equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Merrill Audio THOR Mono Block Amplifiers Review
Plinius Hautonga Integrated Amplifier Review
KEF R700 Loudspeaker Review
Marantz SA-14S1 SACD Player & DSD DAC Review
Genesis G7c Loudspeakers
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Tuesday, 08 April 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Merrill Audio THOR Mono Block Amplifiers Review
Merrill Audio has made quite a few waves in the audiophile community. The company is relatively young, but has already garnered excellent reviews for their Veritas monoblock amplifiers. The firm is based in Bernardsville, NJ, and is headed up by Merrill Wettasinghe, who designs the products with a very unique vision. I spent some time with the Veritas mono blocks last year and came away very impressed.  So much so I requested for review the next generation of products when they became available. That product turned out to be the THOR mono block amplifiers, a scaled down and more affordable version of the Veritas, for lack of a better description.The Veritas were powerhouses -- outputting 400 watts per channel into 8 Ohms -- in a bulletproof chassis. They gripped the woofers of my Thiels and exhibited tremendous bass control, top-end ...
Friday, 21 February 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Marantz SA-14S1 SACD Player & DSD DAC Review
As noted in my recent review of the terrific Marantz NA-11S1 network player and DSD DAC, the Japanese company has been on quite a roll with respect to digital source components. The NA-11S1 proved to be a reference class source and, it turns out, one a in a series of new products aimed at allowing Marantz to stay at the cutting edge, with an appeal to audiophiles who want plug-and-play computer and digital audio devices.Marantz continues its push forward with the new $2499 SA-14S1 SACD player, PCM and DSD DAC. Yes, it decodes DSD, one of a handful of SACD players with this capability. Of course, disc players with digital inputs that decode up 192 Khz PCM have now become standard. Consumers have decided they want optical disc players that function as full system digital front ends.Let us get one ...
Monday, 03 February 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Musical Fidelity V90 DAC Review
I'm no stranger to Britain's Musical Fidelity, having reviewed a number of their budget minded and mid tier products over the past few years. A few of the items that have come through my systems include the V-DAC II, V-Link 192, M1 CLiC, and the M1 CDT. All offered remarkable sound, even without considering their affordable prices. The V-DAC II and M1 CDT disc transport remain in my systems currently. Musical Fidelity’s founder and principal is known for updating the lines pretty consistently. On the plus side of that, the company seems to add improvements and offer higher levels of performance for slight premiums, and sometimes without price increases. The company also has a reputation for making very well constructed components, with legacy products being enjoyed for decades by long time customers. Musical Fidelity has also shown itself to be ...
Monday, 20 January 2014 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Marantz NA-11S1 Network Audio Player & DAC
Having been fortunate to review over a dozen Marantz components in the past, I now come to expect very good things with every new product announcement. Marantz has recently made a big play in the digital market, being one of the few high profile companies with a full line of SACD, Blu-ray, and CD players. They have also responded to the market by adding digital inputs to virtually all their disc spinners.The Marantz line is very broad, including stellar home theater products, lifestyle products, entry-level HiFi, and luxurious reference level components. Many of these products are conceptualized or designed by long time Marantz employee, Ken Ishiwata. His track record is above reproach, having been the brains behind many of the company’s very best products, and even having limited edition components named after him. Ishiwata is known for constantly striving to ...
Friday, 26 July 2013 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Musical Fidelity M1 CDT Transport Review
British firm Musical Fidelity is a fascinating high-end audio company. They fly in the sky with statement products costing as much a sports car, yet offer a full line of incredible value products that audiophiles of any means can afford. Trickle down? Maybe. But I can tell you from experience that entry-level products like the V-DAC II and the V-Link 192, they offer very little compromise unless compared to the very best. The V series can also be upgraded with external power supplies. The M1 series, one step up, is filled with amazingly versatile products like the M1 CLiC. As a matter of fact, Musical Fidelity has a new line of “V90” series products coming to the market. I can only imagine the company is trying to keep up with the rapidly changing and fiercely competitive entry-level market. This especially ...
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