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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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Friday, 15 July 2016 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Bryston BDP-2 Server and BDA-3 DAC Review
There has never been a better time to be a fan of high end digital audio. Audiophiles and non audiophiles alike can spend as little as a few hundred dollars for high quality sound. Or, the sky is the limit, with six figure Digital Audio Convertors and file players available to those who can afford them. Couple that with high resolution downloads, and lossless streaming from Tidal and others, and the days of having just a CD player for digital playback seems quaint. I have been on a networked playback system for close to 9 years now. My first device was a Squeezebox Classic, then a Squeezebox Touch, via wired Ethernet. I ripped my CDs to FLAC and bought the occasional 24 bit download. I started with the analog outputs of the Squeezebox, then soon connected via TosLink to a ...
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 ...
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