October 2016

Monthly Archives

  • Fujiya Avic Autumn 2016: Campfire Audio’s material difference

    TAEC.That’s not a TEAC typo but the patent-pending technology used by Campfire Audio in their Jupiter and Andromeda IEMs in order to widen the Q of each model’s high-frequency balanced armature driver/s. Is this why I consistently hear the latter as airier and more abundant with spatial cues than when listening to the same playlist of Bowie, Eno, Luna, Joanna Newsom […]

  • ‘I do!’: MQA, Kripton in wedlock at Fujiya Avic Autumn 2016

    Pew pew! The Nakano Sun Plaza’s 6th floor houses a chapel with all the trimmings: stage, organ, flowers and drapes. When hosting the Tokyo Headphone festival however, the chapel is used for press launches and presentations. On Sunday afternoon, Bob Stuart plays bridegroom to Kripton’s bride. Stuart’s local handler (and best man!), ‘Bike’ H. Suzuki translates Stuart’s speech for the […]

  • Tokyo’s Final Audio: in-house and out of time

    In-between Denver’s RMAF and Tokyo’s Fujiya Avic event lives a two week window. Straddling the 10,000kms point to point, two aeroplane rides. Crossing the international dateline and a 15-hour time difference means a jet-lagged John arrives in Japan but a full five days before showtime. An opportunity for the body clock to right itself, some vinyl record shopping […]

  • Fujiya Avic Autumn 2016: Sage, Kaiser Encore IEMs from Noble Audio

    Dr. John. Not the American singer/songwriter but the engineering half of the Noble Audio equation: Dr. John Moulton (aka ‘The Wizard’) casts his IEM-design spells from Thailand and, until recently, has been chosen to wear his invisibility cape more frequently than the Santa Barbara-based marketing and operations manager Brannan Mason. At the Autumn 2016 Fujiya Avic Headphone Festival […]

  • The winds of change: Audeze’s iSine IEM at Fujiya Avic Autumn 2016

    Wait – can you hear that? On the lip of the wind, a change is coming. Audeze’s iSine are like no other IEM before them; they contain no balanced armature driver and no dynamic driver. What gives? The Californian company have shrunk their planar-magnetic technology down to a 3cm diaphragm, added patented single-side ‘Fluxor’ magnets and associated […]

  • Fujiya Avic Autumn 2016: the Sonoma M1 electrostatic system

    A MetOPP film, 15 microns thick; a Formex (polypropylene) spacer; a stainless steel mesh for the ground — these are the material ingredients of Warwick Audio’s new ‘High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate’ (HPEL) driver, made on a roll-to-roll process in the UK. According to CEO Martin Roberts, the driver measures less than 1mm thick. This new Brit tech […]

  • A tale of two cities with the OPPO Digital Sonica DAC, HA-2SE

    OPPO Digital’s range of Sonica products will soon comprise two wireless multi-room speaker models. We might (lazily) think of them as OPPO’s take on a Sonos Play:1 and Play:3. However, each Sonica speaker sports a handful of fundamental differences to the Santa Barbara-born old timers: DLNA, Bluetooth and AirPlay compatibility. The latter turns each Sonica – or each L/R pair – into a […]

  • Tokyo Headphone Festival, Autumn 2016 – sights & sounds

    Amber. Autechre. The British duo’s second full length electronic odyssey and their iciest. The album’s otherworldly detachment makes for the ideal soundtrack for walking the streets that take us from Shinjuku to Nakano. We start with concrete high-rise before making a left turn into the high-density, cottage-like homes that line narrow streets. This is Toyko at its most serene, where the synthesised […]

  • KIH #37 – Big-driver sound

    Funking hey. Check out the Heco Direkt Dreiklang (that’s German for tri-sound to point at being a scaled-up 3-way over the original 10” two-way Heco Direkt). Whatcha reckon its driver diameters are? Here’s a hint. The midrange is an 8-incher. That makes the about twice-as-wide woofer a—gasp—15” monster, baffle width a mega 70cm! Add claimed […]

  • Going off-grid with Vinnie Rossi at RMAF 2016

    It’s appropriate we wrap DAR’s RMAF 2016 coverage where we came in: with Vinnie Rossi and a widescreen Marriott Tech Center view of downtown Denver and the mountain range that lends its name to this consistently enjoyable audio event. By 5pm Sunday, Rossi looked tired but happy. “A great show!” he exhaled wearily. I’d spent time in […]

  • RMAF 2016: a headstart for happiness with the ELAC Element

    Basic. One word to describe the vinyl finish of the Andrew Jones-designed Debut and Uni-Fi series loudspeakers from ELAC. A year or so on from those initial releases we get improved aesthetics – initially aimed at the European market. The Uni-Fi slimline variant comes in a black or white satin finish and is available Stateside. Sticker price premiums have been […]

  • Saga, Freya, Vidar: three fresh pieces of Schiit from RMAF 2016

    After six years kicking the headphone world in the seat of the pants, high-end audio’s equivalent of the Rebel Alliance are moving into two-channel territory. At RMAF 2016, that meant two separate demo spaces: Mike Moffat fronted the company’s range of DACs and headphone amplifiers at Schiit’s now familiar CanJam spot. Meanwhile, Jason Stoddard could […]

  • Audio Precision: RMAF 2016’s men in blue coats

    Measurements. There isn’t sufficient time/money for this publication to undertake them. If that bothers you, head to the safety of another publication; I heartily recommend Stereophile. Maybe a compromise for webzines like DAR would the use of a third party measurement service. The device under scrutiny would be sent off to a lab for the men in […]

  • What’s in a Naim? A new Uniti family debuts at RMAF 2016

    Naim’s revamped Uniti range made its debut at RMAF 2016. Well, half of it. The first two products to appear fully-formed are the ARM-powered Core music server/ripper and the Atom 40wpc (into 8 Ohms) Class A/B streaming amplifier. Each will sell for ~US$2595 and ~US$2995 respectively. Shipping kicks off in December. This new Uniti family underlines streaming. The Core […]

  • Getting square with Crystal Cables at RMAF 2016

    Primed for the space-limited or space-conscious high-end player, The Netherlands’ Crystal Cable have moved the funky design aesthetic of their Arabesque loudspeaker series – pictured here in orange – over to their all-new integrated amplifier. The Crystal Cable Integrated (CCI) is an all-in-one cuboid that pays strict attention to the cooling of its Class A/B output (heavy A bias, […]

  • RMAF 2016: Alternative tastes and textures from Noble Audio

    Intimacy – a prominent and potent quality of Noble Audio’s twin-BA Savant. This custom IEM’s deeper than average ear-canal penetration converts to a better than average seal against external noise intrusion. As a result, the volume on the connected DAP stays lower, music feels closer. Like I said, intimacy. Such qualities really come into their own in […]