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Wednesday, 10 February 2010 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Monarchy Audio SE-100 Delux Mark 2 Monoblock Amplifier Review
Monarchy Audio is a San Francisco, California-based concern founded in 1979 by C.C. Poon, an audio enthusiast with a technical bent who began his business selling amplifier kits from Japan. By the 1990s, the company had shifted focus and began manufacturing its own audio gear, including DACs and amplifiers, all under a banner of “High End at Low Cost.” in 1995, Monarchy introduced the SE-100 mono block amplifier, a Class A model whose design remained in production unchanged for nearly 15 years. In late 2009, an updated version of the SE-100 was released under the moniker SE-100 Delux Mark 2.Features & SetupMeasuring 11 inches wide, 13 inches deep and just 4 inches high, the Mark 2s are relatively tidy in dimension yet still tip the scales at 21 pounds. The construction is tank-like and these amps can pump 100 watts ...
Thursday, 28 January 2010 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Marantz SR 6004 A/V Receiver Review
Marantz has long been associated with stereo receivers and has produced an extensive line of components over the last 40 years. Times have certainly changed from when all-one-receivers were at the heart of many a 2-channel stereo system and were called upon to serve as amp, tuner and phono stage. Nowadays, a receiver can hardly get a second look unless it can serve up the video goods, too. Marantz's SR 6004 is part of the new breed of A/V receivers designed to accommodate practically any audio/video connection and demand imaginable. With a suggested sticker of $1,249.99, the SR 6004 proves the old adage, “you get what you pay for.” And it's quite a lot.FeaturesIt would be a short review if I focused on what the SR 6004 can't do, as its list of features is nearly inexhaustible. One could spend ...
Wednesday, 16 December 2009 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Marantz PM-KI Pearl Integrated Amplifier Review
Marantz's PM-KI Pearl Integrated Amplifier is one of two limited edition components (along with the SA-KI Pearl SACD/CD Player) celebrating designer Ken Ishiwata's achievement with the company in 30 years. For the event, Ishiwata went into the audio lab and reshaped and retooled these two components to his aesthetics and offered them up for a select few music lovers. The KI is limited to just 500 units, making it instantly collectible, and I felt humbled knowing I was among such a wee group who would ever hear these components. Marantz has a Web site (http://www.marantz.eu/kipearl/) dedicated solely to the KI Pearl and its brethren SA-KI Pearl. I'm always wary of quoting and seemingly confirming views of a company's product in question, but I doubt anyone would question Marantz's and Ishiwata's ideals that “... specifications are just facts. We're interested in ...
Monday, 14 December 2009 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Marantz SA-KI Pearl SACD/CD Player Review
Being in business – any business - for 30 years is reason enough to celebrate, but when you've enjoyed a long-running position at the top of your field there's even more cause for rejoicing. That's the story behind Marantz's SA-KI Pearl components, a limited-edition run (500 worldwide) of “gifts” from Ken Ishiwata to those in the audio community who have enjoyed his innovative designs during his Marantz tenure. Ishiwata drew on his vast experience to design what can be described truly as a custom SACD/CD player. The SA-KI Pearl SACD/CD Player (“KI” stands for Ken Ishiwata) in many ways is a summation of Ishiwata's artistic philosophy and his goal to offer a component “to reproduce music exactly as the original artist and the recording engineers intended.” Ishiwata is reported to have personally listened to and/or tested each internal part. Considering ...
Thursday, 03 December 2009 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Monster Turbine Pro In-Ear Headphones Review
During my last two years of high school, I would come home from class, put on my Koss headphones, take a seat behind my drum set and play along to music for about an hour. I played loud and needed the music equally so to hear above my own din. After every session I was left with a bit of buzzing in my ears that, fortunately, has yet to cause any permanent damage. But those couple of years spent learning Neil Peart's licks left me with little love for headphones. It seemed more like I was surviving the music rather than enjoying it, and have since never found headphones comfortable or pleasant to listen to. The worst for me have been the “ear-bud” variety that now pervades the market thanks to the astonishing success of Apple's iPod. Most have painful ...
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