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Review updates: Harbeth, DeVore, Totem, Pass Labs, totaldac, AudioQuest, Pro-Ject, PS Audio… coming from Rafe

System-August-2017

Front wall: Current gear in for review along with my personal Audio Note UK kit.

2017 is rocketing past us, and with the summer at its zenith I thought it was time for a quick update on what’s happening with me up north here on the Best Coast in Vancouver. I’ve moved into a new place that is much larger than my previous one to accommodate the growing list of gear making its way to my door, and so my son could live with with me while going to university (most importantly). It had much better acoustics right off the bat for my listening/living room, and with the updates I’ve installed hopefully maximizes sonics for me, and my neighbours (Remember: I live in Vancouver where a house in my slowly-gentrifying ‘hood runs upwards of $3 million, so it’s apartment life for me).

Eames-Shelves

Listening chair: The back wall now has shelves to help break-up standing waves.

Those with a long memory may recall a post of mine from the spring that also touched on upcoming reviews of the DeVore Fidelity O/93 loudspeaker, and the Pass Labs X150.8/XP-15/XP10. The O/93 review will be coming soon, but the Pass Labs review has taken a twist in that Pass has asked me to also take delivery of the brand-new XP-17, and XP-12, and do a comparison of the current models with the new ones – so I’ll need a bit more time for that one.

Pass-Darkness

Pass labs X150.8 stereo power amplifier.

Project-RPM9

Pro-Ject RPM9 turntable, with 9cc arm/Sumiko Blackbird cartridge.

Stellavox-2

Stellavox reel-to-reel.

That said, let’s touch on what I have in-house at the moment that will be featured in upcoming reviews. On the turntable/analog front I have the Pro-Ject RPM9 Carbon with 9cc tonearm, and Sumiko Blackbird Low cartridge, and one of Charles King’s bespoke, modified Stellavox reel-to-reel players along with a selected number of his personal tapes included. Having heard many reel-to-reel demos at shows around the world, I’ve been hoping to organize a player for my personal space to review, and Mr. King came through in spades for me. This is one of the most deeply emotional, musical-playback mediums for analog listening that I’ve experienced. My hat is truly off to King for his customization of the venerable Stellavox players – he is on to something.

totaldac-d1-integral

totaldac d1 integral DAC/Server.

Auralic-Polaris

Auralic Polaris.

On the digital side, there is the third (and final) upcoming instalment of my Living with Roon/totaldac series, which will focus mostly on the totaldac d1 integral’s sound qualities, and usage, and I’ve just received the brand-new Polaris wireless streaming amplifier from Auralic.

Harbeth-C7ES3-2

Back and forth: Harbeth and Totem in rotation.

Totem-Signature-1

Signature Ones rear view.

Harbeth-C7ES3

Compact C 7ES-3.

On the loudspeaker end of things, I’ll have the aforementioned DeVore Fidelity O/93 review forthcoming, and currently have a pair of Harbeth Compact 7-ES3 monitors along with two spanking-new Totem Model-One Signature transducers which I’m breaking-in on a steady diet of vinyl.

AudioQuest-Oak

AudioQuest Oak loudspeaker cables.

Cable reviews coming up will focus on the AudioQuest Oak loudspeaker cables, AudioQuest Wind interconnects, AudioQuest Vodka Ethernet digital cable, and NRG-10 AC/Mains cables. AudioQuest cables have been in-use since the spring as my reference cables for all incoming review gear, and I must say they have proven to be incredibly transparent, neutral, and equipped with solid-fitting connectors on all kit.

I have the outstanding PS Audio P10 Power Plant power-regenerator in-house, and will be following up with a more detailed account of its impressive capabilities in my power-plagued abode.

That’s it for now, but there’s a long list of gear making it’s way to my place this fall, so stay tuned because the current stock must be reviewed to make room for new stock: Everything must go. Have a great summer everyone, and my heartfelt thanks for your continued support in making Part-Time Audiophile one of the best-read, and respected high-fidelity websites in the world. If you want to keep up with what’s happening in my personal audio world, please follow me on Instagram: @audiophile.gentleman.

–Rafe Arnott

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About Rafe Arnott (325 Articles)

Editor and Creative Director for Part-Time Audiophile & The Occasional Magazine.

10 Comments on Review updates: Harbeth, DeVore, Totem, Pass Labs, totaldac, AudioQuest, Pro-Ject, PS Audio… coming from Rafe

  1. You write, in the first paragraph, about “summer at its nadir”… What on God’s green earth are you on about? Nadir means the lowest ebb – – you are saying that summer has reached rock bottom – – is this really what you intended? Using words they don’t understand, a lot of audiophile scribes quite unintentionally say the most bizarre and hilarious things.

    • Rafe Arnott // August 12, 2017 at 12:44 PM //

      Matt…
      I thought zenith and wrote nadir… shit happens without enough coffee.
      Thanks for catch.

  2. Hi Rafe, great story about you and Peter from Audio Note driving to and through Germany. Which amp are you using to drive your own AN-E’s?

    Have a great saturday, patrick

  3. Rafe, looking forward to your reviews, thanks for laying it out for us..

  4. Excellent layout! Job well done on your cable management.
    Is your system currently all balanced (XLR), all the way to the power amplifiers?
    I enjoy your reviews and look forward to the reviews of equipment mentioned above.
    Steady On! jps

    • Rafe Arnott // August 10, 2017 at 1:08 PM //

      Hi,
      No, I’m running unbalanced throughout both systems currently.
      Thanks very much for the kind words.
      –R

  5. peter jasz // August 9, 2017 at 4:47 AM //

    Sounds like Christmas day (or a candy store) !

    I’m very interested on your thoughts concerning the PS Audio P-10 (actually P-5) particularly when powering digital.

    Also, I’d bet the Harbeth 7-ES3’s are altogether in a different league than the Model 1’s ?

    pj

    • Rafe Arnott // August 10, 2017 at 1:12 PM //

      The P10 is an amazing piece of engineering, and has been an unabashedly critical success in its performance in my system. The noise floor has dropped so much in either an analog, or digital-source context as to be almost non-existent compared to previous iterations.
      The Harbeth, and Totem approach to sound reproduction are quite different, but both have many strengths that set each apart from other brands on the market.

  6. Geoffrey // August 9, 2017 at 3:21 AM //

    Good luck with your new appartment. Looking forward to the reviews!

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