Cambridge Audio EVO 150 streaming integrated amplifier Measurements

Sidebar 3: Measurements

I tested the Cambridge Audio EVO 150 with my Audio Precision SYS2722 system (see the January 2008 "As We See It") then repeated some tests with the magazine's more recent APx555 system. As the amplifier has an output stage operating in class-D, I inserted an Audio Precision auxiliary AUX-0025 passive low-pass filter between the test load and the Audio Precision analyzers. This filter eliminates RF noise that could drive their input circuitry into slew-rate limiting. I used it for all the loudspeaker output tests other than frequency response. After two hours of operation, the temperature of the amplifier's top panel had stabilized at a slightly warm 94.1°F (34.5°C).

I looked first at the Cambridge's performance via its balanced and single-ended line inputs. The maximum gain at the loudspeaker outputs was 33.9dB for both types of inputs. At the preamplifier output it was 8.2dB, and at the headphone output it was 7.8dB. The EVO 150 preserved absolute polarity at all outputs. The volume control operated in accurate 0.5dB steps up to "90" and accurate 1dB steps from "90" to the maximum of "100." The unbalanced input impedance was 37k ohms at 20Hz and 1kHz, with an inconsequential drop to 30k ohms at 20kHz. The balanced input impedance was 76k ohms at low and middle frequencies, dropping to 70k ohms at the top of the audioband.

The Cambridge amplifier's output impedance at the headphone output was <1 ohm. At the preamplifier output, it ranged from 53 ohms at 20Hz to 47 ohms at 20kHz. The output impedance at the loudspeaker terminals was 0.09 ohm at 20Hz and 1kHz, rising very slightly to 0.1 ohm at 20kHz. (These figures include the series impedance of 6' of spaced-pair loudspeaker cable.) The modulation of the amplifier's frequency response due to the Ohm's law interaction between this source impedance and the impedance of my standard simulated loudspeaker was therefore a negligible ±0.1dB (fig.1, gray trace). The response into an 8 ohm resistive load (fig.1, blue and red traces) was down by 3dB at 55kHz, which correlates with the slightly lengthened risetimes with the Cambridge's reproduction of a 10kHz squarewave into that load (fig.2). Fig.1 was taken with the volume control set to its maximum; neither the frequency response nor the superb channel matching changed at lower settings of the volume control.


Fig.1 Cambridge EVO 150, volume control set to maximum, frequency response at 2.83V into: simulated loudspeaker load (gray), 8 ohms (left channel blue, right red) 4 ohms (left cyan, right magenta), (left green) (1dB/vertical div.).


Fig.2 Cambridge EVO 150, small-signal 10kHz squarewave into 8 ohms.

The bass and treble controls offered a maximum boost and cut of ±10dB (fig.3), but, peculiarly, the response with the tone controls active rolled off sharply above 20kHz, which suggests they operate in the digital domain. With the tone controls bypassed, the frequency response via the preamplifier and headphone outputs was flat to 200kHz. The subwoofer output rolled off above 500Hz, reaching –1dB at 1.5kHz and –3dB at 2.2kHz (not shown).


Fig.3 Cambridge EVO 150, frequency response at 2.83V into 8 ohms with treble and bass controls set to their maximum and minimum and switched out of circuit (left channel blue, right red, 2.5dB/vertical div.).

Channel separation was excellent, at >100dB in both directions below 1kHz, and still 80dB at the top of the audioband. Without the auxiliary low-pass filter, 319mV of ultrasonic noise was present at the loudspeaker outputs. With the filter, the Cambridge's unweighted, wideband signal/noise ratio, taken with the unbalanced line inputs shorted to ground but the volume control set to its maximum, was good at 73.2dB ref. 2.83V into 8 ohms (average of both channels). This ratio improved to 86dB when the measurement bandwidth was restricted to the audioband, and to 88.4dB when A-weighted. The background noise included spuriae at 60Hz and its odd-order harmonics (fig.4). The blue and red traces in this graph were taken with the volume control set to "100." Reducing the volume to "80" lowered the levels of the spuriae in the left channel (green trace) but not the right (gray trace). However, even at the maximum setting the noise is relatively low in level.


Fig.4 Cambridge EVO 150, spectrum of 1kHz sinewave, DC–1kHz, at 1W into 8 ohms, volume control set to maximum (left channel blue, right red) and to –15dB (left green, right gray; linear frequency scale).

With both channels driven, the EVO 150 met its specified maximum power into 8 ohms of 150Wpc (21.76dBW) at 1% THD+noise (fig.5). Into 4 ohms, the Cambridge clipped at 280Wpc (21.46dBW, fig.6). I didn't test clipping power into 2 ohms, as the amplifier isn't specified into that load. The distortion is very low at low powers, so I examined how the THD+N varied with frequency at 20V, which is equivalent to 50W into 8 ohms and 100W into 4 ohms. The results are shown in fig.7. Below 2kHz, the distortion is the same into both impedances, at around 0.005%. It then rises in the top two octaves, slightly more into 8 ohms (blue and red traces) than into 4 ohms (green and gray traces).


Fig.5 Cambridge EVO 150, distortion (%) vs 1kHz continuous output power into 8 ohms.


Fig.6 Cambridge EVO 150, distortion (%) vs 1kHz continuous output power into 4 ohms.


Fig.7 Cambridge EVO 150, THD+N (%) vs frequency at 20V into: 8 ohms (left channel blue, right red), 4 ohms (left green, right gray).

The distortion was predominantly the third harmonic (fig.8), though the asymmetrical shape of the distortion waveform (bottom trace) suggests that some subjectively benign second harmonic is also present. This was confirmed by the spectrum of the EVO 150's output when it drove a 50Hz tone at 50Wpc into 8 ohms (fig.9). Some higher-order harmonics are present in both channels, but these are very low in level. When the Cambridge amplifier drove an equal mix of 19 and 20kHz tones at 50W peak into 8 ohms, all the intermodulation products lay at or below –100dB (0.001%) in both channels (fig.10).


Fig.8 Cambridge EVO 150, 1kHz waveform at 50W into 8 ohms, 0.0046% THD+N (top); distortion and noise waveform with fundamental notched out (bottom, not to scale).


Fig.9 Cambridge EVO 150, spectrum of 50Hz sinewave, DC–1kHz, at 50W into 8 ohms (left channel blue, right red; linear frequency scale).


Fig.10 Cambridge EVO 150, HF intermodulation spectrum, DC–30kHz, 19+20kHz at 50W peak into 8 ohms (left channel blue, right red; linear frequency scale).

I usually measure an integrated amplifier's phono input with the speaker outputs turned off (if possible) or from the headphone output, which mutes the loudspeaker outputs, to avoid clipping the power amplifier's output with high-level signals. However, because the EVO 150's headphone output had a fairly high noisefloor, I performed the phono input measurements at the preamplifier outputs with the volume control set to "80." The Cambridge's phono input had an input impedance of 44.2k ohms at 20Hz and 1kHz, this appropriate for a MM cartridge, declining to 30k ohms at 20kHz. The voltage gain at 1kHz was 42.8dB at the loudspeaker outputs, 17.1dB at the preamplifier output, and a very high 46.6dB at the headphone output. Every output preserved absolute polarity.

The RIAA correction (fig.11) had slight boosts in the midrange and high treble—alternatively, it had a slight lack of energy in the presence region—and the response started to roll off in the bass, reaching –3dB at 20Hz. Channel separation via this input was good, at 70dB in both directions across the audioband. The phono input's unweighted, wideband S/N ratio, measured with the input shorted to ground, was a very good 77.8dB (average of both channels) referred to an input signal of 1kHz at 5mV. Restricting the measurement bandwidth to 22Hz–22kHz increased the ratio to 85.4dB, while switching an A-weighting filter into circuit increased the ratio to 89.2dB. This is a quiet phono stage!


Fig.11 Cambridge EVO 150, phono input, response with RIAA correction into 100k ohms (left channel blue, right red), with subsonic filter (left cyan, right magenta.) (0.5dB/vertical div.).

The Cambridge phono input overload margin was a very good 22dB at 20Hz and 1kHz, dropping slightly to 18dB at 20kHz. The phono stage's distortion was very low, with the only harmonic visible above the noisefloor the second, at just –100dB (0.001%, fig.12). Intermodulation distortion with an equal mix of 19kHz and 20kHz tones, at a peak input level equivalent to 1kHz at 10mV, was low in level, with the second-order difference product at 1kHz the highest in level, at –72dB (not shown).


Fig.12 Cambridge EVO 150, phono input, spectrum of 1kHz sinewave, DC–10kHz, into 100k ohms for 10mV input (left channel blue, right red; linear frequency scale).

I examined the Cambridge EVO 150's D/A performance primarily using its TosLink S/PDIF input, repeating some of the tests with the USB input and with the amplifier's Ethernet port connected to my network and sent audio data by Roon. Again, because of what appeared to be a higher-than-expected noisefloor at the headphone output, I examined the digital inputs' performance at the preamplifier output, setting the volume control to "80" to avoid damaging the power amplifier stage.

The Cambridge EVO 150's optical input locked to data sampled up to 192kHz. The USB input can be operated in either USB1.0 or USB2.0 modes. In the EVO 150's USB1.0 mode, Apple's AudioMIDI utility revealed that it accepted 16- and 24-bit integer data sampled at rates up to 96kHz. In its USB2.0 mode, the EVO 150 accepted 16- and 24-bit data sampled at rates up to 705.6kHz. Apple's USB Prober utility identified the Cambridge as "CA Evo 150 2.0" from "CA." The USB port operated in the optimal isochronous asynchronous mode.

The Cambridge's digital inputs all preserved absolute polarity. With the volume control set to its maximum, a 1kHz digital signal at –12dBFS resulted in a level at the preamplifier output of 1.28V, at the headphone output of 4.815V, and at the loudspeaker outputs of 24.56V. The latter is 3dB below the Cambridge's clipping voltage into 8 ohms. It appears, therefore, that the digital inputs have around 9dB of excess gain.

The impulse response with 44.1kHz data (fig.13) indicates that the reconstruction filter is a conventional linear-phase type, with time-symmetrical ringing on either side of the single sample at 0dBFS. With 44.1kHz-sampled white noise (fig.14, red and magenta traces), the 866's response rolled off sharply above 20kHz, reaching full stop-band suppression at 24kHz, just above half the sample rate (vertical green line). The aliased image at 25kHz of a full-scale tone at 19.1kHz (blue and cyan traces) is almost completely suppressed, and the distortion harmonics of the 19.1kHz tone are very low in level.


Fig.13 Cambridge EVO 150, digital inputs, impulse response (one sample at 0dBFS, 44.1kHz sampling, 4ms time window).


Fig.14 Cambridge EVO 150, digital inputs, wideband spectrum of white noise at –4dBFS (left channel red, right magenta) and 19.1kHz tone at 0dBFS (left blue, right cyan), with data sampled at 44.1kHz (20dB/vertical div.).

The digital-input frequency response was flat in the audioband and follows the same basic shape, with then a sharp rolloff just below half of each sample rate (fig.15). The levels of the two channels were perfectly matched. When I increased the bit depth from 16 to 24 with a dithered 1kHz tone at –90dBFS (fig.16), the noisefloor dropped by 21dB, which implies that the EVO 150 offers close to 20 bits' worth of resolution. With undithered data representing a tone at exactly –90.31dBFS (fig.17), the three DC voltage levels described by the data were well resolved. With undithered 24-bit data (fig.18), the result was a relatively clean sinewave.


Fig.15 Cambridge EVO 150, digital inputs, frequency response at –12dBFS into 100k ohms with data sampled at: 44.1kHz (left channel green, right gray), 96kHz (left channel cyan, right magenta), 192kHz (left blue, right red) (1dB/vertical div.).


Fig.16 Cambridge EVO 150, digital inputs, spectrum with noise and spuriae of dithered 1kHz tone at –90dBFS with: 16-bit data (left channel cyan, right magenta), 24-bit data (left blue, right red) (20dB/vertical div.).


Fig.17 Cambridge EVO 150, digital inputs, waveform of undithered 1kHz sinewave at –90.31dBFS, 24-bit data (left channel blue, right red).


Fig.18 Cambridge EVO 150, digital inputs, waveform of undithered 1kHz sinewave at –90.31dBFS, 16-bit data (left channel blue, right red).

Intermodulation distortion via the Cambridge amplifier's digital inputs (fig.19) was as low as it had been with analog input signals. I tested the EVO 150 for its rejection of word-clock jitter via its TosLink, USB, and network inputs. All the odd-order harmonics of the 16-bit J-Test signal's LSB-level, low-frequency squarewave were at the correct levels with all inputs (fig.20, sloping green line), and the spectral spike that represents the high-level tone at exactly one-quarter the sample rate was clean.


Fig.19 Cambridge EVO 150, digital inputs, HF intermodulation spectrum, DC–30kHz, 19+20kHz at 0dBFS peak (left channel blue, right red; linear frequency scale).


Fig.20 Cambridge EVO 150, digital inputs, high-resolution jitter spectrum of analog output signal, 11.025kHz at –6dBFS, sampled at 44.1kHz with LSB toggled at 229Hz: 16-bit data (left channel blue, right red). Center frequency of trace, 11.025kHz; frequency range, ±3.5kHz.

With the exception of the higher-than-expected levels of noise in its headphone output, the Cambridge EVO 150's measured performance reveals excellent audio engineering. This is especially notable given the close proximity of the low-level circuits to the class-D amplifier modules, with their high levels of high-frequency switching noise.—John Atkinson

Cambridge Audio
Cambridge Audio USA
1913 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
(877) 357-8204

georgehifi's picture

For $3k with all that it's got, this is going to put the cat among the pigeons, especially Class-D's that are just poweramps and cost far more. And it uses the in favour Hypex N-Core Class-D module (NC252P) not mentioned

Cheers George

rschryer's picture

"The EVO uses the NCore class-D module rated at 150Wpc into 8 ohms, built by Netherlands-based Hypex Electronics, which has been in the class-D business since 2003."

But you are right about the missing kitchen sink. :-)

Jack L's picture


Excellent price indeed. Made in China, that's why ! So don't hold your breath yet.

Jack L

snowbuffalo's picture

Happy owner of a Cambridge CXN V2 streamer, the overall user experience is fantastic and it's Roon ready - it's the least expensive piece of my audio chain and is a joy to use. It is a high-quality mid-fi unit, but it now lags behind the EVO 150 and the DacMagic 200 in terms of capability and specs like SNR because its older Wolfson WM8740 DAC chips don't have the MQA and DSD capability the the ESS Sabre ES90x8 DAC chips do. I'd like to audition the Simaudio Moon or Lumin offerings (at a higher price point), but would plunk down $ for an upgraded CX streamer from Cambridge no questions asked.

Archimago's picture

Of the six MQA versions of Getz/Gilberto, not one was blue-dot authenticated, but it didn't matter. None of that paralyzing "did I hear a difference?" self-doubt: The EVO made obvious how the standard 16/44.1kHz version, warm and sweet as it was, was outclassed by the more ambient, tonally weightier 24/96 MQA version, on which everything with air blowing out of it sounded more phlegm-filled, reverberant, and corporeal (footnote 4). As the sample rate went up, Gilberto's voice got richer and chestier, to the point that in 24/192 MQA I felt it vibrating against my ribcage. I've never had a voice do that to me before.

Huh? 6 versions of MQA-encoded G/G?!

I thought this was supposed to be "authenticated" somehow... Ya know, "as the artist intended" and stuff like that.

rschryer's picture

Tidal offers a choice of MQA-encoded releases of recordings the artist or record company heard and approved as being definitive (blue dot), or not (green dot). The latter may just mean they didn't hear that particular recording.

What I discovered was that green-dotted MQAs could also sound very good.

partain's picture

Is the latest in Bluetooth able to send a MQA-quality signal wirelessly ? Does it activate the MQA light ?

rschryer's picture

There is question now on whether the EVO 150 (or any modern streamer) can deliver an MQA-encoded signal via Bluetooth.

I'm trying to get an answer straight from the horse's mouth. Stay tuned.

rschryer's picture

From Jaclyn Inglis, Cambridge Audio:

"The answer is no, MQA cannot be carried over Bluetooth. In fact, there’s no BT codec that I’m aware of that has the bandwidth necessary to support MQA."

So, as I said: Absolutely, not. :-)

georgehifi's picture

Not what model, Hypex makes many models, some not so good, this NC252P is one of the better lower power stereo of the N-Core series.

Cheers George

Audio Bob's picture

I’m pretty sure we’ve all noticed the matching and very cool looking CD player pictured in the Cambridge ads. Does anyone have any information or a notion as to when it might be released? Dare I hope for SACD capabilities? Probably not likely, mate. But hey, I can still wish.

DH's picture

Thanks for the footnote that the MQA and other versions of the Coltrane are probably different masters. Rarely mentioned when comparisons of MQA are written about.

But...there needs to be an editorial decision to stop referring to MQA as 24bit 2X 4X and 8X rates with no caveat.
There is no such thing. All those MQA files are upsampled from lower bit rates and sample rates that is the result of the MQA processing of the original.
In all other cases of upsampling you go to pains to mention this in the text. In the case of MQA you never do. Why the special exception for MQA?

rschryer's picture

The sampling and bit rates mentioned in the text are those provided by the player, i.e. those the player sees and tells us it's playing back, whether the original signal is upsampled or not.

DH's picture

My comment was not a technical one, it was about an editorial policy of Stereophile.
In any other case I can remember, a reviewer will point out that a file he is listening to is an upsample, if that's the case.

This is pretty much NEVER pointed out with MQA, in spite of the fact that the MQA processing includes upsampling in most cases.
This isn't a question directed at your review, but a more general one about why Stereophile has a different policy for MQA than for other formats.

Jim Austin's picture

A 24/192 MQA file begins its life as a 24/192 master. It is then processed according to the usual MQA procedures; part of that is the "folding" of the data into the 24/48 package. When that file is played on an MQA-decoding device, the file is restored--I choose that word knowing that you will object--to 24/192. The unfolding is not lossless--not the last unfold at least--but it is performed utilizing information extracted from the original master file.

Please keep in mind that nearly everything restored in the last unfold (almost everything about 96kHz sampling rate or 48kHz frequency) is noise--not audible acoustical noise but electronic noise from circuits. So, truly, there's little difference between what MQA does--or what FLAC does--and upsampling: You end up with very nearly the same thing, 'cause there's not much up there to be accurate about. Curiously, this information can, apparently, affect how music is reproduced in the time domain (if it doesn't, then why does anyone care what MQA does?) and how it sounds, but restoring it losslessly is expensive (in terms of data storage and transmission costs) and also pointless. What MQA is interested in doing, apparently, is using that space to address the time domain--to get the transients right.

So your anti-MQA point is debatable--but that too is beside the point. The point is that when we write "24/192 MQA," everyone who cares understands exactly what we mean--including you. It's not a matter of dumb upsampling or of lossless restoration--it's a third thing, an MQA thing.

What you are asking us to do is to conform to your interpretation of MQA as a way of attacking MQA. That's not gonna happen on my watch.

Another thing that's not going to happen is me getting into a debate about MQA and its merits either here or at one of those other hifi discussion forums.

Jim Austin, Editor

DH's picture

Of course we don't know that MQA actually does that, do we? There's no evidence. MQA doesn't allow proper testing of it's technology.
And sonic impressions of MQA are anything but unanimous in it's favor.

Archimago's picture

"Please keep in mind that nearly everything restored in the last unfold (almost everything about 96kHz sampling rate or 48kHz frequency) is noise--not audible acoustical noise but electronic noise from circuits. So, truly, there's little difference between what MQA does--or what FLAC does--and upsampling: You end up with very nearly the same thing, 'cause there's not much up there to be accurate about. Curiously, this information can, apparently, affect how music is reproduced in the time domain (if it doesn't, then why does anyone care what MQA does?) and how it sounds, but restoring it losslessly is expensive (in terms of data storage and transmission costs) and also pointless. What MQA is interested in doing, apparently, is using that space to address the time domain--to get the transients right."

1. Even if everything >48kHz is "noise", that doesn't mean it's OK to fill up the ultrasonic spectrum with distortion, right? That's what MQA is doing and you can see that when you examine the filters they use if you look a little deeper into what's being done. Filling up those frequencies with junk is not "unfolding" anything that even truly resembles the original content. You can actually see this when you examine the output!

2. What do you mean "using that space to address the time-domain"? There's no evidence that it's doing such a thing. Who said this? Where's it shown that moving from 96 --> 192kHz even substantially changes time-domain performance when true bit-depth of the original music has actually been reduced by the MQA algorithm?

Please. Don't add with misleading statements that really have not been shown to be factual.

Jim Austin's picture

1. Even if everything >48kHz is "noise", that doesn't mean it's OK to fill up the ultrasonic spectrum with distortion, right?

You're a smart guy (whoever you are), and I find most of your analyses careful and consistent. But to call it "distortion" when you're replacing noise with other very similar noise seems rhetorical to me. No, I don't agree.

2. What do you mean "using that space to address the time-domain"? There's no evidence that it's doing such a thing. Who said this?

Yes, I agree that MQA has presented no evidence that it is accomplishing this, and I regret this.

Jim Austin, Editor

Archimago's picture

"You're a smart guy (whoever you are), and I find most of your analyses careful and consistent. But to call it "distortion" when you're replacing noise with other very similar noise seems rhetorical to me. No, I don't agree."

Thanks for the complements. I'm just a fellow audiophile :-).

No, this is distortion, not simply noise that's somehow representative of actual content from something like an original 192kHz "master" when MQA is asked to upsample. I'll touch upon this this weekend on the blog.

"Yes, I agree that MQA has presented no evidence that it is accomplishing this, and I regret this."


ok's picture

..and I really wonder how in the world of "hi-res" no one till now ever thought of compressing and subsequently gettting rid of them in the first place.

Archimago's picture

Yes, in principle, the ultrasonic content is not needed (and might even result in poorer sound quality). This is why in practice, I have been downsampling most of my hi-res stuff down to 48kHz as discussed here last year:

Archimago's picture

As demonstrated in this discussion of MQA upsampling to 192kHz with the Topping D90SE:

You can see that the ultrasonic content being produced is not just "noise". But rather the imaging artefacts/distortions from MQA's poor quality digital reconstruction filters.

This is bad news especially when these kinds of filters are being implemented in "MQA-CD" where the imaging starts just above 22.05kHz!

Seriously audiophiles, this is clearly not "high fidelity" audio reproduction. True "hi-res" audio isn't reproduced like this. And as Jim said (and I agree), there is no demonstration over the years that the time-domain has been improved ("de-blurred") in any way by MQA whether one "regrets" this fact or not! If anything, I would argue that the use of minimum phase filters universally will add a bit of group delay in the playback.

Here are all the MQA filters when I examined them back in 2017 with the Dragonfly Black:

Be honest with ourselves, guys. As far as I can tell, the only people advocating for MQA these days is the company itself and a few audio magazines like here (along with maybe a handful of other evangelists). If there is nothing to be found of value, please let's just "call it" and move on instead of wasting time and money.

And please let Tidal know because they're really the last "outlet" for MQA-encoded music left as far as I can tell.

DH's picture

"Yes, I agree that MQA has presented no evidence that it is accomplishing this, and I regret this."

They've had since 2014 to present such evidence to back up their claims about time domain improvement.

Have never done it.
Doesn't that tell you something?

At the very least, that maybe you shouldn't accept their claims at face value and write about them as if they are true.

At the present moment those claims are nothing more than unsubstantiated marketing speak.

teched58's picture

...we all do.

tonykaz's picture

In 1950 we had metal needles & 78s.

In the 1980s we at Esoteric Audio had pricy gear owners with a small collection of Vinyl records that would get listened to over and over ( recall Amanda ? ).

Now, for $20 per month a person can have far more music than they will ever be able to listen to for the rest of their lifetimes.

Transducers are better than ever, Electronics is Better than ever, Cabling is better than ever, recordings are still have a range of Sound Quality but that SQ is easily noticed and evaluated.

Stereophile features a Buggy Whip on the Front Cover with Streaming being the Tesla Plaid performance leader.

Of course, The Amish are wonderful people , a nice group live nearby here in Pinecraft Florida but even these drive Cars ( not horses ) and electric Bicycles, own Retail Businesses and use Electricity.

Mr. R.Schryer here writes a beautiful piece of Literature. It will probably be the best piece of Stereophile writing for this Year 2021. I hope he gets Stereophile's Annual Award for Writing !

Tony in Venice Florida

rschryer's picture

...and I'm gratified that you dig my piece, but saying it may be the best article Stereophile will publish this year is way over the top.

I'm still learning and trying to get better.

Cheers from the Great White North (it's actually 29°C/84°F in Montreal as I write this—not a snow flake in sight.)

volvic's picture

“Cheers from the Great White North (it's actually 29°C/84°F in Montreal as I write this—not a snow flake in sight.)“

October is just around the corner Robert, one aspect of my old city I do not miss.

rschryer's picture

But October in Montreal is actually quite nice—beautiful foliage (on the outskirts and beyond) and an average high of 55°F (NYC's is 60°F).

It's not Florida, but there's something about that fresher air—it feels like you're sucking in pure oxygen.

volvic's picture

That’s what my parents told me yesterday, still brilliant weather, but getting cooler. Definitely cleaner air up there and not a honking car within miles. I spent 47 years there, Rob, and I miss it daily. It was one of the greatest cities next to London for an avid record shopper like myself. The stores that lined the downtown core within a few square km with new and secondhand record stores were one big giant candy store for me. Even now, when I come and visit, I go to my regular haunts for classical vinyl and CDs, and although there are fewer of them, it is always a worthwhile trip. The one thing I don’t miss (aside from the SAQ) is the sudden chill in the air come October, followed by the initial flakes, then the sudden drop in temperatures and snow. Having said that I can’t wait to come up again next month to get my winter gear.

rschryer's picture

To deal with it, I figured I had to choose between doing winter sports or cooping myself up with music. I chose the easy route. :-)

I'm going to venture to say that one of the reasons Montreal has always been an audio city—in terms of both record stores and its audiophile element—is because of the cold weather, although the city has certainly been getting warmer these last few years; summers are a month longer, spring comes sooner... if I said I didn't like it, I'd be lying.

And don't they have winter gear in NYC?

volvic's picture

It was always a great chance to catch up on music, once the temperature dipped. The winter window of opportunity lasted from late October till early April, at least for me. I agree, Montreal was always a great audio city but it was also due to Montrealers good taste in music and easy access to it.

My winter gear is stored in Montreal at my parent’s place..too many records and CDs in the apartment to make room for winter gear.

rschryer's picture

The Montreal audio show is in March, no?

volvic's picture

And it always snows when it’s on.

rschryer's picture

Chances are it will :-)

Jack L's picture


Yes but no!

Yes, streaming brings us the utmost CONVENIENCE of produced music access in split seconds.

That's why I stream from time to time to update myself what is going on musically worldwide: quick & easy.

But NO ! It does not yet deliver good enough sound quality vs pure analogue music media: vinyl as of todate, IMO.

My question: music enjoyment is its sound or for its easy-access convenience ? Your call, my friend.

Still remember, Sony/Philips declared CD was the "best sounding music media in the world" back in Oct 1982 (on launching redbook CD: 16bt44.1KHz in the market) ??

Listening is believing

Jack L

tonykaz's picture

I'm quite happy with 16/44 and the quality of playback from today's technological implementations.


I live a mobile Work Life. I need traveling audio gear. I need small sized devices and a tiny music Library ( postage stamp sized ).

I see the photos of Large Music systems plus shelving containing vast collections of Vinyl, I don't personally know or associate with anyone owing such things.

I have known people that own Recording Studios ( specialising in Automotive Advertising ).

I came from the Vinyl World and now suggest to you that recorded Sound Quality playback rides on the Sound Quality of the Components doing the Playback. ( not on it being analog or digital )


The Digital World considers Digital Sound Quality superior to Analog Sound Quality.

It's probably fair to suggest that Vinyl-only folks are Culturally similar to the Amish folks holding onto the "Old Ways"!

I relied on Analog Cassettes before RedBook Digital , I recorded Cassettes with Koetsu & VPI .

I've always admired my Vinyl gear and it's Sound Quality but there is no possible way I could return to that format.

I can hold a 15,000 Album collection in the palm of my hand.

Tony in Venice Florida

Jack L's picture


We here all know selling audios is your livelihood.

But this journal is all about music enjoyment at home as a leisure passtime. Irrelevant argument, my friend !

So you already told us many times you owns tons of vinyl records. Have you ever spent sometime to play some of them & listen to its pure musical sound vs redbook CD ??

Every audio guy plays CD since day one. But I did compare in depth both analogue vs digital media & I've settled down on vinyl for its superior musical sound quality, closer to live performance over digital, many years back.

My question to you & other digital "cult" members: have you ever seriously spent time to compare digital vs analogue musc like I did ???? Or just hearsay, assuming our ears listen to measurement data like our eyes ??

Listening is believing

Jack L

tonykaz's picture

Of course I've compared these Formats.

Every individual has a nervous system that features synapses tuned to value and appreciate selected qualities.

I was a lifetime Vinyl Audiophile, I loved the electrified ether of records playing, I probably still do.


I've also found the feature set of Digital appealing on a much broader scale.

Vinyl is not Superior, it's just another format that a very small minority still prefer. It's an extreme expense hobby.

My issue is that Vinyl people take an Elevated Authority Position.

I accept that you are all tuned in to Vinyl,

I'm not tolerating the promotional & evangelical approach to Vinyl by it's various loyal believers, it clearly & obviously isn't better for the Vast Global Population of Consumers.

Tony in Venice Florida

Jack L's picture


Am I selling coconuts to the Eskimos or what ?

OK, "vinyl is not superior" to you, obviously. But the top guy of a $15,000 music server maker did find vinyl "superior" as he sensed the unique EMOTIONAL fulfilment while auditioning a $150,000 turntable setup that the older music servers so far produced by his company failed to deliver. He was quoted saying putting such "emotional fulfillment" in his new top model would be biggest goal over the last few years" !!!

His quest for "emotional fulfilment" was inspired by auditioning vinyl music !!!! He wanted his $15,000 music server would also deliver such "emotional fulfilment" he experienced back then with the turntable.

"(vinyl) is an extreme expense hobby"

Yes, this is true to many vinyl music lovers, apparently.

But, but not for yours truly. I've been enjoying vinyl music providing me with "emotional fulfilment" & RELAXATION since day one many years back, that I do not find in my digital/streaming setup.

Yet, I never spent much on my vinyl playback setup. 'Cause I know the business enough to get ahead of the game.

Jack L

tonykaz's picture

I feel that you are an Important Audiophile with valid prefrences and useful opinions.

I'm quite happy that our Stereophile writers share your spirit and enthusiasm for Analog playback systems.

I've found that Digital is also a viable high performance format featuring an abundance of affordable electronics.

I'm also finding a sneering, hubristic, gas lighting group of Vinyl proponents that freely disparage.

Music has been a LifeLong Love Affair for me, it began with my Singing mother. It travels with me, it accompanies me to Venice Beach for a Drum Circle Sunset, its Waltz music while making family breakfast on Sunday mornings.

Music isn't a Format !

My lifelong collection of Vinyl isn't pressed well, we didn't have Chad Kassem's White Vinyl and precision presses doing small quantities. Still, the recordings we had were far better than 78s.

Vinyl isn't Plug & Play. Building an outstanding Vinyl playback system is challanging work requiring skilled hands, experience and the finest componants available. I owned a Vinyl Shop that specialised in Vinyl Playback systems.

You lads that pursue Vinyl and own legacy vinyl systems can be commended ! I just won't be recommending it .

Tony in Venice Florida

tonykaz's picture

I forgot to mention:

All my digital recordings are Certified Audiophile Recordings.

Nobody can say that about any of their Analog Vinyl unless it's been pressed from Certified Digital sources.

Harumph !!!

Tony in Venice Florida

ps. should I be modest about this Brag ?

Jack L's picture


Please qualify what certification standard & which authorized body set up such certification.

I am all ears !

Jack L

tonykaz's picture

Certified Audiophile Recording is humorous Click Bait.

I heard of it on Mr.Micallef's YouTube Channel where he does an entire episode dissecting another YouTuber's Audiophile rant.

I love the concept of claiming to own "Certified Audiophile Recordings" and promise to keep saying it.

It's great Click Bait for everyone, it's like Taco Bell praise to Gourmands.

Thanks for noticing and thanks for writing about it!

Tony in Venice Florida

rschryer's picture

Darn you, Tony. I wasted an hour searching for it on the Internet.

(I didn't, but good one.)

PeterPani's picture

I bought so many digital devices (DAC, streamer, CD, SACD, NAS, laptops as player). It is frustrating. Most of this devices gave me huge joy for the first months. Then came additional wishes (HD, 4K, surround, HDMI and so on). Not good for the CO2-footprint, all the old electronic boxes I store somewhere. It is frustrating and my Thorens TD124 still plays at least in the same league since 40 years. And does not need powerplants to stream a music file from US Florida to EU Vienna 24 hours every day. So I use a laptop for streaming and maybe the sound is not that good. But I gave up in improving on digital, because there will never be an end in supply of the next "better" digital device year for year for year. And with every change of equipment I lose musical content and connection to my library.

Jack L's picture


Too true! I can't agree more.

My question to digital fans: when would you guys see the pure analogue light at the end the glooomy long long Analogue-digital-analogue conversion tunnel ??????

Another decade, hopefully, after dumping outdated & upgrading to "better" digital gears N-times, spending tons of nerves, time & hard-earned money ???????

Yes, you may say I am an technically outdated old schooler (I am not alone for sure) still addicted to vinyl music ! But so what? I enjoy pure analogue music (same as any LIVE music performances) throughout without the NEED of fighting an expensive & exhaustive sonic battle without knowing when to win or lose it.

Yes, my Thorns 125II TT alone, not to mention my other direct driven TT+SME S-shaped black arm/MC cartridge, is already kicking butts, delivering music soo much closer to live vs than my CD/DVD-audio/DVD/streaming via my 24Kbit/192KHz DAC. I compared in depth between both media before I decided vinyl media to the superior way to go for musical nirvana many years back.

Enjoy music the simple but smarter way !!!

Listening is believing

Jack L

rt66indierock's picture

After we get done ridding the world of MQA and continue in my quest to break every heart that believes in high resolution audio in a playback environment. We will get to you. My Sony D100 PCM Recorder and a couple of good mics capture every emotion I hear making the recording.

As far as listening is believing well, we have a game for people like you at T.H.E. Show. Go to three rooms I pick and tell me one way in each room they are trying to trick you.

Jack L's picture


Here you go !

Many years back, a friend who worked in the top-notch audio boutique invited me to its open house cheese/wine event.

I went in & walked in & out different demo rooms quick as I did not hear any music therein good enough to keep me there.

Until I ran into a demo room, the nice music kept me there. Then I knew it was the VTL Audio demo room. . Yes, VTL tube amps are well known for their musical sound for decades. No wonder my body refused to walk out quick.

VTL power amps are quite unlike other tube amp makes: instant switchable tetrode/triode output power mode. I know too well triode mode output power stage always sound better than tetrode or pentode mode. It only shows the VTL desingers really know & love music & go by the ears instead of measurement alone.

So I put those factory demo guys there into test by asking them which mode would sound better: tetrode or triode.

They all told me both output modes should sound the same, no different at all. I told them I disagreed: triode always sound better.

So to prove their comment was correct, they put me to test. With my back facing the demo rig, they switched momentarily back & forth tetrode & riode mode. Every time I got it right. Simply triode mode sounds better to my ears even in such blind test I was tricked into.

Listening is believing, my friend.

Jack L

georgehifi's picture

"Streaming: the most important Audio development of my Lifetime !"

Not to me, what gets streamed you, you cannot find it’s provenance, which date re-release your getting, it’s usually the latest or close to the latest
Which means it’s probably far more compressed than the earliest releases.
Here’s what I mean, The Traveling Wilburys only made the one album, but it was re-released many times, and got more and more compressed the later the release gets.

And the Boss.

Cheers George

teched58's picture

...made TWO albums. Confusingly enough, the second one was called "Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 3." (Roy Orbison was not on this one, because he was, er, no longer with us.)

georgehifi's picture

Thank's for clearing that up, still shows Vol 1 is more and more compressed the later the releases are.
And the born to run is too, more compressed the later it is with stream/download
Cheers George

rt66indierock's picture

There was a loudness war and you lost. Time to move on just like Stereophile and MQA.

Emma Avery's picture

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georgehifi's picture

No, and it still goes on.
Cheers George