Tag Archives: furutech

Denafrips Pontus II DAC | REVIEW

I’ve been on a hot streak lately with getting components to review that have sounded excellent despite the current difficulties in hearing something beforehand. For a reviewer, it’s one of the many great things about hi-fi shows. So when our fearless PTA leader Scot Hull put out the word amongst the troops for who wanted to take a shot and review an affordably-priced DAC from the Chinese electronics firm Denafrips (website), I thought sure! Why not? And then something strange happened during my time with the most excellent Denafrips Pontus II DAC.  I started listening to a lot of music in digital form, not because I had to turn in a review on the DAC, no. I WANTED to listen to digital. Whuuut?To my way of thinking, DACs are the most stealthy of source components. There are no knobs to turn, no stylus to clean or arm to drop on a record, and a dearth of switches or buttons to press. Certainly no choice of regular bias or chrome tape–remember those? You might get a selection of anti-aliasing filters if you’re lucky. There is not much romance in Ye Olde DACs. They sit there quietly waiting to be asked out [...]

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

Core Power Technologies A/V Diamond Valiant, Defiant and Linx Cables | REVIEW

Who is Core Power Technologies (website), anyway? For that matter, who is Living Sounds Audio (LSA) and the LSA Group? A couple of years ago, I’d never heard of any of them. Now, I’m slowly noticing the surreptitious movements of this enigmatic collective as it moves to take over the industry, and mostly because of Part-Time Audiophile reviews I’ve already read.. In the last year or so, we’ve reviewed a handful of products from them: John Richardson reviewed the LSA 20 Statement loudspeakers back in June, and Brian Hunter also reviewed the LSA HP-2 Ultra headphones last November. Recently, I took on the LSA T3 turntable and unipivot arm combination because I recognized the original design from my good friends at Margules Audio in Mexico. Now, I have a box full of cables from Core Power Technologies. And I’m a little confused. Who are these people? Where did they come from? Here’s a name that’s very familiar to me: Underwood Hi-Fi. Just when I thought the LSA Empire was ready to seize control of the world, I got some of the back story and now I feel slightly less paranoid than usual. Underwood Hi-Fi is one of those high-end dealers [...]

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

Nordost QKORE Ground Units and QKORE Wire | REVIEW

I enter the world of grounding, as it pertains to high-end audio, with some trepidation. When the Nordost QKORE products (website) first arrived at my doorstep—the QKORE1, QKORE 3 and QKORE6 Ground Units and quite a few runs of the QKORE Wire with various terminations—I instantly thought, “This is some serious equipment for grounding. Am I up to the challenge?” I’m not completely alien to the science behind grounding. In a past life I had to install Ufer grounds on new construction sites for the computer racks and associated hardware. But other than making sure the grounding lug is tight on the back of my phono preamplifier, I don’t think about grounding a lot these days—I haven’t had to hunt down a nasty ground hum in quite some time. The Nordost QKORE seems like an ambitious, all-out assault on ground hum and other spurious noise, and I started to wonder if I needed all this to combat whatever grounding issues I might discover. Was I walking into a minefield? Is this another controversy in the making that will make me hover over the comments section with my finger poised one steady inch from the delete button? Is the Vinyl Anachronist [...]

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

Rotel A14 Integrated Amplifier | REVIEW

  Why in the world would I want to review the Rotel A14 (website), an integrated amplifier with DAC and phono stage and headphone amplifier all sorts of features for just $1500? What is this, 1985? Am I still in college looking for an optimal amplification match for my Snell Type Js? Look over there, on the racks and around the listening room. I’ve got $10K worth of Rowland over here, and $25K worth of prime Pureaudio amplification over there. I should be set, ready to go, ready to review turntables or speaker cables or something else other than amplification. But when I got the chance to review the Rotel A14, I jumped at the chance. Again, why? Because I love doing reviews on gear from companies I know well, the brands that convinced me to fall head over heels with this hobby so many years ago. If you haven’t noticed, I love telling those stories. I love talking about my hi-fi history. Some guy in an elevator in 1992 who turns out to be Jeff Joseph and 28 years later I finally get to review his speakers. Meeting Colleen Cardas for the first time at CES—I remember meeting her, [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Sonus faber Lumina III Loudspeakers | REVIEW

After spending the first 24 hours with the new Sonus faber Lumina III loudspeakers, here’s what I came up with. First, imagine you’re not an audiophile. You’re just a consumer looking for a nice pair of speakers for your probably mid-fi system, although your friends and family think it’s already pretty fancy and that you’re “really into your music.” You think to yourself that a nice pair of towers would probably suffice, slim and petite enough to blend into your surroundings and pretty enough to show everyone you have a bit of class. How about a pair of three-way towers? Made in Italy, so they’re much more attractive than a mere veneered box? Yeah? These Sonus faber Lumina IIIs are exactly what you need. They’re $2199/pair, and maybe that’s a little more than you wanted to spend but hey, made in Italy! That costs extra, and look how beautiful they are. To the average music loving non-audiophile, a slim, petite three-way tower speaker is a pretty ordinary thing, and the sales floor of most audio dealers have members of this very common species strategically placed all through the sales floors of their stores. I see ‘em all the time, lurking [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Furutech NCF Clear Line Power Supply Optimizer | Review

See if this takes you back. There’s a device you can buy that you can plug into any AC outlet in a room, and it transforms the sound of your hi-fi system. Sound familiar? There was a time, twenty or thirty years or go, when these types of products—tweaks, as they quickly became known—popped up, made such outrageous claims, and were promptly skewered by the press and skeptics and alleged science guys and anonymous internet doofuses. Said companies would usually fade into the background and disappear (remember the Tice Clock?), and something new would come along in a few months and receive the same rough treatment. The Furutech NCF Clear Line AC Power Supply Optimizer sounds like it would be one of these products. Even the word optimizer suggests it. But it’s not. I’m not the tweakiest audiophile in the world. I’m somewhere on the middle of the spectrum between insisting on effective isolation devices under my components and getting up and changing the VTA for every single record I play. (I. Must. Resist.) I even have a clear plastic storage bin somewhere in the house that’s filled with all the tweaks I’ve tried and rejected over the years. (I [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile