equipment reviews
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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Categories in section: Home Theater Preamplifiers
AV Preamps (48) Stereo Preamps (43)

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Monday, 29 February 2016 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Rogue RP-5 Preamplifier Review
Rogue Audio, based in Pennsylvania, deserves iconic status alongside other legendary American makers of tubed home audio products. They've made steady progress in product design, understand customer relations, dispense completely with any sense of exclusivity, and focus on sonics, rugged build quality, and ergonomics. Maybe this is the reason they continue to expand their customer base, while owner Mark O’Brien is one of the most well liked and respected individuals in the industry.I have reviewed over a dozen Rogue products, and found very little I was not thrilled with. Rogue products are top performers within their given price points, and even beyond. For example, their Stereo 100 power amplifier, at $3500, is the deal of the decade, with 100 watts of tube power per channel. Their innovative Class D and tube hybrid integrated amp, the Sphinx, is entry level bliss ...
Tuesday, 24 November 2015 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0 Headphone Amp & Preamp Review
Linear Tube Audio, formed in 2015, is based out of Washington DC, where they hand builds tube components in their workshop. The firm is headed up by Mark Schneider, a highly experienced product design specialist and engineer. Mark is very well spoken, polite, and is very passionate about his products. I contacted Mark about reviewing some gear and one in particular caught my attention, the MicroZOTL 2.0 tubed headphone amplifier and preamplifier, which sells for $1100.Linear Tube Audio also offers the ZOTL10 and the ZOTL40, both power amplifiers based on ZOTL technology. ZOTL stands for “Zero hysteresis Transformer-Less”, a patented architecture invented by David Berning. Berning enjoys a loyal following and customer base with his ow line of impressive amplifiers that are not for the faint of wallet. They are audio works of art, visually, and state of the art, ...
Monday, 12 October 2015 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Tisbury Audio Mini Passive II Preamplifier Review
I reviewed and loved the U.K. sourced Tisbury Audio Mini Passive “preamp”, and actually regretted sending it back to Wes Young at Tisbury Audio. As the name indicates, the Mini Passive was compact, beautifully finished, and handmade at Young’s London workshop where it sold for 129 British Pounds (roughly a hair under $200 US).Young contacted me and to let me know he had upgraded the Mini Passive with quite a few new features, and asked if I would be interested in a follow up review. I replied in the affirmative and a week later the unit arrived via Her Majesty’s Royal Mail. The Mini Passive II is housed in a similar attractive wood and aluminum enclosure, but now includes laser engraving and is a bit longer to accommodate a wider range of cables. The unit has the same solid ...
Monday, 13 April 2015 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Luminous Audio Axiom II Passive Preamp Review
I believe in passive preamps or, maybe more accurately, passive controllers. There is nothing simpler than a device that lets listeners use a power amplifier, with the ability to connect one or multiple sources, and attenuate the volume. I like simplicity. Active preamplifiers may be preferred in some systems, but in the majority of cases they tend to be the weakest link. Even though I worship at the altar of simplicity, designing an excellent passive linestage is far from simple. A poorly designed passive can be downright awful sounding. I have had the good fortune to review a few well-designed units including the Channel Islands Audio PLC-1 MKII, the Tisbury Audio Passive Mini, and the Music First Classic II, among others.There are a number of approaches to building a passive controller, and valid reasons to pursue each topology. Transformers have ...
Friday, 09 January 2015 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Marantz HD-DAC1 DSD DAC & Headphone Amp Review
Marantz has been introducing new products into the marketplace at quite a clip over the past year. Even as a reviewer, it has been hard to keep up. Their recent lines of A/V Home Theater receivers are stellar, and even the entry-level products push the price-to-performance ratio to the limit of what I thought was possible. Their recent entry level two channel components offer crazy value, as I recently found out with the PM5005 and CD5005  integrated amp/CD player.Marantz digital has always impressed me, from the first time I heard one of their superb SACD players. Their disc spinners have smartly been reintroduced with digital inputs, which is what the market wants. They also have two superb streamers, the NA-8005 and the flagship NA-11S1. The NA-11S1 was a knockout, built to a standard befitting Top Shelf status. Decoding virtually every ...
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