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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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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 ...
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Cary Audio CD 500 CD Player Review
It's no secret that stand-alone CD players have lost ground with consumers looking for “universal” solutions to home theater and audio needs. Although the digital domain still reigns, portable media players along with DVD and Blu-ray players have taken a lot of wind out of the CD player's sails. Still, a dedicated CD player offers the best potential for high-fidelity performance. If you've invested into compact discs and want to keep enjoying your collection, then a dedicated disc spinner is still the way to go. If you want to take your disc collection to a new level, Cary Audio's CD 500 CD Player may be the last player you'll ever need. Design & FeaturesThe CD 500 retails for $2,995, and for that price you get a machine that's built rock-solid and complemented with top-grade components. The CD 500's digital-to-analog converter ...
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Cryoparts Power Strip II Review
Just before Thanksgiving 2010, several boxes arrived at my house – the latest round of gear to review. Among them was Cryoparts Power Strip. As I showed my dad and wife the newest goodies, they both asked with no lack of incredulity, “How do you review a power strip?” I tried to explain the function of audio strips and how they can make a good system even better, but the eye rolls stopped me before I could really get going. That skepticism got me thinking, however. Making Contact – and Keeping ItA power strip is designed to distribute electrical current to one or more devices without imparting a sonic footprint of its own or somehow impeding the flow of electrons. To do so effectively and efficiently, there needs to be secure and jiggle-free contact between the male AC prongs and ...
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