May 2016

Monthly Archives

  • T.H.E. Show Newport Beach 2016: five exhibitors previewed

    T.H.E. Show Newport Beach runs for its sixth consecutive year in Irvine, CA this weekend and without long-standing show organiser Richard Beers who sadly succumbed to lung cancer in March. No doubt this year’s event will present numerous opportunities for many to properly mourn his passing. Along with RMAF, ‘Newport Beach’ is one of the bigger regional Stateside shows, one […]

  • Gordon Rankin on why USB audio quality varies

    The in-betweeners. The hifi gear review process is a little like USB audio transmission. Between product arrival and publication sits a process. What takes place during that process – we’ll call them the in-between days – influences the quality of the outcome. Mistakes made and short-cuts taken show up in the end result. Not all of it is […]

  • Schiitting on MQA

    PREVIOUSLY ON MQA: a new file format that promises something for everyone but for which we would do well to wait until a sizeable catalogue arrives – 1000s not 10s – before getting all fired up about its potential to revolutionise the listening experience / music industry. However, one Stateside publication has been quick off the mark to heap extensive and effusive […]

  • Night Phonehawk: Quest of Audio

    I realized that even before getting a sample of the AudioQuest NightHawk into my hands that they wouldn’t be just one more pair of cans from an old name company who’d recently felt the need to join the headphone market. The failure of this mission was surely an impossibility. Why? One reason is that NightHawk Skylar Gray had started from a blank canvas cleared by company founder William […]

  • Taste the mainstream with OPPO Digital’s Sonica

    OPPO Digital and OPPO are two distinct companies despite sharing a name and a Guangdong factory. OPPO manufacturer smartphones aimed at the man in the street whilst OPPO Digital look after the considerably smaller audiophile market with disc spinners that double as media players, headphones (PM-1, PM-2, PM-3) and headphone amplifiers (HA-1, HA-2). News arrives this week via press […]

  • Three (more) amplifiers for the KEF LS50, ELAC Uni-Fi UB5

    The most talked about standmount loudspeaker/s of the past twelve months is almost certainly ELAC’s Debut B5 (US$250). Pulling up in second place is the same company’s Uni-Fi UB5 (US$500). Why? Not simply because they each offer outstanding performance for the money but because their designer Andrew Jones knows how to woo the audiophile press […]

  • DAR’s top 5 trends of Munich High-End 2016

    With Munich High-End 2016 coverage now in the bag, let’s turn our attention to trends. What themes shot through this year’s event? Here’s my Top 5: 1. Turntables, turntables and more turntables. Big black disc spinners were more prevalent at Munich High-End 2016 than any other show I’ve attended in the last five years. Especially, […]

  • Fucking Hell + Western Electric horns = Silbatone fun

    The F word. No, not that word! I’m talking about fun. Remember fun? Many attendees of Munich High-End 2016 will talk of fun after the fact but walking the hallways and sitting down amongst them in many of the Atriums’ high-end exhibits, it didn’t look like there was too much fun getting about. A lot of solemn, serious faces sitting expressionless in […]

  • Technics’ SL-1200GAE is for audiophiles, not DJs

    The most iconic direct-drive turntable of all time? The answer will depend on who you ask. For baby boomers, it might be Technics’ SP-10, the world’s first direct drive turntable. Released in 1970, the SP-10 would see significant uptake in a market previously dominated by belt-drive and idler designs. It reportedly helped Technics gain a 30% share […]

  • Split personality: Pro-Ject’s ‘The Classic’, VTE, DS2 DAC

    More so than the previous two years, Munich High-End 2016 reflected the high street’s re-ignited love affair with vinyl records. Turntables loomed large at the world’s number one hifi show, particularly the muscular-looking, high-mass-loading, chromed-up types, which could be found seemingly at almost every turn. Mercifully, we saw no such plattenschpieler bling at the Pro-Ject stand. The Austrian […]

  • Andrew Jones talks European, active ELAC UB5 loudspeaker

    Talking Heads, Islands, JAMC, The Rolling Stones – just four of the artists used by CNET’s Ty Pendlebury and Steve Guttenberg in their review of ELAC’s Uni-Fi UB5 standmount – quite possibly the most talked about loudspeaker of 2016. “The ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 loudspeakers offer the best performance of any speaker we’ve seen for the money,” enthused the CNET duo. […]

  • Bel Canto distill Black Series essence into ACI 600 integrated

    The Munich High-End Show this year once again reaffirmed its status as the number one hifi show in the world. One German distributor I spoke to no longer exhibits because he sees the event as having lost its German flavour, overwhelmed by a more powerful (read: international) all spice. ‘International’ sees the vast majority of exhibitors, press and attendees arrive from overseas. ‘Overseas’ […]

  • MiND control: Simaudio’s Android app, MOON Neo ACE

    ACE = A Complete Experience. That’s how Simaudio are pitching their MOON Neo-series super-integrated amplifier. (Can you see a theme developing?) US$3500 has the Canadian company roll 50wpc (into 8 Ohms) amplifier, MiND (MOON intelligent Network Device) streamer, DAC, MM phono stage and headphone output into a single black box. Connect the Neo ACE to the Internet and a pair […]

  • NAD launch modular Master Series M32 integrated amplifier

    The most famous integrated amplifier of all time? A case could be made for the NAD 3020, an amplifier recently re-imagined by the now Canadian-owned company as the D(igital) 3020 (covered here, here, here, here and here). Aesthetically, the D 3020 bears zero resemblance to the original. So too does the amplification technology featured therein. However, both units share a common functional theme: integration of […]