equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Marantz PM5005 Integrated Amplifier & CD5005 CD Player Review
Musical Fidelity M6si Integrated Amplifier Review
Denon AVR-X3100W Home Theater Receiver Review
Tisbury Audio Mini Passive Review
Denon AVR-S700W& Envaya Bluetooth Speaker Reviews
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Friday, 26 September 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server & mBPS-d2s Intelligent Battery Review
I have long established a digital audio playback system based on an Ethernet network. I’m not down with a computer in my equipment rack, and have very little patience for all the pitfalls and variables. Instead I've tried everything from a Squeezebox Touch to a Simaudio MIND and everything in between. SOtM is a Korea-based company churning out cutting edge digital products that have been causing quite a stir. Pro and user reviews alike praise SOtM -- which, incidentally, sands for Soul Of the Music -- for building products that offer a good value, are flexible in use, and built to last. They develop audiophile grade network servers, DACs, headphone amps, power supplies, and interesting accessories. Thanks to a healthy international distribution network, and an expanding global reach, I have had SOtM on my To Review list for some time. ...
Monday, 20 January 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Marantz NA-11S1 Network Audio Player & DAC
Having been fortunate to review over a dozen Marantz components in the past, I now come to expect very good things with every new product announcement. Marantz has recently made a big play in the digital market, being one of the few high profile companies with a full line of SACD, Blu-ray, and CD players. They have also responded to the market by adding digital inputs to virtually all their disc spinners.The Marantz line is very broad, including stellar home theater products, lifestyle products, entry-level HiFi, and luxurious reference level components. Many of these products are conceptualized or designed by long time Marantz employee, Ken Ishiwata. His track record is above reproach, having been the brains behind many of the company’s very best products, and even having limited edition components named after him. Ishiwata is known for constantly striving to ...
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Empirical Audio Synchro-Mesh Reclocker Review
Empirical Audio, based in the Pacific Northwest, has a reputation for making excellent digital source components and accessories. They were early pioneers of USB and computer audio as well. Their USB to SPDIF converters and USB DACs are often cited as being among the very best. The flagship Overdrive USB DAC/preamp is considered state of the art by many. Industry veteran Steve Nugent heads up Empirical and has very definite views on high performance audio. I've had the pleasure of communicating with Nugent on occasion, and he is a great believer in computer optimization with USB DACs. He thinks an active preamp is a system's weakest link (I strongly agree).Nugent also believes sound quality, for most digital devices, revolves around the digital clocks, which are crucial for accuracy. Nugent developed a rather unique product called the Synchro-Mesh Reclocker to address ...
Monday, 24 September 2012 ,  Written by Andre Marc
The Bryston BDP-1 Revisited and a Q&A with James Tanner
I have reviewed several Bryston components, including the Bryston BDP-1 Digital File Player, which to this day, is the best single digital source I have heard in my home system and at various audio trade shows. I have seen the $2,200 BDP-1 used in $200,000 systems. Scan the internet and you will find a good number of rave reviews, especially when the unit is paired with Bryston’s own BDA-1 DAC.Recently, a number of audiophile grade file players and streamers have been brought to market following Bryston’s lead. They are banking, as is Bryston, that many music lovers do not want to interface with a consumer grade computer while listening to music. Obviously, a computer is needed to rip and organize a music collection, but need not be in the listening room. The BDP-1 is in fact a computer, but one ...
Tuesday, 30 August 2011 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Olive 06HD Music Server Review
Olive Media Inc. has gained quite a loyal, worldwide following for their user friendly, great sounding series of music servers they created from the point of view of non computer geeks and music lovers. In reviewing the wonderful Olive 04HD server, I confirmed for my self that the excellent touch screen interface, large storage capacity, networking capabilities, and upgradable architecture was not at the expense of authentic high end sound. Currently, there is fierce competition in the digital music field, with various systems, philosophies, and design goals. Competing camps are trying to convince the buying public that their vision is the path forward. Makers of the currently ubiquitous USB DAC claim that their products used with an ordinary home computer and high end playback software is the way to go. Designers of one box solutions like music servers claim their ...
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