Kalman Rubinson

Kalman Rubinson  |  Aug 05, 2022  |  8 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  |  49 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.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Sep 22, 2021  |  16 comments
Adoption of DSP-based speaker-and-room correction in home theater—a parallel universe to audiophilia—is almost universal. It's easy to understand why. Home theater matured in the digital age. Its fans were expected to install several loudspeakers in a full-range setup that included at least one speaker—the subwoofer(s)—that functioned exclusively in the problematic bass region. Setup issues were intimidating.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Jul 14, 2021  |  16 comments
Over a lifetime of audio shows, I've consistently enjoyed Dynaudio speaker demonstrations. Each time, I've told Dynaudio North America's Michael Manousselis that I'd love to review the speaker on display that year. But I never followed through. So, when Jim Austin suggested I review a Dynaudio speaker "because they haven't gotten much press," it resonated with my deep-seated guilt. A little research revealed that the last Dynaudio speaker Stereophile reviewed was the 40 Special in November 2018. The last floorstander was the Dynaudio Sapphire in 2009!
Kalman Rubinson  |  May 21, 2021  |  22 comments
Power amplifiers should be boring. They have a single, well-defined function: Make the input signal large enough to run a loudspeaker so that it makes sound at levels suitable for listening to music. Generally, controls and features are few or none. Peter Walker of Quad famously defined the ideal amplifier as a "straight wire with gain." That's just one feature: gain.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Apr 06, 2021  |  7 comments
I have reported on exaSound DACs since the introduction of the e18 in 2013, but those reports were in my Music in the Round column. This is Stereophile's first full review of an exaSound product and the first time one has spent time on JA's test bench.

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