Sonic Visions

Hifiman Jade II - Reviews & On-going Impressions

Denafrips releases Venus II Dac

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The Venus II DAC is upgraded with:
1. TCXO - Temperature-Compensated Crystal Oscillator. This is the prime performance improvement that brings the Venus sonic performance very close to the Terminator DAC
2. MU Metal Shielding between the PSU and Main DAC board, like one found in the Terminator DAC. A metal sheet is added in between.
3. EVOX MMK caps
4. Germany Film Caps WIMA
5. Upgraded DSP board

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Venus II

YG announces partnership with Cambridge acoustic sciences

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"Ultra-high-end speaker manufacturer, YG Acoustics (www.yg-acoustics.com) announces an exclusive partnership with Cambridge Acoustic Sciences to develop innovative loudspeaker technologies, both to launch a range of new models and to continue the evolution of the existing YG Acoustic products.

Founded in 2002, YG Acoustics is recognized as one of the most prominent companies in the high-end audio industry, a pioneer whose technical advancements remain unmatched. YG Acoustics has a strong heritage of breakthrough technological innovations, such as our patented BilletDome tweeter, as well as other advances including ViceCoil, BilletCore, ForgeCore, DualCoherent, ToroAir and FocusedElimination. These, combined with world-class, in-house precision manufacturing capabilities, have allowed YG Acoustics to deliver generation after generation of industry-leading loudspeakers.

Cambridge Acoustic Sciences (CAS) provides state-of-the-art measurement...

Topping L30 - Budget King of Value

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In a world with so many options and ever decreasing levels of distortion one has to ask what separates the many acceptable solid state amplifiers from the truly great! There's a dozen designs that all push the lower limits of measurable distortion, all of which falls far below our human threshold of hearing.

To explore that concept I figured it would be worthwhile to start by having a set standard for absolute greatness, and I'm happy to say the Bricasti M3 with Headphone is exactly that for me. After years of reviewing and Hi-Fi show demo's, press exclusive listens it is the only product offering that long awaited greatness I've been hunting for! With a truly amazing solid-state amplifier and top of the line DAC in tow I feel fully...

Interview with Michael Borresen

Streaming in the Modern Age - Overview, Comparisons and Thoughts

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For the longest time I was a firm believer in offline playback for Hi Res content. I appreciated the flexibility and discovery power of apps like Napster [formally Rhapsody] and Spotify but those services are limited to only lossy.

While there has been a few Hi Res Lossless streaming services available prior to 2019, I really feel this year has seen a surge in them. Not only do we have access to Tidal and Deezer Hifi , but now also Qobuz and Amazon HD music. An for the purpose of my overview and review I will be focusing only on Tidal with and without MQA Rendering, Qobuz and Amazon HD Music using content shared between the three with only the highest BitRate output option in each platform.

I used an iFi xDSD with my HD 600 for listening purposes when exploring each platform. I did listening on both Mobile and Desktop platforms via my Cellular Devices and my Win10 Laptop. As for music I spent a few weeks with each listening to a wide variety of music to get a feel for the...

Cayin N6ii - Review & On Going Impressions

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I want to start by thanking Andy of Cayin for giving me a chance to hear the N6ii with both it's A01 and T01 modules thru a brief in home demo. I've had a chance to hear quite a few of the Cayin Digital Audio Players over the years and they've always impressed me!

Some history for my self, I am a happy owner of a Hifiman HM901 that I run exclusively line out into a Custom iBasso PB2 amp. Sound quality of this system has for years been unchallenged by all of the modern Digital Audio Players I've heard. Still this old vintage player has terrible battery life, no streaming support and the amp it self is twice as thick as the already large player. So my little tower is by no means a shining example of "portable" sound quality. Price was around $1500...

Streamer/DDC Showdown: Pi2AES vs Sotm SMS200 Ultra Neo

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TLDR: Pi2AES kicks some serious ass. Get a nice PSU


So I've been working on my digital side of things for a little while now, and have as of late been exploring networked output options. I'd started with a raspberry pi, and after hearing the difference that made vs direct USB to my PC, but also how the USB 2.0 ports on the pi4 differed from the USB 3.0 ports, and then how the pi3b+ actually sounded better (likely due to being a lower noise/power consumption board), I explored other options too.
A member of a group I am in told me that after trying the Pi2AES, it had actually beaten out his singxer SU-6, and so that seemed like a crazy option for the price, especially given as I'd been considering the singxer anyway!

Another network streamer that had been getting heaps of praise was the sms200 Ultra Neo, and so that was on my consideration list too. In the end, I got both, and wanted to share my...
Streamer/DDC Showdown: Pi2AES vs Sotm SMS200 Ultra Neo.

Review of the Pass Labs X350.8 stereo amplifier

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Introduction
I have been thoroughly enjoying my Yamaha NS5000 speakers since I purchased them in early 2020. They have truly amazing imaging and a natural tonality that lets you settle into the music and really be convinced of the performances you hear. I have powered them with older Bryston 4BSST amplifiers in mono mode. I briefly tested a single 4BSST in stereo mode and was extremely impressed with further improvement in imaging, resolution and staging (likely due to better impedance matching). But despite the great sound I was getting I did wonder how far I could take sonic experience.
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Optimizing my front end with a Lumin u1 mini streamer (powered by a Keces P8 ext PSU) feeding a Audio GD DI20HE digital converter before going into my denafrips terminator dac certainly provided a fantastic source. I noticed when adding the lumin and agd devices a blacker background with more microdetails and holographic layering that...

Topping D90 MQA review by Oak Forest Audio

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SV member Mshenay at Oak forest audio has reviewed the Topping D90 MQA, please have a look:

XA150 monoblocks

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Audio gd has announced a new flagship, 150 watt mono block amplifier with 100 watts pure class A operation ! Please have a look. These look to be an incredible value.

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"Real Balanced Diamond Differential Design Pure Class A Mono Power Amp
A Lot K170/J74 Has Been Apply
Uses 4 Transformers (In Total 1700W ) And 180,000 Audio Grade Capacitors
Non-Feedback Output Stages In Total 48 Pc Output Transistors
Separate 8 Groups Pure Class A PSUs Power Supply
100W @ 8 ohm Pure Class A Power
150W @ 8 ohm / 300W@4 ohm / 600W@2 ohm Max Power
Can Custom Order Pure Class A Power As 30W/50W/70W/100W
Soft Start Power Design"

Denafrips announces new flagship DAC Terminator Plus

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Denafrips announces a successor to their prior Terminator flagship, Terminator Plus.

"The TERMINATOR-PLUS Digital Processing Board and R-2R ladder network arrays are completely isolated. The two boards are physically linked by the OCXO module. The physical isolation yields even lowered noise-floor and achieved higher signal to noise ratio.

The TERMINATOR-PLUS is equipped with two OCXO at audio frequencies 45.1548Mhz, 49.152Mhz. Encapsulated in a metal casing, located at the centre of the DAC, these OCXO are specially designed for high-end audio applications with ultra-low phase-noise and ultra-accuracy. "

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Read more here: Terminator Plus

Magico announces new M9 flagship

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Hayward, CA, June 2020 – A summation of our no-holds-barred assault on the limits of dynamic loudspeaker design, the new Magico M9 establishes new benchmarks in musicality, transparency and fidelity. This four-way, six-driver floor standing system features the world’s first loudspeaker enclosure to combine inner and outer skins of carbon fiber with a revolutionary aluminum honeycomb core. Included with the M9 is a state-of-the-art analog outboard active crossover, the MXO. Designed in-house, this carefully crafted unit handles bass/midbass frequency separation. In addition, the M9 benefits from our latest generation of Nano-Tec speaker cones, featuring Aluminum honeycomb cores. The result is a revelation, a loudspeaker that can present intense crescendos with unconstrained power, yet reproduce the most delicate musical passages with transparency and stunning microdynamic detail.

SPECIFICATIONS

Driver complement:

1.10-inch...

New Denafrips products

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Denafrips is hard at work cranking out new products which include the Avatar CD transport, Athena flagship preamp and Thallo stereo poweramp.

Avatar:

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Technical Highlights
  • Proprietary FPGA DSP Processing Architecture
  • FIFO Buffer and Reclock with Internal Crystal
  • FEMTO Crystal...

MSB announces S202 Stereo amplifier

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"After the astounding success and performance of the S500 Stereo Amplifier, we set our sights on expanding that sound to more systems. Trickle-down technologies incorporated into a more compact, lower-power framework resulted in the S202. It’s capable of meeting our DAC’s ultra high dynamic range head-on with optimized architecture in the critical areas of audio performance, power supplies, and ultra low-noise design. The S202 includes a fully modular design, matched impedance input stage and an all billet CNC case. The highest value amplifier we’ve ever created, the S202 redefines excellence and sets a new bar in the industry."

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Magico announces new driver design

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Magico has release a short video highlighting a new driver design using an aluminum honeycomb layer. Check it out:


There is speculation that this may be a part of an upcoming magic of m series flagship tba next year.

Raal impression video from SV member 'Bloom'

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Please find an impressions video of the Raal Sr1a ribbon headphones from Andrew DiMarcangelo of Bloom audio.


His site is linked here: Bloom Audio

Denafrips announces new DDC, Iris and Gaia

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Denafrips based in China in partnership with Vinshine Audio out of Singapore has announced 2 new digital to digital converters.

The entry level Iris and flagship Gaia. More details and links below:

The Iris is approx: $472 USD and features:
Technical Highlights
  • Proprietary FPGA DSP Processing Architecture
  • FIFO Buffer and Reclock with Internal Crystal
  • FEMTO Crystal Oscillator
  • Optical Isolated All Digital Input Interfaces
  • Proprietary USB Audio Solution via STM32F446 Advanced AMR Based MCU
  • Licensed Thesycon USB Driver For Windows Platform
  • Driverless On Mac & Linux
  • External Clocks Input Supported

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The Gaia comes in at approx $1625 USD and features are as below:

Technical Highlights...

Rockna wavedream balanced signature vs Denafrips Terminator (with v3 dsp board)

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Please find this high end DAC head to head done by SV member Xecuter over here: Rockna Wavedream vs Denafrips Terminator

Interview with Parker Litchfield (Senior Engineer at Soundsmith)

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We are extremely lucky to have a very smart audio engineer in our discord community! His name is Parker and he has graciously agreed to do an interview. Hopefully we can make this a bit of regular feature so we can tap into his deep knowledge.

When did you first get into audio? What were your first experiences that pulled you into audio?

My first venture in audio started freshman year of high school. I hooked up my parent’s vintage Polk Monitor 7 speakers that were collecting dust to a Yamaha RX-500U and played music using my phone. I was happy to have a stereo. From there I started thrift shopping and picking up used and broken HiFi equipment. Eventually, I came across a turntable at the goodwill and purchased a shure M97XE cartridge. My first new audio purchase. From there I began collecting records and the rest is history. I guess what pulled me in was the curious nature of a high performance electromechanical system. It was truly fascinating to me at first, and still...
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