Jim Austin

Jim Austin  |  Apr 13, 2019  |  0 comments
In room 504 at the 2019 AXPONA, Minnesota-based Bel Canto partnered with Danish company Audiovector to present a really good-sounding system with a small footprint.
Jim Austin  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  0 comments
The room presented by importer Vana LTD of Lake Grove, New York, featured (in addition to some record cleaning fluid and Okki Nokki record-cleaning machines) analog components by the European Audio Team (EAT) and loudspeakers by Audio Physik.
Jim Austin  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  17 comments
One of my first stops this morning—the first morning of AXPONA 2019—was the Shunyata room in the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel. Shunyata, as you're probably aware, has long been one of the more scientific-minded of the companies focused on quality power for home audio systems.
Jim Austin  |  Mar 21, 2019  |  11 comments
Like most serious pursuers of the audio hobby, I've known about J E Sugden & Co. Ltd. for years. For many of those years, though, it was easy to forget about them, and I mostly did—until, quite recently, Sugden gear began popping up at audio shows, including the 2016 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. In his report on that show, Herb Reichert described the midrange of Sugden's A21SE Signature, a pure class-A integrated amplifier, driving DeVore Fidelity speakers, as "shroom-like" and contrasted the sound with what he called class-D's "fake cocaine." That got my attention.
Jim Austin  |  Feb 12, 2019  |  35 comments
In 2008, a pair of DeVore Fidelity's Gibbon Nine loudspeakers arrived at my home for a Follow-Up review. Within weeks, I wrote a check for them. That put me in good company: Several other reviewers who reviewed the Nines also bought their review pairs.

Ten years later, the Gibbon Nines are still my main speakers. That's the longest I've ever kept a pair of speakers in my main system, not counting the Polk Audio 7Bs I bought in 1980, when I was 16.

Jim Austin  |  Dec 04, 2018  |  16 comments
If there's one thing audiophiles agree on, it's that snake oil is bad—even if they can't agree about what snake oil actually is.

In audio, snake oil means fake science or fake technology—anything that's claimed to improve the sound of a system but that looks like an obvious rip-off. For some people, expensive speaker cables and interconnects are snake oil. A few objectivists consider AC power treatments snake oil: most modern audio components, after all, can correct for AC line-voltage flaws and reject "ripple" in a power supply's output. A handful of hard-core objectivists maintain that every new digital technology since the advent of the Compact Disc is snake oil.

Jim Austin  |  Nov 14, 2018  |  16 comments
Late on Friday at the New York Audio Show, I found myself explaining to an audiophile friend, also in attendance, my reaction to the big room sponsored by ESD Acoustic, and to their huge, extravagant, ostentatious five-way horn system—the one my colleagues Sasha Matson and Ken Micallef described in detail, and about which my colleague Herb Reichert contrasted his favorable experience here in New York with his unfavorable experience at the 2018 Munich show.
Jim Austin  |  Nov 12, 2018  |  13 comments
The last time I covered the New York Audio Show it was not, frankly, a great experience. The show was really small. It seemed like everyone was playing Diana Krall or some pop-classical piece from an audiophile label. Nobody, it seemed, dared to play interesting music.
Jim Austin  |  Nov 06, 2018  |  5 comments
When I reviewed PS Audio's PerfectWave P10 Power Plant AC Regenerator,1 I found that it significantly improved the way music sounded through my system. I bought one. The main limitations I found with the P10 were its power—a maximum continuous load of 1200 volt-amps (VA, footnote 1)—and the number of AC outlets it provides: 10. When driving a 4 ohm load at even half its rated power, one PS Audio BHK 300 monoblock consumes 800W—and while 10 outlets sounds like a lot, I've run out more than once.
Jim Austin  |  Nov 01, 2018  |  10 comments
Virtually all of the active components in your system—DACs, preamplifiers, power amplifiers—work by modulating the DC output of their power supplies with an AC music signal. Surely, then, the more perfect your household AC is, the more perfect your audio system's output will be. Analogies abound—to dirty water used in distilling good whiskey, to inferior thread used to weave fine fabrics—and all amount to the same thing: you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

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