Tag Archives: vac

Vertere Acoustics Mystic Moving Coil Cartridge and Phono-1 MKII Preamp | REVIEW

In my earlier review, I wrote about the Vertere MG-1/SG-1 turntable/tonearm combination. Here I’m going to pen about a few other offerings from Vetere (website), companion pieces I received with the ‘table and arm–the Vertere Acoustics Mystic moving-coil cartridge ($2,699) and Phono-1 MK II phono preamplifier ($1,395). First off, let me say that both these pieces were excellent performers. I was particularly impressed with the Phono-1, which I consider one of the best deals in high-end audio. The Vertere Acoustics Mystic cartridge was undoubtedly NOT an also-ran. Still, there are some excellent offerings around that price, so while exceptional, I think of cartridges as more system dependent. In other words, a Mystic could easily be the missing link in YOUR search for vinyl Nirvana. Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy That phrase may be true unless you’re an audiophile, and then it’s called The Hobby. I find comparing components is a lot of fun when I don’t have skin in the game. But if you’re a Libra with ADHD (raises hand), making comparisons to decide on a purchase can be a self-imposed torture chamber. Somebody, please tell me what to get! That’s where us reviewers come in – we’ll drive [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Marten Oscar Trio Loudspeaker | REVIEW

  At Casa de McAudiophile, the impressive hit parade of floor standing speakers continues. This latest installment of chart-topping performers is the seductive sounding and beautiful Marten Oscar Trio from the Sweden (website). The Oscar Trios are not only the first speaker from Marten I’ve had the pleasure to hear; their ceramic composite drivers are also a first in my listening room. I found the sound of these speakers to have a uniquely classy quality: they are precise, clean and fast, but with a richness and ability to portray tonal complexity in recordings that is something more than just accurate. The Marten Oscar Trios bring an inviting quality to the music played through them. That stately and authoritative something puts them in quite a charming spot on my listenability/accuracy matrix. Brothers I seem to be receiving a preponderance of speaker systems from Scandinavian countries, Sweden in particular. Is it possible there is an informal World Class Nordic Speaker Designers club in Gothenburg? I wonder if the Marten team of Leif, Lars, and Jorgen Olofsson ever hang out in a sauna and talk speaker design with Mats Anderson of Qln? Well, even if the two companies don’t share ideas, the friendly [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

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

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

Valve Amplification Company Sigma 170i Integrated Amplifier | Review

Valve Amplification Company Sigma 170i Integrated Amplifier Review by Lee Shelley (Disclaimer: I’m a photographer by profession and I have many clients in the high end audio industry. I have shot for Valve Amplification Company in the past. My impressions and conclusions in the following Valve Amplification Company Sigma 170i Integrated Amplifier review are unaffected by this, but I felt you should know.)  At the 2018 Capital Audiofest, there was a huge buzz about the new $150,000 Statement 450iQ integrated amplifier from Valve Amplification Company, and rightly so. It’s an enormous and visually stunning product that looks to redefine the category. However, I was more excited to see and hear the new $14,000 Sigma 170i integrated that was being shown at the same time. Why? The combination of real-world size and real-world price while offering 85w/ch of pure tube goodness. Here was a product the dedicated audiophile can afford and is still worthy of building a system around. The technical details are as follows: 85w/ch into 4, 8 or 16 ohms 4 line level inputs with an option for one to be an MM/MC phono input Speaker Taps for 4, 8 and 16 ohms 1 X 12AX7, 5 X 12AU7 and [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Von Schweikert Audio ESE Loudspeakers | Review

“Are you busy right now?” said the text from Von Schweikert Audio’s Leif Swanson. “Come back to the room when you can. We made a change.” This was back at the 2019 Capital Audiofest where Von Schweikert Audio and VAC were once again showing off what I call The System, approximately $1.5 million worth of high-end audio gear that usually snags Best Sound at Show Awards by an almost unfair margin. The loudspeakers that are used in The System most of the time are Von Schweikert’s own Ultra 11s, massive beasts that cost $325,000/pair. When I returned to the exhibit room, I discovered that Leif and VSA’s Damon Von Schweikert had replaced the Ultra 11s with the $25,000/pair ESEs (Endeavor Special Edition). Leif knew I would want to hear these much smaller speakers in The System because I had a pair of them at home for review. I’m not going to tell you that the ESEs were in the same ballpark as the Ultra 11s, because that would probably kill sales of the 11s overnight. No, that wasn’t the case at all. BUT. The Von Schweikert Audio ESEs were so good in The System that the show pair had sold [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile