Believe it or not, there was a time when I could not afford any of the equipment that I read about in high-end magazines or any of the gorgeous equipment that was displayed on the shelves of my local high-end salon. OK, at the time there wasn't much of a high-press, but the fact is that these days there are still many who do not have the means to consider much of the high-end's offerings, or even if they do, chose not to spend a bundle on high-end gear. This certainly doesn't exclude them from being audiophiles. Lucky for them, in this issue of Enjoy the Music.com, there are five, count ‘em, five reviews of affordable speakers. Making their first appearance in North America are two models of speakers sold by the UK company Q Acoustics. I review two of their speakers, their most expensive at $1200, the other a stone-cold bargain at $620.
Last month our British correspondent Harriet Bryant reviewed a self-powered two-way monitor by the Swedish company XTZ that retails for only a bit over five hundred dollars, and this month Dwayne Carter reviews a unique pair of wireless speakers from Eclipse that sell less than a grand. Also selling for about the same price is a two-way speaker by Triangle, their Esprit Titus EZ that Rick Jensen reviews, calling them "exceptional". Last but certainly not least, Christopher Tan reviews a pair of desktop speakers by the British company Audiosmile that sell for less the $500.
Many might not call a $2500 integrated amplifier a "bargain", but Enjoy The Music.com's Creative Director Steven R. Rochlin listens to and reviews one that earns that title. In a world premier review of Rogue Audio's Cronus Magnum II Stereo Integrated Amplifier, he calls it a "rare overachieving jewel", which not only sounds great and can drive a wide range of speaker types, it also includes a phono stage and an internal headphone amplifier. In about the same price range of the Rogue Audio amplifier, Ron Nagle has a World Premier review of the Aurum Cantus V30M stand-mounted loudspeakers. Ron was quite impressed with these two-ways, and even though their price puts them in a category many audiophiles would call the "affordable" range, he still thinks they are "worth far more than their asking price". Of course, when reading a magazine such as Car & Driver I'd be rather disappointed if they didn't test drive at least one Ferrari-level car, and in Enjoy the Music.com, too, one should be entitled to read some audiophile gold, so Greg Weaver reviews Audience Au24x interconnect and speaker cables. These cables sell for as much as some very respectable components, yet Greg enthusiastically recommends them, keenly aware that some systems operate at a level that demand the best ancillaries.
This month we're also treated to an episode of Enjoy the Music.TV, this time featuring an interview with Questyle Audio Engineering's Bruce Ball. Those who are aware of Questyle might be familiar with their QP1R, which just happens to be my portable digital player of choice, but they might not know that Questyle is a Chinese company that is making a big splash in the US with their full line of audio components. Steven R. Rochlin discusses at length with Bruce about Questyle, and you'll want to look in and see what they're up to.
In this month's issue there are two recent audio show reports that deserve your attention – The Capital Audiofest 2016 that took place right outside of Washington DC in July, and T.H.E. Show Newport 2016 that came to SoCal in June. If you were there you need to read these reports -- since no human being I know can possibly see and hear all there is to see and hear at either of these very exciting shows. If you weren't at either of these shows, well, here's your chance to read about all that is worth reading about that went down. It's worth repeating (so I'll repeat it), with so many new products being shown, as well as the inside information that can be gleaned from reading the show reports in Enjoy The Music, one might feel as if they may have enjoyed these shows almost as much those who actually attended. OK, maybe not, as there is nothing that can replace being in the same room of an audio system playing music.
Audio shows have grown in recent times not only because of the location of audio dealers not being where many people live, but let's face it, most audio dealers aren't places where one can go to spend a day or two (or three!) auditioning newly released gear, thumbing through new and older releases of audiophile LPs and discs, and schmoozing with fellow audiophiles from around the world. If an audio show is announced near you, or even not near you but you think it might be worth your time to attend, buy your tickets as soon as you can. These shows are getting awfully popular. Munich 2016 sold out, and the Capitol Audio Fest 2016 that is featured this month also sold out. Of course, the next best thing to attending these shows is reading about them in Enjoy the Music.com.
It warms my audiophile heart to know that there are so many like-minded folks out there, and these audio shows are proof that I am not alone in thinking that building a system that reproduces music to the Nth power is worth our time. Still, it's all about the music, so...
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