Brian Damkroger  |  Apr 26, 2024  |  1 comments
I jumped at the chance to review T+A's $47,900/pair Solitaire S 530 loudspeaker for a few reasons. First, because T+A is a well-established company with an approach I like and respect: They make hi-fi equipment of the highest quality but with prices that, though substantial, are in line with their technology and execution. Their stuff is very handsome with impressive industrial design, but T+A doesn't do audio jewelry. What's more, though T+A is aggressive in R&D—their "Company" webpage says, "Actually, we're scientists ..."—but they are selective in the use of new technology. The third reason I was interested in reviewing a product from T+A is that their prices and technical level place them in a market segment I know well.

What I didn't know until recently is that T+A makes loudspeakers, and they're quite different from the loudspeakers other companies make. I only learned this when I started hearing about the S 530 and its larger sibling, the S 540, from friends—friends whose ears I trust.

Ken Micallef  |  Apr 26, 2024  |  3 comments
Colin King and Doug K of Gestalt Audio Design of Nashville, Tennessee, presented one of the more unusual looking rigs at AXPONA, complete with a fantastical copper-colored turntable with a steampunk clamp, a pair of bug-eyed loudspeakers each with a field-coil midrange driver, and a master controller that looked like it had been rescued or stolen from a Russian submarine circa 1957.
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).