August 2016

Monthly Archives

  • KIH #34 – Any port in a storm

    One man’s ‘Ode to Joy’ by Louis van Beethoven becomes another’s ‘Node to Oi’ by Lewis von Beathaufen. He uses ‘Oi’ as shorthand for obnoxious irritant. This forwards us from prêt-à-porter, ready to wear in French, at fret-à-ports, ready to swear at ports. In speakers, they’re virtually omnipresent. For every sealed or transmission-line speaker, there […]

  • MQA: a non-hostile takeover?

    Publisher’s note: MQA promises much. I’ve heard it at home, away from show conditions, and I like what I hear. That doesn’t diminish issues surrounding MQA’s teeny-tiny content pool and hardware certification. Unsure about what MQA is, how it works or how it sounds? Click those links to catch-up on the why, the how and the what. Here Alex […]

  • KEF, GP Acoustics: your father’s loudspeaker company no more

    The Mini Cooper, Michael Caine and Benny Hill – British icons all. Caine’s cockney hollering of “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” is a seminal moment in British cinema history. Observe: In hifi, the BBC’s LS3/5a broadcast-grade loudspeaker, primarily designed to optimise reproduction of the human voice, has inked its place as […]

  • Cheers! Acoustic Research’s ARM20 portable player

    Guinness. It’s this hifi reviewer’s favourite adult beverage. Low/er in calories and yet more ful/filling than your average beer. In Australia, it’s not so easily found. In Hong Kong, draft supply is ubiquitous. An opportunity then to reignite my love of the black stuff with two pints each afternoon after a day spent walking the […]

  • Digital audio comes of age with PS Audio’s DirectStream Junior

    The three Rs: rich, robust, revealing – a trio of bon mots that nearly summarise PS Audio’s DirectStream DAC whose designer Ted Smith is a man of full beard and Hawaiian shirt. Continuing with our R theme, a remix, remaster and radio edit of that same converter’s review summary: a DAC that doesn’t shout about what it’s found; an […]

  • Bryston’s BDP-π is a rich, Roon Ready slice of Raspberry Pi

    How much is your time worth? That’s the question we might ask ourselves when first glancing at Bryston Limited’s latest digital audio streamer, the BDP-π, which for US$1295 gives us a Raspberry Pi and Hifiberry Digi+ snapped into a custom case and boxed up with switch mode power supply – a combination that might otherwise be purchased for […]

  • Diamond dogs from VPI Industries at Hong Kong High-End 2016

    Dog man go woof. Balance, weight, size, eyes (color, size, shape), ears (shape, length, position), head (shape), muzzle (shape, length), whiskers (thickness), teeth (kind of bite), tail (how it arches and sets), shoulders (bone, muscle), legs (muscles, stance, proportionality), coat (texture, length), color (accepted breed colors). These are many of the qualities used to assess […]

  • High-end streaming in Hong Kong with Cambridge Audio’s Azur 851N

    The Azur 851N is Cambridge Audio’s network streamer; it isn’t new to the world but it’s new to me. Feeding an internal pair of Analog Devices AD1955 chips are the 851N’s coaxial, TOSLINK, AES/EBU and USB inputs. Converted PCM or DSD content spills from the rear panel’s balanced XLR or single-ended RCA outputs. In other words, Cambridge Audio’s flagship […]

  • Hong Kong High-End 2016: everyman tube amplifiers from Cayin

    Zuhai Spark Electronic Equipment Co. Ltd. – that’s quite the mouthful. In hifi stores and on audio show floors this Chinese manufacturer give us a more digestible brand name to chew on: Cayin. Recent press attention has focussed on the company’s foray into the portable audio market; Cayin’s slowly expanding range of DAPs and handheld headphone […]

  • Digging deeper into Devialet at Hong Kong High-End 2016

    In Hong Kong, the Devialet Phantom is, in audiophile terms, ubiquitous. At HMV in Causeway Bay the French company enjoys a fully branded room. At the airport’s Sound&Vision store the now familiar halo stand casts a long shadow over several rows of headphones and portable loudspeakers. A senior sales assistant tells me that the Silver Phantom is […]

  • ECT: Hong Kong High-End 2016’s one-stop head-fi shop

    At the larger high-end audio shows, the Astell&Kern booth lands spaceship-like into the middle of the main exhibition hall. To Hong Kong High-End 2016 this Korean craft carries overseas visitors known – Andy Regan of JH Audio, Ken Ball of ALO / Campfire Audio, Sankar Thiagasamudram of Audeze. Regan could be seen promoting a revised Rosie IEM, Ball his top-flight Andromeda […]

  • DMA / Cafe: quenching thirst for portable audio in Hong Kong

    On Hong Kong Island? Causeway Bay? Curious about portable audio? Thirsty / hungry? How about some time out from the intensity of Hennessy Road with a drink and a pair of headphones? Take the fifty steps north to the mid-500s of Jaffe Road and step up into an air-conditioned hallway manned by two friendly security staff. Take […]