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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Integrated Amplifiers (27) Mono Amplifiers (17) Multi-Channel Amplifiers (28)
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Tuesday, 18 November 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
SOtM sHP-100 Headphone Amplifier & DSD DAC Review
SOtM, a Korean audiophile component manufacturer, is slowly but surely making the industry sit up and take notice. They offer a line of impressive and versatile computer audio products that compete with much more expensive solutions. The company is being very well served by their U.S. importer/dealer, Simple Designs LLC. I was so impressed with the SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server & mBPS-d2s Intelligent Battery Supply that I absolutely had to have a look at more SOtM products. The sMS-100 network streamer is among the highest value digital source components I have ever come across. At $449, it is a no brainer recommendation. The SOtM line up smartly caters to those with different needs and budgets. The flagship SOtM streamer, the sMS-1000 is a more sophisticated unit with advanced inputs and outputs, a linear power supply, and balanced analog outputs. The ...
Friday, 24 October 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Marantz PM5005 Integrated Amplifier & CD5005 CD Player Review
It’s no accident Marantz has established itself as the dominant player in sub-$1000 stereo components. The company has a talent for trickling down technology and performance from their reference line on a consistent basis, perhaps due to a well organized design department, or economies of scale. Either way, outside of speakers, the venerable Japanese company has the market cornered. Make no mistake; I would put Marantz’s reference line up against anybody’s, regardless of price. I found their SA-14S1 SACD Player & DSD DAC, SA-11S3 SACD Player & DAC, and NA-11S1 Network Streamer & DSD DAC to be remarkable products. Built to standard that is beyond reproach with exemplary sonics. Packing them up and sending them back to the factory was tough, and they were missed immediately. I have also reviewed several Marantz budget level components as well, including the ...
Thursday, 09 October 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Musical Fidelity M6si Integrated Amplifier Review
I’ve reviewed a number of Musical Fidelity products over the course of the last few years. I have dabbled mostly in the entry-level series of products, with reviews of the V-DAC II, the V-Link 192, and the V90 DAC. I also evaluated the M1 CLiC streamer, the M1 Pwr amp , and the M1 CDT transport . All were top performers sonically and offered unusual value. I purchased and still use the V-DAC II and M1 CDT in my systems.The Musical Fidelity line is pretty broad, and I admit to being very curious about their reference-level products, seeing how good their V series components already sound. Musical Fidelity has loyal customers worldwide are known as digital pioneers, while garnering quite a reputation for their integrated amplifiers, among other things. I know folks with fifteen-year-old Musical Fidelity amps still going strong ...
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
CLONES Audio 25p Power Amplifier Review
Having travelled to Hong Kong several years ago, I was surprised to see a large number of high-end audio shops filled with hifi aficionados. Mainland China has been an audiophile hub for decades now, with hundreds of homegrown brands and of course factories set up by many well-known Western brands. Recently, China has been exporting excellent gear designed and built there, not as hired hands. Brands such as AURALiC and Line Magnetic, just to name a few, have been causing quite a stir.I heard about CLONES Audio, based in Hong Kong, from an industry veteran with very discerning taste. He had a CLONES Audio 25i integrated amplifier he wanted me to hear and, when I did, I was very impressed, and wrote about it for another publication. I subsequently wrote about the CLONES SHEVA DSD DAC and, again, was mighty ...
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Merrill Audio THOR Mono Block Amplifiers Review
Merrill Audio has made quite a few waves in the audiophile community. The company is relatively young, but has already garnered excellent reviews for their Veritas monoblock amplifiers. The firm is based in Bernardsville, NJ, and is headed up by Merrill Wettasinghe, who designs the products with a very unique vision. I spent some time with the Veritas mono blocks last year and came away very impressed.  So much so I requested for review the next generation of products when they became available. That product turned out to be the THOR mono block amplifiers, a scaled down and more affordable version of the Veritas, for lack of a better description.The Veritas were powerhouses -- outputting 400 watts per channel into 8 Ohms -- in a bulletproof chassis. They gripped the woofers of my Thiels and exhibited tremendous bass control, top-end ...
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