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This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
ZenWave Cables and SurgeX ZenWave Edition Review
REDGUM BLACK RGi35ENR Integrated Amplifier Review
Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0 Headphone Amp & Preamp Review
iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 & Gemini USB Cable Reviews
Marantz M-CR611 Network CD Receiver Review
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Tuesday, 29 December 2009 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Electrocompaniet Prelude PC-1 CD Player Review
The last few months of 2009 have taken me on a lovely audio journey across Scandinavia, with stops in Denmark and Norway for a look and listen to accessories, speakers and amplifiers. I recently reviewed Norwegian audio manufacturer Electrocompaniet's Prelude PI-2 integrated amplifier, a new addition to the company's lineup offering budget-minded audiophiles a point of entry into the Electrocompaniet sound. The PI-2's Prelude companion PC-1 CD player ($2,499) proved my final destination within the Kingdom of Norway this year, and a fine one it was. FeaturesClean lines and little to clutter the experience are hallmarks of the PC-1, and all Electrocompaniet components for that matter. The PC-1 is almost austere in its design. Five buttons and a blue LED display adorn the front panel; the back panels boasts an AC in, one pair of balanced outputs, a pair of ...
Monday, 14 December 2009 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Marantz SA-KI Pearl SACD/CD Player Review
Being in business – any business - for 30 years is reason enough to celebrate, but when you've enjoyed a long-running position at the top of your field there's even more cause for rejoicing. That's the story behind Marantz's SA-KI Pearl components, a limited-edition run (500 worldwide) of “gifts” from Ken Ishiwata to those in the audio community who have enjoyed his innovative designs during his Marantz tenure. Ishiwata drew on his vast experience to design what can be described truly as a custom SACD/CD player. The SA-KI Pearl SACD/CD Player (“KI” stands for Ken Ishiwata) in many ways is a summation of Ishiwata's artistic philosophy and his goal to offer a component “to reproduce music exactly as the original artist and the recording engineers intended.” Ishiwata is reported to have personally listened to and/or tested each internal part. Considering ...
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Emotiva ERC-1 CD Player Review
When people learn that I write reviews of A/V equipment, invariably I get asked, “Do you get to keep it after you're done?” I always chuckle and say, “Sure. If I pay for it.” Accumulating shelves full of gear is not my goal; rather, satisfaction comes from sharing my hobby and passion with others. If I uncover a piece of equipment that I believe is otherwise hidden from the public, share my findings and offer another option to outfit a system, then that's a success.My philosophy stems from frustration with brick-and-mortar shopping. Outside of major metropolitan areas, there are few – if any – places for consumers to experience or experiment with gear outside the realm of the Sony's of the world. Nothing against Sony, but there are hundreds of other manufacturers' products that shoppers will never know about unless ...
Friday, 06 November 2009 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Audioengine AW2 Wireless iPod Adapter Review
In the first quarter of its fiscal year 2009, Apple reported selling an astonishing 22,727,000 iPods. That was a new Apple record. Long before quarterly sales were approaching 23 million, it seemed like every company with a toe in the consumer electronics pool was producing some gadget to charge, protect, link, sense or sync iPods. On Amazon.com, alone, there are more 10,000 iPod Accessories and Supplies for sale. I can't think of another product with such second-hand “support.” But most of all people want to play iPods, and there are similarly hundreds of options for getting sound out of the 'Pod. Portable digital music systems such as Bose's SoundDock were soon the rage, letting users dock iPods directly into an integrated speaker system for playback with sound quality ranging from fair to pretty good. Still, the best way to get ...
Thursday, 29 October 2009 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Rotel RCD-06 SE CD Player Review
The bug struck me late 2003. I was at a bookstore looking through magazines when a cover lured me in with its display of speakers and amps and CD players – the components of the year as judged by that audio publication. Thumbing through it, I was astonished by the number of manufacturers represented that I had never heard of. My jaw also dropped looking at the price tags of much of the featured equipment. Certainly it would be sweet to have 50K (or more) to drop on a system but my budget was more modest. I bought the mag, took it home and studied it for probably two months, getting familiar with the various players in the audiophile world. I remember among the editors' budget recommendations was a CD player from Rotel – the RCD-1072 – that was praised ...
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