equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Eastern Electric Mini Max Supreme DAC Review
DH Labs Mirage USB Cable Review
SOtM sHP-100 Headphone Amplifier & DSD DAC Review
Marantz PM5005 Integrated Amplifier & CD5005 CD Player Review
Musical Fidelity M6si Integrated Amplifier Review
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Wednesday, 03 March 2010 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Klipsch Image X10i Headset Review
You can blame or thank Apple, because the iPod and iPhone have created a worldwide demand for in-ear headphones. There are hundreds of ear-bud phones and their ilk on the market, but few are engineered to produce audiophile-grade sound like Klipsch's Image X10i in-ear headphones. It makes sense that a company whose built its name and reputation for innovative loudspeaker designs would step slightly to the side and put that knowledge into a high-end headset. The Image X10is are Klipsch's lightest in-ear headset, with an in-line microphone and a 3-button remote for taking phone calls and controlling files on iPods, iPod touches and iPhone 3GS. Although the X10is are Apple compatible, the audience for these headsets is the music-loving audiophile with an iPod or iPhone stuffed full of tunes. With a suggested sticker price of $349.99, it's doubtful casual listeners ...
Monday, 25 January 2010 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Hegel HD10 DAC Review
I'm pleased to see a number of high-end audio manufacturers designing equipment for computer audio use. Even more encouraging is watching a brand hitherto unavailable make its entry. Hegel (www.hegel.com) is a Norwegian hi-fi company whose products have recently been introduced into the United States thanks to the efforts of national sales manager Ben Gosvig, who runs the American operation from Fairfield, Iowa. Gosvig was kind enough to send two of the latest Hegel products for review: the HD10 DAC and H100 integrated amplifier (review coming soon).I think most audio hobbyists can see the benefits of an outboard DAC – a stand-alone unit can handle error correction, jitter reduction and the digital-to-analog conversion better than most digital players that house a transport and DAC under the same roof. Bring such refinement to computer audio and the opportunities for sound improvement ...
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Trends Audio PA-10 Tube Headphone/Pre Amplifier Review
Trends Audio is a relatively new company that is part of the now established Chinese high end audio market.  They are also among the new breed that are trying to gain acceptance in Western markets. Many have already done so as you may have heard of Shanling, Melody, Audio Space, Antique Sound Lab, Eastern Electric, and a host of others. Chinese designers have been steadily improving the performance, reliability and the build quality of their gear.  Many of the products produced in China can compete with the most exotic American and European brands in terms of sound quality. This all spawns from a deep passion the Chinese have had for high fidelity going back decades.  I saw this first hand when I visited Hong Kong and Mainland China last October and was quite surprised at how many Hifi shops were ...
Wednesday, 06 January 2010 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
RS Audio Cables Review
Can there be a more polarizing topic among audiophiles than cables? Audio forums are filled with animated chats, debating the validity and effectiveness of after-market speaker cables, interconnects and power cords. Non-believers affirm there is nothing to gain by paying additional money for cables – “wire is wire.” Others have spent thousands of dollars on cables and swear the improvements are real. And judging by the number of cable manufacturers and different designs offered, there certainly is a market of consumers hungry for – or at least very curious about - wiring upgrades. The skepticism, however, is not surprising, considering the movement toward designing audiophile-grade cables didn't take full flight until the 1980s. Ever since, hobbyists and manufacturers themselves have been engaged in lofty discourse over what cables actually do to the sound of an audio system – if anything. ...
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Valhalla Technology Vibration Damping Feet Review
Audiophiles are a restless lot, constantly looking for ways to tweak a system by any means possible, short of taking the plunge for new components. There are numerous forums dedicated to audio “tweaks”; some advice is good, some is laughable, but most is well-intentioned. One often discussed tweak is how to minimize the mechanical vibrations that occur within components and speakers during playback. A variety of vibration-dampening devices are available in a wide range of materials, from hard plastics to brass. Why bother with dampening and isolation? In audio, vibration causes distortion and introduces unwanted sound into each component. Vibration dampening feet are engineered to reduce the effects of mechanical vibrations that occur within a speaker, amplifier or other component, by transmitting them away from the source to optimize the audio you eventually hear. After spending several weeks with Valhalla ...
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