June 2016

Monthly Archives

  • A measured response: the KEF LS50 + Devialet’s SAM

    Phono stage. DAC. ADC. USB-S/PDIF converter. Network streamer – five additional roles playable by the Devialet Expert 200, which first and foremost is a loudspeaker amplifier. But even here there’s a wrinkle. The French manufacturer have added a little (optional) special sauce to the mix. The Expert 200 comes loaded with SAM (“Speaker Active Matching”) which harnesses […]

  • Extreme! Devialet’s Gold Phantom loudspeaker

    Previously on Phantom: A quick glance at the Devialet marketing spiel for their Phantom loudspeaker series reveals an extreme factoid-based approach – “10 years of R&D”, “a $30M budget”. This might play well with the mass market but audiophiles are a different species altogether. This kind of technological fancy dress can put noses out of joint. After all, we have no reference […]

  • NAS NOW! Roon Core lands on Synology and QNAP

    Double E. Once we get past the wow factor of the Roon interface – it begs to be touched – the first E-word surfaces: expense. At US$119/year or US$499 for a lifetime license, Roon isn’t cheap and being glib about money isn’t cool. Instead, we might reframe our view of software’s role in an audio system. Roon isn’t chained to […]

  • Next level KEF LS50 with the DEQX PreMATE+

    Waiting for a mate. Recent years have seen the KEF LS50 hold their ground at (close to) the top of goto lists for loudspeaker auditions in the sub-US$2K space. Rolled up inside an enclosure that makes a break from the aesthetic conservatism of the past sits KEF’s Uni-Q driver configuration: a 2.5cm aluminium dome tweeter […]

  • Noble’s BTS adds aptX Bluetooth to ANY headphone for $99

    All other things being equal, headphones included, would you prefer to listen to an MP3 on an Astell&Kern AK380 or a FLAC file on a Samsung Galaxy smartphone? I know which I’d choose – and it wouldn’t be the smartphone. The Astell&Kern DAP’s hardware is built with audiophile sensitivities in mind and the Samsung is not. […]

  • [UPDATED] Astell&Kern AK70: another day, another player

    Some audio manufacturers release a first generation product, dust off their hands and let the reviews and sales figures fall as they may. A second generation unit might spill when the urge strikes but there’s no hurry. It’s not uncommon to see several years separating models and/or revisions. And then there’s Astell&Kern. The South Korean company make digital audio players (DAPs) for audiophiles […]

  • Up in the Air: FitEar’s hybrid IEM gives you wings

    “Maybe you’re the Jerry Harvey of Japan!” Keita Suyama, CEO and Founder of Tokyo-based IEM manufacturer FitEar, seemed somewhat unwilling to accept my compliment despite the almost incontrovertible evidence: that FitEar supplies custom in-ear monitors to hundreds of Japan’s biggest rock and pop stars; that he prides himself on his IEM’s sound quality; that FitEar are big news in […]

  • Banco De Gaia announce 20th Anniversary Live At Glastonbury 2CD

    To CD or not CD? That is the question. Whilst some artists are starting to rely exclusively on streaming servicing of their latest release – and therefore declining the option of a shiny silver disc – Toby Marks, the man behind Banco De Gaia (“World Bank”), continues to double down on the perhaps soon-to-be legacy format. Banco De Gaia’s music straddles […]

  • Reference-grade Roon with the Antipodes DX Gen 2

    The quiet life. Some of us crave it sooner or later. However, the lure of the big city comes at a price. Being close/r to the action means more people and higher living densities. That spells more daily noise than we’d hear elsewhere: the roar of traffic, the whir of trains, the clang and thunder […]

  • Fitter, happier and more productive?

    Tip over into middle age and two aspects of life become increasingly more challenging: 1) staying fit and healthy and 2) maintaining a connection with popular culture. Life eventually gets in the way of both, especially for those with kids. Weight gain has its own in-built early warning system: we might feel more sluggish than a year ago […]

  • We are back!

    YO! Did you miss us? Two days ago, DAR was rushed to the emergency room by its web hosting company. (I was sleeping at the time). The symptoms were obvious: DAR was running a CPU fever, possibility the result of a recent PHP transplant. One of the site’s organs (plugins) hadn’t well taken to a recent upgrade to PHP7 […]

  • Global feedback: others before self?

    “The worst reality TV show ever”. That’s how Jason Miller headlined his op-ed for Time magazine on CBS’ The Briefcase . “[The Briefcase] takes advantage of desperate people and calls it entertainment”, lamented Miller. Where’s the beef? The show’s basic premise is this: a financially-strapped family are given a briefcase containing $101,000 and are asked to choose between keeping […]

  • 10 stone cold bargains for the wannabe audiophile

    So you want to be an audiophile? Good for you. And welcome! Before we get going, a couple of points of order. Be wary of those who platitudinously claim that being an audiophile “is all about the music”. It isn’t. Otherwise, we’d all be content with laptop speakers, convenience store-bought earbuds or a single UE Boom. […]