June 2014

Monthly Archives

  • PS Audio Sprout – a Q&A with Scott McGowan

    It seems the hi-fi world has fallen hard for crowd-funding. On the back of storming successes from Pono, Light Harmonic and the Orbit turntable it’s easy to see why. (Those links point to Kicktraq – and not Kickstarter – to show the funding pattern throughout each product’s campaign period.) Perhaps it’s the sense of finite availability […]

  • Channel D PureMusic Playthrough w/ Qobuz, Spotify & Pandora

    The big three. Computer audiophiles using Mac OS X will likely be familiar with the Channel D’s Pure Music, Sonic Studio’s Amarra and Audirvana+ – all alternatives to iTunes’ own playback engine. They each retain iTunes’ library management system but at the click of play digital audio is handed off to the third party player where […]

  • Resonessence Labs INVICTA Mirus review

    Savvy silicon sleuths will probably know that Brit-brothers Mark and Martin Mallinson head up Resonessence Labs and ESS respectively. When family ties connect chip maker and DAC baker, cross-pollination of technical talent is all but inevitable. Brother Mark’s engineering team were directly involved in the design of the Sabre 9018 and wanted to see what […]

  • KIH #12 – Realistic is pathetic, real is powerful

    RIP. We stick to our deformed 3-letter thematic and reappropriate one we’ve used before but differently. This Keep it Honest feature looks at just a few gaps between live and playback whilst disregarding similar discrepancies in the recording process which our last installment pointed at. Today’s RIP becomes shorthand for realistic is pathetic and real […]

  • Voxtok Capsule music server & streamer launches on Kickstarter

    The French Connection. Mirroring Astell&Kern’s trans-global office arrangement, France’s Voxtok are officially based in Santa Rosa but their R&D and manufacturing takes place just outside of Montpellier. “Quality” and “simplicity” are two words that crop up regularly as Voxtok attempt to bring their Capsule to life via Kickstarter. The Capsule may indeed be very simple to use […]

  • Electronica for audiophiles (Part 4)

    I have a sneaking suspicion that lossless audio downloads are slowly but surely becoming less expensive. Around $10-15 per album now seems to be the norm with the likes of Boomkat and Bleep now on par with the artist-direct content sold via Bandcamp. Got a great two-channel system or killer headphone rig? Here are ten […]

  • Long may you run (again) with Lehmann Audio’s Traveller

    Trender bender. If 2013 was the year of the ultra-portable (“dingus”) DAC then 2014 is shaping up to be the year that the portable headphone amplifier space exploded. Any head-fi-focussed manufacturer worth its salt now offers a handheld box for advancing the sound quality of smartphones and/or digital audio players. Some portable amplifiers come with in-built DACs, […]

  • PS Audio Sprout: from Munich prototype to Kickstarter launch

    If hi-fi were to have a Facebook profile its relationship status would read “It’s complicated”. To incoming digital audio dudes, the plethora of DAC-amplifier combinations must look overwhelming. If you’re a wannabe vinyl spinner as well, the paradox of choice doubles again in choosing turntable and phonostage. Then there are interconnects to consider, both digital and […]

  • Blurred lines – are you sure you want it?

    Mission im/possible. In May I took on three different hi-fi shows on three different continents during a four week marathon around the world: Fujiva Avic’s Spring Headphone Festival in Tokyo, the Hi-end Show in Munich and T.H.E. Show Newport Beach just outside of Los Angeles. On the in-between days I spent time visiting VPI Industries in […]

  • KEF detail 2014 Reference series via Blade USB stick

    Walking shows sees attendees amassing a hefty pile of brochures, tear sheets and business cards at the end of each day. If you’re travelling from one country to another in covering a series of shows, this extra weight can ultimately become burdensome. So hats off to Jonathan Derda of Peachtree Audio who lifted the email address from […]

  • Improving the sound quality of Qobuz, Spotify and Pandora

    For the average Joe, the notion of owning music is slowly on the way out. There will always be those who want to grab a physical version of an album – most likely vinyl – or those who want the higher bit- and sample-rates from hi-res content providers like HDTracks and PonoMusic, but owning Redbook (16bit/44.1kHz) […]

  • Long may you run with Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Picollo

    David Maudlin gave me a sneak peak of his new portable amplifier at the M.O.C. in Munich last month. Only a few weeks later and Portland’s Cypher Labs have today announced that the AlgoRhythm Picollo is ready to rock. Unlike the D/A-converting Theorem 720, this new palm-sized device is an all-analogue portable amplifier that connects to the […]

  • KIH #11 – Purity or posturing?

    POP. Purity or posturing? We’ve all read those nauseating “pure window on the recording” descriptions. They’re leitmotif for audiophile beliefs. The recording is somehow sacrosanct. Pure. The unvarnished truth. So let’s hit ‘stop’ for a moment. Go into the menu and select special features. Oops, that’s video. Never mind. What do we find? Behind the […]

  • REDGUM launch Signature Black Series RGi35ENR on Indiegogo

    Ian Robinson started REDGUM Audio in Melbourne back in 1993 and has always been positively hardcore about keeping the manufacturing process in Australia. Twenty one years later REDGUM Audio are about to celebrate this anniversary by ringing in the Chinese changes: a range of Black Series Signature amplifiers manufactured in Shenzhen to ‘very specific Australian standards’. Skeptics of Chinese production should look […]