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High-End Audio And Audiophile Review Magazine.
Gear Reviews, Show Reports, Articles And More!

High-End Audio  /  Audiophile Equipment Reviews
May / June 2019

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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 opened their doors and welcomed 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 once again reports 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

With our final AXPONA report posted, Enjoy the Music.com now has more than 600 photos spanning over 55 pages! AXPONA (Audio Expo North America) 2019 was held from April 12th through 14th at their permanent home at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center. This year is AXPONA's tenth anniversary, marking its largest show to date!
---> See our AXPONA 2019 show report.



Bristol Hi-Fi Show 2019 Report By Julian Musgrave Of HIFICRITIC Magazine

Bristol Hi-Fi Show 2019 Report
Brilliant, bustling Bristol: Julian's upbeat view of the 2019 Bristol Show...
Bristol Show 2019 Report By Julian Musgrave Of HIFICRITIC Magazine
'Brilliant' sums up Bristol 2019 nicely. Last year's show was a tad deja-vu, I felt: it's not that it wasn't still the best UK trade-run show, but we were all treading water. This year there were new exhibitors, a new energy and gems to be found, meaning I got more innocent, giggling joy from the Bristol Show 2019 than from any other show in recent memory.
---> See our Bristol Hi-Fi Show report.



HIFICRITIC Sound Stage: Ken Ishiwata

HIFICRITIC Sound Stage: Ken Ishiwata
The term 'Hi-Fi' was first coined in 1947, the year I was born – how's that for a coincidence? It all started with mono LPs, stereo following in 1958, and the technology was all valves until solid-state (or transistors) appeared. Initially, solid state couldn't compare with well-designed tube amplifiers, but step by step improvements were made, and the new technology became popular; speaker engineers changed their way of designing, as you could get more power easily; and manufacturing became easier and cheaper.
---> Read More



Audiophile Honor

Audiophile Honor
Roger Skoff writes about "doing it right".
Article By Roger Skoff
I and my HiFi Crazy friends used to joke, years ago, about high-end audio that seemed to involve paying more to get less: We noticed that an ordinary Mid-Fi receiver had all kinds of features, toys, and goodies ("tone" controls, "scratch" and "rumble" filters, a Fletcher-Munson "loudness" control, and seemingly everything else that the designers or marketers could think of to throw in). We also noticed that high-end products usually went off in the opposite direction, offering fewer features as the price went up, with a High-End preamp, for example, possibly having no features at all other than a volume control and a selector switch.
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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.
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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



EXOGAL Computational DAC / PowerDAC Technology

EXOGAL Computational DAC / PowerDAC Technology
The Resounding Difference
Article By Jeff Haagenstad Of EXOGAL

Most people with an interest in audio have heard of Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) and Amplifiers. They've heard of Ring DACs, Ladder DACs, R2R DACs, and Delta/Sigma DACs. They've heard of Class A, Class AB and Class D amplifiers. (Spoiler Alert: We don't use any of those!) They may not know the exact technical differences between them, the relative advantages and disadvantages of each of them, or the reason that manufacturers make the design choices that they make. But there is a degree of common knowledge that creates a fundamental basis for everyone who participates in audio as a business or a hobby.
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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



Merrill Audio Element 116 Review

World Premiere Review!
Merrill Audio Element 116 Versus Veritas Monoblock Amplifiers
Comparative thoughts on two premium amplifiers from Merrill Audio.
Review By Dr. Michael Bump
Some of my favorite, albeit rare, audiophile experiences have been what some might refer to as "blind shootouts." Not just A/B sessions with similarly priced, similarly designed audio components, but true variety pack shootouts between significantly varied designs and price points. These experiences have been healthy cleansing reminders for me to avoid listening with my eyes (or my wallet), and keep my ears on the music. In the May issue of Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine, Roger Skoff offers a candid explanation as to why each of us is ultimately the "expert" when it comes to defining the two primary determinates of audiophilia: "What's good?" and "How can you tell?"
---> 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


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ModWright Instruments PH 9.0 Phono Stage Review

ModWright Instruments PH 9.0 Phono Stage
A new paradigm in affordable excellence.
Review By Greg Weaver of Positive Feedback

I've had the privilege of knowing Dan Wright for the past twenty years. Over that time, I've seen ModWright burgeon from its humble beginnings as an upgrade or modification-only service provider, to becoming a respected manufacturer of a full line of products. Over the past two decades, ModWright has established an unwavering benchmark in providing both remarkable sounding gear and exceptional value. In fact, I was so impressed with ModWright's flagship phono preamplifier, the PH 150 Reference introduced in 2015, that I purchased mine after reviewing for another publication. As such, it was a no-brainer that I should audition their latest and relatively affordable offering.
---> Read More



Vanatoo Transparent One Encore Satellite / Subwoofer System Review

World Premiere Review!
Vanatoo Transparent One Encore Satellite / Subwoofer System
Speakers for those who love music.
Review By Matthew Clott
I have become increasingly impressed with the quality of truly affordable audio gear. The newly released Vanatoo Transparent One Encore qualifies under both the impressed and affordable category. There is a lot of technology and features crammed into a rather petite bookshelf speaker with a single cable running to the passive speaker. Within the active speaker is an amplifier, preamplifier, Bluetooth with AptX, active crossover for subwoofer output, DAC, remote receiver and, I'm pretty sure, a blender to make margaritas to enjoy while playing your tunes. Ok, maybe the blender was an exaggeration but these T1E's pack a lot of features and performance for a $599 product.
---> Read More



Aric Audio Alpha 300B Push Pull Amplifier Review

World Premiere Review!
Aric Audio Alpha 300B Push Pull Amplifier

One of the best sounding tube amplifiers you have (probably) never heard of.
Review By Dwayne Carter

Until last week, I had in my possession one of the best sounding tube amplifiers in the world (from my small world view). Even better, I was fortunate enough to have this amplifier mated with a pair of the most recognizable speakers in the world (Avantgarde Uno Fino). On top of that, my wife joined me in the Audio Room for two(!) listening sessions with drinks in hand. It's true what they say: You never know a good thing... until it's gone.
---> Read More


Xavian Perla Esclusiva Compact Monitor Review

Xavian Perla Esclusiva Compact Monitor
Accurately reproducing voice in an extremely lifelike manner.
Review By Brett Rudolph
Last year I had the chance to correspond with Daniel at Xavian. The Czech Republic based company founded by Roberto Barletta is known for their cabinetry and the materials they use in their construction. So, it was with great excitement that I accepted the responsibility to review their Perla speakers. It took a few months from the time of that initial correspondence until the speakers arrived at my doorstep. This was partially due to the time it took for them to travel from their origin in the Czech Republic, but that was not the only reason. Sometime between the first contact and when the speakers arrived, the design had been changed and the speakers updated. So, what was supposedly a fairly impressive speaker, or so I have been told, came to me with fairly big shoes to fill, so to speak.
---> Read More



SVSound SVS SB16-Ultra Subwoofer Review

SVSound SVS SB16-Ultra Subwoofer Review
Purchasing this subwoofer is money well-spent.
Review By Tom Lyle

On the SVS website there's a section titled "Why go dual subwoofers?". Their reasons are simple: Two small subwoofers can fit were one large subwoofer can't, more listening position options, greater headroom, stereo bass which will improve soundstage, plus, the bass frequencies are more difficult to localize. SVS even has a video explaining why two are better than one. For quite a while I only used one subwoofer in my system. This was mostly because I didn't have enough space for two, and please, I am not saying that two subwoofers are mandatory, as I was very happy using only one subwoofer in the corner of my listening room.
---> Read More



HiFiMAN HE1000se Full Sized Over-Ear Headphone Review

HiFiMAN HE1000se Full Sized Over-Ear Headphone
One More Time, With Feeling: HiFiMAN creates the most powerful, dynamic version of the HE1000 technology yet.
Review By Dave Hanson

When HiFiMAN first released the HE1000 in 2015, it was part of a watershed moment in the headphone industry. The headphone, along with the MrSpeakers Ether, were monster hits at the first CanJam SoCal. If one were to create a written history of planar magnetic headphones, surely it would be divided into periods occurring "Before the HE1000 and Ether" and after. They, along with their subsequent iterations, have largely defined the ultra-high-end market for planar magnetic headphones since. For HiFiMAN's part, the HE1000 represented a new form factor and showcased HiFiMAN's new nanometer-thickness diaphragms.
---> Read More



Erzetich Audio Phobos Orthodynamic Headphones


Erzetich Audio Phobos Orthodynamic Headphones
A serious new contender in town!
Review By Gary Peter Pialisu Of Headphone.Guru
Over the past decade, orthodynamic (also called planar magnetic) headphones have made quite the impression in the world of personal audio. I remember the old days when it was primarily just dynamic headphones like the Sennheiser HD600, or the AKG K701 and electro-static headphones by the folks at Stax. Then a few new pioneers entered the scene with some of the first new planar magnetic headphones to really push these other two driver categories for domination. Erzetich Audio, a newer player in the orthodynamic market space is located in western Slovenia and is solely focused on personal audio. With four headphone amplifiers and two headphones; the Phobos (flagship model; planar magnetic drivers) and Mania (50mm titanium dynamic drivers), Erzetich Audio has put forth quite a solid product offering.
---> Read More



Unique Melody Mirage In-Ear Monitor Review

Unique Melody Mirage In-Ear Monitor Review
The All-Rounder: Unique Melody Mirage IEM delivers a dynamically explosive, musically intoxicating masterpiece.
Review By Dave Hanson
While IEM makers like JH Audio, Campfire Audio and Ultimate Ears receive heaps of (well-deserved) attention and praise, Chinese manufacturer Unique Melody is one of those audio companies that seem to fly under the radar pretty easily. I'll admit, my own experience with their in-ears was fairly limited, but their stunning new designs, Maven ($1999) and Mirage ($1099) definitely caught my attention.
After reading some initial impressions on the prototypes and a bit of discussion with Unique Melody rep, Lawrance Lee, Mirage seemed like the model that would align more closely with my listening preferences.
---> Read More



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



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.
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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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Gryphon Sonett Phono Preamplifier Review

World Premiere Review!
Gryphon Sonett MM / MC Phono Stage Preamplifier
The many joys of listening to analog music.
Review By Tom Lyle
Perhaps there are some audiophiles that may have only heard of the Danish high-end audio manufacturer Gryphon because they have seen their ads in Enjoy The Music.com. Although, there are probably many more audiophiles and music lovers who have heard of Gryphon Audio Designs because they have been around for more than thirty years and have earned a reputation for making some very nice high-end audio equipment. For those who might not be as familiar with Gryphon as some others, a bit of their history may be in order. Briefly, they were founded by Flemming E. Rasmussen, who holds degrees in painting and graphic arts from the Aarhus Art Academy in Denmark.
---> Read More



Nagra Classic Preamp Review

North America Premiere Review!
Nagra Classic Preamp
For those who have a system that can appreciate its ultra-luculent and musical sound.
Review By Tom Lyle
Nagra is a Swiss company that has a well-established reputation as a leading manufacturer of professional recording equipment. They were founded about 60 years ago, but it wasn't until 1997 that they also started making high-end audio equipment for home use. I was already afflicted with the audiophile bug back when Nagra introduced their first components for the high-end market, and it was then that I knew that I wanted to own one, or, at the very least hear one. I finally have a Nagra component in my system, their very attractive looking Class A vacuum-tube powered Classic Preamp.
---> Read More



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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