The new Zoom H6 Handy Recorder jams a lot of technology and features into a surprisingly compact device, and it sounds great. The H6 was designed for musicians, sound professionals, journalists, and videographers, but I'm sure there's a smattering of audiophiles who would really enjoy using this thing. I spent a few days recording street musicians performing in various parks around NYC, and one feature immediately stood out, the interchangeable microphone modules that plug into the top of the recorder. The H6 carries a retail price of $399, and that price includes two mic modules, X-Y, and MS (… Read more
I've heard a lot of, but far from most of the world's best headphone amps, but even in that heady territory the Auralic Taurus MKII shines. I've used a wide range of my very best headphones, in-ears and full-size, and they're all sounding better than I've heard them before.
The $6,475 Mal Valve amp is right up there, but it's been a few months since I heard it, and I never had it at home so my experience was more limited. I had the luxury of living with the Taurus MKII for weeks, … Read more
Last month I asked readers to submit essays for my "You can be the Audiophiliac for a day" contest. I received a lot of thought-provoking pieces, and I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to write. You guys are a smart bunch, but there can be only one winner, and I selected John O.'s "Chasing the Ultimate Sound System." His perceptive examination of the audiophile quest for great sound will reverberate with a lot of folks. The only thing I'd like to add is that the only person you need to … Read more
The GoldenEar Technology Triton Seven is, as we audiophiles like to say, "transparent" -- it sounds like an open window to the sound of music. That's always the goal for high-end speakers, but only the very best ones take you all the way there.
The Triton Seven's slender cabinet leaves no doubt: this is a thoroughly modern design. The swept-back, nonparallel-sided cabinets, and high-gloss black accents are distinctive; I'm sure the Triton Seven will never be mistaken for just another big-box tower.
The Triton Seven's front, sides, and rear are covered with a wrap-around … Read more
I've lived in NYC since birth, so you might think I wouldn't have a hard time with noise. It's always been part of my life, but restaurants used to be a lot quieter than they are now. The noise isn't just an annoyance; in some places it can reach dangerous levels, according to standards set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The noise is generated by the restaurant's sound system and people talking, in an acoustic setting too often designed to exacerbate and reflect, rather than absorb noise. Bare floors and … Read more
Meridian is a legendary British company; I think of it as the Mercedes-Benz of audio, and the gear is priced accordingly. Meridian's engineering was always ahead of the pack, and it was the very first to market a high-end CD player in 1985. The company developed the original high-resolution lossless compression technology, MLP, that debuted in DVD-Audio players, and is now used in Dolby TrueHD-encoded Blu-ray discs.
I never heard of Lepai until about a year ago, when Parts Express sent over a Lepai LP-2020A+ amplifier for review. Well, it didn't take long to see it was a steal, and it has been my go-to amp for anyone on a super-tight budget, it's just $25, and for that kind of money the sound is pretty special. The 20-watt-per-channel stereo amplifier is a tiny thing, it's just 1.5x5.5x4.5 inches.
I'm always on the lookout for great sounding products in all price ranges, so when an Audiophiliac reader suggested the almost too good to be true JVC HA-RX700 full-size headphones, I pulled the trigger. I'm glad I did, first the HA-RX700 doesn't look or feel like a cheap headphone. Better yet, it delivers a clear, highly articulate sound, with a wide stereo image, and it's the most comfortable budget headphone I've tried in years. Comfort is crucial, because even if a headphone is a top performer, but hurts your ears after a while, you're … Read more
Cassettes, like LPs are enjoying something of a "comeback," but I can't say I was ever a big fan of the format. Sure, with a great Nakamichi or high-end Pioneer cassette deck the sound of recordings made from LPs could be pretty decent, but the prerecorded cassettes put out by record companies were always iffy. The main advantages cassette had over LPs and CDs was they were a little cheaper, and considerably more portable. They were the MP3s of the 1970s, '80s, and early '90s, and were as fragile as LPs. I mostly used the format to … Read more
Most of today's bands view recordings as promotional tools for their concerts, they have to stay on the road to make a living. That's just the way it is, but they make a lot fewer records than bands did before, and since most recordings lose money, studio time is limited and budgets are shrinking. That's too bad, recordings are the bands' only tangible legacy, and the great bands of the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and early '90s have substantial back catalogs that continue to earn income long after the band breaks up. Performing is an important element in … Read more