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YG Acoustics Sonja XV and Dan D’Agostino Relentless

by Marc Phillips in Components

Do I really need an excuse to ditch Rochester just before the first major snowstorm of the season just to head down to San Diego? As excuses go, I can think on none more sublime than visiting a high-end audio dealer to evaluate a couple of state-of-the-art designs that have just been introduced. Alma Audio is nestled in the Kearney Mesa area of the city, not far from the airport. It’s a fairly new enterprise, opened in 2015 by partners Alexandre Siufy and Fabio Storelli. Along with Adrienne [...]


  • Brian Berdan, owner of Audio Element in Pasadena California grew up in a household filled with music, his late father was a well known hi-fi  dealer, so I can suspect that he had some killer vintage gear to play around with.  Brian’s first pair of Wilson Audio Speakers were a pair of Wilson Watt 2/Puppy 1 loudspeakers that began his Wilson journey and which he still owns today.  As Brian and his wife Jennifer geared up to celebrate Audio Element’s 5th anniversary this month, it [...]
  • Wilson Audio Sasha DAW | First Look

    October 25, 2018 // 9 Comments

    It was a once in a lifetime experience about 1.5 years ago when I got to sit alongside David Wilson in his inspiring listening room and hear the WAMM Master Chronosonic. I will never forget those precious minutes with David, nothing has gotten closer to being there. In a world where many high-end companies fade away when they lose their founder, one American company is breaking the mold and demonstrating that a new generation can deliver breath-taking products, namely Daryl Wilson who has taken [...]
  • The Apple HomePod is reported to be an excellent sounding smart speaker, one of the best in the segment. Apparently, that's not a high bar. [...]
  • Studio Electric looks for a higher class of consideration Call me crazy but I have a particularly unwavering bias in this hobby for sound and sound only. I do not personally subscribe to the church of audio-bling, although I don’t mind its existence or necessity in another’s sense of taste. I understand the appeal high-end-audio-jewelry and cost-no-object endeavors that embody faultless craftsmanship inside and out. I don’t fault high-end audio manufacturers for looking to one-up each [...]
  • Sonus Faber Launches Sonetto

    June 29, 2018 // 3 Comments

    The 1900 Building in Kansas City, Missouri, is the original HQ for Lee Jeans, and last week I got a tour, courtesy of Mr. Karbank, the owner. The “new” 1900 Building is a very posh and modern affair, with space for industry and a fantastic restaurant, but most interesting to you, dear reader, is that Mr. Karbank is also a client of a local Sonus Faber dealer Elevated Electronics, and that relationship allowed Sonus Faber the opportunity to bring some friends in to introduce a new [...]
  • Uh oh.  Something was really off. The Velvet Fog’s voice was all over the place.  The sibilance was nasty. Next I know, I am standing next to a finely made miniature metal hand crank.  Dave Wilson is telling me, “okay, now we need to go from 24mm to 27.5mm”.  I slowly and carefully turn the crank in a circle clock-wise until a very fine calibration hash mark moves between 27 and 28. I go back to the listening chair.  Dave cues up the Mel Torme track again. Ahhh, the voice is focused [...]
  • Concurrent with my receipt of the amplifier up for review here, Linear Tube Audio’s (LTA) ZOTL 10 Mk.II, came another welcome piece of news: the well-regarded German jazz/classical label ECM had decided to release its entire catalog for streaming via Tidal and other services. Most audiophile types are well aware of this label, especially for its collection of albums by interesting European and American jazz artists, all rendered in superbly recorded sound. It’s one of my favorite jazz [...]
  • Wilson Audio Tunetot gets newborn pictures

    May 17, 2018 // 1 Comment

    Wilson Audio gave birth to its newest family member, the TuneTot loudspeaker on May 10th.  We couldn’t wait to pay this beautiful baby a visit, so 24 hours after birth we made a trip to Definitive Audio in Seattle to give them a peak.  Always exciting to see a product announcement is in sync with actual availability. Sharing some newborn pictures… In the nursery: Up close… Head, shoulders, knees and toes… Rocking a high chair… Wrapped up in a blanket… [...]
  • Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 loudspeaker: Review

    February 25, 2018 // 11 Comments

    Harbeth Compact 7ES-3, pipe and slippers.  If you’ve ever been into high fidelity gear from the United Kingdom then you’ve heard that phrase bandied about as a descriptor for British Isle-built sound. I love the images it conjures up in one’s imagination: Gust-driven rain pelting against a window partially concealed by thick Hunter Green velvet curtains, lots of built-in wooden shelves stocked with books, CDs, and LPs… an overstuffed, weathered leather wing chair, thick [...]
  • Review: AmpsAndSound Hudson

    February 11, 2018 // 4 Comments

    By Lee Shelly Well, a more accurate title would be “Life with the Hudsons”, but that seems less poetic, so there you go. A few disclaimers before I get started. Yes, I’m a photographer who does a lot of work in the high end audio genre. With that said, AmpsAndSound is not and has not been a client of mine. I consider Justin, who owns AmpsAndSound to be a personal friend, though I really only see him at audio shows. With that out-of-the-way, lemme tell you about life with the [...]
  • There’s something about John DeVore’s loudspeakers that intrinsically connect me to the music. Jazz, blues, EDM, folk, rock, or pop… it doesn’t matter. The electron translations being performed by DeVore Fidelity designs – like the O/93 graciously provided to me by Soundhounds in Victoria, B.C., being reviewed here – would be listened to with envy by those involved with maintaining harmonious diplomatic relations between countries with disparate languages at the [...]
  • KEF LS50 Wireless loudspeakers, Shinola Runwell turntable, Roon Labs, TIDAL and Spotify -- all in one system. [...]
  • Mini-Review: Shinola Audio Bookshelf Speakers

    September 29, 2017 // 4 Comments

    by John Richardson You’d almost have to be labeled an old-fashioned Evil Pinkie Communist (think Boris and Natasha from the Bullwinkle cartoons…) not to like and admire what the folks at Shinola are doing. At first glance, this young and innovative company that makes lots of cool stuff seems like a Hipster dream come true — it’s all about the caché, not quality. Those who hold such an opinion? They need to take a closer look. Shinola, which is a re-branding, at least name-wise, [...]
  • Review: DeVore Fidelity Gibbon X

    August 19, 2017 // 18 Comments

    The following is a transcript after a late night session down in the listening room, recently. Me. “That’s not quite right, is it?” Him. “No, it’s off. Listen – hear that? Sounds a bit thicker. The shimmer is missing.” Me. “Nah, it’s not missing. It’s just subdued. The decay disappears too soon.” Him. “Yeah, all right. I’ll buy that. Just like it wanders off for a bit, like it has somewhere else it needs to be.” [...]
  • by John Richardson Sometimes just reading the news here at PTA gets me into trouble. Like last March, when I happened upon a blurb about Zu Audio’s Dirty Weekend event, where a stripped down version of the company’s popular budget floorstander, the Omen, is offered at a ridiculously low price to entice folks interested in the Zu speaker line through the door. OK, I’m a sucker, and I took the bait. Not that I really needed to be enticed, as I’d spent a good bit of time with Zu’s more [...]
  • David Wilson, founder of Wilson Audio and his son Daryl Wilson (current Wilson Audio CEO) have not stood still since that magic moment 5 years ago when the original Wilson Audio Alexia loudspeaker was born. Since the release of the original Alexia, Wilson has delivered the small but lethal Sabrina, the Yvette who pushed her sister Sophia out of bed, a big brother Alexx who can kick it like no other, and finally the breath-taking WAMM Master Chronosonic loudspeaker. For the past 5 years, I [...]
  • by John Richardson It should come as no surprise to anyone who frequents this e-mag that I ended up with yet another pair of speakers from John “Fritz” Heiler, founder of Fritz Speakers. Perhaps I gravitate toward things I think I’ll like, or perhaps they just gravitate toward me. Either way, here we go again. On a recent trip to Scot Hull’s place, I happened to notice a pair of nondescript (in the typical understated Fritz way) pair of speakers off in a corner. Scot must have seen me [...]
  • Harbeth Super HL5 Plus loudspeaker: Review

    February 25, 2017 // 9 Comments

    There’s this story that I know. It’s about the Earth and how it floats in space on the back of a turtle. I’ve heard this story many times, in many places. Each time, some small detail always seems to change, but in all of them, the Earth never leaves the turtle’s back and the turtle never swims away. One time, I think it was in Munich, a young boy asked about the turtle and the earth. If the earth was on the back of the turtle, what was underneath the turtle? Another [...]
  • Review: ELAC Uni-Fi UF5 floor standing speakers

    February 19, 2017 // 7 Comments

    by John Richardson ELAC is an audio technology company that has been around quite a long time, having recently celebrated their 90th birthday. The company began in Germany back in the 1920s developing early sonar technology and introduced its first home audio product, a turntable, back in 1948. By 1984, they had gotten into the loudspeaker game, and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, ELAC manufactures numerous types of audio equipment ranging from several lines of speakers, a turntable, [...]
  • The McIntosh Group had set up representatives of the new Homage Tradition loudspeaker line in different listening rooms, scattered throughout the WoM Townhouse, and then invited their dealers, distributors and the local press to wander about, to see, touch and taste. The top floor of the Townhouse was my personal favorite, and it had only a little to do with the two Eames loungers they had available for us to loll about in. I have a great listening chair at home, but the Eames is something [...]