February FollowUp RoundUp

When Stereophile publishes a followup review in the print magazine, we add it as a "child page" to the website reprint of the original coverage. We have recently done so with three significant products: the Magico M2 loudspeaker, the Linear Tube Audio Z10e tubed headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, and the Okto Research dac8 PRO multichannel D/A processor.

I was mightily impressed by the Magico M2 ($63,600/pair with non-optional MPod stands) when I reviewed it in February 2020 and it was subsequently voted the magazine's 2020 Loudspeaker of the Year. In the March 2021 issue, having lived with the M2s for a year, Jim Austin followed up my review with a detailed examination. In a thorough essay worthy of being published in The New Yorker, Jim discussed the M2's treble balance, low-frequency clarity, evenness of timbre, and the accuracy, tangibility, and stability of its imaging. He concluded: "There are many very good loudspeakers out there, all capable of communicating music effectively and delivering profound pleasure. Only a few aspire to get all the details right and even fewer succeed. Magico's M2 is on that short list."

In his original report on the Linear Tube Audio Z10e ($6950), while Herb Reichert was impressed by how well this 10Wpc/8 ohms amplifier drove not just headphones but also his high-sensitivity Zu and DeVore loudspeakers. However, it didn't fare as well with the current-hungry HiFiMan Susvara headphones. Following publication of Herb's findings in May 2020, LTA reworked the Z10e's headphone outputs to be more powerful. Herb compared the revised Z10e with the original version in the February 2021 issue. "The LTA Z10e-Susvara combo," he wrote, "missed no beats, showed no weaknesses, and kept my head bopping," adding that there was "no hesitations, dullness, or clipping; no smoke from the tires, no engine stalling—only full-traction, high-torque engagement."

In December 2020, Kal Rubinson was so impressed by the inexpensive, high-performance Okto dac8 PRO multichannel processor from the Czech Republic (€989, equivalent to $1198) that he bought the review sample, but not before he sent it to me for measurement. My test results were published in the February 2021 issue. "The dac8 PRO's measured performance indicates that almost no compromises were made to squeeze eight D/A channels into its slim chassis," I concluded.

Follow the links to read the complete followups: Magico M2; Linear Tube Audio Z10e; and Okto Research dac8 PRO.

COMMENTS
jimtavegia's picture

New room and new music with different ancillary gear and lets find out what someone else thinks. In this case I think a long listen does have benefits.

I just found this out by listening to my Project Audio S2 dac on one headphone system that is used daily for hours during this pandemic. I took it down to my studio and hooked it up to my old Yamaha S-1800 for CD playback and enjoyed the improvement.

I went back upstairs and started listening to my old 2003 Sony SACD player with some CDs and was shocked at how flat and one dimensional the playback was. I went down to my computer and ordered a 2nd S2 DAC that is now the "+" model, to go back in this headphone station. Sadly it is not a Weiss 502 or a Halo May, but the difference was too obvious that serious improvements have been made in DACs in 10+ years.

Those of you who live in Weiss 502 or Halo May land must really be hearing something great.

Jack L's picture

Hi

It's 'evolution' I put it.

I just did the same like you. I ordered a no-name DAC for an unbelievable dirt cheap price from Amazon 2 days ago & got it at my door
last nite. SoooFast ! An upgrade over my no-name DAC I got 2 years ago.

Despite its dirty cheap price, it got all standard features like many brandname DACs: Toslink & coaxial PCM inputs & RCA L&R output jacks & earphone jack.

First off, it is some electronic brandname in New York, with 3 year free warranty. "No name" in the audio markets for sure.

But what it made me jump for it: it features 24bit 192KHz sampling rate ! At a small fraction of yr Austrian Project S2+, this USA make got all the features I need with 3 year free warranty.

I hooked it up to the coaxial output of my Sony wifi Blu-ray player & audio outputs to my design/built active linestage with straight-line bypass ON. Technically, this cheapie baby drives direct my tube power amp. I always do so for pure zip colouration sound (as recommended by J Gordon Holt). It delivers the music gut no sweat at all !

So how is the sound considering its dirt cheap toy price ?

Clapping hands is an acid test for music neutrality. Applause after live concert recordings (streamed on YouTube) sounds pretty airy & natural, less the usual mid-high harshness.

The Steinway piano sounds pretty grand & live somewhat like playing in front of me, with the micro-details of the fingers hitting the keys.

Can't complain at all at such dirt cheap price. Am I so lucky or not to get into such digital "evolution" ??

Listening is believing

Jack L

Marc P-R's picture

Out of curiosity do you think that a decade and a half from now when the M2 is a 1/2 or 1/3 of its current price will this review still stand? If it will, does that go for all reviews? Can an audiophile who has been reading reviews and uses them as aids in choosing a different speaker depend upon that "old" review? For those of us who read reviews and search for products on sites (ie audiogon, etc.) it would be comforting to know that the speaker that was setting the industry on fire 15 years ago still rings true today minus the nuances that new technology and advancements can offer.
Cheers, Marc

Jack L's picture

.......of its current price will this review still stand?" quoted Marc

Hi

Why not for the SAME model ? The question is: would this M2 or whatever
very costly models still be available in 15 years or so ???

You may auction one at eBay by then if you are lucky, but how good would be its condition ?

Jack L

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