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Limitless Musical Pleasures
Roger Skoff writes about technology and music.
By Roger Skoff
performers or recording engineers talk about "cutting a track", those words can
be the literal truth. Making a phonograph record – the first kind of
sound recording – has always meant using some kind of a sharp object (most
recently a heated cutting stylus), to cut a groove into the surface of some
suitable material, and to wiggle that groove right, left, up, down, or, for
stereo, in all of those ways, diagonally at the same time, for the purpose of
recording sound. The recording material has ranged from Edison's
beeswax to a special lacquer, and the finished recording has been everything
from a wax cylinder through, currently, a heat-stamped vinyl disc, but the
process, itself, has always remained essentially the same. It's always been to cut a groove into something,
to modulate that groove analogously to the changes in air pressure at the
---> Limitless Musical Pleasures.
Where Do We Want To Go Next?
Using ChatGPT to mention audio enhancement applications.
Editorial By J. Martins
Among the biggest technology stories of 2022, it's impossible not to reference
OpenAI. This artificial intelligence (AI) research company from San Francisco, CA, founded in December 2015, has focused on artificial general intelligence
(AGI) applied to augmenting and outperform human skills. OpenAI cleverly made its efforts accessible to the general public as a way to simultaneously promote AI and improve it with actual human interaction — which in turn helps to reveal boundaries and usage restriction
needs. Among OpenAI's most interesting efforts is a trained model for human interaction through text input called
ChatGPT. Its proven uses span from helping us to debug code to answering questions, to writing essays about any topic and in any given suggested
---> Where Do We Want To Go Next?
Hi-Fi+ Welcomes A 2023 System Re-Evaluation
Periodic shake-ups of a system are beneficial.
Editorial By Alan Sircom
It's 2023 at last and most of us are glad to see the back of 2022, and perhaps a little trepidatious about what the New Year will bring. In the UK at least, as we
haven't had a new Prime Minister in several weeks (at least, at the time of writing), we are looking forward to a year of hopefully fewer bumps in the
road. The start of a year traditionally comes with New Year's Resolutions, that everyone is almost guaranteed to break sometime in early January. Even when I decided to game the system in my 20s and said my resolution was to drink more whisky, I quickly lost interest... and a couple of weeks. Fortunately,
I'm no longer that guy.
---> Hi-Fi+ Welcomes A 2023 System Re-Evaluation.
DALI Kore Floorstanding Speaker Review
Danish loudspeaker giant DALI had promised a state-of-the-art loudspeaker at the press event in
Review By Michael Lang
After the presentation of the DALI Kore, in a rare moment of complete agreement, the guests left the room with a big smile on their faces.
HIGH END audio show, May 2022, Munich, Germany – for someone from the press,
this equates to four hectic days, a race against time to discover as many
exciting new products as possible, to have them explained to you and to get hold
of at least a couple of short listening sessions from a suitable sitting
position. Despite these circumstances, the DALI showroom was packed
with press representatives when CEO Lars Worre and his team explained the
background and aspirations of the Kore. This was quite necessary, considering
that DALI is known for a down-to-earth pricing of its loudspeakers.
DALI Kore Floorstanding Speaker Review.
World Premiere Review!
Zesto Audio Eros 500 Select Class A
The Eros 500 is a neutral, realistic, and natural-sounding amplifier. true standard of excellence.
Review By Robert H. Levi
The more I immerse myself in this
hobby since I retired from the entertainment industry in 2008, the more certain
I have become that the amplifier is the most important and telling piece of
equipment in your system. It was in the late 1970s that J. Gordon Holt stated in Stereophile that
one should buy a very good speaker that fits your needs and then bust your
budget on an excellent amplifier. I have more or less followed that advice over
the last half century of reproducing music in my home. Lately, however, with the
maturation of really great tube and hybrid source devices, phono preamp sources
and superb LP pressings, extraordinary phono cartridges, SACDs, much improved
digital streaming with high resolution, and the maturing science of neutral and
high-definition interconnectivity, I have confirmed that JGH was 100% right.
Zesto Audio Eros 500 Select Class A Monoblock Review.
World Premiere Review!
Wells Audio Looking Glass II Level II Power
Feeling as if you can step into it and become part of the performance.
Review By Ron Nagle
If you are like me then you live in a multi-story
apartment building, then you are contaminated with junk in the trunk-line. More
than likely you are listening to your neighbor's dishwasher, air conditioner,
foot bath or God knows what. As a consequence have you ever thought your
expensive audio system has bad days when the sound is not so good? This is why
some of us audio guys prefer to listen in the wee small hours late at night.
Unfortunately, I have no choice, either fix my power source or become
crepuscular like my cat. Fire up your computer and do a search, you will find Power
Strips, AC line Conditioners, Surge Protectors, Re-Generators, and
Wells Audio Looking Glass II Level II Power Conditioner Review.
eXtremely Sexy Audio
(XSA) Labs Vanguard
Budget audiophile XXXtreme.
Review By Gary Alan Barker
Sexy Audio (XSA) Labs is a new old audiophile manufacturer. Old because it is
staffed by veterans of the industry with "over 110 years of combined experience
in the audio, electrical, and aerospace engineering fields". And their first
product to hit the market, the XSA-Labs Vanguard Loudspeaker is a classic indeed
with a solid tip of the hat to the famous Rogers LS3/5a which was designed by
the BBC to be the ideal studio monitor. Employing modern materials and manufacturing techniques to a
proven time-honored design, the Vanguard features a 130mm treated paper cone
woofer and a 28mm silk dome tweeter with a unique inverted Harsch transient
perfect passive crossover using premium components and voiced to provide a
balanced non-fatiguing sound signature with superb imaging and timing.
eXtremely Sexy Audio (XSA) Labs Vanguard Loudspeaker Review.
Soundsmith Zephyr MK/III ES Phono Cartridge Review
Unveiling the masterworks!
Review By Paul Schumann
Back when I
was starting to get serious about audio equipment, a long-time audiophile friend
of mine offered me his collection of back issues of The Absolute Sound. I
was a fan of TAS and eagerly accepted. For the next few months, night
after night, I read, from cover to cover, all of those issues in chronological
order. It was a fascinating dig into the early history of high-end audio and the
culture that developed around it. One of the important discoveries made by Harry
Pearson and his minions, was the sonic superiority of the old RCA "Shaded Dog"
and Mercury records. The acquisition of pristine copies of these discs became an
obsession for many audiophiles because, with the exception of a few reissues by
MoFi, the audiophile vinyl business wasn't in full swing yet.
Soundsmith Zephyr MK/III ES Phono Cartridge Review.
Watch The Vinyl Nation Documentary
Thanks to 1091 Pictures, we can all enjoy experiencing an inspiring documentary about the vinyl LP.
Thanks to 1091 Pictures, we can all enjoy seeing the recent vinyl revolution. Not that the vinyl LP was ever a dead format, far from it! With that said, "dig into the resurgence of vinyl records, the diversification of vinyl fans, and the connective power of music.
The vinyl record renaissance over the past decade has brought new fans to a classic format and transformed our idea of a record collector: younger, both male and female,
multicultural. This same revival has made buying music more expensive, benefited established bands over independent artists and muddled the question of whether vinyl actually sounds better than other
---> Watch The Vinyl Nation Documentary.
eCoustics' Favorite Hi-Fi, High-End Audio, And Headphones At CES 2023
Exciting time in Las Vegas during CES
Brian and Emiko returned from CES 2023 in Las Vegas after scouring the convention floor for the latest in hi-fi, home theater, and home/portable audio. They discuss some of their favorites from CES, along with more high-end audio we got exclusive access to off-site. Within eCoustics' video Part 2, Brian recaps CES 2023 with Senior News & Home Theater Editor Robert Silva who spent four days in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show 2023. He covered everything TV & Home Theater related on the convention floor, and got exclusive access in some private demos where he gained further insights about what to expect this year and beyond.
---> eCoustics' Favorite Hi-Fi, High-End Audio, And Headphones At CES 2023.
Magnepan Ultra-Wideband Bass System First Listen
Tom Martin given his expert opinion on this new bass system from Magnepan.
Video By Tom Martin
From our good friends at The Absolute Sound and
hi-fi+ comes Tom Martin's recent video about the Magnepan Ultra-Wideband Bass System with 16 woofers.
Magnepan is setting out to solve more than one of the much maligned bass problems within some high-end audio loudspeaker
setups. Tom Martin is a long-time audiophile and began his reviewing career after acquiring the
The Absolute Sound magazine in 1997 (and hi-fi+ magazine in 2002). He has worked closely with Harry Pearson and Robert Harley at
TAS and with Roy Gregory and Alan Sircom at hi-fi+. Since Tom and his teams expanded the
TAS and Plus platforms in the digital domain, he has served as Chief Content
---> Magnepan Ultra-Wideband Bass System First Listen.
Primare A35.8 Multi-Channel Amplifier Review
An eight-channel amplifier for both audiophiles and immersivephiles.
Video featuring hi-fi+ Editor Alan Sircom and Terry Medalen of Primare
hi-fi+ Editor Alan Sircom speaks to Terry Medalen of Primare about the new A35.8 eight-channel amplifier. This bridgeable amplifier modules allow for a wide range of stereo and multi-channel system designs. Terry also argues why Dolby Atmos might just be the audiophile choice of the
future. Meanwhile, those who just want stereo can use the A35.8 as the ultimate bi-amplified option with 1500 Watt on tap to drive almost any stereo loudspeaker you can think of with power reserves to spare! With all eight channels, the Primare A35.8 features 150 Watts per channel @ 8 Ohms
and 300 Watts @ 4 Ohms. Analog inputs include both unbalanced RCA and balance
XLR. Has Primare just made the ultimate in multi-channel amplifier flexibility? Let's find out.
Primare A35.8 Multi-Channel Amplifier Review.
Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors
Florida International Audio Expo's Industry Happy Hour
Enjoy the Music.com, high-end audio's celebrated online site
for 28 years and a leader in providing industry news, gear reviews, and show reports
is pleased to announce that we're sponsoring Florida International Audio Expo's Industry
during their 2023 event in Tampa. Exhibitors and members of the press are
invited to join us for complimentary food and beverages Thursday night at the
Since 1995, Enjoy the Music.com has been a major resource for information about
consumer electronics, including the high-end
premium luxury audio industry and high-resolution / streaming music. We are
deeply honored for the opportunity to support the Florida International Audio Expo 2023 show, and in teaming up to benefit
our outstanding premium audio industry exhibitors and many members of the press.
Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors Florida International Audio Expo's Industry Happy Hour.
Intro For Listener Magazine
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
two-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.
---> The Intro For Listener Magazine.
Editorial By Joe Roberts
These days there are more audio magazines around than ever before, yet one has to
wonder about the very future of print in an age where more than anybody wants to
know about most topics is accessible for free on the Internet. Paper magazines are
expensive and resource-thirsty to produce and circulate. It costs a few dollars to print
up a magazine and a few more to mail it, then it takes days if not weeks to get where
it's going. The same information minus the paper wrapper can be disseminated
electronically in seconds for almost free. For that reason alone, paper media are more or
less doomed to eventual extinction, sooner or later. It is an old story how economic considerations drove electronics design from the $20
tube to the 20 cent transistor. Well, the same forces are assuredly at work in the
information delivery business.
---> Alien Influences.
Month's Meeting @ VALVE
Editorial By Dan Schmalle
September's meeting was another
of our small and therefore very informal
meetings (which are among the
most pleasant we have). Dave and Steve supplied the audition
pieces, a PAS 3 stereo preamp, a
Fisher 50C mono preamp, a McIntosh MC40 monoblock, and a wacky Hungarian bookshelf speaker made to look like
a book, called the Musical Encyclopedia. The PAS 3 was brought In response
to the requests for a tube
preamp to use Instead of my Apt/Holman. In an NB comparison of
Beethoven's Violin Concerto on vinyl,
the two sounded pretty close, with the
expected results of a slight sweetening
of the strings with the PAS and a slight
increase In detail and transient clarity
with the Apt.
---> This Month's Meeting
@ VALVE Magazine.
LampizatOr MM2 Moving-Magnet (MM) Phono
Beautiful to behold and a joy to use.
Review By Brett Rudolph
have always been one of my favorite sources for my playback system. They are
highly customizable, straightforward to use. They tend to offer a great bang for
the buck, especially on the entry-level ones. In fact, you can purchase a more
expensive turntable, start with a reasonably inexpensive cartridge that sounds
great and move into higher performance ones over time, if you wish. Of course,
there is a downside. They do require a bit more care and feeding than their
digital brethren. The two main types of cartridges on the market are moving
magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC). They both have their advantages and
disadvantages. However, as a rule, moving magnet cartridges tend to be less
expensive to date.
LampizatOr MM2 Moving-Magnet (MM) Vacuum Tube Phono Stage Review.
DS Audio DS-E1 Optical Phono Cartridge / Phono Energizer
And DS Audio ION 001 Vinyl Ionizer Review
New heavyweight contenders!
Review By Maurice Jeffries
encounter with DS Audio's fascinating line of optical cartridges and matching
phono energizers (the term that DS Audio uses to describe the outboard power
supply/phono equalization units supplied with each cartridge) occurred at the
2020 Florida Audio Expo Show, held last February in sunny Tampa, Florida.
Musical Surroundings distributes DS Audio's growing line of products here in
the United States. In the Musical Surroundings suite, company head honcho Garth
Leerer and his team put together a swell little system headlined by the
affordable and overachieving Maggie .7 speakers, a stem-to-stern suite of Rogue
electronics, Wire World cables, an eye-catching cobalt blue AMG Giro turntable,
and matching arm, this fronted by an entry-level DS Audio DS-E1 optical
cartridge and matching phono energizer.
DS Audio DS-E1 Optical Phono Cartridge / Phono Energizer And DS Audio ION 001
Vinyl Ionizer Review.
Meze Audio Elite Masterpiece Open Back Headphones Review
Meze's Elite headphones are a heavyweight champion in
Review By Frank Iacone
Antonio Meze leader designer and founder of Meze started ten
years ago with a simple headphone design that took the country by storm. The
year following they began working with Rinaro Isodynamic located in Ukraine whom
for over 30 years had been working on completing their hybrid array technology. Meze's Empyrean was the first to use the technology and
received worldwide awards for best-sounding headphones when it hit the market.
Priced at $2999, and still available, it is regarded as one of the best sounding
and most comfortable headphones. Three years in development the Elite has many of the same
features as the Empyrean with a more refined and new Rinaro designed driver.
---> Meze Audio Elite
Bowers & Wilkins 805 D4 Standmounted Monitor Speaker Review
The latest generation of the British company's flagship speaker series is here; Ed Shelly has set about the smallest member of the range to see what makes it
Review By Ed Shelly
Series has long occupied a unique place in high-end audio. Such is the market
share that Bowers & Wilkins has of the total sales of speakers in this price
category that the models that result enjoy both a ubiquity and economy of scale
nothing else can really match. Insofar as a 'normal' member of the public can
envisage a high end speaker, it's generally the 800 Series that springs to mind.
For those more familiar with the high-end category, the 800
Series still holds considerable interest as a demonstration of design features
Bowers & Wilkins will no doubt trickle down its range in due course and are
likely to influence other manufacturers, too.
Bowers & Wilkins 805 D4 Monitor Review.
World Premiere Review!
Dynamic Sounds Associates Amp I Review
Class-A tour de force!
Review By Greg Weaver
had the pleasure of writing about Dynamic Sounds Associates gear for over 16
years now, with my first take on the original Phono-ONE phonostage appearing
back in November of 2004! Since that time, I've reviewed, or used as reference,
the superb Phono II phonostage (with the Phono III coming on deck soon!), the
I Linestage, and now, I am privileged to bring you the world premiere review
of the exceptional Amp I monoblocks. The engineering mind behind all
these fresh and exceptional designs is one Dr. Douglas Hurlburt, whom I first
met while living in southern Maryland during the early to mid-nineteen nineties.
Dynamic Sounds Associates Amp I review.
Nagra Tube DAC And Classic PSU Power
Sonic glory... worth it!
is a Swiss audio equipment manufacturer that has been in business for over 65
years. Their professional portable tape records were an industry standard for
many decades, even appearing as props in many films and television shows. Their
reputation was rock-solid even before they started manufacturing high-end audio
equipment in the 21st Century. Because of this, and because of the fine high-end audio
components they've been designing and manufacturing since 2012, I suppose there
are many audiophiles, and plenty of non-audiophile, who might add the Nagra Tube
DAC and its matching Classic PSU power supply to their systems without an
audition, or without reading reviews on the subject.
Nagra Tube DAC and Classic PSU Power Supply.
Audiophile Gift 2022 December
Audiophile Gift 2021 December
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See our archives section for all reviews.