What’s a reference?
It’s an excellent question, isn’t it? Glad you agree. So, lemme explain where I’m coming from. What I’m not saying about a reference is that this product is the be-all, end-all of its type or in its class. What I am saying is, rather, that a particular product is familiar and one that I can use as a reliable barometer to judge other products.
My targets for references tend to be high-performers, but I’m under no illusions that they couldn’t be bettered. In some cases, bettered significantly. Just wanted to put that out there.
Some of this stuff is very expensive. I get that. Some of it may be too expensive. I get that too. But this is the stuff I’m most familiar with because, well, this is also my stuff. Yes, I own it all. I think it’s important for a review to own his reference gear.
- TIDAL Audio Piano G2 Diacera SE ($35k/pair)
- Volti Audio Rival ($12k/pair w/ upgraded veneer and internal crossovers)
- Harbeth 40.2 Anniversary Edition ($18k/pair) in olive wood
- DeVore Fidelity Gibbon X ($16k/pair)
- Living Voice Avatar OBX-RW3 ($13k/pair w/ Rosewood finish and external crossovers)
- FritzFrequencies Carerra Be ($3k)
- KEF LS50W ($2,500/pair)
- BorderPatrol EXS custom dual-amp monoblocks (SET and PP) ($35k/pair)
- Bricasti Design M28SE monoblock amplifiers ($30k/pair)
- BorderPatrol Control Unit EXT-1 ($12,250)
- TW-Acustic Raven phono pre-amp ($n/a)
- Tidal Audio Prisma preamplifier ($40k)
- BorderPatrol Analogue DAC SE ($2k)
- Bel Canto Design CDT-3 transport ($2k)
- TotalDAC D1-Tube-mkII ($10k)
- Innuos ZENith computer server ($4,250)
- UHA Phase 9 reel-to-reel analog tape machine (starts at $6k)
- Kuzma Stabi R turntable, with Kuzma 4Point tonearm and ZYX Ultimate Omega X SB2/Zn cartridge
- Pi Audio Group Uberbuss
- Pi Audio Group Digi Uberbuss
- Triode Wire Labs Spirit interconnects, American speaker cables, various power cords.