Kalman Rubinson

Kalman Rubinson  |  Feb 16, 2023  |  20 comments
Planned for KEF's 60th anniversary, much as the LS50 was planned for the company's 50th, the LS60 Wireless is a statement product that encompasses the premise of company founder Raymond Cooke that loudspeaker performance could be improved through the application of new materials and new technologies. Improvements in recent KEF designs include the refinement of the Uni-Q coaxial driver, Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), force-canceling Uni-Core woofers with P-Flex surrounds, cabinets shaped to reduce diffraction, and the configuration and arrangement of drivers to create what KEF calls a Single Apparent Source.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Dec 30, 2022  |  9 comments
The Topping DM7 DAC ($599.99) is a high-resolution, eight-channel DAC that supports PCM and DSD sources but will not handle any of the common Dolby/DTS codecs. It employs the highly capable and respected ES-9038PRO DAC chip, ESS's flagship. It has just one input, and it's USB. Its eight analog outputs are fully balanced, but they are TRS (tip-ring-sleeve) phone jacks, which are more widely used in pro audio; most audiophiles will require adapters.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Nov 04, 2022  |  56 comments
Back in 1999, while reviewing the Wazoo integrated amplifier from Bow Technologies, I learned that its designer and company founder, Bo Christensen, had previously founded another audio company. That's how I discovered Primare. Over the years, various products from Primare have appeared at audio shows but never grabbed my attention. In a recent EISA press presentation, however, Primare showcased an eight-channel amplifier that did, given my interest in multichannel audio. I was glad to be able to attend.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Aug 19, 2022  |  21 comments
It seems as if I have been waiting for these all my life. Not in any existential sense, but in a literal, practical way: The arrival of the Blade Two Meta is the culmination of a lifelong fascination with KEF. As a teenager, I was introduced to founder Raymond Cooke and his innovative "race-track" woofer, Mylar tweeter dome, and Bextrene cones in Bud Fried's IMF Newsletter.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Aug 05, 2022  |  11 comments
On a cold, clear February morning, I attended my first in-person press event since the beginning of the pandemic. Marantz had invited me to a small group session in a suite at the Equinox Hotel at Hudson Yards but gave no indication of what was in store. After two years without live press events or audio shows, I was not going to spurn the offer no matter what would be presented: I was hungry for hi-fi. Upon arrival, I learned that Marantz would be featuring just one new product, a streaming integrated amplifier, the Marantz Model 40n ($2499). Sure, I'm in.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Jun 01, 2022  |  8 comments
Melco, the Japanese maker of the N50 Music Library featured in this review, is not a household name among US audiophiles. Veterans may recall the Melco 3560 turntable, which was considered extravagant at its 1978 launch, in part because it supported three tonearms. Confusingly, several subsidiaries of the giant keiretsu Mitsubishi are called MELCO (for "Mitsubishi Electric Corporation"), but the maker of the N50 is not one of those MELCOs. This "Melco" is, rather, short for "Maki Engineering Laboratory Company," and though it got its start in hi-fi, these days its best-known products are network-attached RAID arrays made by Melco's American division, Buffalo Americas.
Kalman Rubinson  |  May 05, 2022  |  35 comments
The increasing prominence of Blu-ray explains why a device to extract audio from an HDMI stream has become necessary. At first, Blu-ray players had HDMI outputs for video and audio, but to speed their adoption, they also sported analog audio outputs to help users who had older AV receivers (AVRs). Bye the bye, those audio outputs were pared off.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Mar 25, 2022  |  12 comments
What am I doing with a vacuum tube preamplifier? I haven't owned a tubed preamp since I bought a Sonic Frontiers Line 3 preamplifier at the turn of the century. I set that aside within a few years as I moved into multichannel because multichannel tube-based electronics were, and still are, rare. My last home experience with a vacuum tube was with a PS Audio Stellar M1200 monoblock power amp, which is a hybrid with a 12AX7-based input stage.

Kalman Rubinson  |  Jan 28, 2022  |  51 comments
There has not been a conventional preamplifier in my main audio system for quite a while, because no multichannel preamp is available that's of high enough quality. Instead, I use the high-precision digital volume controls in my players and DACs and choose sources with a relay-based multichannel analog switch. Plus, I tell myself that no preamp can be more accurate and transparent than no preamp.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Nov 23, 2021  |  54 comments
I received an email from a longtime press representative I've known for years, telling me about a new loudspeaker company he's representing. The company is bursting from the gates with a line of products that includes floorstanders, standmounts, wallmounts, surrounds, center channels, and a range of subwoofers.