June 2013

Monthly Archives

  • KEF X300A powered loudspeaker review

    Bubbles. Let us begin by popping some: KEF’s X300A (AU$1000/pair) aren’t a powered LS50 (AU$2000/pair). They might present with a similar Uni-Q point-source configuration, trickled down from the Blades, but if you think you’re getting the LS50, amplified, DAC-d, for half the bigger brother’s RRP, think again. In the X300A we find the same coaxial […]

  • Zu Audio Soul MKII loudspeaker review

    Lone wolves.  Single-driver speakers and their crossover-free implementations are popular with some audiophiles because of strengths with imaging, soundstage depth, speed and an ability to better communicate tone and texture than their multi-driver brethren. Full-range drivers enjoy higher sensitivity (90+db) too. This opens the front door to a wider range of amplifiers. Without a crossover […]

  • New from Audiolab: Q-DAC and M-PWR

    I’d come to Apollo Hifi in Marrickville (Sydney’s inner-west) to talk about KEF speakers but something new from Audiolab caught my attention: a new DAC and power amplifier. Audiolab’s new Q-DAC is an M-DAC with the fat trimmed away. It retains digital pre-amplifier and headphone amplifier functionality but gone is the remote control, the balanced outputs, […]

  • Is HDTracks becoming more hip?

    In recent months HDTracks has shown signs that it’s no longer just a repository for ‘that‘ audiophile music (and all of its negative connotations). No, HDTracks is slowly morphing into your cool uncle who still goes to gigs.  The one who wears Doc Martens and band t-shirts. First came Suede’s much touted reunion album Bloodsports. […]

  • Digital vs. Vinyl (TONEAudio – Part 1)

    Rather than dive straight into the vinyl vs digital debate, I’ve been biding my time, building experience with different setups and getting a feel for what it’s like to maximise vinyl sound quality on a tight(ish) budget.  This playtime has been going on the best part of two years now.  Here’s a diary-summary: November 2011 […]

  • David Byrne & St. Vincent give away Brass Tactics EP

    For the price of an email address (free), David Byrne and St. Vincent are giving away a downloadable companion EP to last year’s wonderfully brassy Love This Giant. The Brass Tactics EP features one new song (“Cissus”), two remixes of album tracks and two live cuts, one of which is the nostalgic highlight of their […]

  • T.H.E. Show Newport Beach 2013 and DSD

    The most hotly-debated topic in computer audio presently must surely be DSD. It’ll come as no surprise that the guys from Mytek are 101% behind it. They  were the first manufacturer to bring DSD playback into homes for under $2k. (Director of Marketing) Chebon Littlefield’s enthusiasm for DSD fires machine-gun style between cigarette breaks. He talks […]

  • ‘Musicality’ and Instagram

    The conversation surrounding ‘accuracy’ has often troubled me: that it’s about the pursuit of getting as close as possible to reproducing the live performance. I want to ask “why?”. Why do you want your home hifi to precisely reproduce a live performance? I enjoy Nick Cave’s live shows and I enjoy his albums, both for […]

  • PSB M4U 2 headphones review

    The brief. The M4U 1 (passive, US$299) and M4U 2 (active, US$399) form PSB’s mighty fine first foray into the headphone space.  Each model is available in black (diamond), (Arctic) white or (Monza) red colour schemes. Being a polycarbonate, closed headphone both the M4U 1 and 2 have a decidedly Monster Beats aesthetic.  I put […]