Regular readers of this blog will recognize the Schiit name, I've covered a number of their headphone amplifiers and digital converters over the past few years. The newest little Schiit, the vacuum tube Vali, looks exactly like the company's $99 solid-state amp, the Magni, but the internal electronics are completely different. As I listened to them both and switched back and forth they sounded similar. I listened more and the Vali sounded a wee bit sweeter and richer. Not as big a difference as I would have thought, but different enough.
The Rogue Audio Sphinx is a cool-running vacuum tube/Class D hybrid design, but it feels and acts like a classic 1980s high-end integrated amplifier, and that's a compliment. If you need Bluetooth or digital inputs, sorry, the Sphinx won't cut it -- check out the NAD D 3020. That NAD is wonderful, but it doesn't sound like a tube amp. The Sphinx is tonally rich and warm, it's a honey.
The Sphinx is rated at 100 watts per channel for 8 ohm speakers, 200 watts per for 4 ohm speakers. There's no way you … Read more
Meridian Audio may be one of Britain's oldest high-end audio brands. It was founded in the late 1970s, but it was always exploring new technologies. It introduced the world's first high-end CD player in 1984, advanced the state of the art in self-powered speakers, and pioneered digital loudspeakers. The company also developed the lossless compression technology used in many Blu-ray Discs.
So when I heard Meridian was introducing a high-end headphone amplifier, I immediately requested a review sample. When the box arrived, I thought they had sent the wrong piece, it was too small to be a contender, … Read more
If you've laid down serious cash for a great pair of headphones but they're plugged into your phone or computer, you're missing out on a lot of the sound quality you paid for. Don't get me wrong, phones and tablets can sound acceptable, but their designers didn't focus on sound quality -- that's the last thing they worry about. The cure for so-so sound is straightforward: invest in a high-performance digital converter/headphone amp, like the Cypher Labs Theorem 720. It can be used with iPhones, Android phones, or computers via USB connection with … Read more
I reviewed the first Devialet back in 2010, and that advanced tech amplifier, the D-Premier, rocked the audiophile world. At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Devialet is showing its next generation amps. There's the new flagship Devialet 240, along with the more affordable Devialet 170 and Devialet 110, which can either be placed on a table or vertically mounted flat on a wall.Catch CNET's complete coverage of CES 2014
High-resolution music streaming from computers, smart phones, or tablets using any format up to 24 bit/192 kHz digital is possible. Rear panel connectivity features … Read more
Beyerdynamic makes some of my favorite headphones, but the company readily admits that an audio chain is only as good as its weakest link. Take their T 51 p on-ear headphones I raved about in November, they sound fine plugged into a phone, but to really hear the T 51 p, or any high-end headphone really strut its stuff you need an audiophile grade digital converter and headphone amplifier. That's where Beyerdynamic's A 200 p comes in handy.
It receives digital music data from an iPhone, iPod, or iPad via Lightning connector, or Android phones or tablets with … Read more
Founded in 1980, Krell Industries' amplifiers have long set the benchmark for sound quality, and at CES 2014 the company took the wraps off its latest generation iBias, high-efficiency power amps. That's a really big deal because while Krells have always sounded great, they sucked a lot of AC power out of the wall socket. They ran hot, so hot you couldn't rest your hand on the chassis, because most of the AC juice was converted to heat, not to making the power that drives your speakers. The heat was an unfortunate byproduct of Krell's Class A … Read more
If you listen to more music than watch movies at home, a top-notch integrated stereo amplifier may be a better choice than an AV receiver. I've said that for years. But a lot of the better-sounding integrated amps are feature-challenged, and some offer nothing more than an input selector for analog sources and a volume control. Some don't even have a remote control. So I was happy to spend some quality time with Rotel's sweet-sounding, fully loaded RA-1570 amplifier.
The 17x5.8x13.75-inch component weighs a hefty 28.7 pounds. That's interesting because this 2x120 watt … Read more
Amped Wireless, the networking vendor known for making high-power home networking device, today unveiled two new next-generation long-range AC1900 Wi-Fi products, the RTA30 High Power AC1900 Wi-Fi Router and the REA33 High Power AC1900 Wi-Fi Range Extender. Both with be showcased at CES 2014, the company says.
The two devices offer dual-band Wi-Fi with top speeds of up to1300Mbps on the 5Ghz frequency band, and up to 600Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band, for the total of 1900Mbps (hence the AC1900 designation).
AC1900 routers are not new, with a few having been on the market for a while, such as … Read more
The Centrance Hi-Fi M8 is a rather unusual product on a number of counts, starting with the fact that it's offered in eight different connectivity configurations that were proposed by potential buyers who responded to a crowdsourced thread on the Head-Fi Web site. I admire Centrance's willingness to accept consumer opinions, but as it turns out most consumers opt for the configuration I have for review, the HiFi-M8 XL4, which features 3.5mm, 6.3mm and four-pin XLR headphone output jacks on the front panel. Some of the other versions are directed to pro users with headphones that … Read more