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High-End Audio  /  Audiophile Equipment Reviews

May 2019


Audiophile Industry News

Industry News: Essential High-End Audio Info
Enjoy the Music.com's audiophile news and information.



Win Vanatoo Transparent One Encore Speakers Valued At $599!

Win Vanatoo Transparent One Encore Speakers
Valued At $599!
Enjoy the Music.com is honored to join with Vanatoo for our June 2019 contest. The Transparent One Encore (T1E, $599) series of wireless powered speakers from Vanatoo is your solution for high quality music, movie, and game playback without all of the clutter. Simply plug one speaker into the wall, run the supplied wire between the two speakers, and connect your source, which can be just about anything.
---> Read more and enter for your chance to win!



HIGH END 2019 Show Report Munich Germany

HIGH END 2019 Show Report
High End Society Munich Germany

HIGH END 2019 show will open their doors and welcome exhibitors and visitors from all over the world from May 9th through 12th in Munich, Germany. As during the past 19 years, longer than any other North American magazine, Enjoy the Music.com will once again report on HIGH END in Munich.
---> See our HIGH END 2019 show report.



AXPONA 2019 Show Report -- High-End Audio / Audiophile Event

AXPONA 2019 Show Report
AXPONA 2019 show coverage by Enjoy the Music.com Staff

Enjoy the Music.com's extensive AXPONA (Audio Expo North America) 2019 show report now features over 200 photos spanning 15 pages! There's much more to come, so check back daily for more AXPONA 2019 show coverage!
---> See our AXPONA 2019 show report.



Zagreb AV Show 2019 Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com

Zagreb AV Show 2019 Report
This year marks the 24th annual Zagreb AV Show, which in 2019 gathered at the Sheraton Zagreb Hotel. There were 24 exhibitors from Slovenia, Slovakia, Serbia and Croatia showcasing more than 60 brands of the high-end audio industry's latest hi-fi and audiophile components, plus home theater systems too.
---> Read our Zagreb AV Show 2019 report.



Vinyl Is Back!

Vinyl Is Back!
Plus what's within this issue and new partnership announced!
Article By Tom Lyle
I'm puzzled. I realize that vinyl isn't "coming back", it's back! Which means that not only serious crate-diggers are searching for and purchasing older records made from before the great CD-scare of the 1990s, but newly reissued vinyl, and new vinyl releases from current artists. As a serious collector of vinyl, I have mixed feeling about many of the records being made and sold these days. To put it bluntly, the majority of records being made today are nothing more than CDs pressed onto vinyl.
---> Read More



You Are the Expert! By Roget Skoff

You Are the Expert!
Roger Skoff writes about who you should rely on in putting together your system.
Article By Roger Skoff
I talked on the phone last night with John Curl, one of the audio industry's top electronics designers.  Among the things we talked about were two subjects that are the real bedrock of audiophilia: "What's good?" and "How can you tell?" For audiophiles like us (Actually, among friends, we usually just call ourselves "Hi-Fi Crazies"), the answers to those questions really are the keys to everything.
---> Read More



Will Amazon Beat Apple To The Hi-Res Music Streaming Punch?

Will Amazon Beat Apple To The Hi-Res Music Streaming Punch?
Article By Bobby Owsinski
I've been predicting for some time that one of the major streaming services would begin to offer higher resolution music, if for no other reason than for brand differentiation. Who would've thought that the service to make the first move would be Amazon? A recent post from Music Business Worldwide states that Amazon is in active talks with record labels for license agreements for better-than-CD quality music material, and that one (still unnamed) is onboard.
---> Read More



How To Do A Proper Listening Test

How To Do A Proper Listening Test
Part 2
Article By Ethan Winer
The easiest type of listening test to set up is comparing two music files in a multi-track DAW program. You'll put the files on separate tracks, then link (assign to the same group) the track Solo (or Mute) buttons while they're in alternate states. Then clicking either button instantly toggles between Track A and Track B.
---> Read More



Did Someone Drop A Turd In The Streaming Music 'PunchBowl'?

Did Someone Drop A Turd
In The Streaming Music 'PunchBowl'?
Confused about Hi-Res Music formats? So am I.
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin

First I need to say those familiar with my Senseless Rambling articles know there's going to be some streaming thought-processes as this article is written. In fact this article has been written, re-written, thrown away, then reborn, then thrown away again and now once again reborn. Does that make sense? No? Hmmm... and if you felt that was confusing....
---> Read More



A Vibrant Performance
Roger Skoff writes about a different meaning for a common term.
Article By Roger Skoff
According to The Oxford Dictionary the word "vibrant" means (among other things) "Full of energy and life", and, when it's used to describe sound, it means "strong or resonating". For High-End audio, either or both of those meanings can apply, and to say that something is "vibrant" can either be a distinctly positive commentary or a description of a problem with our system.
---> Read More



How To Do A Proper Listening Test

How To Do A Proper Listening Test
Part 1

Article By Ethan Winer
There are two ways to assess the quality of audio devices: measuring and listening. Measuring is usually the better choice because the results are absolute, and repeatable because they avoid the vagaries of human hearing perception. But when measuring isn't practical or possible, a listening test using a music source is perfectly fine. For example, listening is needed to compare CD quality at a 44.1 kHz sample rate to "high definition" audio at 96 kHz.
---> Read More



Are Your Old Vinyl Records Worth Thousands?

Are Your Old Vinyl Records Worth Thousands?
Here's how to sell them.
Article By Brian Morris Of Flipsy
Do you have stacks of old vinyl records packed away or collecting dust on your shelf? Ever wonder if your vinyl records are worth anything? Flipsy.com enlisted the help of experts to find out which are the most valuable records in the world, how to find record values and where to sell vinyl records.
---> Read More



Bi-Amping Basics Article By Jack Sharkey KEF Direct

A Comprehensive Guide To Digital Music Formats
Understanding digital music formats what is the difference between MP3 and ALAC? What are the difference digital music formats?
Vinyl has made a resounding comeback for a variety of reasons, mostly having to do with the vinyl experience. CD sales may have diminished, but the CD isn't going anywhere soon, and even the lowly cassette tape is making a mostly un-ironic comeback. But digital music is not only here to stay, it's the king of the playback hill. With that in mind, we thought we'd offer a little guide to what all of those file extensions and terms actually mean.
---> Read More



What's Up With Noise Reduction In The MHz Range?

What's Up With Noise Reduction In The MHz Range?
And why does it matter?
Article By Joe Cohen Of The Lotus Group

There is a very simple explanation for why this topic is so important. It comes via my technician when I asked him why he thought the PranaWire Linebacker was so effective. Earlier I wrote that when he measured its effectiveness he was expecting to find no greater than 10dB or perhaps, at the extreme, 15dB of reduction. What we found instead was that the attenuation we were able to measure was at the noise floor of the measuring equipment.
---> Read More



Etsuro Urushi Bordeaux Moving Coil Phono Cartridge Review

Etsuro Urushi Bordeaux Moving Coil Phono Cartridge
Getting closer to the music etched into your LP's grooves.
Review By Tom Lyle
It was about a year ago that I reviewed the cartridge that's one step lower in Etsuro Urushi's line, their Cobalt Blue. In the review I said that the Cobalt Blue is "a super-transparent window into the recording that was etched into an LP's surface", praising this cartridge to the point where one might be led to believe that there is no better cartridge on the market. This is not the first time I've felt as though I have painted myself into a corner when reviewing a piece of high-end audio equipment, which happens more often than not when the equipment performs as well as the Cobalt Blue.
---> Read More



Karan Acoustics KA S 400 Amplifier & KA L Mk3 Preamplifier Review

Karan Acoustics KA S 400 Amplifier
Karan Acoustics KA L Mk3 Preamplifier
Enjoy real-time corporeal awareness into the musical experience!
Review By Professor Michael R. Bump
As a self-professed audiophile, I find composing audio equipment reviews an interesting and sometimes awkward dance between intent and outcome. Audio design objectives, expressed in carefully crafted hyperbole, usually encounter a plethora of honest, varying listening reactions born of pre-conditioned aesthetics and physical circumstances.
---> Read More



Woo Audio WA33 Balanced Headphone Amp/Preamp Review

Woo Audio WA33 Balanced Headphone Amp/Preamp
A headamp that will transport you to another world.
Review By Tom Lyle
During 2015 I reviewed the Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies headphone amplifier / DAC combination. After only a few listening sessions, this vacuum-tube based component left me practically speechless. In fact, the headline to the review in Enjoy the Music.com was "I fell in love", which pretty much summed up my feelings toward this component.
---> Read More


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Dali Callisto 2 C Wireless System Review

Dali Callisto 2 C Wireless System
Master Of Contrasts
With their Callisto line, DALI aims to combine tradition and modernity, simple controls and sophisticated engineering. Has it worked?
Review By Julian Kienzle Of STEREO Magazine
Having worked at a HiFi studio for some years, I have often heard sentences of the following kind: "I don't need all those bells and whistles. I just want to listen to my music." And who would blame a customer for being put off by the sheer mass and variety of modern technologies?
---> Read More



Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III Integrated Amplifier With MM / MC Phono Stage Review

World Premiere Review!
Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III
Integrated Amplifier With MM / MC Phono Stage
Excellent build quality combined with the sonic performance of vacuum tubes.
Review By Ron Nagle
The 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.
---> Read More



Paradigm 200B Small Monitor Speaker Review

Paradigm 200B Small Monitor Speaker
Impressive bottom end for a small loudspeaker.
Review By Dean Cacioppo
Paradigm Speakers and I have a long, and personal history. Another lifetime ago, I sold hi-end audio at the retail level. Mostly because it was my dream job. Even after I left full time, I would work there on the weekends. Our modus operandi back then was to get the guy who was looking for a new "stereo" and bring them in our big room to let them experience the sound of a real audio system.
Then the next step was to bring them into the "small room" where they could experience some of that same magic in their price range.
---> Read More



Quad PA-One+ Triode Vacuum Tube DAC / Headamp Review

Quad PA-One+ Triode Vacuum Tube DAC / Headamp
The quintessential audiophile tube amp for headphones.
Review By Gary Alan Barker Of Headphone.Guru

When I reviewed the Quad ERA-1 Planar Magnetic Headphone I knew that Quad had made the occasional tube amp over the years, but considered them to be a speaker manufacturer, what I didn't know (until I had researched for the ERA-1 review) was that they had started as an amplifier company, such are the pitfalls of redefining loudspeaker technology and producing one of the best sounding and highest respected speakers of all time, the ESL (Electrostatic Loudspeaker).
---> Read More



AURALiC ARIES G1 Wireless Streaming Transporter Review

AURALiC ARIES G1 Wireless Streaming Transporter
New apartment lounge streaming magic!
Review By Maurice Jeffries Of Positive Feedback
AURALiC recently re-imagined its top-flight ARIES class streaming transports, as well as its VEGA series streaming and stand-alone DACs, from the ground up. The reference line now also includes the newly introduced LEO GX Reference Master Digital Clock, a unit that appears to straddle both the ARIES and VEGA product lines. The first obvious departure from the Gen 1 AURALiC product lineup is the liberal use of black CNC-machined, billet grade aluminum enclosures for the new ARIES and VEGA models.
---> Read More



Audio Mirror Tubadour III DAC Review

World Premiere Review!
Audio Mirror Tubadour III DAC
A study in subtlety.
Review By Ron Nagle

In the October 2018 issue of Enjoy the Music.com I introduced to you the Audio Mirror monoblock amplifiers. On the heels of our World Premier Review, a print audio magazine reviewed it and loved it too. Always glad to have others follow Enjoy the Music.com's footsteps. And now we have a new Audio Mirror component.
---> Read More



Codia Acoustic Design Stage 3000 Diagon Equipment Rack Review

Codia Acoustic Design
Stage 3000 Diagon Equipment Rack

A world-class modular design manufactured to the highest standard.
Review By Rick Becker
Before the emergence of minimalism as a lifestyle and de-cluttering as an admirable hobby, there were audio equipment racks. In fact, there was an entire genre of mid-fi and low-fi audio systems neatly packaged in vinyl clad chipboard.
---> Read More



Schiit Mani MM / MC Phono Stage Review

Schiit Mani MM / MC Phono Stage
A thrill for any newcomer and satisfy most too.
Review By Rick Becker
The 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.
---> Read More



Wells Audio Headtrip II Headphone Amplifier Review

Wells Audio Headtrip II Headphone Amplifier
Headtrip II surpasses its progenitor with more clarity, speed, and precision.
Review By Eric Neff of Headphone.Guru
Many headphone community members are seeking that one amp that has enough power to bring their hard to drive classic headphones to life. The HiFiMan HE-6, the Sony MDR-R10, and the original Abyss AB-1266 all required huge power to light up properly. Stories of the HE-6 being tapped to actual speaker amps are passed around in hushed tones.
---> Read More



The Core Issues: Choosing A Power Transformer

The Core Issues: Choosing A Power Transformer
Article By Michael S. LaFevre Of MagneQuest Transformer Company
The Core Issues examines the function, construction, design, and operation of magnetics for audio applications. This series will combine practical advice in the form of useful "rules of thumb" with enough pure theory to give us some concept of how these magnificent devices work. This column is not an academic engineering tutorial but rather a guide to becoming an informed consumer.
---> Read More



Triophoni: Triode Triumph

Triophoni: Triode Triumph
Article By Dan Schmalle From VALVE Issue 8, August 1994

This month I will take the opportunity to show off a little (Oh brother, not again...). I have today been putting the finishing touches on my latest amp project, a pair of triode output power amps called Triophoni. Since I spent a fair amount of time writing up a blurb to advertise them I will use excerpts from said blurb to describe them: 6CK4 cathode type triode valves operate class AB1 push-pull as the output tube.
---> Read More



Enjoy the Music.com Launches Monthly Audio Gear Contests

Enjoy the Music.com Launches Monthly Audio Gear Contests
Enjoy the Music.com, a longstanding source for luxurious high-end home and portable audio equipment reviews, news and show reports since 1995, is launching monthly gear contests to bring great music to our enthusiastic worldwide readership. Years ago, the site delivered multiple contests that, in total, offered over $250,000 in prizes. During 2012, our High-Stakes High-End Giveaway presented prizes that, in total, were valued at nearly $90,000! This eclipses any other high-end audio giveaway at the time, and to this day still commands the industry's largest contest.
---> Read More



STEREO Magazine

STEREO Magazine Teams Up With Enjoy the Music.com
STEREO, Europe's most respected magazine, partners with Enjoy the Music.com.
Enjoy the Music.com, a significant provider in high-end luxury audio equipment reviews, news and show reports since 1995, is elated to announce our teaming up with STEREO Magazine. As Europe's most respected magazine, STEREO has successfully reached millions of music lovers throughout the world spanning many decades. This new partnership continues the vision of both publications to share in the joys of music and how to best reproduce it within your home, office, and everywhere possible. For nearly 25 years, Enjoy the Music.com is an essential resource for information about the high-end audio industry and high resolution / streaming music on the Internet.
---> Read More



Positive Feedback Partners With Enjoy the Music.com Content sharing will expand fan base of both CE audio publications.
Positive Feedback Partners With Enjoy the Music.com
Content sharing will expand fan base of both CE audio publications.

Enjoy the Music.com, a significant provider in CE audio equipment reviews, news and show reports since 1995, is excited to announce a partnership with highly-respected Positive Feedback magazine. Both magazines deliver on their vision of content sharing, so that both benefit with enhanced visibility to their perspective worldwide audience.
---> Read More


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Merrill Audio Christine Reference Stereo Preamplifier Review

Merrill Audio Christine Reference Stereo Preamplifier
Achieving sound quality competitive with the very best!
Review By Tom Lyle
It's time for me to give it a rest. From this point forward, I'm not going to criticize anyone for incorrectly substituting the term "preamplifier" for "linestage", or vice versa. Basically, a preamplifier is a component that provides gain to send to the power amplifier, and contains an internal phono preamplifier, or even might contain an internal digital-to-analog converter. A linestage is one that has no other functions besides providing gain. Of course, both can switch between multiple sources and provide impedance matching between it and the power amp.
---> Read More



Elly Audio Loudspeaker Review

World Premiere Review!
Elly Audio Loudspeaker
Kickstart'in a very capable and well-designed speaker both sonically and aesthetically. 
Review By Rick LaFaver
Hello again everyone, I have been away awhile both enjoying and surviving the birth of my two daughters but things have settled down to a point where I can have some time in the evenings to pour myself a glass of my beverage of choice and not only put time in with my system, but write about it even. I have missed this so much, but I needed the right thing to come back to from my retirement... semi-retirement... or we'll call it a sabbatical?
---> Read More



Bob Carver Cherry 180 Vacuum Tube Monoblock Amplifier

World Premiere Review!
Bob Carver Cherry 180 Tube Monoblock Amplifier

One of the most significant tube amplifiers of the past 60 years!
Review By Dick Olsher
Everyone, I'm sure, has by now heard that the innovative and dare I say legend in his own time, Bob Carver, is back! Carver LLC is about tube amplifiers, and soon loudspeakers. It is really the tale of two Bobs: Bob Carver the designer, and Bob Farinelli the business and marketing hub. Two tube monoblock amps are currently shipping: the Cherry 180 and Black Beauty 305. Both share the same chassis, but the 180 is optimized for a KT88 output stage while the 305 is designed specifically for the KT120. Although promoted as a nominal 180 Watt amp, Carver tells me that the Cherry 180 will deliver about 270 Watts.
---> Read More



Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Momentum Phono Stage Preamplifier Review

Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems
Momentum Phono Stage Preamplifier

A championship phono stage from living legend Dan D'Agostino.
Review By Tom Lyle
When I heard that I would be reviewing the $28,000 Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Momentum phono preamplifier for this issue of Enjoy The Music, I was a very happy audiophile -- on account of the time I spent with the $50,000 D'Agostino Momentum Lifestyle integrated amplifier that I reviewed earlier this year. If this phono preamplifier had any of the sonic characteristics of the MLife, I suspected I was going to hear my records through a state-of-the-art phono preamp, or at the very least one that was very close to state-of-the-art.
---> Read More



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