Sony continues to release lots of new products bearing the "HI-Res Audio" logo. This review focuses on three of these products - the Sony MDR-Z7 Headphones, the Sony PHA-3 battery powered DAC/headphone amp and the Kimber Kable MUC-B20BL1 balanced headphone cable.
The Audioengine B1 is an easy to use add-on accessory that promises quality audio playback via Bluetooth technology for under $200. It uses the latest Bluetooth 4.0 technology with the aptX Codec. This extends the B1's range and gives you the best possible audio reproduction.
Introduced in 2012, the Legacy Aeris speakers have become some of the most acclaimed speakers in recent memory. They are massive 4-way floorstanding speakers with dual powered 12" subwoofers in each tower. They are distinctive for many reasons with the most significant reason being their one of a kind room correction and time alignment capabilities.
The Audio by Van Alstine FET Valve CF Vacuum Tube preamplifier is a pure analog design with no solid state transistors in the signal path. It is based on a Cathode Follower architecture providing wide bandwidth, substantial gain even into difficult loads.
The Induction Dynamics ID1's are large 4-way Floor standing Speakers with dual subwoofers built in to each cabinet. The speakers are available in many custom finishes or they can be mounted in-wall if you are building a high performance custom home theater. The speakers measured well; low distortion and a full frequency response from 25 Hz all the way out past the limits of human audibility. But that was only one part of the story. Subjectively, these speakers had an articulate sound that remained smooth and non-fatiguing at all playback levels. And they showed excellent imaging properties, filling the room with all their lusciousness.
JL Audio is best known for their no-compromise mobile audio speakers and amplifiers. That's where it all started for them. But they also made a name for themselves with a line of extreme powered subwoofers for the home market, the Gotham and Fathom. These first JL Audio home subwoofers were big and bold. Now JL Audio has released the E-Subs, which are scaled down subwoofers at more accessible price points…Read More.
The Alpha PS1s are PSB's first powered speakers, and are bookshelf in size. Driven by built-in Class D amplifiers, they feature 3.5" metalized polypropylene main drivers and 0.75" aluminum dome tweeters in elegant ported enclosures. These speakers are the latest member of PSB's Alpha line which has been very popular and well received by the audio press and consumers alike. Late last year, PSB announced they would be releasing a super compact powered subwoofer. This new sub was designed to go along with PSB's incredible little PSB Alpha PS1 ($299) desktop speakers that I reviewed in July 2013. So I promptly requested a review sample as I wanted to write this quick follow-up to my earlier review.
The S-550i is the larger of two new integrated amps from Krell. Both of these amps feature circuit boards that utilize surface mount components. This means they can pack more power into smaller chassis than ever before. The S-550i is rated at 275 watts per channel into 8 ohms, and that doubles to 550 wpc into a 4 ohm load. This being from a box that is less than 6 inches tall. So now you can get tons of Krell goodness in a small package and at a very affordable price.
The REL T-9 subwoofer is the largest sub in REL's "Serie T" line. It is a solidly built sub with a 10" Ultra Long Throw main driver, a 10" front-firing passive radiator and a 300 watt Class A/B plate amp. In keeping with REL innovation (and tradition), theT-9 has a number of flexible hook up schemes, the most unique being by way of the included high level hook-up cable.
This Sonus faber home theater speaker system is based on the new Venere 3.0 floor standing speakers, the flagship of the Venere line. The Veneres are designed in Italy and include drivers designed from the ground up specifically for this speaker line. The drivers are made exclusively for Sonus faber by some of the best suppliers on the planet. The Veneres even have the famous Sonus faber lyre-shaped cabinets.
Revel has just released the third generation of their Performa speaker line. Dubbed the Performa3's, the new lineup offers nine models – two tower speakers, two bookshelf speakers, two center speakers, two subs and one surround. Revel touts the Performa3's as having an "Ultima2 Heritage at attainable prices". The Performa3's are all-new designs with all-new drivers. The M105's reviewed here are the smaller of the two bookshelf speaker models. They have a 5-1/4" ribbed aluminum mid/woofer and a 1" aluminum dome tweeter that was designed by the Untima2 team. These tweeters are mounted in a new waveguide that lends the speakers a sexy silhouette and a very smooth in-room response. Who could argue with that? As if this weren't enough, Revel decided to price the Performa3's on a very competitive level which makes these speakers a major value-for-money opportunity.
This beautiful turntable from Pro-Ject Audio Systems is dubbed the Xtension 10. This new model is a smaller version of the highly acclaimed Xtension 12. Pro-Ject retained most of the design features of the Xtension 12 to include a built-in precision speed control, a balanced sandwich platter, adjustable magnetic feet and a precision inverted ceramic main bearing. The over-designed Xtension 10 weighs in at a healthy 48-1/2 lbs net! It comes with a heavy record clamp and acrylic dust cover included.
The SVS SB13-Ultra powered subwoofer features a 13.5" driver with 50mm peak excursion. It is driven by a 1,000 watt RMS Class D amplifier (3,600 watts peak). This amp has a dual band parametric equalizer and a unique limiter circuit that retains dynamic shadings even when pushed hard. The sub is a sealed box design with tight and clean bass. In fact, my nearfield (1 foot) THD+N measurements were all under 0.33% from 28 - 100Hz at 100dB!
Jim Clements has been an audio nut since childhood where you could find him underfoot at his local high end store on most weekends. (This particular shop was within walking distance of Jim's home, much to the chagrin of the owner and his staff.) Jim's audio journey started early because he loved great music of all kinds. And he still does. Like most audiophiles, Jim was not particularly inspired by a vast majority of the audio systems he encountered. So his quest grew through his efforts to recreate a live listening experience in the home. This has proven to be a never ending quest. One major offshoot of all this is that Jim has become something of a cinema enthusiast as well. So now he's working on the video and surround sound conundrums too. Since perfect recreation of sound and video is a goal to be pursued but never attained, Jim derives his pleasure from the journey itself. He wants to help our readers on their own personal quests by reviewing products thoroughly and objectively. On a personal note, Jim is a Professional Engineer, licensed in California and Texas. He currently has his own engineering practice in San Antonio, Texas. Jim is also part owner of a small chain of craft beer growler stations in South Texas.