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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 02, 2017 3 comments
Stereophile tried something a little different for our CES coverage last year: we brought Graham Nash to the show. This year several new artist names were tossed about, and when Jake Shimabukuro came up we jumped at the chance to bring him to Las Vegas. Jake is a stellar musician, and has turned the ukulele into a respected instrument with his interpretations of classical and modern works, collaborating with a wide range of artists from Yo-Yo Ma to Alan Parsons. He is stunning to watch: If you've never seen or heard him play, check out the videos at the bottom of this story.
Jon Iverson Posted: Dec 22, 2016 5 comments
I prefer and have owned electrostatic speakers for most of my audiophile life. Depending on your point of view, this makes me either the most qualified or the least appropriate writer to review MartinLogan's new electrostatic loudspeaker, the Masterpiece Renaissance ESL 15A.

Oh, I've flirted with dynamic speakers. I've owned and loved—and ultimately, when I was an audio retailer, sold—models from Revel, Thiel, Vandersteen, and many others, while my long-term choice has been electrostats. And while I've spent plenty of time with electrostatic speakers from Acoustat and Quad, I've ended up owning MartinLogans: Sequels, Quests, ReQuests, and, currently, Prodigys.

Jon Iverson Posted: Oct 04, 2016 13 comments
"They're so damn hard to tell apart!"

So exclaimed my longtime pal and fellow audiophile Bruce Rowley when I revealed to him that T+A Elektroakustik's new DAC 8 DSD digital-to-analog converter ($3995) had arrived for review, just after I'd finished writing up the Ayre Acoustics Codex DAC–headphone amp ($1795). Bruce had recently compared his own brand-new Codex with a DAC he'd owned for a couple years, both costing about the same but built to very different designs. He was surprised that, after carefully matching levels and working to eliminate any other variables, they sounded more alike than not, and only slightly different even after hours of listening. Technically, these were two very different animals.

Jon Iverson Posted: May 25, 2016 4 comments
I first spied the Ayre Codex two Januarys ago, at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, and its scrappy proletarian vibe sure made it look different from any other Ayre creation. On learning that its price would be well under $2000, I was immediately curious what Charley Hansen and his gang—makers of the $3450 QB-9DSD USB digital-to-analog converter, plus a few five-figure amps and preamps—could create when cost is an object.
Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 16, 2016 7 comments
Many of you have seen the posts about Graham Nash touring the high end audio exhibits at CES earlier this month. The experience taught me this: it isn't how good you hear, but how well you listen.

I'm not sure what readers expected from this, and I certainly wasn't sure what to expect, which is why it was an attractive idea. Yes Nash ended up liking what he heard, but for those cynical enough to think he was just being polite, I'm here to tell you first hand that he was excited by the experience, and his enthusiasm was genuine.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 15, 2016 0 comments
Audio Alchemy was relaunched again in 2015 with a stellar lineup of designers including Keith Allsop, Peter Madnick and Dusty Vawter. And it appears no expense was spared showing their product line up at CES. Occupying one of the larger suites, with co-exhibitor TAD, at the top of the Venetian only served to emphasize how compact the products are.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 15, 2016 0 comments
Here are a couple photos of the two products in the Lenbrook (distributors of NAD, PSB and Bluesound) suite that included MQA. Above is the Bluesound Vault 2 streamer and CD file ripper ($1,199) and below the NAD M12 Preamplifier/DAC ($3,499). Both units on display include the necessary firmware and software to decode MQA files.
Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 15, 2016 1 comments
We had spent the morning and early afternoon listening to systems in the big suites, and now it was time to downscale the room size and budget just a bit. I promised Graham Nash that we would try to mix up the types of products he heard, so we headed down to Devore Fidelity on the 30th floor of the Venetian.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 15, 2016 0 comments
One of my favorite new digital products, from an industrial design point of view, is the new all-in-one system from French company Micromega, designed by Daniel Schar. Assuming you have a nice flat place to put it (flat or on a wall), you can request a custom finish or go with standard black or bright orange as shown in the photo.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 15, 2016 0 comments
The new Aurender A10 should be arriving this summer for approximately $5,000 and should cover just about all of your digital file playback and streaming needs. Inside will be a 2TB drive for storage and 120GB SSD cache to improve playback quality, with Tidal native as well.

On the back are both balanced and unbalanced analog outputs and USB, Ethernet and optical digital inputs. Formats handled include PCM up to 32/384 and DSD128.

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