High-End Audio / Audiophile
/ Immersivephile Hi-Fi Premium Audio Equipment
Reviews & Think Pieces
Enjoying The Music
Roger Skoff writes about what it's all about.
By Roger Skoff
all read this publication; I even write for it, but have you ever thought about
what our title actually means? For example, is "Enjoy the Music" an offer? Or an
encouragement? Does it refer to any particular kind or genre of music? Or to the
people who play it? Or to the gear that – if we listen in recorded form – it's played on? Is the emphasis on the music? Or on the enjoyment? Or is there
not any emphasis at all? Should there be? And, if so, what? In the just-short-of 150 years since the
invention of the phonograph and, coming with it, our first ability to record
sound and make it into an enduring artifact, both music and the ways that people
have experienced, enjoyed, and participated in it have changed radically>
---> Enjoying The
Chip Fab Supply Chain Delays
What's delaying new chip fabs to reinforce the supply chain?
Yep... the supply chain.
Article By Ted Green, Chief Content Creator For
Ever since supply chain shortages
hit many industries, particularly in relation to the availability of integrated
circuits or chips, there has been a massive scramble to increase capacity and to
build new chip fabricating facilities (fabs) or factories. There has been a
series of announcements from huge companies like Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor
Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), Samsung, and others launching massive multi-billion
projects to add more chip production facilities. There's just one problem... the equipment they need to build
these facilities are themselves delayed.
---> Chip Fab Supply Chain Delays.
Q&A With Richard Chycki Award-Winning Recording/Mixing Engineer & Immersive Audio Specialist
Best known in the surround-sound music community for his 5.1 surround mixes of
Rush's back catalog, Richard Chycki continues to innovate in the realm of immersive audio with Dolby Atmos.
Article By Immersive Audio Album (IAA)
Richard Chycki is a
multi-platinum mixer and engineer whose clients include such rock royalty as
Rush, Aerosmith, Dream Theater, Skillet, Mick Jagger, Alice Cooper, Pink and
many more. Known for his pioneering mix work in multichannel
audio, prog icons Rush entrusted Chycki to remix the multi-million selling 2112 (1976),
their career pinnacle Moving Pictures (1981), as well as A
Farewell To Kings (1977), Hemispheres (1978), Signals (1982), Snakes
& Arrows (2007) and Fly By Night (1975) in 5.1
surround sound. More recently, he's mixed Moving Pictures and
The Tragically Hip's Road Apples (1991) for their respective
40th and 30th anniversaries.
Q&A With Richard Chycki Recording/Mixing Engineer & Immersive Audio Specialist.
The End Of Cheap Tubes
The Ukraine / Russia news is having a significant impact on the global supply of vacuum tubes.
Editorial By J. Martins
Every year, when I focus on this Glass Audio issue of audioXpress, I like to dive into the archives and revisit a selection of the issues that Ed T. Dell produced twice a year, beginning in 1988. In 1990, in his column
"Valve Views," contributing author Ken Kessler wrote "As you sit there poring over the latest
Glass Audio, perhaps a small part of you is wondering: Am I devoted to a branch of hi-fi so obscure it could disappear at any moment? Believe me, such doubts affect us all at times, and not only when you hear of another tube amp manufacturer (or tube manufacturer, for that matter) closing up
shop." The harbinger was there, but this was shortly after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, in December 1989, leading to the end of Soviet Union, and Russian tubes flooding the
---> The End Of Cheap
Many Great Articles And Reviews
Hi-Fi World's May 2022 issue features high-fidelity in futuristic form.
Editorial By Noel Keywood
Difficult to explain why a premium digital-to-analogue convertor should measure badly, especially from top Japanese manufacturer Teac. They
don't clearly state what is different about the UD-701N, only listing technicalities such as optional one-bit or multi-bit operation. This
doesn't say a lot, even to a digital engineer. Instead you are expected to listen and make up your own mind – not always so easy. Our Rohde & Schwarz UPV audio analyser however showed very clearly what this convertor was doing and how it differed from the norm – as set by ESS and their dominance of the world-wide market. You can find out on p10 about Teac's complex, specialised network DAC, including how it sounds unlike all
else. Pushing technology very hard on another front comes NAD, with their C 399 Class D amplifier.
---> Many Great Articles And Reviews.
We've Finally Done It!
Hi-Fi+ has redesigned our magazine.
Editorial By Alan Sircom
We've finally gone and done it! We have redesigned the magazine for the first time since it moved to its A4 size way back in 2009. In fact, if you compare Issue 205 (the last of the older look) with one 120 or so issues earlier,
you'll see a very different magazine, in essence the changes to the magazine until today were more subtle evolution than root-and-branch
change. We think the new look at once retains what was good about the magazine while also bringing the best of the 2020s... only without the fire tornadoes, murder hornets, global pandemics and escalating conflicts in Eastern
Europe. Despite – or perhaps 'because of' – the never-ending and ever-unfolding sequence of horrors that are the 2020s, good audio has seen a powerful
---> We've Finally Done
AXPONA 2022 Show Report
Audio Expo North America 2022 Show
(Audio Expo North America) 2022 took place from April 22nd through 24th at the The Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.
Sit, relax and surround yourself with the best in high-end audio equipment and gear by visiting
AXPONA's 130+ Listening Rooms. Attendees were encouraged to experience rooms by listening and comparing the superbly designed, high performance systems and components from some of the
world's most prestigious manufacturers. In all, hundreds of global manufacturers, retailers, and brands gathered at
AXPONA 2022 to showcase the newest high-end products and services to
---> Audio Expo North America 2022 Show Report.
Salon Audio Montreal / Audio Fest
2022 Show Report
audio gear and more in Canada!
Audio Fest 2022 Coverage By Rick Becker
The Salon Audio Montréal / Audio Fest 2022 celebrates its impressive 33rd edition of its popular annual meeting.
Located in the heart of the City of Montreal, a multitude of listening rooms and
thousands of music lovers enjoy nearly 100 exhibitors, who represent more than 300 brands of products from the world of
high-fidelity luxury audio.
---> Salon Audio Montreal / Audio Fest 2022 Show
CanJam Singapore 2022 Show Report
Don't forget to buy a t-shirt.
CanJam Singapore 2022 Show Report By Kok Chieat Wong
As Singapore opens its borders to international travelers, CanJam was the first here to embrace the physical attendance of
Head-Fi community and music lovers from all around the globe. Thanks Ethan and the team for the challenging work to bring another CanJam to Singapore. After two years of hiatus, we are glad to see many brands, distributors, and dealers taking part in the
show. Did you get your "CanJam Singapore 2022" special t-shirts?
---> CanJam Singapore 2022 Show
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.
Seven Myths Of Digital Audio Dispelled
Be open minded and don't assume anything.
Article By Arjuna Das, Owner Of Mojo Audio
in high-end audio is a compromise. No typology is best at everything. Every
typology has its advantages and disadvantages. Digital is no different. Despite
popular belief, there is not one type of DAC, quantization method, or CODEC,
which is ideal for all situations, or better in all ways than others. Each has
their advantages and disadvantages, and certain ones work better in certain
situations. Over the years I have heard and read all sorts of myths and
misconceptions regarding digital audio. I hope to dispel the seven most common
categories of myths. I'm going to attempt to explain each typology in layman's
terms so that all of you can decide for yourselves what compromises you want to
Seven Myths Of Digital Audio Dispelled.
Von Schweikert Audio Endeavor SE Floorstanding
Experiencing the joy of music!
Review By Dr. Michael
Ah, describing sound with words. Alas, I am no William
Shakespeare. Yes, words matter, but the listening experience matters
more. Even for a professional musician and academic, crafting a written
narrative that accurately describes an aural impression will, to a fair degree,
remain a flawed science. When teaching a masterclass to my percussion students,
I always struggle to convey musical truth through words. Ultimately, performance
is the final arbiter of musical thought, which I find myself deferring to time
and again. Musical aesthetics are inherently aural expressions, "organizing
sound through time" (to quote Edgard Varese) via the construct of four
fundamental properties of sound: Pitch, Intensity, Duration, and Timbre.
Von Schweikert Audio Endeavor SE Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review.
Audio Commander Level II Vacuum Tube Line Stage Review
The Commander is in a club of one.
Review By Sam Rosen
A little while ago I reviewed the Wells Audio
Cipher. I asked Jeff Wells, the owner of Wells Audio, to tell me more about the
Cipher, and he more or less described it as his preamp circuit, with a single
fixed input coming from the DAC. I was so impressed with the smooth analog
nature of his DAC that I asked him if I could review his preamp. A few months
later, a Commander Level II arrived at my door. The Commander Level II is Jeff
Wells' mid-range preamp. The standard level I, sells for $3999, the level II (my
unit) sells for $9000, and the Level III sells for $18,000. Each version has the
same base design and circuit, and each upgrade introduces higher end and more
expensive discrete parts into the build process. According to Wells Audio these
improvements lower the noise floor, increase the dynamic range, and dramatically
Wells Audio Commander Level II Tube Line Stage Review.
Focal Celestee Closed-Back Headphones Review
A wide front row soundstage with little depth.
Review By Gary Alan Barker
It has been a long wait to get a review sample of the Focal Celestee Closed-Back
Dynamic Headphone, over a year in fact, due to the extreme popularity of Focal's
latest closed-back design, but it has certainly been well worth waiting for.
Focal has a long history of designing and manufacturing some of the world's
highest-performing loudspeakers and headphones. As a driver
designer/manufacturer they have a certain advantage over those who need to
outsource their drivers, and it has shown in their delivered product. One
constant with Focal headphones going back to the original Spirit is a level of
refinement of sound not found in comparably priced headphones, and on this
score, the Celestee is no exception. The Focal Celestee Closed-Back Headphones are the latest
offering in their closed-back designs, which are unique in that they offer the
more open soundstage of open-backed headphones....
---> Focal Celestee Closed-Back Headphones Review.
Rotel Michi X3 Integrated Amplifier Review
More than the sum of its parts. Review By Francisco Duran.
Review By Francisco Duran
This has been one of the hardest
reviews I have ever done because the MichiX3 integrated amplifier really
surprised me. Out of the box and into my system it performed so well that I was
at a loss for words. Not so much as in spectacular audiophile terms, but because
it just went straight to work and played music, all kinds of music, and from all
kinds of sources in such a relaxed but inviting manner, critique just kind of
went out the window. But unless you have been living under an audiophile rock
for the last few years, you probably have seen, even in passing, a review of the
latest Rotel amplifiers. In fact, I have recently written about their neat
A14MK.2. A solid performer, the sound signature of that unit being quite
different from its big brother, the Michi X3.
Rotel Michi X3 Integrated Amplifier Review.
Chord Mojo 2 Portable DAC/Headphone Amplifier Review
Priced at $845, the Chord Mojo 2 needs to be spectacular to merit a strong recommendation. Does it deliver? In every
Review By W. Jennings
you are a member of the Head-Fi community, Chord has been part of your life for
the past decade with its award-winning, and often groundbreaking products. While
many of the British manufacturers' products are very expensive, there are a
growing number below $1,000 that merit serious attention from both headphone
enthusiasts and music listeners looking to assemble a first-class system for
either the home or desktop. Products like the Chord Mojo 2 offer a level of
technical sophistication you don't see in very many products in the price
range or even above it. Chord Electronics was founded in 1989 and spent its early
years making amplifiers for the professional market. Today, they still operate
out of their headquarters in Kent, but the product line has expanded to include
both home systems and portable gear.
Chord Mojo 2 Portable DAC/Headphone Amplifier Review.
World Premiere Review!
Charisma Audio Musiko Turntable Review
I strongly suspected when listening to the first song with the Musiko that I would buy it.
Review By Rick Becker
Audio Musiko tonearm had already become part of my reference system back
in May 2021. when it was incorporated into my Linn Project — a complete re-make of the fabled Linn LP12 using off-the-shelf, re-engineered parts from several after-market companies. These parts were sourced from Great Britain, Canada, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Colorado. By the time I finished, the only original OEM parts were the suspension springs and
grommets, the belt, the sub-chassis nuts and bolts, and the wood plinth. While there were lots of lovely alternatives, I kept the original wood plinth out of sentimentality. I was quite proud of the results, having greatly improved on the original vintage table — not unlike the way Carroll Shelby made over the British AC Ace into the Cobra sports car, except I did it on a kitchen countertop and never got around to racing it. I nicknamed it the Bard for reasons
I'll let you figure out.
---> Charisma Audio Musiko Turntable Review.
World Premiere Review!
Black Ice Audio Fusion F100 Monoblock Vacuum Tube Power
Plus a great story about Jim Fosgate's Odyssey circuit.
Review By Ron Nagle
To tube or
not to tube? Strange as it may seem, that age-old question is still relevant.
Today new materials and innovative designs have taken vacuum tube audio
components to a higher level. When I first saw the Black Ice Fusion F100 in room
504 at the Capital Audiofest, they were powered with Russian Tung-Sol KT150 beam
tetrodes. This innovative tube is only one type of power tube the F100 can use,
each with a different musical voice. This ability has a substantial fundamental
advantage. Unlike solid-state amplifiers, you need not be stuck with one
solid-state sound. Like a fine wine, the sound of vacuum tube audio components
can appeal to many diverse tastes.
Black Ice Audio Fusion F100 Monoblock Vacuum Tube Power Amplifier Review.
LSA VT-70 Vacuum Tube Stereo Integrated Amplifier / Headphone
Best of both worlds!
Review By Gary Alan Barker
is one half of a two-part article, the other half can be found on our sister
site HiFiAudio.Guru. Over the last few years after our good friend Walter
Liederman took over control of LSA (Living Sounds Audio), LSA has introduced a
host of amazing new products for both the Loudspeaker and Headphone market the
latest of which is the LSA VT-70 Tube Integrated Stereo Amplifier/Headphone
Amplifier. Having recently reviewed their LSA Discovery Warp One Stereo
Amplifier and being a huge fan of tube amps, I was more than pleased to find out
I would be given the opportunity to listen to and review the VT-70.
LSA VT-70 Vacuum Tube Stereo Integrated Amplifier / Headphone Amplifier Review.
Dali Katch G2 Wireless Bluetooth / 3.5mm Input
Early thoughts on the Dali Katch G2 wireless
loudspeaker is definitely a surprise for $499. Perhaps one of the biggest of 2022 so far.
Review By Ian White
never knows when true beauty is going to reveal itself; it can come in many
forms and when it is layered over something of real substance — the impact on
your soul and life can be profound. The past few years have been hard. A lot of
alone time. Music has helped soothed the soul; along with poetry, movies, and
the desire for some joy. The $499 (USD) Dali Katch G2 is one of the
most joyous and impressive components I've been able to try in many years. Dali is now distributed by Lenbrook Americas and that raises
the stakes for this particular portable Bluetooth loudspeaker. Lenbrook is the
parent company of NAD, PSB, and Bluesound and delivers far
greater access to retail opportunities for this new speaker going forward.
Dali Katch G2 Wireless Bluetooth / 3.5mm Input Speaker Review.
Wars Of The 1970s!
The hi-fi receiver wars of the 1970s.
Video By Lenny Florentine Of Just Audio
One of our 'next door
neighbors' tipped us off to this excellent video featuring the stereo wars of
the 1970s. According to Lenny Florentine of Just Audio, "Join us for our adventure into the past when we visit the Receiver Wars of the
1970s. See how stereo brands competed with each other to be the biggest and the
best! "We did our best to get you the most accurate information possible. Forgive any mistakes :). We also ask for your opinions and thoughts on the war and what your favorite vintage stereo's were! Enjoy!"
---> Stereo Wars Of The 1970s!
Are Music Streaming Services Starving Your Favorite Artists?
@thathifigirl takes a hard look at how much musicians earn when their songs are streamed.
Video By Emiko
You might think paying $9.99/month for a Spotify or Apple Music subscription is enough for all entities involved to make a pretty penny. The hard truth for musicians is they
don't even make a penny when one of their songs are streamed. Just how little is paid to artists per stream may surprise
you. How much is paid to musicians per stream varies by music service and a number of other factors. On average revenue earned by musicians from streaming is around $0.004 per stream according to a number of industry sources we cross
---> Are Music Streaming Services Starving Your Favorite Artists?
Magazine: The Intro
Editorial By Art Dudley
Passions run high among music lovers. We vilify
(the ones we dislike), and we elevate marginally functional savants with a couple of 2-minute singles and some album
filler under their belts. When it comes to more unique and productive figures like Phil
Spector, Jimi Hendrix, Wilhelm Furtwängler, John Cage, or [insert your own heroes and
villains here], music fans either revere them as gods or dismiss them as meaningless.
Sometimes there are shades in between, but perspective is at a premium. This tendency to paint things black or white spills over to the equipment we use
to play back our favorite recordings. i've seen the cognoscenti dismiss people on the
basis of no more information than their choice of power amp, though I suspect few
of us are quite so one-dimensional in truth.
---> Listener Magazine The Intro By Art Dudley.
W.A.F. By Joyce
The Art Of The Deal
From Sound Practices
When friends call they often
ask, "So what kind of system are you listening to these days?"
Recently I've been a little hesitant to answer. I wonder, shall I make them
terribly envious as I describe the wonderful system we had last week, or must I
stick with the facts as they stand? "A boom box," I end up answering
honestly, because the truth is that we are currently listening to a $69 Hitachi
boom box. Invariably, our friends respond in shock, "But I thought you guys
had a world-class system." That's right, I’m thinking, world-class
system, which means that right now our system is all over the world. "Our
system," I explain, "is currently in transit." Audio equipment, I've discovered, is always in
transit. Even when it's sitting solidly, right there in your living room,
seemingly immobile on its sharp little tippy-toes, it's actually already on its
way somewhere else.
---> W.A.F. By Joyce: The Art Of The
Tech Tips And Other Unsolicited Advice
The 75 Minute Restoration
Bill called a couple Saturdays ago to tell
me that he had traded a Mac 1700 (a hybrid receiver, with tube tuner and solid-state amp) for a Scott 340 receiver. The
person he traded with acknowledged a greater value for the Mac than the Scott and offered to pay a set amount for
service by yours truly to balance the deal. Would I be available this weekend to do check it
out? I asked Bill if it ran and he said yes. Knowing that the weak point on Scotts
was their coupling caps, I suggested he run it for a while, constantly monitoring
the output tubes for red plates. He called back a bit later and said that one tube's plate had started to glow red,
at which point he turned the 340 off. I said bring it by and I'd get it going. Well, he brought it by the next day. I knew Bill had to get back, but I told him
I could probably get the receiver going while he waited.
---> Tech Tips And Other Unsolicited Advice.
Acoustic Solid Xtended-MPX Turntable + WTB-370 Tonearm Review
Fulfilling your desire to hear more and more of your favorite records.
Review By NOVO (Was Canada HiFi Magazine)
live in an age where the price of entry to audiophile sound can choke a
good-sized bull-moose. As wonderful as $500,000 level two-channel systems can
sound, none of it gets my adrenalin flowing. Why...? 'Cause I can’t
afford it. What does kickstart my heart is when established audio
companies with six-figure components release sensibly priced gear where I can
clearly see — and hear — that their cutting-edge technology has trickled down to
more affordable products. When my editor at NOVO asked if I’d like to
review a mid-level Acoustic Solid 'table, I was more excited than a lifer stuck
in a penal colony when the latest sealed issue of High Society magazine
is slid into his cell.
Acoustic Solid Xtended-MPX Turntable + WTB-370 Tonearm.
Sennheiser HD 660 S Over-Ear Headphone Review
If it ain't broke, fix it anyway.
Review By Dave Hanson
a much-loved product like the Sennheiser HD 650 is a tricky task. But having
spent nearly 75 years in the audio business, Sennheiser understands the
importance of reading the tealeaves. The personal audio industry is in a period
of tremendous growth and no single segment is growing faster than the portable
devices category. So with that, Sennheiser made a bold move. While many
companies would have left well enough alone, Sennheiser took one of their most
popular products, the somewhat hard-to-drive HD 650, and updated it with and
easier to drive design. The result is the new Sennheiser HD 660 S ($499). While the original could be a bit fussy with amplification –
holding back some of its potential until you plugged it into the perfect tube
amp – the HD 660 S skips all the fuss and sounds good with just about
---> Sennheiser HD 660 S Over-Ear Headphone Review.
Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III
Int. Amp. w/ Phono Stage Review
Excellent build quality combined with the sonic performance of vacuum tubes.
Review By Ron Nagle
name Cronus is past down to us from an ancient Greek myth. Krónos was the
leader and youngest of the first generation of Titans.
I did my usual on line peeking and sleuthing and found images of the Cronus, a
very retro looking open frame amplifier. But while all of those pictures looked
like the subject of this evaluation they were actually photos of an earlier
version of the Magnum II amplifier. So these photos were taken before I ever got
my hands on this review sample. This story is about the new extensively upgraded
Cronus Magnum III. When I opened the box and peeled back the packing I lifted
(grunt) an impressive 55 pound amplifier from its cardboard container.
---> Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III Int. Amp. w/Phono Stage.
Schiit Mani MM
/ MC Phono Stage Review
A thrill for any newcomer and satisfy most too.
Review By Rick Becker
word went out on Facebook that my son-in-law Justin wanted a turntable for
Christmas to try out the LP craze. Apparently the fine Sony noise cancelling
headphones I gave him for Christmas last year planted a seed and the seed has
sprouted. The $90 turntable on his list was a turnkey unit with cartridge and
built in phono stage. All he would have to do is connect it to his mid-fi
surround sound receiver. But you and I both know I couldn't let him go down that
dead-end road. He's now 40 and steeped in debt from earning his MBA at
Northwestern. He commutes to work by train almost an hour each way and puts in
long hours of hard mental work. Then he comes home each day to put on his "World's
Greatest Dad" hat. He deserves a better turntable.
Schiit Mani Stereo MM / MC Phono Stage.
Charisma Audio Musiko Tonearm, Soundeck, And Audio Machina Accessories
A killer combination forced me to overcome my fear and buy the review sample.
Review By Rick Becker
Just when I thought I was done with my Linn Turntable Project,
Bernard Li of Charisma Audio called and asked if I'd like to try his new Musiko
tonearm, which conveniently was already on the USA side of the border. George
Merrill had been playing with it on his new Gem Dandy PolyTable down in
Tennessee. Bernard knew I was impressed with it when I saw it at the last
Toronto and other shows during 2019. Dropshipping it from George would save two
border crossings and give me a chance to hear it. Charisma Audio's Musiko arrived in a well-crafted wooden box. Inside, the
various components and tools were neatly partitioned in foam. A long Plexiglas measuring tool was taped to the outside bottom of the box to be used in
measuring and drilling a blank arm board to the proper specs. The 9.33" tonearm
has a 222mm pivot to spindle distance, same as a Rega, but you will need to
enlarge the main hole on a Rega table and drill new holes to mount the flange.
Charisma Audio Musiko tonearm, Soundeck, and Audio Machina accessories review.
T.H.E. Human Side Award-Winning Documentary
A short documentary about the human connections in hi-fi and music.
Video By T.H.E. Show And Produced / Directed By Rose City Media Group
T.H.E. Show's new award-earning video T.H.E. Human Side is a documentary short film about enjoying the music and what is means for you. In 2018, they were approached by an attendee of T.H.E. Show who was asking about podcasting for high-end
audio. After sitting with him and hearing all of his stories, his adventures with his friends, and the incredible history behind all they spoke about, T.H.E. Show charged their production team with making a web series to chronicle their stories. At that time, they never could have known that the web series would take off the way it did and grow first into an award winning documentary short and now, soon to be a feature
film! This documentary had a private, limited premiere at T.H.E. Show 2019 but has never been seen by the global
---> T.H.E. Human Side
Audiophile Gift 2021 December
Audiophile Gift 2020 December
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See our archives section for all reviews.