equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
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
Denon AVR-X3100W Home Theater Receiver Review
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Tuesday, 25 November 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
DH Labs Mirage USB Cable Review
DH Labs -- run by Darren Hovsepian, hence the initials -- makes excellent analog cables, including interconnects, speaker wire, and power cords. They also make top-notch digital cables. I know this because I own and use every flavor of their digital wire, AES/EBU, TosLink, Coaxial, BNC, and USB as references. I consider them to be tremendous values and stellar performers. I often recommend them to friends looking for digital cables who don’t want to spend a fortune.One admission, though: the cable I use the least is the USB cable. That is because my digital sources, a Simaudio MiND 180D streamer, outputs AES/EBU, and the Simaudio Neo 380D DAC includes the MiND module, which precludes use of a digital cable. USB has not been a big part of my digital landscape.But that has changed a bit. I have a desktop set ...
Friday, 12 September 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Denon AVR-X3100W Home Theater Receiver Review
Last month while reviewing the amazingly priced Denon AVR-S700W, I wondered how Denon could offer significant performance improvements without a significant increase in cost. Well, here comes the AVR-X3100W. The 700 was was part of Denon’s entry level line, and the 3100 is the top of its mid-level InCommand line. The AVR-X3100W offers 105 watts per channel, 7.2 channel capability, which allows for dual subwoofer use, and several eyebrow raising features. Like the AVR-S700W, the 3100 aims to serve as a complete home entertainment hub with basically no stone unturned, only with a few more goodies, power, and advanced options like the impressive Audyssey Gold DSP suite, which incorporates MultEQ XT, Dynamic EQ, Dynamic Volume, and Audyssey DSX. Then we have a host of HDMI inputs, a front panel iPod/USB input, Bluetooth, Wifi, Ethernet, AirPlay, online music services such as ...
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Denon AVR-S700W& Envaya Bluetooth Speaker Reviews
D&M Holdings has been on a tear recently. The company that owns Denon has been flooding the market with products chock full of cutting edge features, and priced at amazingly reasonable price points. They must be keeping their engineers pretty busy as it seems they are keeping one step ahead of most of the competition. And, with economies of scale, their ability to innovate is certainly impressive. I recently reviewed the DHT-S514 soundbar, which I really liked, and the fabulous DA-300USB DSD DAC and headphone amp. I found both products well made and engineered. The DA-300USB came in very handy as a reviewing tool, with its high resolution, universal format decoding, and great ergonomics. These days, we have seen the market shift to a demand for products that can become the center of a domestic entertainment system. Fast changing technologies, ...
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Darwin Truth Silver Cable Review
Over the past year or so I have come to rely on a few cable manufacturers that make reference products at their price points and even beyond. Darwin Cables, who I first heard about from Mark O’Brien of Rogue Audio, initially sent me their standard Silver offering, which sells for $295. I was so impressed, I went on to review their higher-level Ascension, which featured several design enhancements essential to high-end cable performance: low mass ends, military grade solid core silver conductors, and air dielectric. Darwin is a bit unique in that they not only use scientific methods to voice their cables, but they also rely heavily on subjective impressions from a carefully chosen listening panel, for lack of a better term. Sometimes what looks good on paper does not translate into improved performance.I have to admit, after having the ...
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Denon DA-300USB DAC Review
Denon has introduced a number of notable new products in the last year or so, including streamers, AV receivers, Blu-ray players, HiFi components, and headphones. I recently reviewed their very nice DHT-S514 Soundbar. Add to the list of hot new items: the Denon DA-300USB DSD DAC and headphone amplifier. It retails for $499. With the DA-300USB, Denon has entered the exciting and fiercely competitive market of sub-$1000 multi-function digital decoders. Denon has a long history with digital, and there is a lot of engineering muscle to call on. Their universal disc players were coveted in the time that SACD and DVD-A were making a push, and their AV Receivers have been top performers. Fast forward to 2014 and computer audio has now gone mainstream. Disc players have clearly taken a back seat, although they are still being ...
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