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Monday, 24 March 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Plinius Hautonga Integrated Amplifier Review
Plinius is a 30-year-old high performance audio company based in New Zealand. They enjoy a stellar reputation, and fiercely loyal fan base, thanks to achievements in industrial design, build, and ergonomics. More importantly, they have long been known for making superb-sounding, reference quality playback gear, including source components and amplification. Plinius has distributors in over forty countries, yet each unit is still hand built in their factory in Christchurch, the second most populous urban area in New Zealand.Several months ago, I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with the Plinius Tiki network file player, and was very much taken with its design, execution, and excellent sound. This overwhelmingly positive experience peaked my interest in the rest of the company’s products. Frank Gazzo, Plinius’s hard working North American representative, suggested their Hautonga integrated amplifier, which sells for $5750.The Hautonga ...
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Carot One Ernestolone Review
Carot One was a new name to this scribe until a few months ago, when Marc Phillips, of Colleen Cardas Imports , mentioned they would be importing the line from Italy. CCI has an eye and ear for top shelf gear from around the world. They import both Unison Research and Opera loudspeakers from Italy, Pure Audio from New Zealand, and My Audio Design loudspeakers from the United Kingdom. I recent reviewed the lovely M.A.D. 1920S monitors.Phillips asked me if would like to check out the $699 Carot One Ernestolone, a 25 wpc integrated amp, headphone amplifier, and a 24/96 USB DAC all in one. I said yes immediately once I got a look at the orange chassis and I saw a tube sticking out of it. It had Italian chic written all over it. A few weeks later, it ...
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Densen B-110 Integrated Amplifier & Darwin Cables Silver Interconnect Review
Densen Audio Technologies, out of Denmark, may be unknown to many high-end audio enthusiasts in the US, but in Europe and Asia, they are considered among the top tier of high performance audio. I had the distinct pleasure of living with several Densen pieces in the past, including the B-200 preamplifier and the B-310 power amplifier. Individually, and as a pair, I thought they were high value, high fidelity components, with good looks to boot. At a combined price of around $4500, they competed with much more expensive gear that this reviewer has heard. While I was impressed with this pair, I wanted to hear one of Densen’s integrated amplifiers, which consistently get rave reviews abroad.Enter the Densen B-110 integrated amp, rated at 60 watts per channel into 8 Ohms, and doubles to 120 watts per channel into 4 ohms. ...
Tuesday, 13 August 2013 ,  Written by Andre Marc
NuForce DDA-100 Integrated Amplifier Review
In its relatively short existence, NuForce has become a household name among audiophiles. The Northern California based company has introduced many landmark products, including Class D monoblock amplifiers, desktop and portable devices, DACs, headphone amps, and a host of other interesting offerings. They have also delved into home theater, and wireless audio. NuForce is also known for continuously improving its products and offering cutting edge technology. From my experience, the products are well designed, well built, and smartly use a combination of native brain power and overseas manufacturing. NuForce has also priced many of their products within reach of any budget. On the flip side, they also make reference level gear at higher price points. I received in for review one of NuForce’s newest products, the DDA-100 integrated amplifier. “DDA” stands for direct digital amplifier. This is a cutting edge ...
Tuesday, 20 December 2011 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Marantz PM6004 Integrated Amplifier Review
Integrated amplifiers are probably more popular than ever before. Today, many companies offer a one box, convenient solution loaded with features and requiring fewer cables / less rack space, which allows for full system control with just one remote. That is not to mention that advances in design have made it possible for audio engineers to produce great sounding, easy to use products at even entry level price points. The engineers at the iconic brand Marantz have done this for many years running, and continue to do that today. There is a bit of a romantic notion of owning a hifi component made by a lone artisan, focused on “hand crafting” products one at a time using proprietary designs produced in low numbers. In the case of electronics, these products are usually featureless by design, in the ...
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