Chris Groppi

NewClear Audio NC1000L Class D Stereo Power Amplifier

Class D (i.e., "Switching") amplifiers have been around for quite a while now. What's clear from models produced so far is they all sound different, even when using the same core technology. Like many amplifiers of the type, the NewClear NC1000L uses the Bang and Olufsen ICEPower module. What makes the NC1000L different isn't this module; it's how that module is implemented. NewClear Audio was started by Sean Brady to improve upon the sound of existing switching amplifiers. Sean had heard some very good amps based on ICEPower technology, but thought he could do even better. The question is, does the NC1000L deliver the goods compared to similarly priced, traditional Class A/B amplifiers?

Gallo Strada 2 Speakers and TR-3D Subwoofers

If you've read any of my reviews before, you know I am a fan of Anthony Gallo Acoustics loudspeakers. I reviewed the original Strada loudspeaker and TR-3 subwoofer in 2010 and was so impressed I almost bought them. The only reason I didn't was because I knew the Reference 3.5 was coming. Those? I bought those, and they are still my reference loudspeaker (however, the 3.5 will be discontinued soon). Gallo claims the new Strada 2 loudspeakers are even better than the original Strada, and the TR-3D is an improvement over then TR3. Both new speakers use almost identical technology to that of the Reference 3.5. Another salvo by Gallo has leveled the paying field between the new Strada 2 and the Reference 3.5s even more. The price of the Strada 2 and TR-3D is identical to the earlier models. The complete system cost with stands weighs in at $4,417 (which includes two TR-3D subs). This used to be a lot cheaper than the $5,995 Reference 3.5. Gallo recently reduced the price of the Reference 3.5 to $3,995, plus an additional $749 for the amp. Now, the price of the two systems is almost identical, within less than $400. The question is, which is better? We will see.

Sennheiser IE60 In Ear Headphones (Earbuds)

Sennheiser is a very well known name in the headphone game. My first good headphones, and the center of my first high end audio system, were the Sennheiser HD580s I had in college. The company has always been known for high quality over the ear headphone, but they also make In Ear Headphones, a.k.a., Earbuds, and that is what we review here, namely the Sennheiser's IE60.

Gallo Classico CL-4 Loudspeakers

Gallo loudspeakers have had a long history of exceptional sound quality. In both this publication and others, no one has much bad to say about Gallo's reference quality loudspeakers. I like them so much, I've owned several of their speakers, including my current Reference 3.5s. Opinions on styling are a different story.

Channel D Pure Music High Resolution Music Server Software

Computer audio is quickly becoming the source of choice for high-resolution audio playback. A vast number of products focused on computer audio are available today, but most of the attention is paid to hardware: DACs and computer audio interfaces like the Bryston BDA-1 and Halide Design USB to SPDIF Bridge I reviewed last year. In all our reviews, we forget one key component of the playback chain: the software player. I have complained extensively about the difficulty of getting no-compromise audio playback from a computer.

Lindemann 882 Stereo Integrated Amplifier

I have always been a fan of integrated amplifiers, and they were the heart of all my audio systems up until recently. They offer the best value in terms of getting the most performance per dollar, but they take away one thing many audiophiles love: fooling around with their system. Several ultra-high end companies have recently introduced very serious integrated amps, for the audiophile who is done with fooling around.

Sennheiser HD-800 Headphones

2009 is a good time to be a headphone fan. The supply of high-end headphones is exploding. At the head of the pack is the new Sennheiser HD-800. This is a cost-no-object assault on the state of the art in headphone listening. They are more than twice as expensive as Sennheiser's previous top of the line, the HD-650.