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Hearing Or Listening? Which Is More Important?
How we relate to the music.
By Roger Skoff
Did you know that, in general, healthy young women hear better
than healthy young men? It's true; although the normal range of human hearing is
usually described as being from 20 to 20,000 Hz, the threshold of perception
(the lowest volume level of sound that can be heard) and the high-frequency
response range (the highest-pitched sounds that can be heard) of women
at any age are both generally better than they are for men. So why aren't there more female audiophiles? Wouldn't you
think that, if they can hear better than us, they'd likely be more "into" the
music than we are? And, even despite the ladies' relative unconcern
for things mechanical or electronic, wouldn't you think that they'd be into our
Hi-Fi hobby, too?
Hearing Or Listening? Which Is More Important?
The Perception Of Change
There's so much we could all benefit if we evolve our new designs and product
Editorial By J. Martins
As I always like to say: I know that I know nothing, but
I'm always learning. (Plato would agree if he had said it) Unfortunately, in the life of a magazine editor I have long learned that there is
never enough time to just study and learn. I strongly admire people who have devoted their whole career to study, research, and publish what they learned (many times combined with teaching).
That's what I always like about attending conferences, where here and there you come across people and work that shake the foundations of our knowledge and
understanding. That was the case recently, when I — together with our technical editor Jan
Didden, and a good number of audioXpress authors — attended one of the opening sessions of the 154th Audio Engineering Society (AES) International Convention, held at Aalto University in
Espoo, Helsinki, Finland, from May 13th through 15th.
---> The Perception Of Change.
Cult Of Personality
What happens when that designer stops designing?
Editorial By Alan Sircom
We have a cult of personality in high-end audio. Unlike almost every other branch of consumer electronics – where the product is created by a team of engineers and industrial designers – a lot of high-end audio is the result of one very bright person at the helm of a small company making incredibly specialist products for a small, but select clientele.
This has its upsides and downsides. The great advantage in the audio industry's need to have some kind of close contact with the designer is that they are very close to direct customer feedback. When the guy making the thing is the same guy demonstrating the thing at a show, they are only a few sentences from getting a full break-down of their products by those who use them daily. This kind of direct
'focus group' feedback is something large corporations pay handsomely to obtain.
---> Cult Of Personality.
Pacific Audio Fest 2023
Enjoy hearing premium audio
gear in Seattle at PAF 2023.
The Pacific Audio Fest (PAF) 2023, which took place at the Doubletree-Hilton
Sea-Tac / Seattle from June 23rd through 25th, is the USA's very best Northwestern premium audio event. There
was live music Friday and Saturday nights, with NW regional wine and beer
tastings, and ~80 rooms of quality audio, Marketplace, Record Fair, HeadZone and much more! Renowned audiophile and reviewer Greg Weaver
enjoyed Friday and Saturday evenings presenting his curated after-hours music sessions.
---> Pacific Audio Fest 2023 Show Report.
World Exclusive Review!
Linn 360 Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review
A credible and modern high-end loudspeaker system.
Review By Alan Sircom
Linn pitches the new Linn 360
floorstanding loudspeaker as 'audibly invisible; visibly remarkable', and the
company has a point. This is Linn's girthy flagship – roughly the size of the
outgoing Klimax 350, the former head of the clan. It's available in passive form
with 'Aktiv' bass or Exakt digital active to slot in a Linn DSM system. The Linn 360 is a good blend of the conventional and the
innovative. It retains several important styling cues of previous high-end Linn
speakers. But look closer, and you'll notice the complexity of the cabinet. Look
even closer; you'll see that new Beryllium tweeter with a Linn logo protection
cover. You might even see the trim pieces with concentric arcs cut into them.
These remind listeners of Linn's place in the turntable hierarchy with its
eternal LP12. But clever curves and elegant grooves are not enough.
Linn 360 Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review.
World Premiere Review!
LampizatOr Horizon DAC Review
A new benchmark!
Review By Greg Weaver
My history, and fascination, with Łukasz Fikus and
his Poland-based LampizatOr heralds back to my first exposure to the Golden Gate's
introduction at AXPONA 2015. It may be significant to point out that this timing
is eerily coincident with my choice to begin to more deeply explore the validity
of digital audio as a source. To that point, in my system, digital file playback
had shown no real ability to favorably compete with my analog reference system,
sonically or with the breadth and depth of my LP collection. Keep in mind,
Norway's Tidal, the first music streaming service to offer at least Redbook CD
quality streaming had just launched in the US that previous October, and – I
was not an early adopter.
LampizatOr Horizon DAC Review.
World Premiere Review!
Audio Note UK M2 Linestage / Preamplifier And Conqueror Power Amplifier Review
Taking the road less traveled.
Review By Paul Schumann
audio emerged in the 1950s with the introduction of the LP record. As the
business evolved and stereo became the norm, acoustic suspension speakers gained
popularity due to their smaller footprint in the family room. What followed
after that can be called an arms race between audio manufacturers to build more
powerful amplifiers. This continued as hi-fi became high-end audio. It was not
uncommon to see on the pages of print magazines reviewing amplifiers rated at
400 Watts per channel or more. But not all music lovers were following this path. While the
audio business was trending towards the more powerful tube and solid-state amps,
an underground movement in Japan was extolling the virtues of the old
low-powered Western Electric amps when paired with speakers of the same vintage.
Audio Note UK M2 Linestage / Preamplifier And Conqueror Power Amplifier Review.
World Premiere Review!
Crystal Cable Micro Diamond Series 2 Interconnect,
Loudspeaker, Power, And USB Cable Review
Beautifully well-made cables that are sonically invisible.
Review By Tom Lyle
Cable describes their Micro Diamond Series 2 as an "affordable" (my
quotes) line of cables that enables them to "offer Crystal Cable's core
values at a more modest price." Before reading anything about these cables,
I installed all the Micro Diamond Series 2 cables I was sent for review into my
system, including both XLR and RCA terminated interconnects, their power cords,
speaker cable, and even their USB cable that I used to connect my computer-based
music server to my system's DAC. These cables looked unlike any other high-end audio cable I've
ever used. The diameter of these Crystal Cable products was very narrow, at
least when compared to my references. So, for example, rather than a speaker
cable with the diameter of a garden hose, the Crystal Cable Micro Diamond Series
2 speaker cable was as thin and flexible....
Crystal Cable Micro Diamond Series 2 Interconnect, Loudspeaker, Power, And USB Cable Review.
World Premiere Review!
Gold Note A6 Evo II Full-Range Loudspeaker
Setting the Gold Standard.
Review By Dr. Michael Bump
The premium high-performance audio / exotic race car analogy
is a more-than-common theme among audiophiles, industry, and media. There are
even borrowings from open-wheel / Formula car racing designs that have found
their way into premium audio designs (a.k.a. high-end audio). I recall Michael
Borresen referencing speaker driver materials and build concepts borrowed from
Formula 1 body materials for their strength, weight, and mobility. Luxurious
premium audio and exotic racing sports are kindred spirits, I suspect largely in
that they share a passion for high art in engineering precision, performance,
and mechanical beauty (many audio shows are sure to exhibit this relationship in
some form). As a professional musician and professor of music, I find the
thread of this kindred spirit interesting as it applies to Italian music
Gold Note A6 Evo II Full-Range Loudspeaker Review.
FiiO M15S Desktop / Portable Hi-Res Lossless Music Player Review
FiiO's M15S and FH9 have incredible synergy and represent an ideal portable listening
Review By Gary Alan Barker
Until I received my FiiO R7 Music Server my go-to
player to burn in headphones or to act as a digital source for DAC reviews
(computers tend to be noisy over USB) has been my trusty FiiO M11 DAP (while
the FiiO M11 Plus LTD offers some advantages, it also sucks up a lot
of power), but FiiO is not a company to rest long, always pushing the envelope
and developing new and better players, and in this vein is their new FiiO M15S
Desktop/Portable Hi-Res Lossless Music Player. Slightly larger and with an
almost half-inch larger display, the M15S boasts an eight-channel DAC and over twice
the power output and includes a desktop dock with a built-in cooling fan. Some of the things that set the FiiO M15S Desktop/Portable
Hi-Res Lossless Music Player apart from the pack beyond the FiiO DK3S dock, are
the Dual Power Supply Mode, the Five Gain Levels, Six Operating Modes....
FiiO M15S Desktop / Portable Hi-Res Lossless Music Player Review.
Volti Audio Razz LE Loudspeaker Review
Sometimes good things come in large packages.
Review By Ron Nagle
A buzzing bell sound sends me to my front door. Outside two large boxes hide a
sweaty, smallish UPS delivery man. I can see a faint smile cross his face as he
tells me, "My father wanted me to be a doctor." Now I have two mini monoliths inside my front door. The boxes each weigh about
97 pounds and stand five feet tall. I can see my significant other giving me the
look that means, I've been bad. I'm thinking, don't get your knickers in a
twist, I can handle this. I downloaded the unpacking instructions. And using the
instructions as a guide I peeled away the three cardboard boxes that held the
speakers. This unpacking thing is a job for two people and four hands. Volti Audio is a brilliant creation by loudspeaker engineer
Greg Roberts. He seems to be the CEO, CFO, Chief Designer, the guy who sweeps
the floor and sends out for pizza.
---> Volti Audio Razz LE Loudspeaker Review.
World Premiere Review!
Metronome Audio Le DAC 2 Review
The Spice must flow.
Review By Paul Schumann
secret that Hollywood has become the land of the sequel. Nine of the top ten
grossing movies from 2022 were sequels. I excluded The Batman because it
technically wasn't a sequel, but it was a reboot, for goodness' sake. Now I'm
not going to bash sequels out of hand. I watch a bunch of them myself. My big
complaint is when a sequel is done by a different set of writers and a new
director and is so different from its predecessor in tone and theme that about
halfway through I throw up my hands and ask, "Why am I watching this?". One sequel I'm looking forward to watching is Dune: Part 2.
While they call it a sequel, it's more of a continuation of the first movie with
Denis Villeneuve and his team completing the task. Even though I've only seen
2.5 minutes of it in a trailer, I am incredibly hopeful that this crew will
bring the ship safely into the harbor. Yes, I could be wrong, but like Fremen, I
---> Metronome Audio Le DAC 2 Review.
A Guide To High-End Room Construction And Acoustic Treatment
We visit Robert Harley, Editor of The Absolute
Sound, personal luxurious premium audio listening room.
Videoed and edited by TAS' Digital Managing Editor Charles Kinder
Within the below videos, Robert Harley shares his story in constructing his listening room. He
kindly provides us a wonderful glimpse of the details in building a luxurious high-end audio room, while also sharing a few acoustic treatment tips
too! Within the second video of this series, Robert Harley takes us on a tour of his personal premium audio reference equipment within his listening room. Robert kindly shares his expert thoughts and innovative insights into the different products he employs when
Robert Harley is the editor in chief of The Absolute Sound and the editor of the large-format book series
The Absolute Sound's Illustrated History of High-End Audio. Harley has taught college degree programs in audio engineering in addition to having worked as a recording engineer, a CD mastering engineer, and an audio journalist.
A Guide To High-End Room Construction And Acoustic Treatment.
Music Streaming Versus Vinyl LP
Putting out the fire.
Video By Greg Weaver (a.k.a. The Audio Analyst)
Today, we're fortunate to have Greg sharing two recordings with us. The title cut Cat People (Putting Out Fire) by David Bowie and Giorgio Moroder, which is from the 1982 "Cat People" soundtrack. Within the video below we have Greg playing the digital audio stream, and again using the vinyl LP version. Greg has invested the better part of the past five decades in and around the high-performance audio and music industries with the goal to help you find ways and gear to help you get closer to our chosen passion... the music!
---> Music Streaming Versus Vinyl LP.
Music Streaming Services Discussion
Get the most out of your music streaming service!
Video By Abyss Headphones
Within the below video are our friends at Abyss Headphones
discussing various streaming music services. During their talk, they give you insight in ways you can improve your listening
experience while using music streaming services like Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify, Qobuz, and of course all the
rest. And yes, as an added bonus, Roon Labs is discussed as well. We also have a
bonus video where headphone engineers blindly and individually test and rank popular music streaming services on a $30,000 headphone system. Music services tested include Spotify, Apple Music, Qobuz, Tidal, and Amazon
---> Music Streaming Services Discussion.
eCoustics Interview With Jim Garrett Of Harman Luxury Audio Group
Get blown away by JBL sound... again.
Video By eCoustics
Within this video, we can gain great knowledge from eCoustics founder Brian Mitchell as he sits down with Jim Garrett, head of product strategy and planning at the Harman Luxury Audio Group. Composed of five active brands including JBL, JBL Synthesis, Arcam, Mark Levinson, and Revel, Brian Mitchell and Jim Garrett's discussion centers around the luxury side of the JBL business. This includes the modernized re-launch of JBL's classic stereo products, including the L100, plus they discusses immersive audio products
eCoustics Interview With Jim Garrett Of Harman Luxury Audio Group.
Intro By Art Dudley
Magazine's Art Dudley Discusses Audio.
By the time you read this my daughter
will be four years old. This morning I took Julia to preschool, but when we got there I realized
I'd forgotten to bring her lunch, so I told the teachers I would return with it later
on. I went back at noon, brown bag in hand, and walked into the classroom just as everyone was settling down on the big
story rug for a big story. When Julia saw me her face lit up and she shouted, "Daddy!" She jumped up and ran to me
and gave me the biggest hug ever, in history. While she was hugging me she continued to say, "My Daddy! My Daddy!,"
and patted me on the back the way she does lately. All you parents out there know what I'm talking about, don't
you? It's hard to stay worried about skating or ringing or jitter or other distortions with vaguely
Christmas-y names when you've got something like that going on.
---> The Intro By Art Dudley.
The EMT 927 And EMT 930 Turntables
Plus a variety of tonearms and other bits.
Article By Heiner Jakobi
Introduced in 1951, the EMT 927 was a massive turntable with an aluminum chassis, measuring 67.5 x 52 x 21.5 cm with a weight of 80 pounds. The platter has a diameter of 44 cm and sits in an amazing precision ball bearing. The bearing shaft is 16.6 cm long and has a diameter of 2 cm! The motor itself is massive. It looks like an industrial motor, 13.5 cm in diameter and 20 cm long! It is a three-phase synchronous type with phase
shifter. A precision manufactured three-step pulley is mounted on the motor axis and a precision idler transfers the power from the motor to the inside rim of the platter. The idler wheel can be shifted to the 78, 45, and 33.3 rpm positions for speed change. The platter itself is extremely heavy and the mass is distributed mainly along the outer rim.
---> The EMT 927 And EMT 930 Turntables.
Triode Amplifier Operating Points
Article By Paul Joppa
From VALVE Volume 2 Number
How do you choose a good operating
point (supply voltage, current, and load impedance) for a vacuum tube? For ordinary
tubes, used in an ordinary way, it's simple — you just look it up in your RCA handbook. But suppose you want
to use an unusual tube (e.g. the 6CK4 television vertical amplifier)? Or suppose
you just want to try breaking the rules? I struggled with this problem recently, and I've concluded that then really is a
single "reference" operating point for any given (triode) tube, and that variations around that point have
similar effects for all triodes. I've only studied single-ended Class A triode circuits with zero grid current (actually
Class A1), but that covers a lot of audio circuits of interest. Mostly, I've looked
for conditions that provide the maximum power output.
---> Triode Amplifier Operating
Beyerdynamic T5 Headphones (3rd Gen) Review
The 3rd generation beyerdynamic T5 headphones set a very high standard for closed-back models. Are they the best value as well?
Review By W. Jennings
recently sent the third generation beyerdynamic T5 headphones to
review. I felt particularly comfortable reviewing the next generation T5 because
I have owned both previous models and still have the previous pair of headphones
in my current collection. Right now, someone new to headphones is saying "but I
can't find any information on the earlier T5 models." I understand that level of
frustration. The previous models were called the T5p to
denote that they were portable. The times have certainly changed. When the T5 was first introduced, it was one of a pair of
flagships for beyerdynamic using their new "Tesla" technology. The T1 were
an open-back model with a 600-Ohm impedance. The T1 begged for a tube amp to
feed it properly and certainly was beyond the capabilities of most portable
players at the time of its introduction. The T5p was a closed-back design with a
32-Ohm impedance and came with a shorter cable with a 3.5mm termination and was
much more suitable for portable use as it was easier to drive well.
Beyerdynamic T5 headphones (3rd Gen) Review.
Vacuum Tube Stereo Amplifier Review
Enjoying 1950s and 1960s American hi-fi sound.
Review By Sam Rosen
the last five weeks, I have had the opportunity to sit back and enjoy one of the
best amplifiers I have heard in a long time. It all started when I got a phone
call from the owner of ampsandsound, he said he had something new and special in
the works. I was intrigued, he then told me it was a direct heated triode, and
that it was powerful enough to drive speakers and my SUSVARA headphones. He then
said he was sending me a review unit in three weeks. The Rockwell arrived three
weeks later, and I can happily say it will not be leaving. The Rockwell is a single ended amplifier with zero feedback, and it employs direct heated triodes for its power tubes. Like the ampsandsound Bigger Ben, it uses a 6SL7 input tube, and it is tube rectified. The out transformers are massive and over spec'd and provide five output impedances (8, 16, 32, 100, and 300 Ohms). This allows you to match this amp to pretty much any
ampsandsound Rockwell Stereo Amplifier Review.
Marantz CD60 CD Player Review
The Marantz CD60 CD Player has me very impressed out of the gate but will it seal the deal with pricier amplification and loudspeakers? Stay
Review By Ian White
in February, I spent some time with Marantz so I could experience the
new Marantz 40n Network Integrated Amplifier. The $2500 amplifier drove
multiple pairs of Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers in the hotel space with
relative ease and I left after two hours of listening thinking that Marantz
needed to introduce something less expensive to match it. There were other CD
players on display in the room but they were priced well above what I was
thinking. I was hoping to see the 40n connected to something like the brand new Marantz
CD60 that was just introduced at HIGH END in Munich for $999. There are plenty of people who will shake their head at
something like the Marantz CD60 in 2022 with streaming owning 85% of the market
right now — but I'm not part of that group. Not even remotely.
Marantz CD60 CD Player Review.
Questyle M15 In-Line USB DAC / Headphone Amplifier Review
A true mini powerhouse for personal audio.
Review By Gary Alan Barker
has a long history of leading the pack in engineering and design as well as
sound quality. Their revolutionary patented approach to Current Mode
Amplification has become so ubiquitous with sound quality that even ESS now
offers Current Mode output from their DAC chips, which every manufacturer that I've
talked to says is far superior to the voltage mode output. The introduction of
the Questyle M12 heralded Questyle's launch into the in-line USB DAC / amplifier
market with a product that while clearly better sounding than the competition
lacked the power to properly drive over-the-ear headphones. Well, Questyle
listened to their fans and has answered with the Questyle M15 In-line DAC/Amp.
Questyle M15 In-Line USB DAC / Headphone Amplifier Review.
World Premiere Review!
Vermouth Audio Reference Series Cables
Reference Balance Interconnect, Reference RCA Interconnect, And Reference Power Cord
A big box of cables from Bali.
Review By Dwayne Carter
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing a pair of
Audio Little Luccas MkII Limited Edition Speakers, along with their Red
Velvet, and Black Pearl Cables. They arrived in a large wooden crate, direct
from Bali. Meticulously packed and well cared for, the audio cables were
individually boxed and wrapped in cloth bags. We were impressed from the moment
we began unboxing until the moment we sent them back to Bali. The delivery of the Vermouth Audio's Reference
Series Cables prompted the same expectation. Vermouth Audio sent three of their
Reference Series Cables: The Reference Balance Interconnect, Reference RCA
Interconnect, and Reference Power Cord. Inside the thick cardboard box; each Reference Series Cable
(or cable pair) arrived in a separate, decorative cardboard box. Inside that
box, each cable (or cable pair) was tucked inside a heavy cloth bag, adorned
with the Vermouth logo.
---> Vermouth Audio Reference Series
Accustic Arts Preamp III Review
Higher Goals... but how to hit them?
Review By Matthias Böde
new Preamp III, Accustic Arts wants to surpass their previous top
model. STEREO tested whether they were successful. Both the effort taken
as well as the financial commitment are considerable, in any way.... When the brand new top preamplifier from the
Southern German high-end manufacturer Accustic Arts finally arrived in our
office, already eagerly awaited, we had to swallow hard three times. First when
unpacking. The reason for this was that the device we took out of the box, with
its aluminum-covered housing featuring a striking cut-out logo in the lid,
looked incredibly impressive in a dignified way. It seemed as if the Preamp III
wants to replace its tried and tested predecessor Tube Preamp II MK2
simply by making it seem and look puny in comparison.
Accustic Arts Preamp III Review.
Timepieces, Cars, Opera, And Premium Luxury Audio
Roger Skoff writes about the future of our hobby and industry.
By Roger Skoff
I saw a cartoon on one of the audiophile sites on Facebook the other day that
reminded me of something that I've been thinking about our industry for a long
time: As a technology sector, we're a largely undiscovered wonder and glory.
We've been able to accomplish fabulous things! We can, using only two or more
channels of information, come very close to duplicating the experience of live
music played within a venue of practically any size, by and with virtually any
number of performers. We know an immense amount about an immense number of aural
subjects, all related in one way or another to the correct and faithful
reproduction of music. We know physics. We know acoustics. We know electronics –
including things about electronics that other, less focused, technologies and
disciplines have never yet even imagined.
Timepieces, Cars, Opera, And Premium Luxury Audio.
JPS Labs Superconductor V Interconnects,
Speaker Cables And USB Cables Review
Connecting to the Soul of Music.
Review By Paul Schumann
There has been quite a bit of discussion, lately, in this publication and other forums, about the current direction of the music industry. One of the hot topics is how popular music is recorded and produced. Many argue that the use of software, like
ProTools, to snap everything to a grid and correct any
"flaws" is robbing the music of its soul. Many times the result is music that, while initially appealing, quickly loses the interest of the listener. It is soulless
music. The question is, what is this soul and how do we recognize it? I think most of the time, this occurs at a subconscious level. Why do we want to go see an artist in concert when
we've already heard all of their songs multiple times in studio perfection?
JPS Labs Superconductor V Interconnects, Speaker Cables And USB Cables Review.
Audiophile Gift 2022 December
Audiophile Gift 2021 December
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