This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
In Appreciation of the Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3
RHA MA750i In Ear Headphones Review
Thiel TM3 Loudspeaker Review
Reviewed: MusicScope Analysis Software by Xivero
Fluance XL7F Loudspeakers Review
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Friday, 12 June 2015 ,  Written by Andre Marc
RHA MA750i In Ear Headphones Review
I’ve reviewed a number quality earbuds, all priced within reason, and designed for comfort and high quality sonics. Anyone interested in this product category will be aware you can spend practically as little or as much as you want. Cheap, plastic, sonically-compromised buds can be had for chump change, and “pro level” custom molded models can be had for a pretty penny. For me, personally, the sweet spot is between $150 and $200. Since my earbud listening is generally done is compromised situations like in the gym, airports, trains, or busy public locations, there are other things to consider aside from absolute fidelity. Important factors are comfort, construction quality, and the ability to isolate outside noise. Another essential ingredient for me is style in relation to how they are worn -- I much prefer a mechanism where the earbuds are ...
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Reviewed: MusicScope Analysis Software by Xivero
High-resolution digital audio is clearly here to stay, and many audiophiles have started to replace their CD titles with corresponding hi-res alternatives. They cost more, and are mostly in download form, although there is the odd DVD-A and SACD still released. DVD-As are easily ripped to a computer hard drive, as opposed to SACDs, which can be ripped, but with effort and specific hardware and software. The small and specialized DSD download market has also attracted some attention.As the high-resolution music market has grown, so have concerns concerning the provenance and mastering chain of these products. There have, unfortunately, been instances of Redbook CDs upsampled and offered as 24 bit downloads to capitalize on the growing market segment and on the typical audiophile’s eagerness to own multiple versions of the same title in search of the holy grail. Another factor ...
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 ,  Written by Andre Marc
The very aptly named HiFiMan has been around since 2007, and I first became aware of the company from the ads for their high performance portable file players. They have developed into a one-stop shopping destination for portable audio lovers. In addition to players, they currently offer headphones, headphone amps, cables, accessories, and a DAC.I have seen many positive reviews from professionals and, more importantly, the user community, of HiFiMan products. Users often noted exceptional comfort, sound quality and value. The company is especially known for planar headphones. Planar ‘phones are noted for exceptional dynamics and resolution. For review, I received their $99 RE-400 In-Ear Monitors (IEMs). In the distant past, I have had iffy relationships with "ear buds." I was never able to find one that was comfortable or that stayed in my ears. I did discover, recently, that ...
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Musical Fidelity V-Link 192 Review
A few years ago, a brand new product category appeared in high-end audio: the USB to S/PDIF converter. As a matter of fact, the explosive growth of computer audio has spawned multiple new product categories for audiophiles. These include the proliferation of USB DACs, “audiophile” grade USB cables, and high-end playback software.  The idea of using a consumer grade computer coupled with the products above as a source has taken foothold, and manufacturers have found a brand new market.For those starting from scratch, and no other digital sources other than a computer, buying a USB DAC with a single input may make sense. The makers of USB-only DACs have probably maximized the USB input to its maximum potential and there are no additional parts needed to accommodate multiple inputs. However, if one is determined to use a computer as a ...
Friday, 27 April 2012 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Paradigm SHIFT E3m Earbuds Review
I’ve enjoyed Paradigm products for a number of years now. The Canadian loudspeaker company is well known for producing a wide variety of products across most price points. They make everything from 5.1 mini systems, like the Millenia System to mid priced home theater speakers in the Monitor Series, and reference level, no compromise two channel floor standers. Paradigm recently moved into one category for which they were not previously known: headphones. Paradigm's SHIFT series has a host of newly designed products, including powered monitors (review forthcoming), headphones, and three different earbuds. I received for review a set of the SHIFT E3m earbuds. The E3m is the top of the line among three separate models, all priced according to bass performance. E3m’s are $130 retail.E3m earbuds feature an airtight seal ...
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