July 2015

Monthly Archives

  • ALO Audio Continental Dual Mono (CDM) DAC/amplifier review

    ALO Audio’s Continental Dual Mono (US$1495) is a solid-state/tube hybrid portable DAC and headphone amplifier. Its mission statement: to bring some of the Studio Six magic to a portable device. The big fella’s visual cues are easily observed on the portable’s casework. No surprise then that brushed aluminium chassis was designed and made at ALO’s […]

  • Metrum Acoustics discontinues Octave, launches Musette

    As alluded to in my Munich report some two months ago, today comes confirmation from Metrum Acoustics’ of their impending entry-level DAC switcheroo. After five years of dutiful service the Octave (now MKII) is being retired. In its place comes the Musette, which ditches its predecessor’s ‘secret’ industrial chip in favour of the Transient technology developed for the flagship Pavane. […]

  • Space Trix Vol. 1- the ultimate headphone demo disc?

    No, not the Chesky records compilation released in conjunction with Steve Guttenberg in 2014 but something far more future-facing musically speaking. And it’s not a disc. CJ Mirra of Colour 8 records hasn’t only curated a compilation of ambient/tech tracks from the some of the world’s finest electronic producers; he has remixed them using 3D and […]

  • Record shopping in Japan: a tourist’s guide

    Japan is unlike anywhere else in the world. This is true for a multitude of reasons but especially so when it comes to record shopping. A vinyl lover’s paradise, Japanese record stores are chock-full of hard to find vinyl, much of it in terrific condition. Not only are there (often) superior Japanese pressings on offer […]

  • KIH #23 – the essence of desktop necessity

    Cowabunga. Don’t you just luv it when walking your talk struts it to perfection? This recently happened to the unholy trinity of me, myself and I. There I was minding my own business when an already forgotten review solicit from the year prior reignited my inbox to announce that they were ready. Was I? Who […]

  • Streaming royalty payments: where does the money go?

    Deep Throat: Follow the money. Bob Woodward: What do you mean? Where? Deep Throat: Oh, I can’t tell you that. Bob Woodward: But you could tell me that. Deep Throat: No, I have to do this my way. You tell me what you know, and I’ll confirm. I’ll keep you in the right direction if […]

  • Beginner’s talk: why CD quality still matters

    The language of the digital audio world is important, especially when it comes to talking about what streaming services do and do not offer and the associated qualitative implications. Apple Music and Spotify use lossy compression in order to keep file sizes small(er) so that the end user experiences minimal lag between hitting play and […]

  • Sonic Studio Amarra SQ+ review

    Crackling. Not the porcine kind but the audible distortion that plagued this reviewer’s first foray into streaming audio quality amelioration on a Mac. Last June I took Spotify and Qobuz on a diversion via PureMusic’s Streamthrough (formerly PlayThrough) but ended up at an impasse: distortion that approximated the sound of a ‘crackling fire’ would almost […]

  • Down in a vinyl and streaming world: the compact disc

    Outlandishness. It started with Neil Young who in February dismissed vinyl’s renaissance as a fashion statement, A similar sentiment was this week echoed by Peter, Paul and Mary’s Noel Paul Stookey – he called vinyl’s fresh lease of life ‘a fad’. Also this week, Forbes quoted Quincy Jones: “Honey, we have no music industry. There’s 90% piracy everywhere […]

  • Clones Audio announce Asher DAC

    2014 was the year Hong Kong’s Clones Audio successfully commercialised 47Labs’ Gaincard circuit, around which founder ‘Funjoe’ built his boutique hi-fi manufacturing company. The 25i integrated – about which this reviewer penned commentary for TONEAudio – begat a power amplifier version of the same (25P), which was then split into monoblocks (25PM and 55PM). Then came a […]

  • Sennheiser 280 Pro headphones w/ Zu Audio Mobius

    Longevity. Sennheiser’s 280 Pro has been in production since 2003. In headphones terms, this entry-level model is a pensioner working well beyond retirement age. At US$99 the Sennheiser 280 Pro sells for half as much as it did at launch. What sets the 280 Pro apart from similarly affordable big box store rivals is their ability to […]

  • Apple Music and audiophile cynicism (Part 2)

    Apple vs audiophiles – it’s a modern day People’s Front of Judea battling the Romans. Complaints have come thick and fast that Apple Music is a me-too service put together so that the chaps in California can scrape another $10/month from the average guy’s credit card. But so what? Spotify has supplied this kind of music streaming service in […]

  • Apple Music and audiophile cynicism (Part 1)

    Hey you. Yes, you –  average guy. You like music, don’t you? Not really like it or anything. I mean, let’s face it, no-one’s gonna catch you pissing and moaning about how long Axl Rose took to finish Chinese Democracy or how Arcade Fire’s quality control has been on a slow, downward slide since Funeral or that Genesis really took […]