Tag Archives: Cardas Audio

Wilson Audio SabrinaX Loudspeakers | REVIEW

Most audiophiles know of the unwavering commitment to accuracy and groundbreaking industrial design baked into the DNA of every Wilson Audio product (website), and the new Wilson Audio SabrinaX loudspeakers are no exception. This was first evident in Dave Wilson’s original assault on the state of the art with his WAMM design circa 1981, and other loudspeaker systems followed over the years. Along with advancements in materials science and simple but visually striking industrial design aesthetics, each loudspeaker system has a unique raison d’etre rather than simply various scaled-down models at different price points. Words and photos by Dave McNair Dave Wilson practically devoted his life to designing a speaker that would precisely reproduce what his ears (and mics) heard on his extraordinary recordings. His recording approach was a simple, purist style used to record musicians playing in natural acoustic spaces. It might seem simple, but there is nothing easy about this kind of approach. So it naturally follows that faithfully reproducing the recording of that event in a home listening room was his ideal. Today, Daryl Wilson and the rest of the great crew at Wilson Audio have maintained those same ideals and goals while simultaneously refining, improving, and [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Jeff Rowland Design Group Continuum S2 Integrated Amplifier | REVIEW

Four hundred watts per channel. The Jeff Rowland Design Group Continuum S2 (website) has four hundred watts per channel. In over forty years of being an audiophile, including the twenty-plus years I’ve been reviewing hi-fi components, I’ve never had that much power at my disposal before. By modern standards, the Continuum S2 isn’t the most powerful power amplifier out there—I can think of a few four-figure monsters turning heads right now. But I’m the guy whose all-time favorite SET had two juicy watts per channel. I’m the guy who followed the vaguely Brit-fi attitude of never needing more than 50 watts per channel, preferably in an integrated amp because English cottages are so tiny, just like one-bedroom apartments in the San Fernando Valley where I spent my journeyman years, and you need all the space you can get. Even now, in 2021, my reference amplifier is just 25 watts per channel, but it’s all gorgeous Class A and can be switched to 100wpc AB if needed, something that rarely happens, to be honest. What am I going to do with four hundred watts per channel? To make things more complicated, the Volti Audio Razz loudspeakers arrived at my house at [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Audiovector R 6 Arreté Loudspeaker | REVIEW

“We Come From The Land Of The Ice And Snow…” Denmark may not be Iceland (or wherever Mr. Plant was wailing about in that song) but latitude-wise, it’s good enough for my literary purposes. Seriously, what is going on in those northern European (and Canadian) climes to produce such amazing speakers? With the Audiovector R 6 Arreté (website), these Danish loudspeaker veterans have produced yet another ultra-performer to add to the Legends of Scandinavian Speaker Craft. The Audiovector story begins with figurehead Ole Klifoth, who founded the company in 1979. Ole set out to make the kind of natural-sounding speaker for music lovers that he felt was missing in the marketplace, a speaker that he wanted to listen to. With the debut success of Audiovector’s first model, the Trapez, Ole’s ears and design concepts found an audience and the rest is history. Today, Ole’s son Mads Klifoth is the Audiovector CEO and carries on the tradition (with continued R&D input from the Old Man) while taking Ole’s original design objectives to new heights. As a Dad myself, this story warms my heart. So did listening to the Audiovector R 6 Arreté. Description Unless I am particularly fascinated by some aspect [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Chario Constellation Cygnus Loudspeakers | REVIEW

Hi-Fi reviewers like reviewing products that sound good to them. I’m no exception. If I can’t hear a component before actually getting it, I’m always a bit leery. So it was a welcome and pleasant surprise when I fired up a pair of Chario Constellation Cygnus speakers (website) in my listening room. After the hit parade of excellent loudspeakers I’ve recently had the pleasure of reviewing, it was a relief to find out that the relatively unknown (in the US) and modestly priced Cygnus ($3,700/pair) is no exception. Ciao mio adorabile amico The Cygnus is a mid-level offering in Chario’s entry-level Constellation line of speakers. The gente at Chario have been using fine Italian craftsmanship to make a LOT of different speaker models, and they’ve been doing so since 1975. There are four separate lines including Academy S, Aviator, Constellation II, and a limited edition Belong series. Within the Constellation line alone there are four different models named Lynx, Delphinus, Cygnus, and Pegasus. Must be some frequent espresso breaks happening at the Chario factory to get all those speakers ready to ship. Words and Photos by Dave McNair The Chario Constellation Cygnus is a three-way comprised of a 1.5” soft [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Charisma Audio Signature One Moving Coil Phono Cartridge | REVIEW

Let’s talk about the Passion Of St. Bernard. No, not the dog. No, not Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), the Benedictine monk–although he was no doubt passionate about his stuff. I’m talking about the founder, and head of Charisma Audio (website), Mr. Bernard Li.THIS Bernard is deeply passionate about high fidelity home playback with a special focus on cartridges and all things analog. You’d also need to have the patience of a saint to go to the lengths that Mr. Li has in producing the supremely musical sounding Charisma Audio Signature One moving coil phono cartridge. At this point, it’s no surprise to me when I hear about the back stories of these passionately driven hi-fi industry folks. It usually starts with a deep connection to music and a fortuitous way into the industry. Bernard is no exception. From his 40 plus years as an audiophile, reviewer, dealer and distributor, Mr. Li’s knowledge and experience in this industry is deep. Actually, that would be an understatement. About eight years ago, Mr. Li began working with an experienced phono cartridge artisan whose identity must remain secret. The partnership produced a line of cartridges, adding to an already impressive lineup of brands that [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Acora Acoustics SRC-2 Loudspeakers | REVIEW

After living with Acora Acoustics SRC-2 loudspeakers in my listening room, I consider these speakers to be the newest member of a very small group of speaker systems that are the absolute state of the art in music reproduction. For the last few months, I have witnessed firsthand the incredible coherence, stunning presentation of spatial information, wide and smooth bandwidth, and limitless ability to reveal dynamic contrasts. The SRC-2s produced the finest sound I’ve yet heard in my system. There, I’ve said it. So what’s left to say about these? Plenty. Prologue I first heard Acora Acoustics in February of 2020 at the Tampa Audio Expo. I had assigned myself multiple rooms to cover for Part-Time Audiophile. Our own Eric Franklin Shook invited me to visit several additional rooms, Acora Acoustics being one of them. That first day I was quite impressed by the SRC-1 that was set up in one of the two Acora rooms. Super clear and clean sound, much larger than expected out of a modest-sized yet visually striking two-way floorstander, even with that granite cabinet. That granite! The entire line (SRB, SRC-1 and SRC-2) of Acora Acoustics speakers feature cabinet construction made from a particular type [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Luminous Audio Technology Prestige III Loudspeaker Cables | REVIEW

So I’m reviewing these Luminous Audio Technology Prestige III loudspeaker cables, ready to write down my impressions, and suddenly I remember that in my Raven Audio Soniquil cable review I spent all this time admonishing those who try to compare differences made by single cable swaps, as opposed to swapping out an entire loom. I had to think long and hard about the answer. My instinct poked me in the shoulder and said, “You have heard differences, big differences between speaker cables in the past.” In the past I’d always tease those audiophiles who “put a $500 power cord in a $1500 system and then get mad when they can’t hear the difference.” It just doesn’t work that way. But speaker cables? Yes, I’ve heard big differences while swapping out speaker cables. The first time happened back in college when I bought my first truly excellent pair of loudspeakers, the Snell Type J. This was back in the days when a hi-fi dealer would just throw in a set of speaker cables, usually unterminated, at no extra charge. I’d already made the decision to actually buy a set of quality speaker cables—a somewhat difficult task back in the early ‘80s [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Fern and Roby Maverick Phono Preamplifier | Review

I originally intended to include this review of the Fern and Roby Maverick phono preamplifier as part of my testing of their Montrose turntable and tonearm. Things changed during the review process, however—what was once a plug-in module that slid into the back of the Montrose plinth had evolved into a two-chassis outboard unit with improved parts quality and some tweaks to the circuitry. That’s fortuitous since I was able to compare the two units, and I was one of the first people in the world to try out the newer version of the Maverick. The new version of the Fern and Roby Maverick phono preamplifier is a partnership between Fern and Roby’s Christopher Hildebrand and Linear Tube Audio’s Mark Schneider. Fern and Roby already has a strong relationship with LTA—not only does Christopher sell his Fern and Roby loudspeakers and turntables with LTA amplification, a synergistic match that I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy more than once, but Fern and Roby designs and manufacturers the casework right there in the Tektonics Design Group factory in Richmond VA. Little Black Boxes The Fern and Roby Maverick phono preamplifier reminds me of one of my old favorites, a phono stage I [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Jeff Rowland Design Group Conductor Phono Preamplifier | Review

  Having a Jeff Rowland Design Group product in my reference system reminds me, in a roundabout way, of one of the greatest hi-fi systems I’ve heard. This happened nearly a decade ago, at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. I had just received my Trenner & Friedl ART monitors—yes, I’ve owned these little gems for almost ten years now—and I was invited to Bob Clarke’s Profundo room to meet Peter Trenner and Andreas Friedl. (This was the first time I had met Bob as well, come to think of it.) Bob had brought Trenner & Friedl’s newest version of their $175,000 flagship speaker, the Duke, all the way from Austria to Vegas at considerable cost, and after a couple of hours of listening and drinking and even dancing with Colleen, I came to the conclusion that every single track we played sounded glorious, and these were perhaps the finest speakers I’d heard up to that point. (I’m sure they still are, but it’s been a while.) The system behind these magnificent speakers was quite simple. Obviously, everything was wired up with Cardas Audio Clear (T&F uses Cardas for their internal wiring), using a dCS Puccini transport as a [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Trenner and Friedl Osiris Loudspeakers | Review

This is the final entry borne from that magical In Living Stereo room at last year’s Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. I started with the precious, jewel-like Mactone MH-120 power amplifier and XX-7000 preamplifier, continued with the mighty yet affordable Hana ML phono cartridge and now I’m finishing up with the very product that lured me into that room in the first place—the Trenner and Friedl Osiris loudspeakers. As I’ve mentioned in those other reviews, I chose to cover the In Living Stereo room because my friend Bob Clarke, who heads Profundo Audio in Texas, brought a pair of the Osiris to the show and asked me to stop by. I was eager to do so because the Osiris, the smallest model among Trenner and Friedl’s floorstanders, was perhaps the only model I hadn’t heard up to that point. (While researching this review, I was shocked to discover that two new models, the Phi and the Taleisin, have also been introduced over the last couple of years.) As many of you already know, I’ve owned the first generation of the Trenner and Friedl ART monitors for almost a decade now, and I last year I reviewed the new generation of the [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile