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High-End Audio / Hi-Res Audio (HRA) Audiophile Industry News


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07 / 17 / 18

CAS 2018

California Audio Show In Oakland From July 27th Through 29th
Produced by Dagogo, the California Audio Show is entering its eighth year serving the high-end audio and headphone community. Response of the 2017 CAS from exhibitors and attendees have been overwhelmingly positive. Exhibitors reported unprecedented attendance in each room and attendees reported extended listening time in exhibits. According to Dagogog, "It is now apparent what only small shows like the CAS can contribute to the health of the audio industry." California Audio Show dates are from July 27th through 29th, 2018 at the Hilton Oakland Airport located at 1 Hegenberger, Oakland, CA 94621. This year's event will feature over 70 brands of hi-fi and personal audio gear from many leading manufacturers. There's a Headmasters section for personal audio plus a Viva Vinyl section for analog enthusiasts.

 

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), "Global sales of pirate CDs have more than doubled in the last three years and now generate an illegal international business more than US$4.5 billion.

Industry News 15 Years Ago
Pirate Music CDs Have More Than Doubled During The Past Three Years

According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), "Global sales of pirate CDs have more than doubled in the last three years and now generate an illegal international business more than $4.5 billion..." While they claim sales of pirate CDs are estimated to have risen by 14 percent (exceeding 1 billion units), the total value of the pirate music market including cassettes is estimated at $4.6 billion. This would be an increase of approximately 7 percent over the previous year. A report has been released by the IFPI called Commercial Music Piracy 2003 offers details concerning global piracy and lists the top ten offending countries. According to the IFPI, "The priority countries are: Brazil, China, Mexico, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine. Top of the list in terms of its piracy rate is China, where more than 90 percent of all recordings are pirate, worth over $530 million, despite the country's accession to the World Trade Organization." IFPI Chairman and CEO Jay Berman said "Commercial piracy proliferated in many countries in 2002, and we have named ten priority countries where action is most needed. Our industry invests substantial resources in fighting piracy, but our self-help strategies critically depend on help from Governments. First, we need modern copyright laws and proper enforcement; second, the huge overcapacity of CD plants needs to be reined in by Optical Disc plant regulations; and third, we need deterrence -- music piracy is serious organized crime that can only be tackled when courts deliver serious deterrent penalties".

 

07 / 16 / 18

Records Collecting Dust II Film

Records Collecting Dust II Film About East Coast Music Scene
Records Collecting Dust II focuses on the East Coast cities of Boston, New York and Washington DC. This film includes in depth interviews with twenty eight highly influential people from the 1980s hardcore punk, post-punk, and other music scenes. This film features Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat, John Joseph of Cro-Mags, Dave Smalley of DYS, Roger Miret of Agnostic Front and Clif Croce of The Freeze. This film also features Enjoy the Music.com's very own Editor Tom Lyle who played with the popular band Government Issue. Each musician discusses the music, the bands, and the records that forever changed their lives. The film is produced, written and directed by San Diego based musician and filmmaker Jason Blackmore. Records Collecting Dust II is the follow-up to Creator and Director Jason Blackmore's 2015 debut film, which was his documentary about the West coast music and record scene. Records Collecting Dust (original film) played at over 50 theaters and venues throughout the United States, as well as two film festivals in Ireland and Berlin. Now available online and on DVD, the first film focused on the West Coast cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and featured interviews with iconic people who have played a pivotal roll in the underground music scene. This list of musical icons includes Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Keith Morris (Black Flag / Circle Jerks), Lisa Fancher (Frontier Records), Mike Watt (Minutemen), Chuck Dukowski (Black Flag / SST Records), and John Reis (Drive Like Jehu / Rocket From the Crypt). The plan was to find out what bands, records, and songs made them who they are today.

 

07 / 13 / 18

Pangea Premier SE Phono Cable

Pangea Premier SE Phono Cable Improves Entry Level Turntable Performance
Pangea Audio will soon deliver a new step-up phono cable that is said to offer a demonstrable difference in sonic output when used with the majority of currently available turntables. The Pangea Premier SE Phono Cable ($79.95) is a 1.25-meter step-up cable manufactured with audiophile-grade components, yet it is priced for easy accessibility to the growing numbers of vinyl enthusiasts who are investing in new systems. With design and engineering by Jay Victor, a product designer specializing in high-end audio, the Premier SE cable consists of a clever integrated ground cable, with the entire cable being covered in nylon TPR (thermoplastic rubber) rugged insulation. Cardas Grade One Copper conductors, famous for their consistent performance, set the stage for exceptional sound quality. Left and Right cables feature three different gauges for balanced response. "The Premier SE is the perfect example of how an inexpensive upgrade will make a big difference in performance and, ultimately, the listener's enjoyment," said Director of Global Sales Mr. Niemi. "It’s an easy and affordable upgrade for vinyl enthusiasts of every stripe."

 

07 / 12 / 18

Nielsen's USA Music Sales / Stream Mid-2018 Report: Vinyl LPs Up 19%
According to Nielsen, a global company that provides data on consumers and markets worldwide, "the music industry is in the midst of a growth spurt that has led to 15-year record revenues for the major label groups and continues to break new consumption records for the first half of 2018." They also say that "Record Store Day helped independent music retailers sell 733,000 LPs during the week of celebration (April 20-26), an all-time high. Across all formats, 799,000 albums were sold at independent retailers, marking the highest non-holiday sales total since 2005. Throughout Record Store Day week, total albums sales at independent record stores rose by 200% over the prior week, and total album sales were up 23% over the week of April 20-26 in 2017. Of note is that the best selling vinyl LP, Jack White's Boarding House Reach only sold 37,000 albums. The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts sold 23,000 copies. By comparison, the top on-demand music stream was Drake's "God's Plan" with 1,121,025,000 listens. LP lovers may rejoice to know that album sales were up over 19% (as compared to the same time period the previous year) to reach 7,600,000. Nielsen says that "Total album equivalent consumption, which includes physical and digital album sales, song sales and on-demand audio and video song streams are up 18%. On-demand song streaming activity is reaching new milestones, with volume surpassing 400,000,000,000, which is offsetting declines in album and track sales. On-demand audio streaming volume is up 45%, having already exceeded 268,000,000,000 so far in 2018, and on-demand video streaming volume is up 35% year-over-year."

 

Ampsandsound Agartha Review
Ampsandsound Agartha Vacuum Tube Stereo Amplifier And Headamp
Master Of Two: Making sweet music for headphones and speakers.
Review By Dave Hanson

 

07 / 11 / 18

TeachRock Project

Rock and Roll Forever Foundation's TeachRock Project In Europe
In an effort to show appreciation for school teachers and promote the integration of music into classroom studies, Steven Van Zandt (of Little Steven and The Disciples and Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band) is hosting free workshops and concerts for school teachers across Europe on behalf of The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation's TeachRock Project. The program provides professional development workshops where teachers are trained to integrate music into a variety of classroom studies including math, science, reading and history. The Teacher Appreciation Tour experience includes a one-hour workshop in the concert venue, an hour of networking which includes food, and a two-hour live concert by Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul. Van Zandt, who is known for his phenomenal talents as a musician, producer, writer and actor on the hit TV show "The Sopranos" and "Lilyhammer," began his educational focus about 10 years ago. "Research shows that students who receive music instruction do better in math and science and students who like at least one class or teacher are less likely to drop out... Music has proven to be the most consistent and dependable common ground between teachers and students," said Van Zandt. "The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation's TeachRock Project provides professional development workshops where we train teachers to use interdisciplinary lesson plans that integrate art and music history across the curriculum." The Foundation's staff of educators and ethnomusicologists have created more than 100 lesson plans that can be included in social studies and language arts curricula as single plans or can be taught as unit plans.

 

07 / 10 / 18

Clarus Cable Video Series

Clarus Offers An Informative Video Series On Cable Design
High-end audio company Clarus, a sister company to Tributaries A/V cables, is introducing a nine part series of consumer-informational videos: "Interviews with Jay Victor Cable engineer" that explain, in a straight-forward manner, the intricate processes that are behind the development of their Clarus Crimson and more-affordable Aqua cable lines. In each video, Jay Victor, renowned life-long audiophile, cable engineer musician, holder of 55 patents and the man behind the design of Clarus cables (and Tributaries cables since 2003), describes the application of both scientific principles and "Golden Ear"-based processes that were involved in the patented design of Clarus cables. As an example, it required three years of arduous development work before the first Clarus high-end cable was introduced on 2011. "To my knowledge, this is the first time that a manufacturer of high quality cables has clearly explained to the consumer, in understandable terminology, how the application of scientific principles and 'Golden Ear' listening sessions have been applied to the development of a high-end audio cable line," said Clarus President Joe Perfito. "I believe the technology that Jay has developed makes Clarus Crimson and Clarus Aqua cable products unique in the high-end audio industry. And, the resulting performance is the major reason why Clarus dealers proudly stand behind the brand." The special nine video series can be watched on YouTube at this link.

 

Shinola Bookshelf Speaker With Bluetooth

Shinola Partners With Barefoot Sound For Two-Way Bluetooth Loudspeaker
Niche company Shinola has partnered with established audio manufacturer Barefoot Sound to create their first bookshelf speaker system with Bluetooth ($1500 per pair). Thomas Barefoot designs speaker systems that are embraced by recording artists and producers who demand the very best. Barefoot and the Shinola Audio team have completely reengineered the Shinola Bookshelf Speakers from the ground up, creating an exciting new product that is as comfortable in a professional recording studio as it is in your home. Assembled and tested in Oregon at the Barefoot Sound factory, the bookshelf speakers are equipped with Bluetooth functionality for streaming audio sources, versatile connectivity, including RCA, Aux, S/PDIF or USB, and a removable magnetic grille. Alas, we have no information about power output, if these are bi-amplified as other high-end monitors are, the exact driver configuration, and if these speaker are equipped with latest Bluetooth 5 technologies. Shinola's Bluetooth speakers are available in black and a natural oak finish.

 

07 / 09 / 18

RMAF 2018 Show Report

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018 In Denver On October 5 - 7, 2018
Featuring a glorious and tasteful renovated venue, our Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2018 show report will celebrate 15 years of this spectacular event. With continued and steady growth, RMAF has become the leading high-end audio fall event in Western America. Once again we have the Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest teaming up with Head-Fi's CanJam event! Audio gear from large reference speakers to the smallest in-ear monitors could be experienced at the show. RMAF 2018 is being held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel from October 5th through the 7th. Enjoy the Music.com brings you exciting RMAF 2018 show coverage, with a special separate CanJam 2018 Denver report too! This very special 15th Annual Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest (RMAF) is the largest consumer audio and home entertainment show within the Mid-West United States. Denver's own audio wonderland featured over 160 exhibit spaces representing more than 400 companies from North and South America, Europe, Australia and Asia. RMAF is proud to announce that 2018 marks their fourth year of their Entry Level Room series. RMAF donates these rooms free of charge to a host of exhibitors who offer new innovative products at a reasonable price for people looking to enter the high-end market. There were five rooms again this year. Each room featured a loudspeaker and headphone system. The price point for these are rooms are: $500, $1000, $1500, $2500 and $5000.

 

07 / 06 / 18

Multi-Room Wireless Music / Movie Specialist Sonos Files S-1 For $100M IPO

Multi-Room Wireless Music / Movie Specialist Sonos Files S-1 For $100M IPO
According to Sonos' Form S-1 under the Securities Act of 1933 for their just-announced IPO filing, "Sonos was founded with a clear mission — to fill every home with music. This mission led us to invent wireless multi-room home audio. Sonos transforms the way people live and interact by restoring the shared experience of music throughout the home. Our home sound system provides an immersive listening experience created by our thoughtfully designed speakers and components, our proprietary software platform and the ability to wirelessly stream the content our customers love from the services they prefer. Sonos sits at the intersection of emerging trends driving the future of home entertainment. The proliferation of streaming services and the rapid adoption of voice assistants are significantly changing audio consumption habits and how consumers interact with the internet. As the leading home sound system for consumers, content partners and developers, Sonos is poised to capitalize on the large market opportunity created by these dynamics. We debuted the world's first wireless multi-room home sound system in 2005, and have since been a leading innovator in wireless home audio. Today, our products include wireless speakers, home theater speakers and components to address consumers' evolving home audio needs. We launched our first voice-enabled wireless speaker, Sonos One, in October 2017, and our first voice-enabled home theater speaker, Sonos Beam, in July 2018. In addition to new product launches, we frequently introduce new features through software upgrades, providing our customers with enhanced functionality and improved sound in the home. We are committed to continuous technological innovation, as evidenced by our growing global patent portfolio of over 630 issued patents and 570 applications. We believe our patents comprise the foundational intellectual property for wireless multi-room audio technology...." See the complete S-1 at this link.

 

Merrill Audio Element 118 Monoblock

Merrill Audio's Most Advanced Power Amplifier; Element 118 Monoblock
Merrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs now offers their most advanced power amplifiers as a crowning achievement that took over four years of research and development. Merrill Audio's new Element 118 power amplifier ($36,000) makes use of the very latest technology, is meticulous engineered, and employs the finest materials available. Using Merrill Audio's proprietary ZXOL design, the new Element series of power amplifiers are said by the company to be an order of magnitude better in every sonic character than their previous amplifiers. Using a zero feedback, open loop proprietary design, code named ZXOL from Merrill Audio, the power amplifiers get the most details available and the fastest response. The open loop design takes advantage of the very latest exotic transistor technology using Gallium Nitride. They say that, "Extracting and keep this accurate speed and huge amount of detail in the musical reproduction required a circuit board that has almost all its parasitic inductance and capacitance reduced to near zero". Extra special Circuit boards were designed and a unique pure copper onboard heatsink for very fast thermal transfer and stability. The pure copper heatsink the power supply and amplifier weighs a hefty 16 pounds. Only the finest 0.1% tolerance components were used. Even the wire was specially selected silver plated OFC Teflon sleeved wire. Merrill Audio's new Element 118 monoblock amplifier has a huge reserve of power for extended transients while delivering 400 Watts into 8 Ohms, 800 Watts into 4 Ohms, and 1600 Watts into 2 Ohms. Dual pure copper WBT speaker binding posts provide easy bi-wiring. Analog input is via balanced XLR. A 20 Ampere IEC AC inlet is used for a tight, excellent connection with heavy power cords.

 

07 / 05 / 18

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon RecordMaster HiRes Turntable Review
World Premiere Review!
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon RecordMaster HiRes Turntable
A feature packed, high quality design for all your vinyl ripping needs.
Review By Paul Rigby

 

Scansonic HD M-10 And M-20

Scansonic HD Introduced The Evolution Of Their M-Series Speakers
With the introduction of the new M-Series from Danish company Scansonic HD, new materials and designs has been incorporated in the well-known M-Series. A new and different driver design, to reassure an even lower level of distortion, has been developed for this new series that includes three different speaker models. This is the next and natural step in the evolution of the M-Series and includes the new M-10 and M-20 (pictured above), plus the larger M-40 ($800, $1800, and $2400 respectively). All models take advantage of the same ribbon tweeter that Scansonic HD introduced in the exclusive MB-series a few years ago. A high-resolution ribbon tweeter which is chosen for its musicality and extreme frequency response and not at least for blending seamlessly with the 4" honeycomb enforced glass-fiber bass/midrange drivers. Scansonic HD's M-10, M-20 and M-40 are all using a single or multiple 4" bass/midrange drivers, with a honeycomb enforced glass-fiber design of the actual membrane. This technology in combination with a powerful magnet-system is said to "deliver an open and extremely detailed sound". The M-Series speakers are available in satin black or satin white. Each model is supplied with a removable protective front-grill and adjustable feet. The M-10 is a compact two-way mini-monitor, while the M-20 is an elegant 2.5-way floorstanding speaker. Their top model M-40 is also a 2.5-way floorstanding speaker, yet has additional 4" drivers.

 

07 / 03 / 18

Hi-Fi+ Issue 161 July 2018

Hi-Fi+'s July Magazine Features Many High-End Audio Reviews
Hi-Fi+ Magazine's July 2018 issue features show coverage of HIGH END 2018 in Munich, Meet Your Maker with Crystal Cable and Siltech, plus Dave Wilson 1944-2018 as TAS remembers the founder of Wilson Audio Specialties. High-end audio equipment reviews within this issue include Burmester Audiosysteme 175 turntable / arm / cartridge, and phono stage, Raidho Acoustucs TD-4.8 floorstanding loudspeaker, Triology Audio 903/993 preamplifier and stereo power amplifier, Zanden Audio Systems Model 9600Mk2 monophonic power amplifier, Continuum Audio Labs Obsidian and Viper turntable / tonearm, Wilson-Benesch Discovery II standmount loudspeaker, Cayin HA-300 valve headphone amplifier / integrated amplifier, Rotel T14 combination tuner / streamer, Vocoistics Multifuser DC2 acoustic diffusor panels, and lastly Naim Audio Super Lumina interconnect and loudspeaker cables. Within his editorial titled High-End Audio Is A Very Broad Church, Alan Sircom says "The ultimate in high-end audio is a very broad church, and it depends on how you define 'ultimate'. You can just go for the ultimate in purse-string management, or you can go for the products that cost more than the average gold mine. Or, you can go with those products that deliver the ultimate sound quality irrespective of price. Some of those will be super-expensive too, but this year, we went for quality and quantity. It's interesting to track the changes in the audio world of recent years. Yes there have been the two obsessions of streaming and headphones and these are far from falling into the background. And yet, recent trends in high-end still point to the vitalness of vinyl and the robustness of the record industry. Some might be keen to chart the end of the vinyl revival and declare that the bubble has burst. But, while the days of 100% growth in vinyl sales are gone, vinyl is still proving to be an important music format and shows no sign of falling away yet. This applies across the board, but the new trend in high-end turnkey turntables (as evidenced by the Burmester 175 reviewed on page 17 of this issue) looks to be a fine addition to the roll-call." See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi+ Magazine at this link.

 

07 / 02 / 18

Enjoy the Music.com's July Review Magazine Is Now Available Online
Enjoy the Music.com's July Review Magazine features our extensive HIGH END 2018 Munich show report, three video features, and of course many reviews we know you'll enjoy. While there are more articles than you see below, we've delivered some nice highlights here. Be sure to visit our Review Magazine's homepage to see all reviews and articles within this month's edition.

We have a must-read by industry veteran Roger Skoff as he writes about high-end audio's never-ending debate. Video features include The History Of Stereo that is quite educations and fun to watch. Next video is "A New Way To Visualize Rhythm" with great entry by none other than pro audio guru Bobby Owsinski. Rhythm is indicated on a musical bar line, but there are other ways to visualize it too. Our third video brings back modern history as we see how today's McIntosh Labs vacuum tube amplifier is manufactured.

We're happy to feature a great manufacturer article within this month's issue. Enjoy the Music.com has asked all high-end manufacturers if they want to share their knowledge and expertise with our worldwide audience, and here we have Benchmark Media bringing light to balanced versus unbalanced interfaces.

It's gear review time! Within this month's issue of Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine Editor Tom Lyle assesses McIntosh's MC611 quad balanced solid-state monoblock amplifiers. Tom comes away mightily impressed! Clive Meakins delves into the world of Allo's USBridge as an alternative to the Raspberry Pi. Come read why he feels that choosing between Pi / DigiOne and USBridge is best dictated by the capability of your DAC.

From our friends at HIFICRITIC we have Audeze iSINE10 + Cipher as Rafael Todes discovers the perfect headphone solution for music-on-the-move. There's also a review of The Hart Loudspeaker, which Paul Messenger finds out if this hybrid can really deliver deep bass from a compact box?

Our very own Jeremy R. Kipnis checks out the McGary Audio SA 1 stereo vacuum tube amplifier in pursuit of music! Can point-to-point wiring, hand selected parts and assembly bring great results? Read Jeremy's review to find out. Next we have Parasound with their A52+ five channel solid-state amplifier reviewed Dwayne Carter. He says the A52+ seemed to enjoy reproducing more of the analog sounds (tom-tom drums, folk guitar, etc). Connecting it all together is Paul Schumann with his Siltech Classic Anniversary Cables review. Neutrality is the hallmark of a well-designed product, and here Siltech does not disappoint.

 

WARNING: Due to our ongoing growth and to keep this industry news post relatively short in length, below are just a sampling of the many articles and reviews within the July issue. You can see everything within this month's edition of Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine at this link. As always, in the end what really matters is that you...

 

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin
Creative Director

 

High-End Audio Industry News
Daily News: Essential high-end audio news you need to know.
Enjoy the Music.com posts audiophile news virtually every day.

 

Can That Possibly Be Real?
Can That Possibly Be Real?
Roger Skoff writes about High End Audio's never-ending debate.
Article By Roger Skoff

 

Balanced Versus Unbalanced Interfaces Article By John Siau Of Benchmark Media Systems
Balanced Versus Unbalanced Interfaces
Article By John Siau Of Benchmark Media Systems

 

McIntosh MC611 Quad Balanced Solid-State Monoblock Amplifier Review
McIntosh MC611 Quad Balanced Solid-State Monoblock Amplifier
McIntosh delivers 600 Watts of beauty and transparency.
Review By Tom Lyle

 


Allo USBridge
An alternative to the Raspberry Pi.
Review By Clive Meakins

 

Audeze iSINE10 + Cipher Review
Audeze iSINE10 + Cipher
Rafael Todes finds the perfect headphone solution for music-on-the-move.
Review By Rafael Todes Of HIFICRITIC

 

The Hart Loudspeaker Review
The Hart Loudspeaker
Can this hybrid really deliver deep bass from a compact box? Paul Messenger finds out.
Review By Paul Messenger Of HIFICRITIC

 

McGary Audio SA 1 Stereo Vacuum Tube Amplifier Review
McGary Audio SA 1 Stereo Vacuum Tube Amplifier
In pursuit of the music!
Review By Jeremy R. Kipnis At Kipnis Studios (KSS)

 

Parasound A52+ Five Channel Solid-State Amplifier
Parasound A52+ Five Channel Solid-State Amplifier
Parasound's impressive A52+ is truly faithful to music.
Review By Dwayne Carter

 

Siltech Classic Anniversary Cables Review
Siltech Classic Anniversary Cables
Neutrality is the hallmark of a well-designed product.
Review By Paul Schumann

 

More Articles Available Online!
See all our show reports, articles, and gear reviews within the July 2018 edition of Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine now available online.

Also visit us online at:         

 

McIntosh Announces MC462 Quad Balanced Stereo Power Amplifier

McIntosh Announces MC462 Quad Balanced Stereo Power Amplifier

McIntosh is proud to announce their MC462 Quad Balanced Power Amplifier ($9000), which replaces the highly regarded MC452 as our most powerful stereo amplifier from the company. Like the MC452, the MC462 features a robust output of 450 Watts per channel. With a dedicated McIntosh Autoformer connected to each audio channel, the full 450 Watts is available to any speaker regardless if it has 2, 4 or 8 Ohm impedance. This new generation MC462 has received numerous updates including filter capacity, which has been increased by nearly 50%. Results include a remarkable 66% increase in dynamic headroom from 1.8dB to 3.0dB. This allows the MC462 to easily handle drastic swings in dynamics and effortlessly reproduce music with virtually no distortion. Bass performance is also improved as a result of the filter capacity increase says the company. Aesthetically, the MC462 retains all the hallmarks of a McIntosh amplifier with a few key modern enhancements. The front panel now utilizes direct LED backlighting that improves color accuracy and appearance. The two audio Autoformers and single power transformer are housed in new enclosures topped by a single machined cover with glass inserts. The back half of the amplifier is home to four of our Monogrammed Heatsinks which connect to advanced high current output transistors that help eliminate thermal equilibrium lag time. The MC462 is packed full of other exclusive McIntosh technologies to bring music to life including: Power Guard, Sentry Monitor, Quad Balanced design, Power Control, and McIntosh's patented Solid Cinch speaker binding posts. Balanced and unbalanced outputs make bi-amp'ing or tri-amp'ing speakers easier; they can also be used to send the audio signal to a secondary system or to connect a powered subwoofer.

 

06 / 30 / 18

The Absolute Sound's July / August Magazine Is Now Available Online
The Absolute Sound Issue 284 July / August 2018Enjoy the Music.com has posted the July / August issue of The Absolute Sound. Show coverage of AXPONA Chicago, where it has easily become the biggest and most important show in North America according to TAS. Equipment reviews include Emotiva A-150 BasX power amplifier, Clearaudio Concept Black turntable with Satisfy tonearm, Lyra Atlas SL MC Phono partridge, Bryston BLP-1 turntable and tonearm, Grado Prestige Black2 & Audio-Technica VM540M cartridges, Prather Design Signature LP Storage rack, Parasound JC 3 Jr. Phono preamplifier, MoFi Electronics UltraDeck+ Turntable, Shunyata Research Sigma signal cables, VooDoo cable, MasterBuilt Audio Reference cables, Naim Uniti Nova, plus a classic Acoustic Research XA turntable and tonearm. TAS's special guest editorial by Jeff Wilson titled 'Hi-Res Digital Audio Versus Analog Vinyl LP' he says "During the last few years we've been hearing a lot about the resurgence of vinyl records, and some of that has to do with the sound of wax — as vinyl lovers are quick to point out — the warmth and realism of a good-sounding LP on the right system. At the same time, some music listeners have pursued a very different path toward audio fidelity. You don't hear about it nearly as much as vinyl, but it has grown very quickly. Here I'm thinking of the computer audio enthusiasts who favor hi-res downloads while eschewing mp3s. Some of these listeners will tell you that hi-res files played on the right system sound as good as vinyl, and some will tell you that they go one better. Not everyone agrees, however. One skeptic is our own Jonathan Valin, who addressed the analog-versus-digital debate in an editorial entitled The Emperor's New Server. Valin bluntly stated that analog is better. As he put it, 'Digital is to analog as a butterfly pinned and pressed under glass is to a butterfly in an open field.' That caused some controversy. The last I checked, 101 comments were left on the website, and many of them were highly critical of JV." See what's within the July / August 2018 issue of The Absolute Sound at this link.

 

06 / 29 / 18

HIFICRITIC's Latest Issue Features Audio Reviews And Think Pieces
HIFICRITIC Volume 12 Number 2 April / May / June 2018HIFICRITIC's latest issue includes Stan's Safari No42 where he recalls the virtues of monophony plus their Munich MOC 2018 show coverage by Jason Kennedy. High-end audio equipment reviews include the Astell & Kern Acro L1000 desktop audio unit, Audeze iSINE10 + Cipher headphone package for music-on-the-move, and Dynaudio Special Forty stand-mounted speakers. Andrew Harrison compares ADL Stratos, Chord Qutest, Prism Sound Callia and Rega DAC-R. Harley Lovegrove of Pearl Acoustics describes the tests that led to his findings. In other reviews and articles, Andrew Everard takes stock of the Roon Nucleus, Martin Colloms assesses a low-cost Pro-Ject Essential III+Phono Box 2 turntable and phono stage, plus, AURALiC Aries G2 is assessed by Andrew Harrison as he tries the G2 AURALiC Aries 'bridge'. Other gear reviews within this issue of HIFICRITIC include the Marantz ND8006 digital music source player, Musical Fidelity MX-VYNL phono stage, Neat Iota Explorer, NAD D3020 V2, SVEDA Audio Blipo, Jern W8000, Quiescent Technologies Park, The Hart loudspeaker, plus music reviews and think pieces. Within Rafael Todes's review of the Audeze iSINE10 + Cipher cable he says, "Listening to the Haydn Sinfonia Concertante (Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic on Warner) through my iPhone gives compelling results. A sweet and articulate string sound is delivered, spacious and coherent. There is a slight lack of ultimate control to the bass (an area where the more expensive Isine20 excels), and also a lack of tonal neutrality." See what's within this issue of HIFICRITIC at this link.

 

06 / 28 / 18


Astell&Kern AK380 Battery Powered Portable Media Player / DAC Review
With a bit of comparo using the AK240 and Sony NW-ZX2 thrown into the mix.
Review By Steven R. Rochlin

 

Hi-Fi World's August 2018 Magazine Features Great Articles And Reviews
Hi-Fi World August 2018Hi-Fi World's August 2018 issue features your chance to win a pair of Roth vA4 loudspeakers worth £200! There's a very special article with Noel Keywood visiting turntable manufacturer Pro-Ject – and learns about HD vinyl too. Equipment reviews within this issue include Meridian 207 CD player, Q Acoustics 3050i loudspeakers, Studio 19 Solo E500x-EQ Bluetooth speaker, FiiO M7 Hi-Res Audio portable music player, Cambridge CXN V2 Network Streamer, Melco D100 Transport and E100 Expansion Drive, Aqua La Voce S3 DAC, NAD C338 hybrid digital integrated amplifier, and of course the Technics SP-10R direct drive turntable. Within his editorial Noel Keywood says "It was flown over as early as possible from Japan specially for us; even the packing and instructions were not ready. So we were honoured by Technic's commitment in getting us their new SP-10R professional turntable for review – see p85. I will explain that a joint approach worked best here. Both Dave Cawley of Timestep and I share a profound interest in turntables and the measurement and evaluation thereof, as well as history, the technology – and all else. We spoke to Technics from different angles, as it were. You have to understand that they put massive amounts of engineering effort into a prestige turntable like the SP-10R and we have to convince them we are fit to understand it, in order to be able to review it. Looks like it worked!" See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi World and read the complete editorial at this link.

 

06 / 27 / 18

The Doors Waiting For The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
The Doors Waiting For The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe EditionThe Doors released their third studio album, Waiting For The Sun, in July 1968. It was the band's third platinum album in less than two years, and the first to top the album chart. Since its debut, the album has sold millions of copies around the globe and contributed to the Doors' legendary canon with classics like "The Unknown Soldier," "Five To One" and the #1 smash, "Hello, I Love You." Rhino will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the album this year with Waiting For The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition to be released in September (preorder on Amazon). This two CD and one vinyl LP collection features a new version of the album's original stereo mix on both CD and 180 gram vinyl LP, which has been newly remastered from the original master tapes by Bruce Botnick, the Doors' longtime engineer/mixer. The set also includes a second disc of 14 completely unreleased tracks: nine recently discovered "rough mixes" from the album recording sessions and five live songs from a 1968 Copenhagen show. Waiting For The Sun: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition will be available on September 14 for $49.98. The audio will also be available on digital download and streaming services. Rhino will release a new 7" version of the single "Hello, I Love You" with its b-side "Love Street." For this anniversary release, Rhino will use mono radio mixes of the songs that were given exclusively to radio stations for airplay in 1968. Botnick's newly remastered stereo mix of Waiting For The Sun adds new sonic dimensions to songs like "The Unknown Soldier" and "Spanish Caravan," but that wasn't his only contribution to the project. When the Doors recorded Waiting For The Sun in 1968, they were among the first bands to use Dolby A301 noise reduction processors, which was cutting-edge recording tech at the time. Similarly, the most advanced sound recording innovations were used to make the anniversary edition of Waiting For The Sun. The new release has been encoded with the MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) process. An MQA disc plays back on all CD players as standard CD quality. But if a conventional CD player is connected to an MQA-enabled device, it can play the same disc back at its original sample rate.

 

06 / 26 / 18

Pass Labs XP-12 And XA30.8 Review
Pass Labs XP-12 And XA30.8 Review
Pass Labs XP-12 Preamplifier And XA30.8 Stereo Amplifier
Impressed by Pass Labs' integrated INT-60 amp, Kevin Fiske decides to check out a pre / power combo.
Review By Kevin Fiske Of HIFICRITIC.

 

MartinLogan Subwoofers Offer Room Correction, Wireless Control And Signal
MartinLogan Subwoofers Offer Room Correction, Wireless Control And SignalMartinLogan announced their new line of subwoofers: Dynamo 400, 600X, 800X, 1100X, and 1600X. These Dynamo subwoofers represents the company's most advanced, high-performance, and affordable subwoofer systems. The X in the model names designates the inclusion of wireless technologies including app based controls via Bluetooth, wireless Anthem Room Correction (ARC), and wireless signal connection capability. Inverted surround woofers pair a powerful magnet structure with a rigid, lightweight diaphragm, and powerful amplifiers to deliver huge excursion and sound output while preserving bass details. Unbalanced RCA, balanced XLR, speaker level, and wireless signal connectivity offer a flexible array of input options. Putting control in the listener's hands, iOS and Android subwoofer control apps allow precise configuration of subwoofer settings while Anthem Room Correction (ARC) guarantees an accurate bass performance custom tailored to each unique listening room. Ranging in price from $399.95 to $1699.95 each, these subwoofers are just now beginning to ship to customers.

 

06 / 25 / 18

AES Conference: Audio Archiving, Preservation And Restoration
AES Conference: Audio Archiving, Preservation And RestorationJune 28th through 30th at the United States Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, VA, is the Audio Engineering Society's (AES) conference on audio archiving, preservation and restoration. According to the AES, "This conference will present a remarkable opportunity to bring researchers and practitioners together for three days to discuss critical preservation issues and focus on strategies that will support and encourage collaboration and interoperability between industry and the preservation, restoration and archiving communities." Some of the important themes covered will include:

• Physical/object based preservation & material science
• Handling and storage of audio carriers
• New trends in material research
• Preservation by digitization

Mechanical Versus Optical Transfer
• Magnetic media
• Digitization, and restoration of historical obsolete disc formats
• Preservation issues for emerging high-end audio formats
• Preserving legacy professional formats
• Multi- track tapes and obsolete digital formats
• Storage and access technology
• Current state and future development of digital archives
• Role of archives in preserving commercial audio
• Meta data
• Aesthetic considerations in digital restoration of historical audio
• Public/Private collaboration for preservation and access
• Considerations for archiving in preserving commercial audio, collaborative performance, virtual reality, and born digital assets

 

06 / 22 / 18

Changes By Grammy-Earning Arianna Neikrug Is Available On Concord Jazz
Changes By Grammy-Earning Arianna Neikrug Is Available On Concord JazzAfter winning the 2015 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition then performing at the Montreal International Jazz Festival the following year, 25-year-old singer and songwriter Arianna Neikrug makes her grander introduction to the music world with the August 24, 2018 release of Changes on Concord Jazz. Neikrug says the first release off Changes "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" is one of my favorite arrangements on this album particularly because the (new) harmonic nature is so encapsulating and reflects the lyric so accurately and so deeply, thus making the track that much more powerful, intriguing, and emotionally striking. Produced by the Grammy-earning pianist and arranger Laurence Hobgood, Changes displays Neikrug's gift for interpreting tunes from the Great American Songbook and more recent pop and R&B classics from the 1970s. The disc also contains two originals that reveal some of Neikrug's journey from her hometown of Los Angeles to New York City, where she argues she truly belongs. Hobgood, who recruited his regular trio mates – drummer Jared Schonig and bassist Matt Clohesy – for Changes, describes Neikrug as "an intellectual and complex person." "I can honestly say that she's the most theoretically informed singer that I've ever worked with – in terms of just knowing music," Hobgood says. "She understands the basic structures of music and how to talk about it. She has a healthy combination of being strong-willed with being totally open-minded to suggestions. Those are attributes of a singer with a long career." Now in hindsight, Neikrug sees that struggling, transitional period as a blessing because it afforded her some of life's big lows and highs, which enabled her to write more convincing life-based songs and interpret emotionally gripping standards. Blending the right amount of reverence for the jazz tradition with a knowing glance to modern pop and R&B classics, sprinkled with two inviting originals, Changes will delight both jazz purists and novices without making any unwise artistic compromises as she superbly negotiates the glories of jazz's past with a wide-eyed optimism that betrays her tender age. "When you're recording your debut album, fresh out of college, you're not exactly sure how you want to present yourself," Neikrug explains. "It was easier figuring that out by discovering who I didn't want to be. I'm just trying to take the jazz tradition and move it in my direction." Below is Arianna Neikrug's "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most".

 

06 / 21 / 18

An Interview With James Guthrie
Enjoy the Music.com's Exclusive Interview With James Guthrie
Perfect 5.1 Sense
Interview By Mike Mettler

 

An Interview With Roger Waters
Enjoy the Music.com's Exclusive Interview With Roger Waters
Beyond The Quad Wall
Interview By Mike Mettler

 

Texas Instruments TAS5825M Chip Features 38 Wpc And 192kHz DSP
Texas Instruments TAS5825M Chip Features 38 Wpc And 192kHz DSPTexas Instruments new TAS5825M chip is a stereo 38 Wpc features inductor-less, digital input, closed-poop Class-D audio amplification and 192kHz DAC. The powerful DSP audio processing core supports several advanced audio process flows. With the 192kHz architecture, the TAS5825M provides excellent processing. Such as 2 x 12 BQs, volume control, audio mixer, Two Band DRC and a Full Band AGL. With 48 or 96 kHz architecture, an integrated SRC (sample rate converter) detects the input sample rate change. Then auto converts to the target sample rate which DSP is running to avoid any audio artifacts. These process flows support: 2 x 15 BQs, 3 band DRC, full-band AGL (Automatic Gain Limiter), Smart Amplifier Algorithm (speaker thermal, excursion protection), bass enhancement, spatializer, and THD manager. Flexible audio I/O supports 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 192 kHz sample rates. Also supported is I2S, LJ, RJ, and TDM plus SDOUT for audio monitoring, sub-channel or echo cancellation. The output amplification stage of the TAS5825M uses a high-side NMOS driver, rather than a PMOS driver. To generate the gate driver voltage for the high-side NMOS, a bootstrap capacitor for each output terminal acts as a floating power supply for the switching cycle. Texas Instrument's TAS5825M requires two power supplies for proper operation. A high-voltage supply calls PVDD is required to power the output stage of the speaker amplifier and its associated circuitry. Additionally, one low voltage power supply which is calls DVDD is required to power the various low-power portions of the device.

 

The Boston Audio Society Will Be Hosting Audio Legend Bob Carver
The Boston Audio Society Will Be Hosting Audio Legend Bob CarverOn Saturday, June 23 @ 2pm the Boston Audio Society will proudly present living legend Bob Carver, President of Carver Audio. Taking place at Boston University's Life Science & Engineering Bldg, 24 Cummington Mall, 1st Floor Conference Room 103, Boston, MA 02215, there will be an open forum on vacuum tube amplifier and loudspeaker design. Robert W. (Bob) Carver is an American designer of audio equipment based in the Pacific Northwest. Educated as a physicist and engineer, he found an interest in audio equipment at a young age. He applied his talent to produce numerous, innovative high fidelity designs since the 1970s. He is known for designing the Phase Linear 700, at 350 W per channel. It was the most powerful, consumer audio amplifier available for a reasonable price in 1972. He went on to found the Carver Corporation in 1979, Sunfire in 1994, and the Bob Carver LLC in 2011, which was sold to Jade Design in June 2013. However, in December 2013, Bob Carver and Jade Design parted ways. Bob's history includes at least 15 patents. He continues to innovate in tube amplifier designs and loudspeakers. The amplifier on display at the meeting will be the Carver Crimson 350. It utilizes the mighty Tung-Sol KT120 output tubes. They are one and a half times as powerful as the ubiquitous 6550 or KT88. Using his own transformer design, the Crimson/Raven 350 delivers 350 Watts (8 Ohms) of sound, regardless of the loudspeaker's impedance vs. frequency. The newest loudspeaker is a line-source, 8-feet tall. It utilizes a combination of ribbons and 3" dynamic drivers stacked. It incorporates different time delays for groups of the drivers in an effort to fulfill the infinite floor to ceiling requirement of a true line source. Questions and answers on all their products will follow the presentation. You can read Enjoy the Music.com's world premiere review of Bob Carver Cherry 180 Tube Monoblock Amplifier at this link.

 

06 / 20 / 18

Los Angeles And Orange County Audio Society December 2018 Gala
Los Angeles And Orange County Audio Society December 2018 GalaOn Sunday December 2nd the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society (LAOCAS) will be holding their All Star Gala event. As their very special 25th Anniversary All Star Annual Gala, the special award ceremony takes place from 11am through 3:30pm at Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Buena Park's Grand Ballroom. Special guests include, well, basically everyone from the American press and an abundance of special guests. Michael Fremer, Jonathan Scull, John Atkinson, Ray Kimber, Bob Attiyeh, Dr. David Robinson, Paul Seydor, Albert Edmond Lord III, Chuck Bruce, Dr. Mark Katz, Dave and Carol Clark, EveAnna Manley, Harry Weisfeld, Tim de Paravicini, John Grado, Chad Kassem, Bob Carver, Richard Vandersteen and many more! Awards to be given include:

25th Annual Founder's Award to Michael Fremer
25th Annual President's Award TBA
First Annual "Audiophile Recording of the Year Award" (ARIA)

Additionally, for the first time in the Society's history all Past Winners of the Founder's Award will be invited to the Gala as our honored guests. All Founders Award recipients is hosted by Tom D'Agostino, Executive Vice President of Hospitality, Lifetime Member of the Society. All three of the Society's 25th Anniversary Society LPs will be available at the Gala. Also, their new 18-carat gold permanent Society Pin will be available at the Gala. Attendees will enjoy a lavish buffet lunch including NY strip steak, chicken picatta, salads, vegetables, and endless desserts. There are vegetarian selections too. Lastly, Yuko Mabuchi and her extraordinary Trio will perform for the Society in 100% analog!

 

06 / 19 / 18

FiiO Releases Their New FH5 Quad Driver Hybrid In-Ear Monitors
FiiO FH5 In-Ear MonitorWith a single dynamic driver plus three balanced armatures, these four drivers fill FiiO's new FH5 ($259.99). The FH5's mids and treble are effortlessly handled by three balanced armature units, while the bass is taken care of with a 10mm polymer nanocomposite ferromagnetic dynamic driver. These four drivers per ear are brought together with an electronic crossover circuitry and all enclosed in a specially-designed enclosure. All this effort has been put forth to achieve the best sound quality ever in a FiiO earphone. Connectors on the FH5's cable make it as easy as possible to connect to other devices, with its elbow plug; and to easily be changed, with the grippy MMCX connectors colored blue and red to easily identify the left and right channels. A flexible sheath on the outside hides a robust core on the inside 6N monocrystalline silver-plated copper wire. The 6N monocrystalline silver-plated copper wire makes up the FH5's hybrid cable effective minimizes distortion and signal transmission loss for the best sound quality possible. These wires are braided together in an environmentally friendly, transparent TPU sheath that allows you to appreciate the craftsmanship involved in making the cable. To ensure driver units are perfectly in harmony, FiiO's FH5 allocates one sound tube each for the low, mid, and high frequencies. This ensures a smooth transition between the three main regions of sound frequencies. It also maximizes the potential of the four units working together perfectly in harmony to bring you a coherent symphony of music. For easier insertion into your ear, the shell of the FH5 is of aluminum alloy precisely machined with CNC technology. This effort on Fiio's part ensures that it will continue to luster for years to come. The FH5's shell design is also reminiscent of custom in-ears, which not only provides an extremely comfortable fit but also shines as a stylish accessory to wear. Enjoy the Music.com gave you a World Premiere review of the FiiO X7 Portable Music Player And K5 Desktop Amplifier plus we bestowed FiiO's X5 3rd generation Hi-Res Audio digital music player with our Great Audiophile Gift Award for 2017.

 

HiFiMAN Electronics Ananda Planar Magnetic Stereo Headphones
hifiman.comHiFiMAN announced availability of their Ananda ($999) open back planar magnetic stereo headphones. "Ananda is designed for music lovers who want one high-performance, extraordinarily comfortable headphone for all personal listening, whether it's a home system, high-resolution portable player, or an everyday smartphone," said Dr. Fang Bian, Founder and CEO, HiFiMAN. "The word 'Ananda' is derived from the Sanskrit term for 'bliss,' which is what this headphone will bring to anybody who enjoys audiophile-grade performance, no matter the source." HiFiMAN engineers employed lightweight, ultra-fine planar drivers for the high power sensitivity necessary when used with streaming audio devices. Ananda's rating of 103dB guarantees that it will provide consistently low distortion high-fidelity output when used with a smartphone, let alone current and upcoming high-resolution digital audio players and home audio systems. The industrial design of the Ananda headphone represents new standards of comfort and performance for open-back planar models. The ultra-thin diaphragm produces unmatched detail and low distortion, and the window shade grill design reduces sonic reflections, resulting in pure, neutral sonics. A hybrid headband features a weight-dispersing strap for hours of comfort, and the sleek and sumptuous matte black finish is combined with metal construction for maximum durability. Ananda's 3.5mm headphone connector is the company's strongest yet, ensuring years of secure, trouble-free performance. Ananda weighs 14.07 ounces, has a frequency response from 8 Hz to 55 kHz, sensitivity is rated at 103dB, and impedance is 25 Ohm.

 

06 / 18 / 18

Reference Recordings Hi-Res Music John Williams' At The Movies
Reference Recordings Hi-Res Music John Williams' At The MoviesJohn Williams new album At The Movies by Reference Recordings is in Hi-Res Music recording and a wonderful game changer. Recorded July 15th though 17th, 2016 at Meyerson Symphony Center is Dallas, Texas, It was engineered by the legendary Keith O. Johnson. Produced by Donald J. McKinney, with help by Executive Producers Marcia Gordon Martin and Kim Campbel, John Williams' At The Movies [RR-142SACD] is music to inspire the world for generations! Early in his career, John Williams crossed the lines between music that was art and music that was commercial, and he never looked back. He is one of the best known, most awarded and most successful composers in US history, and his name is inextricably connected to outstanding music for films. He has written scores for over 100 films, and his massive list of awards includes 51 Academy Award nominations and five wins, as well as 24 Grammy awards. John Williams At The Movies is Reference Recordings first wind band recording to be released as a hybrid SACD. The disc contains stereo SACD, 5.1 Surround SACD and a stereo compact disc layer encoded with HDCD, and is simultaneously being released as high resolution and standard resolution digital downloads and streams. A two-LP set will be released later in 2018. This is Reference Recordings 18th album with The Dallas Winds, and is a project of which they are extremely proud, that was years in the making. The Dallas Winds is the leading professional civilian wind band in the United States today. In his 25th season as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Dallas Winds, Jerry Junkin is recognized as one of the world's most highly regarded wind conductors. He has also served as Music Director and Conductor of the Hong Kong Wind Philharmonia since 2003, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Senzoku Gakuen College of Music Wind Symphony in Tokyo since 2007. Additionally, 2017-18 marks his 30th year on the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Vincent R. and Jane D. DiNino Chair for the Director of Bands.

 


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