equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
CLONES Audio 25p Power Amplifier Review
Audioengine A2+ Desktop Speakers Review
Darwin Truth Silver Cable Review
Anthony Gallo Acoustics A’Diva SE Loudspeakers & TR-3D Subwoofer Review
Denon DA-300USB DAC Review
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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 ...
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 ...
Thursday, 26 September 2013 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Channel Islands Audio PLC-1 MKII Remote Passive Controller Review
Channel Islands Audio, out of California, has been a favorite of mine since I bought their VDA-2 DAC, and an external power supply for my Squeezebox Touch. They are in the business of making handcrafted digital sources, Class D amplifiers, power supplies, and passive controllers for those who seek affordable components and great sound. CIAudio proves these two goals are not mutually exclusive.I recently heard CIAudio’s excellent new USB to SPDIF converter and stand alone DAC, the Transient MKII, and was very impressed. After a conversation with Dusty Vawter, the owner and lead designer of CIAudio, in which I discussed my growing appreciation for passive “preamps”, he offered the $899 PLC-1 MKII Passive Controller for review. CIAudio also makes the $299 VPC-3 Passive. They differ dramatically in feature set. The PLC-1 MK II has multiple inputs, can be controlled via ...
Friday, 29 July 2011 ,  Written by Michael Palmer
Comparing Streaming Services: a Guide to Spoitfy, Rdio, Turntable.fm, and Pandora
It's been over a decade since Napster changed the music industry forever.  Or rather, since broadband Internet, faster computers, ever growing hard drive sizes, and new compression algorithms (like the mp3) allowed every day folks to share music around the world almost instantly.  In the years that followed, a little computer company called Apple -- maybe you've heard of it? -- became the world's largest music distributor, and there's an entire generation of new music lovers who have never purchased a physical copy of an album.  And with newer streaming services, some people may elect never to purchase music again; instead choosing to rent access to a library for a monthly fee.Since Swedish streaming service, Spotify, recently debut here in the United States (after signing up over 10 million users in Europe), I thought it would be fun to do ...
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Cambridge Audio Azur 650R AV Receiver Review
Shopping for a home theater system can be an almost overwhelming proposition. There are AV receivers and surround speaker packages for almost every specific type of home theater application and setting. Consumers can choose from receivers capable of delivering up to 9.2 channels with enough power to shake pictures off the walls. And the sound quality of some A/V receivers is so good that there's little compromise choosing between a receiver and a pre-amp/power amp combo or integrated amplifier. The true art, then, of assembling a high performance home theater system comes with matching receiver to speakers and then to the room. I came to audition Cambridge Audio's Azur 650R AV Receiver and Mordaunt-Short Mezzo Loudspeakers after a request to review Cambridge's 650BD Blu-ray player fell through. The demand for the universal player was distributor, Audio Plus Services' supply, so ...
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