March 2014

Monthly Archives

  • Red Wine Audio tube up Sony HAP-Z1ES HRA/DSD player

    (The Neil Young fronted) Pono isn’t the only company currently pushing hard on the hi-res audio (HRA) button. Last year Sony announced a range of HRA-capable products aimed at both audiophile and mainstream listeners. There was the HAP-S1 (US$999) – a 500Gb audio player and Class A/B amplifier sealed under one roof and the UDA-1 […]

  • The Hold Steady break audiophile soil with HDTracks release

    I’ve written before about the disconnect between the music played at audio shows and the REST OF THE WORLD. Headphone listening aside, Pitchfork fodder is rarely found at RMAF and you’ve got a snowball’s chance in hell of hearing anything covered by Resident Advisor over at THE Show Newport Beach. Those lusting for kick-ass rock […]

  • KIH #7 – Attenuating resonance and power-line noise

    RIP. Plug it in and let ‘er rip. Resonate in perfection. This kick starter for today’s installment goes to Louis Motek of LessLoss and this page. I recommend you read it before you proceed… intermission… curtain call…back again… … so we’re at bad vibes which suck away performance. Not beach but leech boys. Optimizing our […]

  • Mainstreamers: get better audio gear before going Pono

    If the last week has revealed one thing about Neil Young’s Pono – a high resolution audio ecosystem – is that it’s (apparently) aimed squarely at the mainstream and NOT audiophiles. I don’t doubt that both the player and the music store content combined will sound fantastic…but I’m an audiophile. I seriously dig this shit. […]

  • Aqua Hifi La Scala MKII DAC review

    Contemporary multibit DAC implementations are becoming increasingly rare. It’s single bit, delta-sigma silicon that now dominates the D/A conversion space, ushered into popularity by manufacturers eager to save on build cost coin. Multibit (aka R-2R Ladder) DACs utilise a series of resistors to generate the 65536 different voltages required for 16 bit resolution whereas newer, […]

  • Wyred4Sound launch MKII ST-500 / ST-100 stereo amplifiers

    Like the idea of Wyred4Sound’s mINT amps but averse to doubling up on power cables? Wyred4Sound have packed two mini amps (reviewed here and here) into a single chassis to bring you the ST-500 MKII – a dual mono power amplifier that nudges 250 wpc into 8Ω (430 wpc into 4Ω). Balanced (Neutrik) and (gold-plated) […]

  • Why I’m not buying into Neil Young’s PonoPlayer

    Hello Mr Soul. Pono is the Hawaiian word for ‘righteousness’* and it’s also the name Neil Young has adopted for his venture into connecting the man in the street with ‘studio quality’ music. Pono can be split into two composite parts: the forthcoming music store (PonoMusic) and an accompanying hardware player (PonoPlayer) that formally launched […]

  • Neil Young’s Pono: #yolo or #ohno?

    “I heard a perfect echo die into an anonymous wall of digital sound.” – ‘Natural Beauty’ (Harvest Moon, 1992) There’s little doubting that Neil Young is one heck of an awesome dude and his intentions to push better sound quality to a wider audience are to be applauded. It takes someone with Young’s reach to […]

  • Schiit Audio Bifrost Uber w/ Gen 2 USB DAC review

    Flashback. Last year I reviewed the Schiit Bifrost DAC for TONEAudio magazine. That (previously .pdf only) coverage has since been archived here but I’ll provide a quick summary for those about to jump back with “TL;DR”: AKM4399 decoder chip, coaxial and optical S/PDIF inputs, (optional) asynchronous USB 2.0 input, no SRC / bitperfect, up to 24bit/192kHz […]

  • Light Harmonic / LH Labs begin shipping ‘Geek Out’

    You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off! Light Harmonic make the $20K Da Vinci D/A converter. They also make the rather splendid LightSpeed USB cable. However, Light Harmonic will probably be most famous from now on for their portable DAC/headphone amplifier the ‘Geek’ (since renamed ‘Geek Out’) whose development and manufacturer was […]

  • #nowplaying Banco De Gaia – Maya (20th Anniversary Edition)

    Banco De Gaia (aka Toby Marks) this week releases a 20th anniversary edition of his debut album (proper) – Maya. The man behind the Maya mask refers to this album as ‘global electronica’. Personally, I’d peg it as ambient dub tinged with world music influences. No matter the pigeonholing, there’s considerable audiophile appeal here: deep […]