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09-30-2015 | By Wojciech Pacuła

KBL Sound Signature Series Himalaya Interconnect + Speaker Cable

It is hard to find own niche on the market. The smaller the industry the smaller potential customer group and thus the more difficult is to reach them. On top of that there is this, sometimes even unaware, preference audiophiles have for products made in Western Europe, USA or Japan. If you consider all that… Read More »

09-28-2015 | By Stu McCreary

The End of a Self–Imposed Audio Exile – The Return of “Stu’s Place”

I'm baaaack! Hey, this place looks really different. I like what you've done with the wallpaper and the new carpets. You look great too. You've gained a little weight and put on a touch of grey but I must say, it looks good on you—very distinguished. It's been thirteen years since I last graced the… Read More »

09-26-2015 | By Andreas Koch

Raising the Sample Rate of DSD – Is There a Sweet Spot?

Andreas Koch of Playback Designs, RMAF 2014 Direct Stream Digital, or DSD, encoding has been used for years already for SACD and also as an intermediate format inside analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters. It's basic concept is Delta-Sigma modulation and uses 1 bit per sample with a sample rate of at least 2.8224MHz (64 x 44.1kHz)…. Read More »

09-26-2015 | By Jeff Day

Adventures in Real Sound with Mr. Shirokazu Yazaki

In Issue 78 I introduced you to the remarkable Mr. Shirokazu Yazaki of Tokyo, Japan (above, center, with friends), in my article about the SPEC RSA-M3 Real Sound Amplifier. Mr. Shirokazu Yazaki has been a successful professional audio designer in Japan for over 40 years, and has been involved in the design of many fine… Read More »

09-26-2015 | By David W. Robinson

Positive Feedback’s DSD seminar at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2015

Positive Feedback will once again be hosting, and I will be moderating, a panel on DSD at RMAF 2015. This year we'll be exploring a different aspect of DSD. Our seminar title is "DSD: The artist and the studio perspectives." We'll be discussing what performing artists and producers/audio engineers have to say about their experiences… Read More »

09-24-2015 | By Wojciech Pacuła

Interview with Michael Lang, Editor of Stereo Magazine

The Editors Series Numbers show how much the world of hobbyist magazines has changed. In a book entitled EISA. Looking Back, Moving Forward published in 2007, which was to add splendor to the 25th anniversary of the EISA reward, we read that the German Stereo magazine had an impressive circulation of 70,000 at that time… Read More »

09-22-2015 | By Dean Seislove

The Neoteric Listener…Astell and Kern AKT5p Headphones and the Annalyric PC-1 15 Amp Power Cord and USB-1 Digital Cable

Once you know better, who wants to live with worse? PF Editor Dave Clark once described the letdown of listening to speakers from one’s youth and realizing that they don’t measure up as, "Kind of like running into that girl who you thought was so hot back in high school and wondering what the hell… Read More »

09-21-2015 | By Jim Merod

HI-FI ONE: Rick Brown’s Gang Shakes Up Newport, or Re-visiting THE Show 2015

Preface Without Mirth How many years will it take to tame, or dissolve, mind-numbing noise suffusing "audiophile" events? Year after year, more than twenty five in my experience, any expectation of focused attention with music and superior audio gear—formerly at CES and now THE Show Newport Beach, as elsewhere, where the claim of audiophile privilege beckons… Read More »

09-20-2015 | By Dave Clark

Audio Ramblings – Elevating the Auralic Aries with the Integrita C4, Sablon Audio, Acoustic Revive, and More

Okay so in my last two Ramblings I shared my experiences, and expectations, of music servers or streamers; specifically the Antipodes DX and the Aries from Auralic. Both stunningly good, and yet both at rather opposite ends of the "what does it cost to get the best," and how they are packaged to the end… Read More »

09-20-2015 | By Wojciech Pacuła

Combak Corporation Hijiri Million Interconnects

I guess not many of the owners of high quality audio components even realize that brands that made their devices often actually belong to the same mother-company. Like, for example, Audio Research, Sonus faber, Wadia Digital, Sumiko, McIntosh—they all belong to the Italian holding Fine Sounds Group; Denon, Marantz and Boston Acoustics belong to Japanese… Read More »

09-18-2015 | By Scott Dorsey

Capitol Audiofest 2015

Audio is about listening. All of the good things in the high end community come out of listening and thinking about what you listened to. All of the problems in the high end community can only be solved by listening and thinking about what you listened to. There are very few places where people can… Read More »

09-18-2015 | By Bob Neill

Notes of an Amateur: Mullova’s Prokofiev, Eighth Blackbird, Schnittke for Cello, and Pacifica’s Ornstein.

Prokofiev. Viktoria Mullova. [Violin Concerto No. 2; Sonata for Two Violins, Solo Violin Sonata]. Viktoria Mullova, violin. Frankfort Radio Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi, conductor. Onyx 4142. (live recordings). I am predisposed to like any recording by violinists, Jennifer Koh, Vadim Guzman, Rachel Podger, Gidon Kremer, Alina Ibagimova, and Viktoria Mullova and am seldom disappointed. The… Read More »

09-14-2015 | By Myles B. Astor

I Left My Speaker in San Francisco: A Prequel to the Coming Magico S7 Review

It took a while but I am finally first—even if but by a scant three hours—at something (Well to be honest, I did win a few fencing tournaments in my younger days). That something was not only being the very first high-end reviewer or audiophile (outside of Magico) to audition Magico's newest $58,000 (in standard… Read More »

09-13-2015 | By Karl Lozier

Wagner and More

Tannhauser – Richard Wagner. Music and Libretto: Wagner, Romantic Opera in Three Acts. Composer:  Richard Wagner. Conductor:  Axel Kaber. Director:  Seabastian Baumgarten. Stage Designer: Joep vanMechaow. Chorus Master: Eberhard Friedrich. Recording: OABD7171D, 2 Discs Blu-rays, Opus Arte. Orchestra: Bayreuth Festival and Chorus First performance Koniglich Sachsisches H of theater, Dresden, 19 October 1845. Premiere of… Read More »

09-13-2015 | By Stephen Francis Vasta

Suk’s Asrael Symphony

The digital era's exploration of the repertoire's byways led to a new interest in the music of Josef Suk—not only the son-in-law of Antonín Dvořák, but once a noted composer in his own right. The Asrael Symphony stands as a major score in his output; yet, despite intermittent attempts to promote it, it never seems… Read More »

09-07-2015 | By Dave Clark

Audio Ramblings – The Auralic Aries Music Streamer

This is going to be a sort of two-part review… first about the Auralic Aries and then about what I did to take my current file-based audio system to a completely different and yet, stunningly musical level… along with the Aries. Okay so to piggy back on the Antipodes review… yeah, I want it easier… Read More »

09-03-2015 | By Robert H. Levi

Premier LP Review of Reference Recordings: Copland Fanfare and Third Symphony

Pressed by QRP on 200 gram vinyl, 33.3, half-speed mastered, this recording from 2000 is receiving its LP release for the first time. The original release was on HDCD CD and has been a reference disk for my reviews since it was available. It features Eiji Oue conducting the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra. The Producer was… Read More »

09-01-2015 | By Roger Skoff

Psychiatry 5 Cents

[Roger Skoff writes about some people he encounters on the internet…] Although I use the internet daily, I'm not all that familiar with a lot of the lingo and the current culture that has developed from and around it. Oh, I know (after having asked someone) what IMHO means, and LOL, and even ROFLMAO, but… Read More »

09-01-2015 | By David W. Robinson

Impressions: The Cembalo Audio Labs Spring 1 Headphone Amp

We live in the true Golden Age of fine audio. I've said this before, but I don't want readers to forget the fact that we're awash in a great wave of audio designs in all categories, with the recordings to go with them. The best DSD and DACs, the best turntables, the best LPs ever… Read More »

09-01-2015 | By Robert Schryer

Journeys In Audio Subjectivism, Part Two

Hitting the Ocean, or: "What Are You Babbling about Now?" Those words contained about as much sympathy as you'd be likely to imagine they would. "What are you babbling about now?" That was my wife of 19 years, her face contorted in that 'you-know-I-don't-care' expression that drops like a curtain at the first sign of… Read More »

08-30-2015 | By David W. Robinson

Impressions: The Merging Technology NADAC MC-8 DSD DAC

Product launches happen all the time in fine audio. We have well over 300 DSD DACs now, for example, new turntables and cartridges all the time, with amps, preamps, integrateds, headphones, wireless speakers, cables, accessories, music servers, NAS/hard-drive arrays, and speakers spilling forth continuously. It seems like nearly every day I get new press releases… Read More »

08-30-2015 | By Wojciech Pacuła

KRAKOW SONIC SOCIETY: Meeting 97 – Siltech Triple Crown

Gabi was standing in the door, looking at us condescendingly while we were discussing acoustics, the microphones used and distortions. A moment before we had finished our first round of listening sessions and each of us was enthusiastically trying to convince the others that he was right. We paid the most attention to what Edwin… Read More »

08-30-2015 | By Wojciech Pacuła


There is not too many people like Mr Shirokazu Yazaki. I was tempted to write something like: are extremely rare, but I managed to hold myself back. He is an engineer with impressive education and immense practical experience with both, analogue and digital devices. He created such a remarkable devices like TEAC A-7300 reel-to-reel, high… Read More »

08-30-2015 | By Wojciech Pacuła

Xavian PERLA Loudspeakers

Edwin van der Kleij, the owner of Siltech, is a great fan of speakers designed by Franco Serblin. Over the years he bought all his designs with Sonus faber logo, and later with Franco Serblin one, too (see HERE and HERE). As he told us during Cracow Sonic Society meeting in Cracow, death of Mr… Read More »

08-28-2015 | By Bob Neill

Notes of an Amateur – Nelsons’ Shostakovich 10 with the B.S.O.; Bach’s Cello Suites by Higham and Kuijken; Stacey Garrop’s String Quartet No. 4.

Shostakovich, 'Under Stalin's Shadow.' Symphony No. 10. Andris Nelsons. Boston Symphony Orchestra. Deutsche Gramophone DG 479-5059. I bought this album out of loyalty to my 'local' orchestra under their new leader. Nothing was at stake as I had already married Petrenko's terrific Shostakovich cycle on Naxos, but I'll admit to some hopes. And then the… Read More »

08-14-2015 | By Tom Gibbs

Classics Online HD•LL Streaming Service

Sometimes it's not just the destination, it's the journey, whenever it is that you finally arrive. Trust me, this is, in fact a review of Naxos' Classics Online HD•LL Streaming Service, but a little background is in order, so please bear with me…. I know myself pretty well, and, let’s face it—I can get pretty… Read More »

08-13-2015 | By Jim Merod

MONTEREY JAZZ, 2015: “A Man’s Gotta Know His Limitations”

After laughter at the first GOP debate from Donald Trump's chauvinist dump on Rosie O'Donnell, jazz hounds, east and west, now look eagerly ahead to the impeccable vocal art of Diane Reeves on the third weekend of September this year near Carmel. Ms. Reeves is literally at the top of any astute list of jazz… Read More »

08-08-2015 | By Bob Neill

Notes of an Amateur: Bach, Vasks, and more Bach.

Helen Callus [viola]. Luc Beauséour [harpsichord] Bach – Krebs – Abel. Analekta. AN2 9879. There are reasons not to buy this album of Bach (and Krebs and Abel) cello sonatas. If you don't like your Bach played direct and frontal—and on a viola, which cuts the music less slack than a viola de gamba or… Read More »

08-06-2015 | By Jim Merod

John Fedchock Big Band: Like It Is (Mama Records)

This kick-ass New York jazz orchestra's fifth album, scheduled for release on Friday, August 7, is leader John Fedchock's eighth publication. Already a powerhouse big band leader and arranger, trombonist Fedchock gained chops and jazz sea-legs working for legendary jazz orchestra guru, Woody Herman. He was Herman's musical director—a ferociously exacting task which earned him praise from the no-BS… Read More »

08-05-2015 | By Austin Lefkowicz and Michelle Duffy

Riva Roadtrip – Commentary on the Riva Turbo X Bluetooth Audio System

AL: Freshly graduated from Syracuse University and done with my last school year, it was time to go home to California. With a daunting eight-day and 4,000-mile drive ahead, traversing the U.S. both east to west, and north to south, we had to make plans since our car had no working stereo. Our rite of… Read More »

08-01-2015 | By David W. Robinson

Impressions: Remembering Stan Ricker

David W. Robinson and Stan Ricker, VSAC 2003 (photograph by Dave Glackin) I got the word last week from an audiobud online. Stan Ricker, recently stricken with a stroke, was dead. Oh no. Not again. Another good man down…this one truly irreplaceable. Another great audio friend gone; more tons of audio lore and wisdom subtracted… Read More »

07-25-2015 | By Norman Tracy

Lone Star Audio Fest 2015 Show Report

With the bluebonnets in bloom spring is a lovely time to travel in Texas. Bluebonnet the Lone Star state flower For music loving audiophiles no better excuse can be had for a springtime drive in Texas than the Lone Star Audio Fest held in Dallas, the first weekend of May for the past 11 years…. Read More »

06-28-2015 | By David W. Robinson

Reviewers’ View, THE Show Newport 2015: David Robinson and Peter Breuninger of AV Showrooms.com, Our Final Show Impressions Part 2

Watch David Robinson and Peter Breuninger of AV Showrooms.com, share their thoughts on the THE Show Newport 2015 on YouTube Part 2 Courtesy of AV Showrooms . . . Read More »



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E.A.R. Acute 4/DAC 4 CD/SACD Player...

09-23-2015 | By Robert H. Levi

I was truly unsure that in 2015 any of us would be needing a two box, multi-function digital source for portable transportable media. I took a CD around with me at T.H.E. Show Newport and found few rooms that could play it... Read More »
NAD M7 top view
NAD Masters Series M17

09-22-2015 | By Larry Cox

I understand why there are so few surround sound gear reviews in high end audio. Two channel reviews occasionally dip into technology (not from moi) but (to paraphrase Bill Clinton), it's about the sound qualithy,... Read More »
AudioMachina Maestro GSE

09-19-2015 | By Dirk Sommer

There are good reasons to review everything else other than loudspeakers. And the logistics is not even the worst reason. But there's a whole range of good reasons to look into AudioMachina's top of the range model.... Read More »
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Merrill Audio Jens Phono Stage

09-18-2015 | By Marshall Nack

"I don't recall the name. It's a new product distributed by Merrill Audio of New Jersey." We were just starting a session when Jonathan, one of my regulars, mentioned a phono stage he heard at a meeting of... Read More »
Blue Circle O22i Integrated...

09-13-2015 | By Tom Campbell

Gilbert Yeung, the owner and proprietor of Blue Circle, is an engineer and an artist. He is one of the most brilliant audio designers working today. But he could not care less about marketing. He does not advertise very much... Read More »
Merlin Music Systems VSM Black...

09-06-2015 | By Malcolm Gomes

One of the classics in the world of automobiles is the Porsche 911 and, in my opinion, the closest that any high-end audio product has come to emulating that automobile legend would be the Merlin Music VSM. Like the 911, the... Read More »
Audio-Technica OC9 III Cartridge

09-06-2015 | By John Hoffman

In this wonderful hobby of music reproduction, there is perhaps no other discipline as dark and murky as the world of moving coil cartridge manufacturing. Most owners of analog gear view high performance moving coils as... Read More »
Digital Amplifier Company –...

09-06-2015 | By Steve Kozle

As class-D amplifiers continue to evolve, it's exciting to have the opportunity to test examples such as Digital Amplifier Company's small monoblocks, dubbed the Maraschinos. While each Maraschino is very... Read More »
Premier Review of Zesto Audio Leto...

09-03-2015 | By Robert H. Levi

Change is good, particularly in high-end audio, as the Leto from Zesto Audio becomes the version 1.5 and positively improves its standing as a top notch and enviable offering. With a more dynamic presentation and even lower... Read More »
Tara Labs Zero Evolution with HFX
TARA Labs The Zero Evolution...

09-02-2015 | By Marshall Nack

Spatial Holography Last I checked the principles of Newtonian physics still apply. That's why I see my role as communicating the real-life observations that go down in Nack Labs: that's the key—observation and... Read More »
Ortofon Quintet Bronze Cartridge

09-01-2015 | By Ken Micallef

Reviewing phono cartridges, be they of the moving magnet, moving coil, or moving iron variety, involves that old "devil in the details." Depending on your tonearm and headshell you'll encounter varying degrees... Read More »
AudioQuest JitterBug USB Data and...

08-30-2015 | By Tom Gibbs

"EMI and RFI run deep, into your DAC they will creep. Stop, now, what's that sound, everybody look what's going down…"—with deepest apologies to Stephen Stills. I'm basically an... Read More »
Soundstring Cable Generation II...

08-16-2015 | By Francisco Duran

Talk about the proverbial can of worms. Recently Soundstring Cable Company's Len Miller asked if I would like to review two full complements of wire from their new line of cable. Whoa, that is a lot of cable. I have... Read More »
Zesto Audio Andros 1.2 Phonostage...

08-11-2015 | By Mark Pearson

The Zesto Audio Andros 1.2 phonostage has been one of my tougher reviews to finish. I know it sounds cliché, but the Andros 1.2 is one of those pieces of gear that makes you want to quit writing and just listen to the... Read More »
Nordost Heimdall Headphone Cable

08-03-2015 | By Danny Kaey

Nordost. Seems that these days Nordost is everywhere. Norse 2 series? Check. Valhalla 2 series? Check. Odin 2? Check. Headphone cables? Check. HDMI cables? Check. You get my point. All made in America, all made with... Read More »
Merrill Audio ANAP animated
Mini-Review: Merrill Audio ANAP...

08-02-2015 | By Robert H. Levi

Let me just say right up top that I generally do not review cables in this low price range. At $1149 per meter, whether RCA or XLR, the Merrill ANAP is expensive for many, but not for the audiophile like me who has to have... Read More »


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industry news
Channel D Releases Pure Music® Version 3

Lambertville, NJ—September 30, 2015—Channel D, developers of the innovative Pure Vinyl™ and Pure Music® computer...

MIT Cables Develops First Ever Battery Powered Class AB Headphone Amp with Multipole™ Technology Inside

September 30, 2015-Rocklin, CA – MIT Cables continues moving into the more popular personal audio and headphone market with its...


AURALiC’s New ARIES MINI Offers Music Streaming to Broader Consumer Market; Includes Free Year’s Subscription to TIDAL...

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Occupy Hifi
T.G.I.RMAF! Years of Great Friends, Music & Sound By Michael Mercer

It's that time of year again! I've been spendin' weeks gearin' up for my favorite audio show: Rocky Mountain Audio...

JH Audio Announces Their JH Crew Loyalty Program! By Michael Mercer

It's a rarity, watching an audio company take the type of user-oriented action we've been editorializing about here at...

The Music and Sound Always Draws Me Back In By Michael Mercer

I'm not sure I can keep the fact that, at forty, I'm going through a separation following a marriage that's lasted half...

HIFI Statement
Melco HA-N1A, Teil 2 By Roland Dietl

Wer sich mit Streaming im Allgemeinen und mit Musik in hochauflösenden Formaten im Besonderen beschäftigt, kommt um...

Auralic Taurus MKII By Dirk Sommer

Wie auch die CanJam in Essen beweist, die in diesem Jahr schon zum dritten Mal stattfindet, haben sich Kopfhörer und...

XiVero Headphone Experience By Dirk Sommer

Ich bleibe unserem Sommer-Thema Kopfhörer treu und stelle Ihnen – von unseren kostenlosen Downloads einmal abgesehen...