Ken Micallef  |  Apr 26, 2024  |  6 comments
The Caladan loudspeakers from Clayton Shaw Acoustics ($3000/pair) were a sleeper hit at the Capital AudioFest, so I made a beeline to the fifth floor, slow-motion elevators not withstanding.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 26, 2024  |  0 comments
When “What a beautiful midrange!” is the first phrase that floats through your brain as you settle down to listen to a hitherto unknown system, you can be pretty certain you’re in for a rewarding time.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 26, 2024  |  0 comments
It’s become a virtual axiom of show reports: With Jeremy Bryan doing set-up, MBL invariably sounds excellent. In the sweet spot—MBL speakers definitely have one, and it’s not very wide—sound was ideally focused, warm, and pleasing.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 25, 2024  |  0 comments
Bruce Ball’s AV Luxury Group, with a little help from his other distribution company, Ball Audio Distribution and System Solution (which forms what may be the world's best acronym), and Dantax Radio set up two systems headlined by Margules electronics.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 25, 2024  |  0 comments
Balanced Audio Technology’s chief designer Victor Khomenko and BAT rep Steve Shade unveiled new products in conjunction with MoFi Electronics in 334.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 25, 2024  |  1 comments
In the Innovation room, operated by Joe Corona of Chicago-based dealer Saturday Audio Exchange, two systems played, both featuring new components.
Tom Fine  |  Apr 25, 2024  |  1 comments
For music listening circa 2024, streaming is both the present and the future. Physical formats are still around, and they are still the best choice in some cases, as with deluxe reissues of beloved albums, which may add value with extra live performances, full-resolution surround sound, and other perks. The niche vinyl market continues to thrive, and that business model obviously works for releases of a few thousand copies. (It also works, apparently, for releases of hundreds of thousands of T-Swift platters to be displayed on shelves and hung on walls.)

But facts is facts: Streaming is now the only mass medium for listening to recorded music—the primary carrier for music—and has been for a few years now. According to RIAA statistics, the crossover year was 2016. That's when, in revenue terms, streaming outpaced physical formats. By 2022, the latest full year tabulated, streaming accounted for 84% of US recorded-music revenue.

So what's a long-time audiophile, born into the analog world, with strong roots in physical media, supposed to do?

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 24, 2024  |  0 comments
The all-out AXPONA push by AXISS Audio of Nashville, now headed by Cliff Duffey, encompassed four rooms. The biggest presented three new headliners: Gauder Akustik’s DARC 25-0 Mk II 4-way Reference Loudspeaker ($249,975), Soulution’s 727 preamp with phono module ($89,950; review forthcoming), and Soulution’s 757 deemphasis EQ preamplifier phonostage ($84,975).
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 24, 2024  |  0 comments
Ampsandsound’s Justin Weber brought a big pile of black vinyl to Chicago, lining the small room’s walls with album jackets. He had me at Sphongle, an electronic industrial act that churned out of the world-debut Ampsandsound Hudson 3-Way speakers ($18,000/pair) like dirty psychedelic water erupting from a broken sewer pipe.
Jim Austin  |  Apr 24, 2024  |  8 comments
With every passing season, a new audiophile-grade network switch hits the market. These products, which can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, do the same basic thing as network switches bought at Best Buy for $30 or so (except, in some cases, slower), but their manufacturers claim they are built to a higher standard to achieve better sound.

As with all signal-conditioning devices that operate completely in the digital realm—especially those that work at packet level (more correctly referred to as "frame-level" on the local side of the router, but that's a distinction that even few experts make)—the sonic efficacy of audiophile network switches is debated, the debate being, as usual, mainly between those who insist they hear a difference and those who insist, on theoretical grounds, that no difference is possible.