Review: AudioQuest Dragonfly Red and Dragonfly Black Mar09

Review: AudioQuest Dragonfly Red and Dragonfly Black

Introduction The market for tiny, USB powered “dongle DACs” with built-in headphone amplifiers currently has a lot of entrants and is hotly contested, but this wasn’t the case back in 2012, when AudioQuest introduced their first portable USB DAC and headphone amp called the Dragonfly. AudioQuest got their start building audio cables back in 1980, and that’s still what they are most known for today, but the Dragonfly is hardly their first foray into the world outside of cables. In fact, only a few short years after the company’s founding, they released their first phono cartridge, called the AQ 404. They also sold several tonearm models for...

Spoti-fi? Mar03

Spoti-fi?

As reported by The Verge via a posting on Reddit, Spotify is now testing an upgraded service that will allow its premium subscribers to stream losslessly for an additional $5 or $10 a month. Although Spotify would not confirm or deny the allegation when asked about it by Billboard, I suspect given the number of users who reported receiving an email to sign-up for the new service, they are indeed testing a new “hi-fi” service. But should you care? Let me first give you the audiophile party-line: Lossy streaming is evil and always has been since its inception. In fact the MP3 and its ilk have single handily ruined a generation of...

Vinyl Follow Up: In The Woods… – Pure

While I don’t worship at the altar of Omnio, I’ve long been an In The Woods… fan, and I was very pleased to see the band finally release a successor to 1999’s excellent Strange In Stereo with last year’s Pure. In The Woods… morphed over time from a black metal band through progressive and on to a mix of avant garde and the rather nebulous “dark metal” tag used for otherwise difficult to categorize music blending elements of gothic and doom metal, without really falling into either camp. Dark metal is probably the best descriptor for Pure, which is a much more conventional album than its not so immediate predecessor. If you were expecting...

Review: Audeze iSINE 10/20 In-Ear Monitors Feb13

Review: Audeze iSINE 10/20 In-Ear Monitors

Introduction Over the last few years, Audeze has gotten a lot traction in the prosumer marketplace. It first started with the EL-8 series ($699), an open-back and closed headphone design that featured many of Audeze’s planar magnetic technologies all wrapped in a snazzy German designed package. Perhaps even more importantly though, the EL-8 also became the launching pad for the CIPHER, a 24-bit DAC with DSP Lightning cable that provides an end-to-end audiophile class solution for any iDevice. Then of course came the SINE ($449), the world’s first on-ear planar magnetic headphone and really the company’s first...

Review: iFi Audio’s Pro iCAN Headphone Amplifier Feb09

Review: iFi Audio’s Pro iCAN Headphone Amplifier

Introduction As I sure many of you are already acutely aware of, we’re big fans of iFi Audio. You see unlike a lot of vendors who treat their circuit designs as if they were highly classified secrets, iFi is very open and honest about all of their products. In fact, iFi is one of the few companies I know of that even freely shares high-resolution pictures of every circuit board they fabricate. Couple that with the fact that these Brits are very community focused, vetting feature and collecting feedback constantly, makes iFi, at least to our ears, one of the defacto leaders in the low- to mid-tier marketplace. So when iFi announced...

CanJam NYC 2017 Feb08

CanJam NYC 2017

My history with CanJam NYC goes all the way back to the very first one held in 2006. If memory serves, it was held at the same American Legion Hall in Babylon, New York that the un-official Head-Fi East Coast meet was held (and still is) every year. Back then, CanJam was a lot more grassroots – only a handful of vendors were parading around their wares, attendance was in the hundreds not thousands, and some of the attendees had tables themselves, generously showcasing their own reference systems for other Head-Fiers to hear. But times have changed. And I mean that in the very best possible way. CanJam NYC is now a massive brouhaha...