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April 2015
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
It's April 'N' It's Game Time
Industry-leading world premieres because we're too fast, too furious...
And our ride is only set to 'smooth'... for now.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

Naim Statement NAC S1 preamplifier and NAP S1 mono power amplifiers  This month's Enjoy the Music.com is filled with very special world premieres, both portable and home audio, and of course a few surprises along the way including a special press release. There is no doubt the much-anticipated Linn Statement system was met with accolades from virtually every magazine worldwide for many months. Within this month's Review Magazine we are happy to report being the first publication within the world to provide a full review. Wojtek Pacuła flew 'under the radar' to procure his set and gives you a highly detailed report on the 155,000 Naim Statement NAC S1 preamplifier and NAP S1 mono power amplifiers. Then we go from the hottest home audio product to one of the most anticipated portable media players from one of the industry's leading brands.

During the CES 2015, none other than the inventor of the mainstream portable stereo media player with their first Walkman announced their next-generation unit. Sony's NW-ZX2 handles Hi-Res Audio, comes with 128GB of storage and is packed with innovation that virtually no other manufacturer can match. When a major company with decades of experience, immense R&D budgets and the ability to deliver both hardware and software produces a new top-line Walkman packed with innovation, you get very formidable capability combined with an opportunity to achieve excellence. Once again we deliver to our readers as Yours Truly flew to Singapore to provide you our world premiere review of the Sony NW-ZX2, a follow up review comparing it to the popular Astell&Kern AK240, plus an interview with the head of Sony's design team Yoshioka-san.

We continue our portable audio coverage with a review of the Fostex TH500RP planar magnetic headphones and preview of the OPPO PM-3 planar magnetic headphones plus HA-2 headphone DAC/amp. Fostex's planar drivers, or Regular Phase (RP) drivers as Fostex refers to them, are some of the most reliable and versatile orthodynamic drivers being used within a headphone today according to Rick LaFaver.  Whilst we were hoping to also publish a full review to follow-up our preview of the OPPO dynamic duo, I simply ran out of time in writing the full review as the variables are nearly endless, which you'll better understand when we publish the review in the next week or two. Expect some surprises plus am adding in the iFi Audio Micro iDSD to the mix!

Of course we haven't forgotten our home audio enthusiasts and we have great reviews of the Merrill Audio Thor monoblock amplifiers, which our review feels are nothing short of amazing! Tom Lyle takes the Merrill Audio Thor to task and conquers this formidable monoblock. Add to that, we have reviews of the Burson Audio Conductor Virtuoso DAC, preamplifier and, yes the Virtuoso headphone amplifier.

Alta Audio Celesta FRM-2 speakersThere is no doubt the Alta Audio Celesta FRM-2 speakers are for home use and these, albeit expensive, stand-mounted monitors set a new benchmark for those who desire the very best.  Ron Nagle even admits, "Everywhere we read hyperbolic advertising and empty catch phrases that really do not explain anything. However, with the Alta Audio $13,000 FRM-2 speakers, this is one of the few occasions where the performance was equal to the promise." We also report on the Triode Wire Labs cable family of products too with everything from power to digital cabling and all between.

For easy to assemble kit lovers we have PureAudioProject's Trio 15 TB open baffle speaker that is outstanding. Rick Becker digs deep into this simple-to-build project and tells you what it all sounds like once completed.  While not a DIY design in the purist sense, it is a kit that you could build within your home with some simple tools.

For our DIY readers, first the good news and then the bad news. Our resident homebrew expert Jeff Poth has two great articles within the April issue. First up is the SiebeNCore DIY stereo amplifier, which is almost a legend within the DIY community and yep, it's a rave. Jeff also builds the very reasonably-priced Bottlehead Quicksand battery powered amplifier kit, which while being a near bargain at $119, you can easily tweak it for ever-higher performance. It I a great starter amp kit you can flesh out as your budget and desire permit.

And now the bad news, it is no secret that my first day job was at Heathkit and have always had a soft spot for kit building and experimentation. Dad taught me to solder at the age of five(!), so I was smelling the seductive scent of lead solder before most kids were riding their bicycle sans training wheels! Enjoy the Music.com launched our DIY section nearly seven years ago and, frankly, while that section has been relatively popular, it had been a massive time and effort suck. Trying to get kits and parts from dealers was so challenging that for most things I gave up trying and just bought whatever was needed more often than I dare to admit. This including purchasing test gear and sending Jeff one of my better digital cameras so he could provide higher quality images. At some point one needs to admit when their time and efforts could be put to better use. My humble apologies DIY'ers, if there was more readership interest and dealer/manufacturer support I would not be making this announcement that we are killing off the DIY section for the time being. You can see all our DIY articles at this link. Jeff Poth has been very generous and will be filling other duties as he reviews home audio gear. I know for fact he has some great test and camera gear within his humble abode, because I have the receipts for them being sent to his home.

Oh, and remember kids, this is the April issue so you never know what else we jolly jokers here at Enjoy the Music.com might be up to. Probably something some outrageous that everyone within the industry from engineers, manufactures, distributors and our reads will have to break out in a big smile. Dare we say it, you might even laugh a little too.  Yes dear readers, we are raising the bar yet again. Since we're already releasing many world premiere reviews of the industry's hottest gear, we may as well keep the ball rolling on April 1.

AXPONA 2015 Shoe ReportOf course later this month Enjoy the Music.com will be live streaming AXPONA in Chicago and you can see our live stream, participate within our live chat and Tweet us to! AXPONA has expanded their Audio Con with more exhibit space, more manufactures and an abundance of live music that will surely resonate with attendees. You can see the show streamed live as we showcase groundbreaking equipment, interview innovative designers and you can ask questions in real time to those we are featuring too! Of course it is always best to attend an audio event, and remember to bring your music to audition sound systems, yet if you can't be there we are here for you to not miss out on the festivities.

Ultimate Equipment ListWe're still two generations ahead of other 'zines and are already planning two more generations ahead in tech within my lab here. You can read more about that within our April 1 press release. Oh, and yes the Sony NW-ZX2 is playing FLAC and DSD within my ride. Am off to see Furious 7 soon at the local IMAX and we'll soon be publishing Mike Mineo's report on Spring Break Nations 2015 in Daytona. SBN is without a doubt the world's most famous soundoff and mobile electronics show. You'd be amazed at the sound quality that can be achieved within an automobile! As always, in the end what really matters is that you...

 

Enjoy the Music (tell me whatcha gonna do?),

Steven R. Rochlin

 

Ya peeps talkin' 'bout what kinda shits he on
You disappear like "POOF, bitch be gone!"
You think other's gonna catch me, gimme a break
I'm twin-turbo charged with the hide-away license plate
It seems they wanna follow me and gimmie some fears
They'll only get one finger while I'm shifting gears
I got suede on my roof, wood grain on the dash
Sheep skin on the rug, Sony NW-ZX2 by the dash
Air suspension all around so I can raise the ride
Listenin' to music in the drop top doin' 195mph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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