High-End Audio / Audiophile Equipment
Reviews And Think Pieces
Great Audiophile Gift Ideas For The
2020 Holiday Season
Enjoy the Music.com celebrates our
15th annual gift ideas to give your audiophile!
the Music.com proudly presents our 15th annual Great Audiophile Gift recommendations! We all love gifts, yet getting that something special for an audiophile can be quite a challenge.
Enjoy the Music.com's annual Great Audiophile Gift wish list brings you some truly spectacular ideas for music lovers. There are so many wonderful products we recommend!
All recommended gifts this year are very reasonably priced too! We have gifts that will make your vinyl junkie smile, plus a few
surprised along the way!
---> See Enjoy the
Music.com's our Great Audiophile Gift 2020!
Great Think Pieces, 10 Questions, And Reviews!
This issue features many great articles and
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin
As we round the corner into the winter
season (and snowbird season here in sunny Florida), on the heels of Enjoy the
Music.com celebrating our 25th anniversary, we have another great issue for
your reading pleasure. This year we've been hiring many seriously knowledgeable
people to help with one-off articles we know many of you will enjoy. A few
examples include in April we featured Dennis Baxter, who has spent over 30 years
as a sound designer contributing to hundreds of live events including 9 Olympics
Read Great Think Pieces, 10 Questions, And Reviews!
The Wrong Thing
Hi-fi and the sound
of real music.
By Roger Skoff
many years, imaging and soundscaping have been my primary criteria for judging
the sound of recordings and the equipment we play them on. I can remember being
thrilled and truly excited about the (Avalon) speakers I was listening to and
about the room that I was listening in when I first heard the original cast
recording of 42nd Street [RCA CD RCD1-3891]. I was sure, sitting
there, that I could not only hear and physically "place" the sound of each tap
of the heels and toes of a whole chorus line of dancers.
---> Read Roger Skoff's The Wrong
What are they, and how can they help you to feel
Article By Becky Pell
humans have a range of different brain wave states and speeds, each relating to
a different state of consciousness, be it waking, sleeping, or somewhere in
between. Binaural beats are a phenomenon whereby we can voluntarily create
different brain waves using external sound sources, thereby inducing the
associated mental state. First, let's take a look at the different states of
consciousness which we most commonly experience.
---> Read Becky Pell's Binaural Beats article.
The HiFi Summit Q4 2020 Show
the second live streaming show by Joe N Tell this year, The
HiFi Summit Q4 2020 celebrated the audio community
in having an excellent high-quality online show
resource! The HiFi
Summit, produced by Joe N Tell (Joe Mariano), brings modern features that are expected when showcasing the best in high-fidelity audio and home theater gear. Excellent seminars and group chat
were joined by questions from viewers within their Lobby Discussion and YouTube live
----> Watch The
HiFi Summit Q4 2020 video show report.
10 Questions For High-End
DeVore, Founder And Top Banana At DeVore Fidelity
This month we're featuring John DeVore, Founder And Top Banana At DeVore Fidelity.
Their goal at DeVore Fidelity is to create products that communicate the life-breath of music.
They believe that the best means to this end combines the art of aesthetics with the science of physics in such a way that each complements the other, and together yield a product far greater than the sum of its
---> Read our 10
questions to John DeVore.
10 Questions For High-End
This month we're featuring Furutech as they answer a few of our 10
questions. Furutech, founded in 1988, designs and manufactures an extraordinary range of A/V cables made with extremely high purity OCC single-crystal oxygen-free copper. We have several complete lines of analog and digital, power and coaxial cables available in terminated and bulk quantities.
They make a wide range of highest quality OEM A/V connectors and other signal transfer parts.
---> Read our 10
questions to Furutech.
10 Questions For High-End
Featuring Bill Hutchins, Founder And Chief Designer
For LKV Research
This month we're featuring Bill Hutchins, Founder And Chief Designer For LKV Research.
Devising amplification circuits and finding solutions to design problems, in the
service of great-sounding music, is his passion. But he often wind up doing a
bit of everything else, except accounting. Bill provides support to our
customers, stuff boards, order parts, calculate shipping costs, measure and
match JFETs, design ads, write copy for our website and blog, and on and on.
---> Read our 10 questions to
10 Questions For High-End
Featuring Merrill Wettasinghe, Chief Music Officer
This month we're featuring Merrill Wettasinghe, Chief Music Officer
of Merrill Audio. Based in New Jersey, Merrill Audio offers high-end audio
amplification that meets, and perhaps exceeds, the expectations of audiophiles
worldwide. Merrill Audio has earned many awards over the years for their mono
and stereo solid-state products.
---> Read our 10 questions to Merrill Wettasinghe.
10 Questions For High-End
Latour, Audio Division Director
Of Nagra Audio
This month we're featuring Matthieu Latour, Audio Division Director Of Nagra Audio.
In 1951, Stefan Kudelski, a gifted 22-year-old engineer, developed an extremely high quality, miniature, self-contained audio recorder which he named simply the
"Nagra I". Nagra is a Polish word meaning "will record". The interest in his invention was
immediate. The Nagra II and III followed in the mid to late 1950s revolutionizing the world of radio broadcasting, cinema and
---> Read our 10 questions to Matthieu
10 Questions For High-End
Featuring Chris Sommovigo, Designer And Engineer At Stereolab
This month we're featuring Chris Sommovigo, Designer And Engineer At Stereolab.
In 1992 Chris Sommovigo introduced to the world the first truly precision-made 75 Ohm digital coaxial cable under the brand name
ILLUMINATI, and has since designed more than a dozen other digital cables for the market – either for the Illuminati brand, for
Stereovox, or for other brands (such as Kimber Kable and i2Digital). His digital cable designs remain among the most sought after and popular designs in the
---> Read our 10 questions to Chris Sommovigo.
Digital Amplifier Company MEGAschino MK2 Mono
Magnificent monoblocks from Tommy
Review By Rick Jensen
I have been a tube guy all my life since I bought and built a Dynaco SCA-35 with
money from my paper route at age 14. That said, I've owned some fine solid-state
amps and preamps over the years – a Phase Linear 700, the Quatre DG-250 (mine
didn't blow up on me, but did when my brother-in-law took it to college), an
Aragon 4004, and several lesser lights. But normally, my system has been
tube-based; conrad-johnson preamplification and Music Reference amplification
for most of the last two decades. I've reviewed and/or had in the home for extended periods some
very fine non-tube amps, too, from Linn, Mark Levinson, conrad-johnson, and
---> Read our Digital Amplifier Company MEGAschino MK2 Mono
Sonus Faber Olympica Nova V Floorstanding Speakers
Faithful reproducing that sounds like music.
I first heard speakers from Sonus faber's Olympica Nova series during
second visit to the World Of McIntosh Townhouse, located in the Soho
neighborhood of downtown New York City. Before I left this wonderful audiophile
playhouse, I couldn't resist requesting a review pair of their top model in the
Olympica line, the Nova V. As part of their brief explanation of what I was hearing that
day, I was told that this 37-year-old Italian speaker manufacturer upgraded this
speaker line with new crossovers and drivers, new cabinet structures, internal
volume tuning, and many other updates. Of course, the speakers' cosmetics
were also refined by Sonus faber's team of designers, giving them a new more
---> Read our Sonus Faber Olympica Nova V
AGD Productions The Audion Monoblock Amplifier
New GaN technology that brings Class D amplifiers into the upper echelon of performance.
Review By Michael Zisserson Of Positive
What's new in audio? Not much in
the past 40 years or so. When was the last technological shake-up in audio?
Compact Disc, maybe? From there, digital technology has spawned endless formats
of claimed resolving power that is rarely capitalized on. What I have had a
hankering for is not another format war, rather, HARD technology. Like
the birth of the solid-state transistor that knocked vacuum tube amplifiers on
their heels. To my surprise, such a technology flashed into existence a
couple of years ago, that is truly revolutionary, and I have been oblivious of
its existence until now.
Read our AGD The Audion mono amplifier review.
Noble Sultan In-Ear Monitor (IEM)
A beautiful treasured piece of IEM art.
Review By Frank Iacone Of Headphone.Guru
Jim Moulton contacts me and asks me to personally review a Noble IEM I know I am
in for an exciting adventure into John Moulton's newest creation. The nickname
Wizard, as John is known as, is well and truly justified, so when the good
doctor works on a creation it is almost guaranteed to be groundbreaking in
design and sound spectacular.... The
new Sultan with its lustrous coverings is a beautiful treasured piece of art
designed in the typical Noble handmade fashion created one at a time for the
most discrete and select listener.
Read our Noble Sultan in-ear monitor (IEM) review.
World Premiere Review!
Fallbrook Audio TR-1 Turntable
The affordable Fallbrook TR-1 vinyl spinner made in California.
Review By Ron Nagle
As I write
this the TR-1 is selling with an introductory price of $649 that represents a
$100 savings over the normal price of $749. Along with that, there is an
optional dust cover temporarily priced at $100. I would strongly advise getting
that dust cover, it will make your TR-1 table cat-proof. The Fallbrook people
tell us the turntable is, "proudly hand-assembled with many locally sourced
parts." Now I'm not certain what that involves. Let us step back a bit and take
a broad look at the vinyl player market. There are some affordable turntables in
the market place. To introduce a new and affordable turntable at this point is
most certainly a venture that represents a bold move.
---> Read our Fallbrook Audio TR-1
Gingko Audio Sextet Speaker
Enjoying everything the Gingko Swarm has to offer with many options available too!
Review By Brett Rudolph
years, I have had the opportunity to review several different speakers and
speaker systems. Each one has the character that sets it apart from the next.
So, when you can audition speakers and have the designer help set them up and
explain them to you, it aids in giving a full review. Therefore, when the
opportunity presented itself late last year, I jumped at the chance. Usually, the first contact is a brief discussion on the
product and a time to work out logistics. However, Vinh Vu from Gingko Audio,
and I spoke more about the Sextet system's potential.
---> Read our Gingko Audio Sextet
speaker system review.
Mober Motor, Inner Platter & Bearing, Synergistic Research Record Weight & Mat 1...
...and many other tweaks for the Linn LP12, part 3.
Review By Rick Becker
First of all, deep apologies to Edmund Chan of Mober for not
reviewing his products sooner. I could come up with a couple of quasi-excuses,
but the real reason has been my fear of failure in installing them on my hot-rodded
Linn LP12. Edmund tried to quell my fear by assuring me that there is no 'magic' in the fabled magic tweaking of the turntable. And I really
shouldn't have been intimidated, given all the 'hands-on' things I tackle.
(My bicycles, my motorcycle, the rain gutters on my house...) But that "Linn
mystique"? I thought I had cured myself of the curse when I installed the
Stack Audio products from Great Britain last year.
---> Read our Mober Motor, Inner Platter & Bearing, Synergistic Research Record Weight & Mat 1 review.
Silversmith Audio Fidelium Loudspeaker Cables
A new paradigm in speaker cables.
Review By Greg Weaver
I first met
the engaging Jeffrey Smith, founder and design engineer of Silversmith Audio and
recently retired Navy Commander, some nineteen years ago during his third CES,
in January of 2002. To save space here, as there is quite a bit to cover, I'd
refer you to his "About Us" link at the Silversmith Audio web page to see his
remarkable story. He was showing his then flagship silver ribbon interconnects
and speaker cables at the Alexis Park paired with gear from Pass Labs including
their X0.2 linestage and X600 amplifiers driving the EgglestonWorks Andra II
---> Read our Silversmith Audio Fidelium
loudspeaker cable review.
Core Power Technologies A/V USBe Perfect
A highly engaging musical performance from ripped CDs, downloads, and streams.
Review By Victor Chavira Of Positive
My power conditioner is an EQUI=CORE
300 by Core Power Technologies. Some time ago, the company's assets were
acquired and renamed Core Power Technologies A/V by web-based audio retailer
Underwood HiFi of Hawaii. Underwood HiFi also designs and performs upgrades to
components. The device under evaluation is a USB jitter reducer / power
conditioner called the USBe Perfect. That USB is a less than desirable method
for the transfer of music files is no longer up for discussion. Nevertheless, my
preference for USB is largely that of convenience and habit.
Read our Core Power Tech USBe Perfect review.
Little Dot CU-KIS In-Ear Monitor (IEM)
CU-KIS IEM handled all genres of music well, never being harsh or honeyed.
Review By Gary Alan Barker Of Headphone.Guru
Little Dot was a new name to me, but well known to Frank and well known to the Personal
Audio community as being one of the early voices in the field. The Little Dot
CU-KIS IEM stands as their current Flagship IEM and a shining example of what is
possible in the under $600 Universal In-Ear Monitor market. Founded in April 2006 by Mr. Yu Quan Yang (a long time audio
hobbyist who actually built his first crystal radio at the age of 14) out of his
unceasing passion for music and hi-fi equipment, Little Dot has developed many
popular products and has many loyal users around the world.
Read our Little Dot CU-KIS IEM review.
Grado Labs Gold3
& Opus3 Phono Cartridge
A nice pair of phono cartridges by Grado Labs.
Review By Danko Šuvar Of HiFiMedia
Grado Labs revamped their phono cartridges line, upgrading entry-level Prestige
series to fourth iteration (number 3 as in Black3, Gold3, etc., counting the
first versions without number as the first generation), and upgrading and
rearranging Reference and Statement series into two lines, new Timbre line
(midrange wooden bodies cartridges) and top of the line Lineage series (Aeon3,
Epoch3, and Statement3). Inside the Timbre line, there is now a new model,
entry-level Opus3, made in both high and low output versions (4mV and 1mV),
which also differs in being made of Maple....
Read our Grado Labs Gold3 & Opus3 phono cartridge review.
Legendary Performance Awards 2020
Enjoy the Music.com celebrates our 25th
Anniversary reviewing high-end audio gear.
Enjoy the Music.com's
Legendary Performance Awards 2020 celebrates the incredible achievements by
high-end audio manufacturers since we've been reviewing gear for over the past two
decades. Unlike our annual Blue Note
Awards, Enjoy the Music.com's Legendary Performance Awards is a
once every 25-year event, so you know it is something very special indeed! We
tasked our extensive staff in choosing products they felt earned an
extra-special mention, which in turn shows the greatness of these legendary pieces
of high-end audio equipment.
Enjoy the Music.com's Legendary Performance Awards 2020.
Intro: Listener Magazine
Editorial By Art Dudley
Is Tony Rice the "best" guitarist in
bluegrass music? Before you scold me for looking at the world that way
— stuffing artists into neat
little pigeonholes and ranking musicians the way most people rank baseball players—bear in mind that I don't do it half as
much as I used to. And since kids can be forgiven for thinking like that, I have let
myself off the hook for all those nights I drove around town with my pals, arguing
over whose guitar heroes were the "best," like some adolescent McLaughlin Group in
plaid flannel shirts.
---> Read more of Art Dudley's
intro from Listener.
Fashion Is The Devil
Article By Joe Roberts
From Sound Practices
Vol 2 No 3 Fall 1994
For a while there, triodes were the biggest craze to hit audio in a decade at
least. After years of nothing more exciting than new digital formats, the single ended
amplifier exploded onto the local marketplace and captivated the attention of audiophiles and industry gums. It was different, it was new, it was classic, and it was
HIP. At first, triodes had the ultimate qualification for hipness going on — you
couldn't buy the stuff even if you had the money. You either had to build 'em yourself or import some exotic electronics from a foreign land.
---> Read Fashion Is
The Devil by Joe Roberts.
Triode Amplifier Operating Points
Article By Paul Joppa
From VALVE Volume 2 Number
5 May 1995
How do you choose a good operating
point (supply voltage, current, and load impedance) for a vacuum tube? For ordinary
tubes, used in an ordinary way, it's simple -- you just look it up in your RCA handbook. But suppose you want
to use an unusual tube (e.g. the 6CK4 television vertical amplifier)? Or suppose
you just want to try breaking the rules?
---> Read Triode Amplifier Operating Points?
Manley Labs Absolute Headphone Amplifier / Preamplifier
Rare Form: Manley creates a Masterpiece that looks and sounds like nothing else!
Review By Dave Hanson
I had the pleasure of meeting Manley Labs VP of Engineering and Design, Zia
in the CanJam exhibit at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018. While I was more than
familiar with the Manley name, this was the first time I had seen them in the
personal audio section of the show, so naturally I was quite curious about their
debuting flagship headphone amplifier, the Manley Labs Absolute Headphone
Amplifier ($4500). Zia was very generous with his time, and walked me through
the devastating and inspiring story behind the amplifier's creation.
Read our Manley Labs Absolute headphone amp / preamp review.
FiiO FH5 In-Ear Monitor Review
An Exit From The Entry Level: FiiO's FH5 is a high-end IEM through and through.
Review By Dave Hanson
FiiO brand is really synonymous with high bang-for-buck value in the personal
audio world. For many people, FiiO is a launching pad – the first "audiophile"
amp or DAC they ever own. For me personally, it was the FiiO E6 – just a
tiny little pocket amp that was supposed be an improvement relative to my phone's
headphone jack. Viola, my first dedicated headphone amp! I would later pick up
the E17 amp/DAC, the E09K amplifier, X3 II DAP and finally X5 III DAP. For the
most part all of these products shined at their price point.
---> Read our FiiO FH5
in-ear monitor (IEM) review.
Kimber Kable Carbon 8 Interconnects,
Carbon 18 XL Speaker Cables, Ascent Power Cables,
And Select Copper USB Cable
Mega-transparent, plus satisfying every other trait one would expect.
Review By Tom Lyle
said that the best way to test audio cable is to rewire one's entire system with
that brand or model. This way one will be able to hear the difference in sound
quality with any influence from other types of cable, and truly hear its
affects. Kimber Kable (not a typo, Kimber likes to replace the "C" in cable with
a "K") is one of the only brands of cable that I have found where I could
replace once interconnect in my system, and hear a very distinct improvement of
the sound of my system due to this one cable change.
Read our Kimber Select, Carbon, and Ascent review.
Audiophile Gift 2020
Note: We have magazine issues dating back to 1999.
See our archives section for all reviews.