1000 watts of refinement:
Bryston's new 28B-SST monoblocks reveal delicate nuances in the music
I suspect that most audiophiles know of Bryston Limited as do those beyond the audiophile camp. Around for more than 40 years, Bryston is one of the few equipment companies catering to both the audiophile community and the professional audio industry, including film and recording studios. The Inner Ear has reviewed most of Bryston's gear and, over the years, I have noticed that the company has gradually but consistently upgraded its designs raising the sonic bar at each stage.
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Cary Audio Design combines digital and analog technology in one powerful amp
Cary Audio Design is known around the world for vacuum tube components which are held in high esteem by most high-end consumers with whom I have spoken. However, many expressed their surprise when I told them about Cary's solid-state home theatre components and the Designer Series Class D amplifier under review here. << MORE >>
Cable Becomes Component :
JPS Labs' Top-of-the-line Aluminata Cables Illuminate The Music
JPS Labs has been manufacturing cables since 1990. Located in Depew, a small community near Buffalo in upstate New York, president and chief designer Joe Skubinski is an enthusiastic audio devotee who began researching cable technology in the mid-eighties. He soon put his research to work, making cables in the affordable and mid-price ranges. Nowadays, Skubinski can claim over 20 years of real world experience in electrical and RF design engineering and complex system integration, making him a seasoned, experienced authority. << MORE >>
THIN IS IN:
Magnan Audio Cable's signature speaker ribbon does so many things so well it may surprise you, especially its price
Last April at the Festival du Son et de l'Image, Montreal's consumer electronics show, we noted well-reproduced sound coming from the Gershman Acoustics Black Swan (reviewed in Vol. 17, No . 3) loudspeaker set-up. Further investigations revealed unusual speaker cabling made by Magnan Audio Cables, a small family business located in Camarillo, CA and headed by David Magnan, an avid audiophile with an extensive background in electronic engineering. Magnan has applied his technical experience in signal transfer technology to cable design, resulting in an entire line of products. The cables under review are Magnan's premier speaker cable, the Signature model. << MORE >>
A new Benchmark:
Benchmark Media's DAC1 USB delivers audiophile quality
BY DANNY KAEY
I've said it before; I'll say it again: once we enter the world of
computer-based audio playback, ie. music servers, wireless streaming
devices, etc., the world of high-end home audio will never be the
same. Simply put, this is an entirely new frontier, leaps and bounds
more complex then your typical disc-based playback system. Most
people see their PC or Mac as a unified structure instead of the
conflux of components that it really is. Your basic components
include CPU, RAM, hard disc, motherboard and video card; powering all this is your typical low cost switch mode power supply. Joe Anydough can purchase all these components and assemble a computer any day of the week – try that with even your most basic compact disc player! My personally conducted studies have shown that each one of these components affects sound quality to varying degrees. There are two ways to output sound from your PC or Mac: the first is your standard S/PDIF or Toslink connection; the second, USB.
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UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL:
Grado's RS1 Headphone Amp and RA1 headphone put you front row center
by PHIL GOLD
There are many companies making dedicated headphone amps, and many that sell headphones. Meet John Grado of family-owned Grado Labs. He would like to cover both bases for you, and we like what we hear. John is a nephew of Joseph Grado, credited with the invention of the stereo moving coil cartridge, who founded the company way back in 1953. All Grado cartridges and headphones are hand made in the New York factory, including the carved mahogany Reference Series headphones that John has developed. The RS and its baby brother the RS2 sit between the range topping Statement Series and the less expensive Prestige Series headphones. << MORE >>
More Than a Big Speaker:
Israel Blume's third generation Total victory speaker is a declaration of superb sound
by Ernie Fisher
Israel Blume is a fellow who's passion for audio borders on obsession. In business since 1988, Blume's earlier efforts included a number of loudspeaker models in the lower price category. However, he soon found that inexpensive designs have to incorporate shortcuts, such as less expensive parts, limited R&D, etc. Never one to be content, Blume headed for the high-end, knowing that a really great design was going to be expensive. His experience helped him to develop a number of great loudspeakers, such as the models Victory (Vol. 14, No .2) and Total Victory (Vol. 15, No .2). The Total Victory III is (obviously) a third generation design with a few upgrades. The ribbon tweeter has been significantly improved both sonically and structurally; the front face plate is now made of solid, non-resonant, 1/2 inch thick brushed aluminum, which is said to render the high frequencies in a purer, more transparent and better extended fashion than Blume's prior model. The crossover now features, among other improvements, the expensive and superb Mundorf capacitors. Wiring changes include upgrades to more costly materials.
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Small and large enclosures combine in?the new gershman x2 with x-cube
Gershman Acoustics is a relatively small Canadian company headed by Eli and Ofra Gershman. I made their acquaintance when they showed up at my house/studio in 1994 with their first model the GAP. Since then, I have watched the company grow. Nowadays, Gershman has seven models in their line and none is your average loudspeaker. The way I see it, as the company grew, so did Eli's awareness of sound and his ambition to produce high-resolution loudspeakers for those who appreciate better audio.
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Monitor Audio's flagship design is not your typical laid-back loudspeaker from across the Pond.
Although Monitor Audio has changed hands once over the decades, this British company's approach to producing quality loudspeakers has not changed one iota in its more than 30 years of existence. Monitor Audio is considered a prime-mover in metal-dome tweeter development, and as you shall read, the Gold Signature Series GS60 is the company's reference statement product to be sure.
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The Aurum acoustics system combines simplicity and musicality
by Listening Panel
Aurum Acoustics has been in the consumer electronics business since 2005. Its founder, system designer and president Derrick Moss holds an engineering degree and a masters in business. As a young man, he became an enthusiastic audiophile, which inspired him to focus on the issue of synergy, assemble the necessary components and create an audio system that works on good-old-fashioned principles integrated with innovative ideas. <<
For the price-conscious:
The YBA YA201 integrated amp and YC201 CD player deliver a serious taste of the high-end
by Listening Panel
Yves-Bernard Andre is the man behind the beautifully styled electronics under review here, part of a new series from YBA—the YBA Design series—priced much lower than the company's usual high-end components. Launched in 1986, YBA has focused its activities on high-end designs. Though Yves Bernard used to take a hands-on approach to design, he has surrounded himself with very talented engineers who, for the past four years or so were responsible for much of the company's new developments. The pair of components in this review were developed to allow consumers to “catch a glimpse” of high performance audio without the high price tag. << MORE >>