Stereophile September 2020

Every month Stereophile magazine offers authoritative reviews, informed recommendations, helpful advice, and controversial opinions, all stemming from the revolutionary idea that audio components should be judged on how they reproduce music.

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United States
AVTech Media Americas, Inc.
6,88 €(TVA Incluse)
8,60 €(TVA Incluse)
12 Numéros

dans ce numéro

15 min
no one knows where the ladder goes

I am fascinated by DACs and the shifting sands of today’s digital-audio marketplace. This month, I am reporting on two more DACs, both made by Denafrips: the $4498 Terminator, until recently their flagship DAC, and the $768 Ares II, the company’s least expensive model. Like the HoloAudio May DAC I described last month, both Denafrips converters employ R-2R conversion schemes, and both render recordings into direct, unprocessed sound. The Denafrips Terminator is not new. It has been around since March 2017 and has been reviewed and discussed (but not in Stereophile). When I checked, Stereophile’s Recommended Components listed a baker’s dozen sigma-delta DACs, five of which use the same ESS9038Pro chip; two use the ESS9028 chip. Five others employ FPGAs. Inexplicably, there was not a single R-2R ladder DAC. Especially glaring…

13 min
holoaudio may (level 3) d/a processor

The email from Herb Reichert was intriguing. “I am, with great difficulty writing about HoloAudio’s new two-chassis May DAC,” he wrote. “It is death quiet and very natural. It makes every recording sound non-digital.” Once Herb had finished writing his review of the HoloAudio for the August issue’s Gramophone Dreams column, I sped to his Bed-Stuy bothy and grabbed the May DAC, both to get it on my test bench and to take a listen for myself. The review sample was the top-of-the-line Level 3 version,1 with both the processor and power supply having the serial number 1911541872. Before doing any listening, I measured the May with my Audio Precision SYS2722 system (see the January 2008 “As We See It”2). Apple’s USB Prober utility identified the May as “Holo Audio UAC2.0 Gen2…

15 min
some cartridges and analog accessories

How goes your quarantining? Honestly, my life hasn’t changed much here. I’m locked in the basement as usual, happy to have a good audio system and overwhelmed by my musical choices. Other than minimizing shopping expeditions and wearing a mask, the biggest change in my life is a spike in requests from readers for upgrade advice. I’ve never been so busy answering reader emails. Two months ago, I ran out of space while covering the unsubtle sonic improvements of the passive CAD Ground Control system. Now that I’ve lived with the CAD for another couple of months, I can render my verdict: I can’t live without it. After listening for weeks, I pulled it out of my system, listened for a few minutes, put it all back immediately, then wrote a…

13 min
lkv veros pwr+

As much as I admire Belgian amplifier designer Bruno Putzeys’s accomplishments, I have harbored some misgivings about class-D amplifier sound. I do not believe it represents the future of perfectionist audio. Despite the fact that today’s active loudspeakers depend entirely on class-D’s free horsepower, light weight, and low-temperature operation, I think it sounds vacant compared to class-A. Class-D’s primary engineering virtues are its extreme power-to-weight ratio and power-efficiency, as well as its high damping factor. Class-D’s chief audiophile virtue is its uncanny transparency, especially in the six lowest octaves, ie, below 1.3kHz. When I listen to good class-D (with a fat, stable linear power supply), I feel like I am gazing into a clear, glass-smooth pond. I can see all the way to the bottom. But (sigh) there are no…

18 min
andover model-one

Apart from the Beatles and Hendrix I heard in my audiophile father’s basement, one of my earliest rock’n’roll memories involved a multipurpose record player at school. In third grade, six of us were moved as a separate group to a round table to watch a filmstrip in a darker part of a large, open-plan classroom. A clunky old record player in a selfcontained carrying case with a half-dozen headphone jacks sat on the table. We each plugged in a pair of headphones to hear the soundtrack for the filmstrip we were instructed to watch—unsupervised. Ben discreetly pulled out his older brother’s LP of Queen’s The Game and played it instead. I don’t remember the filmstrip, but “Another One Bites the Dust” is etched in my memory. In spite of that…

1 min
associated equipment

Analog sources Continuum Audio Labs Caliburn turntable with Castellon stand; SAT CF1-09 tonearm; Ortofon Anna Diamond cartridge. Preamplification darTZeel NHB-18S; Ypsilon MC-10L, MC-16L step-up transformers; Ypsilon VPS-100, CH Precision P1 phono preamps, the latter with CH Precision X1 PSU. Power amplifiers VAC Statement 452 iQ Musicbloc and darTZeel NHB 468 monoblocks Loudspeakers Wilson Audio Specialties Alexx. Cables Interconnect: TARA Labs Zero and Air Evolution, Analysis Plus Silver Apex, Stealth Sakra, and Indra, Luminous Audio Technology Silver Reference. Speaker: Master-Built AudioQuest Dragon, TARA Labs Omega EvolutionSP. AC: AudioQuest Dragon and Thunder, Dynamic Design Neutron GS Digital Accessories AudioQuest Niagara 7000 power conditioner; CAD GC1 and GC3 Ground Controls; Oyaide AC wall box and receptacles; ASC Tube Traps; RPG BAD, Skyline, and Abffusor panels; Stillpoints Aperture II Room panels; Synergistic Research UEF products (various); Symposium Ultra platform;…