knew of each other and crossed paths involving PA's and sound systems for clubs in the early days in Ogden. Ray of course started up Kimber Kable.
---> Zu Audio Omen MK.II floorstanding loudspeaker review.

 

 

Beyerdynamic T5 Headphones (3rd Gen) Review

Beyerdynamic T5 Headphones (3rd Gen) Review
The 3rd generation beyerdynamic T5 headphones set a very high standard for closed-back models. Are they the best value as well?
Review By W. Jennings
I was recently sent the third generation beyerdynamic T5 headphones to review. I felt particularly comfortable reviewing the next generation T5 because I have owned both previous models and still have the previous pair of headphones in my current collection. Right now, someone new to headphones is saying "but I can't find any information on the earlier T5 models." I understand that level of frustration.  The previous models were called the T5p to denote that they were portable. The times have certainly changed. When the T5 was first introduced, it was one of a pair of flagships for beyerdynamic using their new "Tesla" technology. The T1 were an open-back model with a 600-Ohm impedance. The T1 begged for a tube amp to feed it properly and certainly was beyond the capabilities of most portable players at the time of its introduction. The T5p was a closed-back design with a 32-Ohm impedance and came with a shorter cable with a 3.5mm termination and was much more suitable for portable use as it was easier to drive well.
---> Beyerdynamic T5 headphones (3rd Gen) review.

 

 

ampsandsound Rockwell Vacuum Tube Stereo Amplifier Review

ampsandsound Rockwell Vacuum Tube Stereo Amplifier Review
Enjoying 1950s and 1960s American hi-fi sound.
Review By Sam Rosen
For the last five weeks, I have had the opportunity to sit back and enjoy one of the best amplifiers I have heard in a long time. It all started when I got a phone call from the owner of ampsandsound, he said he had something new and special in the works. I was intrigued, he then told me it was a direct heated triode, and that it was powerful enough to drive speakers and my SUSVARA headphones. He then said he was sending me a review unit in three weeks. The Rockwell arrived three weeks later, and I can happily say it will not be leaving. The Rockwell is a single ended amplifier with zero feedback, and it employs direct heated triodes for its power tubes. Like the ampsandsound Bigger Ben, it uses a 6SL7 input tube, and it is tube rectified. The out transformers are massive and over spec'd and provide five output impedances (8, 16, 32, 100, and 300 Ohms). This allows you to match this amp to pretty much any headphone.
---> ampsandsound Rockwell stereo amplifier review.

 

 

Audio-GD R2R-1 FPGA PCM / DSD DAC Review

Audio-GD R2R-1 FPGA PCM / DSD DAC Review
Done right.
Review By Gary Alan Barker
It is hard to properly express my excitement at receiving the Audio-gd R2R-1 FPGA PCM/DSD DAC for review. It is no exaggeration to say that it is the culmination of what I have been looking for in a DAC since I first became involved with the Personal Audio community seven years ago, that is to say, an FPGA R-2R ladder DAC that will decode DSD with a Current-Mode analog stage and Current-Mode output to a Current-Mode amplifier, and to be honest the R2R-1 has not disappointed. I hear you saying, "what does this all mean (at least that is what I would be saying)?" To start with, there are two types of DAC used in high-fidelity digital audio, multi-bit PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) and single-bit Sigma-Delta (also referred to as Delta-Sigma). The most common digital music recording is PCM and oddly enough the most common type of DAC is Sigma-Delta because for whatever reason Sigma-Delta DACs are cheaper and easier to manufacture and are able to decode PCM.
---> Audio-GD R2R-1 FPGA PCM / DSD DAC review.

 

 

Listener Magazine The Intro

The Intro
Editorial By Art Dudley
Volume two of the Monumental five-volume set of Bob Dylan's The Genuine Basement Tapes reaches an emotional climax with a plaintive song called "I'm Not There" — no mean feat after the brilliant "Going to Acapulco" and three takes of "Tears of Rage," one in waltz time. "I'm Not There" has appeared before, on The Great White Wonder and on Volume One of The Newly Discovered Basement Tapes on Surprise Records (the latter credited to Blind Boy Grunt and The Hawks), and while the version on The Genuine Basement Tapes is the best sounding of the bunch, you still wouldn't mistake it for anything other than a bootleg. About a third of the words are unintelligible, and as if that weren't enough of an obstacle, the recording begins in mid-verse, with no clue as to how much had been played before the tape started rolling. No way for technology to fix that, I guess.
---> The Intro by Art Dudley of Listener.

 

 

The EMT927 And EMT930 Turntables Plus a variety of tonearms and other bits. Article By Heiner Jakobi

The EMT 927 And EMT 930 Turntables
Plus a variety of tonearms and other bits.
Article By Heiner Jakobi
Introduced in 1951, the EMT 927 was a massive turntable with an aluminum chassis, measuring 67.5 x 52 x 21.5 cm with a weight of 80 pounds. The platter has a diameter of 44 cm and sits in an amazing precision ball bearing. The bearing shaft is 16.6 cm long and has a diameter of 2 cm! The motor itself is massive. It looks like an industrial motor, 13.5 cm in diameter and 20 cm long! It is a three-phase synchronous type with phase shifter. A precision manufactured three-step pulley is mounted on the motor axis and a precision idler transfers the power from the motor to the inside rim of the platter. The idler wheel can be shifted to the 78, 45, and 33.3 rpm positions for speed change. The platter itself is extremely heavy and the mass is distributed mainly along the outer rim. A special motor brake allows for fine adjustment of the speed. The massive power supply can be switched for 110 / 120 / 220 V inputs.
---> The EMT 927 and EMT 930 turntables.

 

 

Acoustical Quad Electrostatic Speakers -- VALVE Magazine

Acoustical QUAD Electrostatic Speakers
The original QUAD components were introduced around 1954...
Article By Dan Schmalle From VALVE Issue 4, April 1994
This month's demo is a very special one. Through the generosity of Eric and Dave we will audition what is to many vintage buffs the ne plus ultra of vintage high fidelity systems, an entire QUAD system. It will be composed of the QUAD FM Tuner, QUAD Multiplex Decoder, QUAD 22 Control Unit, two Quad II Power Amplifiers and two QUAD ESLs. All of these components are in very nice shape and will be set up as originally intended right down to the KT-66 output tubes. Acoustical Manufacturing Company, makers of the Quality Amplifier for Domestic use, was started by Peter J. Walker in London in the late 1930's. The original QUAD components were introduced around 1954. At the time the loudspeakers, while revolutionary in their construction and accuracy, were rather poorly received in an era of horn speakers with giant sized bass response.
---> Acoustical QUAD electrostatic speakers.

 

 

Music History Meets Experiential AV: Updates To The Grammy Museum Immersive sound and interactive experiences.

Music History Meets Experiential AV:
Updates To The Grammy Museum
Immersive sound and interactive experiences.
Article By Dan Daley
Reprinted from Sound & Communications, April 2020
Music changes. And, because it does, so, too, must the GRAMMY Museum, the Recording Academy's 30,000-square-foot combined gallery, repository and salon on the L.A. Live campus in downtown Los Angeles CA. Opened in December 2008, the venue has undergone periodic updates that reflect the relentless and ever-faster cycle of pop music and the other genres it represents. Its most recent renovation, though, costing $2 million, underscores just how much museum AV — and the larger museum experience — has changed as a result of technology. It's not dissimilar to how music production has mutated and evolved in the digital era.
---> Read more about updates to the Grammy Museum.

 

 

Best Of 2020 Blue Note Equipment Awards

Flashback! Best Of 2020 Blue Note Awards
Enjoy the Music.com's September issue features our annual Best Of Blue Note Awards! We'll celebrate the many great achievements by audiophile manufacturers within the high-end audio. While we wait for our 2021 special issue, don't miss seeing our 2020 Blue Note Awards featuring carefully chosen products that have earned special recognition. Our Best Of 2020 Blue Note Award celebrates the finest products we have reviewed during the previous 12 months. On September 1 (2021) we'll have our exciting Best Of 2021 Blue Note Awards for the world to see! As always... enjoy the music!
---> Read our Best of 2020 Blue Note Awards.

 

 

AGD Andante Preamplifier And Vivace Monoblocks Review

AGD Andante Preamplifier & Vivace Monoblocks Review
AGD's Andante and Vivace will transport you to the musical venue.
Review By Rick Becker
It is always an honor when a manufacturer asks me to review their product. It is, after all, their 'baby'. They have poured their heart and soul into it. And often times, the smaller the company, the more heart and soul is to be found within. Such was the case with the AGD The Audion monoblocks to which I not only gave a very positive review, but also bought as my new reference. The Gallium Nitride Power MOSFETS in this Class D power amp were not only acoustically outstanding, but the visual design of these diminutive monoblocks also spoke to the tube-lover within me.
---> Read our review of the AGD Andante Preamplifier And Vivace monoblocks.

 

 

PureAudioProject Quintet 10 Open-Baffel Loudspeaker Review

PureAudioProject's Quintet 10 Open-Baffle Loudspeaker Review
Look ma, no boxes! I spent 100 days and nights with PureAudioProject's Quintet 10 open-baffle speakers — and found that they are sonic shape-shifters of the highest order.
Review By Rogier van Bakel
"Audiophile" and "oenophile" don't just sound similar. The words have this in common too: they describe a world where subjective judgments of quality must rule without a chance of different opinions being resolved. After all, no one can make valid generalizations about what the ideal power amplifier or the perfect pair of speakers sound like — any more than a wine lover can claim with universal authority that a bottle of 1979 La Mission Haut Brion is better than a 1988 Château Léoville Barton, or vice versa.
---> Read our review of the PureAudioProject Quintet 10 speaker.

 

 

Nordost Valhalla 2 USB 2.0 Cable Review Plus a quick test of Nordost's Heimdall 2 Ethernet Review

Nordost Valhalla 2 USB 2.0 Cable Review
Plus a quick test of Nordost's Heimdall 2 Ethernet cable.
Review By Phil Gold
I've had little use of high-end digital cables until quite recently. A long string of CD Players from Denon, Meridian and several from EMM Labs were all one box affairs – put a silver disc in slot A, take analog balanced output at the other end. When I ultimately moved to an outboard DAC, the EMM Labs DV2, I used the proprietary EMM OptiLink glass cable which provides galvanic isolation (electrical independence) from the source, as does its USB input. But I was so impressed with the exaSound Delta Server I reviewed recently that I bought one for myself. The DV2 does such a superb job removing jitter on all its inputs that I'm hard-pressed to hear any differences when I connect the XDS1 to the DV2 using OptiLink or AES/EBU connections. And this is a highly resolving system with Nordost Valhalla cables powering and linking the DV2, a Soulution 5100 stereo power amplifier, and YG Hailey 2.2 loudspeakers.
---> Nordost Valhalla 2 USB 2.0 cable review.

 

 

Andover PM-50 Stereo Headphones Review

Andover PM-50 Stereo Headphones Review
A strong contender for a completely balanced $499 planar magnetic headphones.
Review By Bowei Zhao Of Headphone.Guru
Headphones typically come sounding like a true full open or closed set. One offers unparalleled soundstage whereas the other offers intimacy. It's not often you have it both ways and will have to make the hard decision of choosing one or the other. As one of Head-Fi's top contributing posters, I've encountered countless new audiophiles coming to my doorsteps for help finding a superior sounding headphone with the soundstage and clarity benefits of an open headphone but needed a bit of isolation. There are closed-back headphones with emulated surround but the term gimmick comes to mind fairly quickly. And thus, the question remains on the table, what can be recommended at a cost-effective range with comfort, soundstage, and that cherished forward mid-range. Can you have it both ways? Well, the prelude to that came one late evening when I got a ring from my editor.
---> Andover PM-50 headphones review.

 

 

Welcome To Enjoy the Music.com's Special 25th Anniversary Edition

Welcome To Enjoy the Music.com's
Special 25th Anniversary Edition
This month's magazine will be followed by a very special Blue Note Award issue in September.
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin
Wish there was more time within a day. While that might may sound like a weird way to start off an editorial during this site's 25th Anniversary issue, 25 years is a very short period of time. With each passing day, there are times the many ideas that never came to fruition haunt my mind. There are, literally, hundreds of ideas that have come and gone over the past 25 years. This month's Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine celebrates the first part of our 25th Anniversary celebration. During September we'll bring in Part 2 with a very special Blue Note Awards magazine.
---> Read Steven R. Rochlin's special 25th Anniversary editorial.

 

 

Looking To The Future Enjoying the past 25 years of hi-fi, and looking forward to the future.

Looking Towards The Future
Enjoying the past 25 years of hi-fi, and looking forward to the future.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

As Enjoy the Music.com celebrates our 25th Anniversary this month, I want to focus more on the future than the past. During my 20th Anniversary message, there were highlights of progress within the high-end audio community. Within this month's editorial, I'll be focusing on the next 25. While many of us enjoy amazing music via our turntable and dare we add reel-to-reel system, the future of streaming music is brighter than ever! For some of you reading this, there was a world of music pre-Internet as we searched through that book within the record store to order rare albums.
---> Read Looking Towards The Future.

 

 

 

Previous Issues

2021

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July  August

 

2020

January/February     March/April     May/June

July  August  September  October   November

Great Audiophile Gift 2020    December 

 

2019

January/February     March/April     May/June

July/August     September/October     November/December

 

2018

January/February     March/April    May/June

July/August     September/October     November/December

 

2017

January/February     March/April    May/June

July/August     September/October     November/December

 

 

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See our archives section for all reviews. 

 

 

 

 

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