RMAF 2017

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Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
ELAC's new electronics design by Peter Madnick of Audio Alchemy and Constellation fame will make their official debut at CES 2018. For RMAF, the prototypes were dressed up in their old Audio Alchemy clothes. I'm very much looking forward to getting my ears and eyes on these in-barn because Peter designs great-sounding gear and ELAC prices things aggressively.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
I like themes, don't you? The Parasound Halo Integrated Amplifier ($2495) houses an ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC (ES9018K2M) and supports PCM resolutions up to 32/384 and DSD256 (via USB) while pumping out 2x 160 Watts (@ 8 Ohms).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
Continuing on our recent All-In-One theme, the AVM A30 integrated amp ($2995) adds a DAC and Bluetooth connectivity inside its 2x 110W Class A/B amp.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
the PS Audio DirectStream DAC ($5999)

One evening well after the show had closed, I found myself in the PS Audio room with a bunch of guys listening to music. Here's the catch; just for the fun of it.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
Bryston's BDP-3 Digital Music Player ($3495, $1500 for just upgrade) got speedier with a "blazing Intel processor and 8 gigabytes of RAM". This allows for faster processing (wink) which should positively impact performance for people with large music libraries.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
Micromega has gone and done it again; this year dressed in electric blue. Micromega added DSP to the M-150 Amp/DAC/Streamer/DSP/MM/MC phono Pre ($7495) which outputs an additional 50W of output power as compared to the M-100 (I love it when names makes sense).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
From Modwright:
Tube Modification for the Oppo UDP-205 4K Universal Player and DSD DAC!

Price: $2495 (Modification Only)

Tube mod includes:

  • Total redesign and replacement of op-amp based stock analog stage with a fully balanced, pure Class A, tube/transformer coupled analog stage (6922 driver tubes)
  • External PS 9.0 v. 10 with tube rectifier (5AR4, GZ34, 5R4GYS 5U4, 5V4 and equivalents)
  • Truth umbilical of our own design
  • Highest Quality resistors in key signal path applications
  • All MWI M-type capacitors in signal path
  • External supply available with optional hole to allow for use of taller, larger diameter tubes other than 5AR4/GZ34 (just ask)
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
When you enter a room at a hi-fi show, what do you hear? More than anything else, you're hearing how skilled the people running the room are at setup.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
I've covered Nagra's HD DAC before but it's always worth a look & listen.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
The Technics SC-C70 Premium All-In-One Music System ($999) is all you need to play CDs (Google CD if you're not sure what they are), stream from Tidal and/or Spotify via Ethernet, play AM/FM radio from the built-in tuner, connect your computer via USB, AirPlay or Bluetooth to it, and off you go.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
The Progression Preamplifier from Dan D'Agostino (starts at $22k) includes Bluetooth and digital inputs (USB, Toslink, Coax S/PDIF) in the optional digital module (+$4500) making it an almost all-in-one.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
I was sitting in the DeVore Fidelity/Tone Imports room listening to music, as I am wont to do, when Frank Schröder of tone arm fame came in with a new/old $1.00 record he recently picked up at a flea market. John slipped the LP onto the lovely, large and huggable SPEC GMP-8000 turntable and what poured forth was the most beautiful music I've heard in some time. Tear-inducing, soul-stirring beauty.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 09, 2017
My Uber driver Noreddine on people complaining about the snow:
"Some people are unhappy but the ground is always happy."
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 09, 2017
spy photo

Opening scene: Reviewer enters empty room at hi-fi show and proceeds to take photos. Upon removing the info sheet perched atop a DAC for a better photo of said DAC, a woman rushes in from the hall and says sternly, "No photos! No photos!" pointing to the no photos sign in the corner with the same finger she was just wagging in reviewer's face.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 08, 2017
What gets you excited? A very expensive system that sounds great, a very inexpensive system that sounds great, or maybe a system that measures well? If you fall into the last group, you and I enjoy different hobbies. I'll let you in on a little secret; while I get excited about any system that makes music sound vital, I get even more excited if that system also happens to be inexpensive (don't tell anyone).

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