Stenheim Alumine Two Loudspeakers

Note: measurements taken in the anechoic chamber at Canada's National Research Council can be found through this link.

Stenheim, a relatively new Swiss manufacturer of high-end loudspeakers, was a brand I had only heard of in passing prior to this review. The company was founded in 2010 and by 2011 had launched Alumine, its first line of speakers, which are, as the name suggests, built using non-resonant aluminum enclosures. Suffice it to say that, like most Swiss hi-fi companies, Stenheim’s offerings have never been inexpensive.

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Technics Reference Class SU-R1000 Integrated Amplifier-DAC

Note: for the full suite of measurements from the SoundStage! Audio-Electronics Lab, click this link.

When I think of Technics, the first things that come to mind are the legendary SL direct-drive turntables. So it didn’t come as much of a surprise that their latest Reference Class integrated amplifier-DAC, the SU-R1000, has many features related to optimizing playback of phono sources. What is a bit surprising is that most of these phono-related features rely on digital signal processing (DSP) for their implementation. Not only that, once the phono signal is equalized, the entire signal path of the SU-R1000 remains in the digital domain until the speaker output stage.

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KLH Model Five Loudspeakers

Note: measurements taken in the anechoic chamber at Canada's National Research Council can be found through this link.

In my “System One” column published on September 1, I wrote about KLH’s Albany II loudspeaker, which sells for just $299.99 per pair (all prices in USD). In that article, I described how the US brand was originally founded in 1957 as KLH Research and Development Corporation by Henry Kloss, Malcolm S. Low, and Josef Anton Hofmann. But after being sold in 1964 to Singer Corporation, the company went through additional sells and buys over the years to other entities—transactions I described as “messy,” because from the outside looking in, it sure seems that way. But in 2017, the KLH name was bought by David Kelley’s Kelley Global Brands and set up in Noblesville, Indiana, and I commented that this move brought it “stability.”

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PSB Synchrony B600 Loudspeakers

Note: measurements taken in the anechoic chamber at Canada's National Research Council can be found through this link.

Reviewers' ChoiceThe existence of PSB Speakers makes me feel proud to be Canadian. The company, founded in 1972 by Paul Barton, named after him and his wife, Sue, and now owned by the Lenbrook Group, is part of the long, rich history of Canadian speaker R&D—much of which took place at the National Research Council (NRC) in Ottawa, the city where I was born and still call home. But I also felt a bit embarrassed when PSB’s speakers came up in conversation, because, although I’d heard several models over the years, I think I’d only seriously listened to one pair in my own room, some 20 years ago! So, when I was recently offered the chance to review PSB’s new bookshelf speaker, the Synchrony B600 ($2499 per pair, all prices in USD), I jumped at the chance to remedy this noteworthy gap in my résumé as a reviewer.

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Simaudio Moon 860A v2 Stereo/Mono Amplifier

Note: for the full suite of measurements from the SoundStage! Audio-Electronics Lab, click this link.

I’ve been a tube guy for much of my life, but I’ve always been acutely aware of the deficiencies of most tube amps—noisy, unreliable, hot, soggy-bottomed, and rolled-off up top. Why on earth would anyone want to listen to and own one of these liabilities? You can likely guess my rationale, right? It’s that magic middle that has always drawn me in. For most of my audiophile life, I’ve been willing to deal with the extensive support infrastructure that, by necessity, has to go along with the ownership of a tube amp—especially the vintage ones that always seem to end up between my speakers—in order to receive that lush midrange that only tubes can produce. Over the years, I’ve purchased a couple of solid-state amplifiers, but I’ve always sold them and gone back to tubes.

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Arcam SA30 Integrated Amplifier-DAC

Note: for the full suite of measurements from the SoundStage! Audio-Electronics Lab, click this link.

Reviewers' ChoiceA&R Cambridge Ltd., or Arcam, as it is more commonly known, was originally founded in the United Kingdom in 1976, but since 2017 has been owned by Harman International Industries, which is in turn owned by Samsung. Nonetheless, Arcam continues to maintain its unique identity by producing new and relevant electronic products, as it has done since the 1970s. For instance, the company’s top-of-the-line SA30 integrated amplifier-DAC, introduced a couple of years ago, includes streaming capabilities and a plethora of features, including DSP room correction and a proprietary class-G amplifier topology. Priced at $3300 (all prices in USD), the SA30 bowled us over with its robust sound quality and reasonable price when we heard demonstrations at the audio shows.

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Pro-Ject Audio Systems Debut Pro Turntable with Pick it Pro Cartridge

Launched in 1991, Pro-Ject Audio Systems has grown to become one of the biggest turntable manufacturers in the world. The Austrian company’s catalog of decks is extensive, running the gamut from affordable entry-level models priced in the hundreds of dollars up to flagship designs that sit comfortably in the five-figure range. Products aside, what makes Pro-Ject interesting is that the company started at a time when CD sales were increasing exponentially and the new format had already replaced both vinyl and cassette tape as the medium of choice for music playback. With hindsight, it’s clear the reports of vinyl’s death were grossly exaggerated. Not only did it survive, but today, once again, records outsell CDs.

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Triangle 40th Anniversary Comète Loudspeakers

Note: measurements taken in the anechoic chamber at Canada's National Research Council can be found through this link.

I’m pretty sure that 45, my current age, is too young to retire—at least for all but the luckiest among us. So 45 must also be too young to come out of retirement—yet, this is how I felt writing this review.

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Denafrips Terminator-Plus Digital-to-Analog Converter

Note: for the full suite of measurements from the SoundStage! Audio-Electronics Lab, click this link.

Denafrips shipped their first products in 2012. However, my research indicates that the brand has already amassed a loyal following for its wide range of products: digital-to-analog converters (DACs), preamps, power amps, a headphone amp, and reclockers for syncing digital clocks across multiple components. All Denafrips products are made in Guangzhou, China, and are distributed and marketed worldwide by Vinshine Audio, which is based in Singapore. Worldwide shipping is included in the prices, listed in Singapore dollars (SGD).

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Lyngdorf Audio TDAI-1120 Integrated Amplifier-DAC

Note: for the full suite of measurements from the SoundStage! Audio-Electronics Lab, click this link.

Reviewers' ChoiceI’ve long been a proponent of room-correction software—not only for multichannel home-theater systems, where the technology first took hold, but also for high-quality two-channel systems. Some high-end manufacturers now include such software in their two-channel preamplifiers and integrated amplifiers, including relatively affordable models from Anthem, Arcam, and NAD. Lyngdorf Audio and its predecessor, TacT Audio, have been using RoomPerfect room correction and, before that, RCS speaker equalization, for longer than most other companies. However, Lyngdorf’s products have always been at the luxury end of high-end audio—such as their TDAI-3400, which I recently reviewed ($6499 base price, $7199 as reviewed, all prices USD). The subject of this review is Lyngdorf’s new compact streaming integrated amplifier-DAC, the TDAI-1120, which shares most of the TDAI-3400’s features and a few more, but retails for only $2199.

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