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  • Review: Pass Labs XA60.8 Mono Amplifiers

    October 1, 2017 // 2 Comments

    by John Richardson I’ve been on something of a roll lately with amplifiers from Pass Labs. Readers might recall that I reviewed a monster of an amp, the Pass X250.8 a couple of years ago, and then more recently, Pass Labs’ lower powered integrated offering, the INT-60.  Both were fine examples of top-drawer modern [...]
  • Mini-Review: Shinola Audio Bookshelf Speakers

    September 29, 2017 // 3 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 [...]
  • This is the third in a monthly series of album reviews I will be doing for DVL Audio here in Canada. I’ll be heading out to a local record store in Vancouver, digging through the bins, and coming up with an intriguing LP to discuss here on Part-Time Audiophile. I’ll never go out with something in mind beforehand, and [...]
  • By John Richardson I miss Sam Tellig. I always read Sam’s column in Stereophile as soon as the newest edition hit my mailbox; I found him to be an entertaining and informative writer. It was great to read about his European adventures, and the offbeat audio personalities he hung out with (Roy Hall included). I also [...]
  • by John Richardson I come from a do-it-yourself type family. To the best of my knowledge, this handy trait started out with both of my grandfathers and got handed down from there. One was a country boy who liked to build stuff for his own use just for the fun of it. He used to build wooden boats for both work and pleasure, [...]
  • by John Richardson OK folks, this one is an ongoing saga here in the world of Part-Time Audiophile. Like a boomerang (or certain Millennial offspring) the subject of this review just keeps coming back again and again. Why? Well that’s an easy one: it’s different each time! What would you say about a DAC that’s [...]
  • 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. [...]
  • This is the first in a monthly series of album reviews I will be doing for DVL Audio here in Canada. I’ll be heading out to a local record store in Vancouver, digging through the bins, and coming up with an intriguing LP to discuss here on Part-Time Audiophile. I’ll never go out with something in mind [...]
  • Review: Fostex TE100 IEM headphones

    July 15, 2017 // 1 Comment

    IEMs? Where would we be without their high propensity for mobility and discreet listening sessions? It’s like a personal private eye, hired for some deep investigative work. In the case of the masses vs. Fostex TE100 ($1,200 USD) the undiscovered back story is a fairly rich one. Fostex is known for its OEM work as well [...]
  • by Paul Ashby Sometimes I’m vexed by the strangest things. Like this: my unforgivable inattention to the initial release of remarkable albums. Unaccustomed, as I am, to Being Late To The Musical Party– well…I gotta admit it’s happened before. Maybe once. Okay, twice. Examples. You want an example? [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Dr’s Orders: Push it to the limit

    May 2, 2017 // 1 Comment

    A good Dr. should never insist on having his patients pushing themselves to the limit but this is audio and the limit of what is possible is a good thing with only one major hiccup, it’s rather expensive. of which yours truly is the publisher organized the most expensive headphone demo since… ever? It was a [...]
  • Review: Clones Audio HOST Music Server

    April 30, 2017 // 4 Comments

    by John Grandberg “It’s hard when you’re stuck upon the shelf.” So sang Eddie Vedder on “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”, circa 1993. While I’m reasonably confident he wasn’t referring to audio gear, the idea does seem to apply to one poor component in my [...]
  • Good things come in small packages. To be fair, good things come in big packages too. The common denominator is “packages” and I sure like packages. Sometimes, I’ll order something silly (like a pack of pens) from Amazon just so a package will come. Because when packages come, every day is Christmas. [...]
  • by Brian Hunter Fostex has a long history in the audio business. The company was founded in 1973, but its parent company Foster Electric Co., Ltd was formed way back in 1949. The company was originally a mass producer of OEM speaker and transducer products, but broke into pro and hi-fi facing mini monitors in 1978 with the [...]
  • Review: Triode Wire Labs is All American

    April 15, 2017 // 3 Comments

    There is an argument to be made that writing about audiophile cabling is more than a bit like dancing on the “third rail” — even with all the poise in the world, no good can ever come of it. This is, in this reviewer’s opinion, a foolish stance. Understandable, but foolish. The problem appears to [...]
  • The problem with luxury has nothing to do with the expense. It’s us. Our dirty, sad, undeserving selves. Deep down, many of us just don’t believe we deserve nice things. To see them, to hear them, to wade into them, to have them buoy our spirits and carry us away to a place where we are warm, and comforted, and [...]
  • By John Richardson I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and soul searching lately, both regarding my place in this quirky hobby and my written musings on it.  Why do I enjoy coming home from a long day’s work, and after a short break, running up to my listening room and firing up the system?  Why do I look forward to [...]
  • Review: SPL Phonitor X headphone amplifier

    March 17, 2017 // 7 Comments

    I’ve got a somewhat complicated relationship status with headphone listening. It’s something we’re working through, and perhaps I’m being too needy. The thing is I feel that I’m getting shortchanged on the big listening experience I’m used to from my two-channel rig. In an effort to [...]
  • Review: PS Audio LAN Rover

    March 11, 2017 // 6 Comments

    The PS Audio LAN Rover seems like a weird little device. Well, two devices, actually, but the point stands: weird. Not ‘weird’ as in “ha ha, that’s funny” or ‘weird’ as in “it is beyond natural explanation”. It’s one of those things that clearly solves a very [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • How many Simolians do you have to part with these days to get good sound? I mean, really? Is it even possible, or just a frustrating pipe dream? That seems to have been Topic A in 2016, continuing hot on the heels of the previous year and probably going all the way back to Thomas Edison wrapping a sheet of tin foil around [...]
  • Review: Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL2.0

    February 26, 2017 // 7 Comments

    by John Richardson Linear Tube Audio and David Berning Let’s start this review with a little pop quiz. Question 1: Have you heard of Linear Tube Audio (the company)? No? OK, I didn’t think so. Question 2: Are you familiar with David Berning? You are? No surprise there, as Mr. Berning is one of the best known amplifier [...]
  • Review: Harbeth Super HL5 Plus loudspeaker

    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 [...]
  • Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 listening impressions

    February 23, 2017 // 1 Comment

    Are lifestyle, and audiophile exclusive design terms from one another? Is it a form vs. function debate? I’ve been struggling a bit with the concept lately in the strictest sense of the words, and the BeoLab 90 I’m writing about here brought the question to the forefront for me again. The 90 is about as far as [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Review: Dynamic Sounds Associates Phono II

    February 18, 2017 // 5 Comments

    Being an audiophile is difficult. Being an audiophile into vinyl is more difficult. Being an audiophile who is so into vinyl that you have more than one turntable is bordering on a personality disorder. Having a turntable is often looked upon as a lot of work by those into digital for good reason: One has to consider drive [...]
  • Review: Pass Labs HPA-1 headphone amplifier

    February 5, 2017 // 3 Comments

    by John Grandberg Have you ever waited and waited and waited for something to show up? And then when it does, it actually manages to exceed your admittedly over-inflated expectations? I’m not talking about impatiently sitting by the window watching for the FedEx truck. I mean things that don’t exactly exist [...]
  • By Modest I. Predlozheniye “If you knew you could play your favorite album or the most valuable record in your collection and have it sound more beautiful than you have ever heard before with more fidelity and more realism, would you want to hear it? Of course you would. Now…would you listen to it knowing that the [...]
  • Review: Cayin HA-1A MK2 tube headphone amp

    January 29, 2017 // 5 Comments

    By John Grandberg More audiophiles these days are embracing the pleasures of headphone listening. There’s an ever-growing selection to choose from, but enthusiasts soon learn that a key factor in achieving the ultimate sound quality from their cans rests with the dedicated amplifier they choose. Having spent time with [...]