November 2015

Monthly Archives

  • The Select DAC II: MSB Technology’s $90,000 D/A converter

    TLA. Three letter acronyms. What lies beneath? If you’re California’s MSB Technology it’s the irresistible coincidence of ‘most significant bit’ and the initials of founding member Mark S. Brasfield. That’s according to Melbourne’s Stuart Graeme Ralston who lends his own initials to one of Australia’s most progressive audio manufacturers: SGR. Bringing our intro full circle, Ralston also […]

  • Devialet launch limited edition L’Original d’Atelier

    The best album of all time? A case could be made for Radiohead’s Kid A or The Cure’s Disintegration. Start to end, they’re flawless; and arguably each band’s finest piece of work (to date). Therefore, you know it’s going to be a good great day when it begins with the needle dropping on Kid A‘s “Everything in […]

  • Pass Labs ready HPA-1 headphone amplifier

    We first saw Pass Labs HPA-1 headphone amplifier back in January at CES 2015. This week comes new that it’s finally ready to ship. The HA-1 is being touted by these legendary Californians as a Class A “power amplifier” which cuts no corners, spills no frills and was designed under a spare-no-expense mandate by Jam […]

  • The audiophile world of cashed up, middle-aged white dudes

    The audiophile world has an image problem. To outsiders it looks like a private spa occupied dominated by well-off, white, middle-aged dudes (of which I am one). How’s a young/minority/poor guy/gal to relate? And not all cashed up, middle-aged white audio dudes are the same. I’m 43 years old but still find it impossible to identify with: […]

  • AUTOMAT: the greatest German band you’ve never heard of

    Perhaps you’d be interested in Berlin’s Automat because their guitarist/electronicist Jochen Arbeit plays with clanking noise grinders Einstürzende Neubauten? Or maybe you’d be interested in this trio because Achim Farber drums for industrial outfit Project Pitchfork? Or maybe you’d dig Automat because their self-titled debut album features guest appearances from Blixa Bargeld, Lydia Lunch and Genesis P-Porridge? Or […]

  • 12 reasons why hi-res audio will never go mainstream

    “I can hear things you c*n’t”. Introduced by Sony and later administered by the Japan Audio Society, an ‘official’ hi-res audio (HRA) logo sought to make it easier for consumers to identify hardware capable of reproducing content that offered (on paper at least) more musical information than the Redbook CD standard’s 16 bits and 44.1kHz. […]

  • From Earth moon to Jupiter, iFi iPurifier takes USB audio further

    iFi Audio is the daughter company of Abbingdon Music Research (AMR) and since its inception in 2012 has become well-known for its small, robust and sophisticated series of “Micro” devices, marked by letter “i”. Like Apple’s iPhone, each iFi unit introduces itself. I’m already well versed in iFi’s devices. Throughout 2013 I wrote a huge review on a Ukrainian website about each of the iDAC, […]

  • KIH #26 – Sound business in the sound business

    Shylock with the Sherlock. Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice character has become synonymous with money lenders and loan sharking. Sir Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes remains the master of deduction if occasionally brain-addled by cocaine, morphine or opium. Featuring both on the same bill—ladies and gentlemen, please welcome–and we get to a certain hifi ill faster still. […]

  • At last! Apple Music comes to Android devices

    Viewed from a strictly audiophile perspective – better sound quality – Apple Music doesn’t offer much to write home about. Its streams are strictly lossy (256kbps AAC) with the qualitative shortfall readily exposed by a half-decent audio system. Then there’s Apple’s beyond-rudimentary invitations for new signees to select a few of their favourite genres and artists before […]

  • Next level USB audio with UpTone REGEN, Curious cables

    Asserting that not all USB transmission methods are born equal means dropping a few C-bombs. Apologies run in advance. The theory – that it’s all ones and zeroes, end of story – tells us that the cable shouldn’t matter as long as it meets the USB specification. In its simplicity lies attractiveness. Listening to different types of […]

  • OPPO Digital’s BDP-105D: an HDMI DAC for the Apple TV

    The BDP-105D is OPPO Digital’s flagship universal disc player. BDP = Blu-Ray Disc Player. D = Darbee video processing chip. AU = Australia. Aside from enforcing DVD and Blu-Ray region restrictions, differences to the US and UK versions are minor and from hereon in this OPPO unit will be referred to as the BDP-105 because what follows […]

  • UPDATED! KEF LS50 loudspeaker gets extreme makeover

    Some news announcements require wordy explanation: designers intent, tech specs, pricing, availability etc. For some though, pictures are the most effective method of communication. Riding roughshod over maxim that it’s sound (and not looks) that matter most are British manufacturer KEF.  This week the British manufacturer announce a further extension to their LS50 line, perhaps this decade’s most popular standmount […]

  • Onkyo DP-X1, Pioneer XDP-100R dominate Fujiya Avic 2015

    We covered the the announcement of Pioneer’s forthcoming XDP-100R digital audio player back in September. To recap: 4.7″ 720 x 1280px touchscreen, Android 5.1.1, Google Play Store access, playback, aptX Bluetooth, 10 hour battery life. In hand at Fujiya Avic’s headphone festival it felt reassuringly solid. The local market will have access to this player for […]

  • Fujiya Avic 2015: Sony’s Just ear custom IEMs, just for Japan

    You might have heard: Sony hasn’t been doing so well on the financial front of late. Money troubles of such magnitude invariably force diversification and, in more drastic circumstances, total reinvention. Sony must live on. Even if that means the tech giant becomes a different company to that of its 1980/90s glory years. As exemplification of the […]