Shunyata Research Venom-X Speaker Cable

Shunyata Research has been manufacturing its highly regarded power products for over 20 years. And while the Poulsbo, Washington, company is known for its power cords and Hydra power distributors, it also manufactures a full suite of cables and accessories. Shunyata’s products are not cheap: the entry-level Venom line of audio cables has prices starting at $450 and ranging up to $1000 (all prices in USD). However, all of its products utilize some or all of Shunyata’s many proprietary technologies and are assembled by hand at the company’s facility in Poulsbo.

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Atohm GT1-HD Loudspeaker

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

I got into this hobby as a teenager in the mid-1990s. Back then, I enjoyed the listening experience and loved the gear, but I also appreciated the industry itself. I seem to think the industry was broader and more vibrant than it is today—there were so many independent manufacturers serving the entire budget spectrum. Even the mainstream brands like Sony, Onkyo, and Pioneer had high-end product lines (ES, Integra, and Elite, respectively).

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EMM Labs DS-EQ1 Optical Phono Preamplifier

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

Reviewers' Choice“I’ll never make a phono stage,” Ed Meitner told me with flat finality. The fact that I was in the midst of a Skype call with Ed and his son, Amadeus, to discuss EMM Labs’ DS-EQ1 optical phono preamplifier was packed with an irony we were all studiously ignoring.

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Cyrus Audio i9-XR Integrated Amplifier-DAC

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

The Cyrus i9-XR integrated amplifier-DAC looks quite similar to the Cyrus III integrated amplifier I owned almost three decades ago. But under the hood, the i9-XR has a high-quality internal DAC and Cyrus Audio’s latest class-AB amplification circuitry. It’s certified as Roon Tested and has many other useful features, so is a very different and thoroughly modern piece of audio equipment.

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Roksan Attessa Turntable

The more I hear them, the more intrigued I’ve become by the growing selection of all-in-one turntable packages available. They are supplied with a preinstalled cartridge and tonearm. Some even feature a built-in phono preamplifier and require nothing more than a pair of cables (that are typically included) to hook up to your system and start spinning vinyl. They come in a range of prices, so whether you’re on a tight budget or able to invest significantly, there’s almost certainly a product for you.

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DS Audio DS 003 Cartridge and Phono Preamplifier System

Note: for the full suite of measurements on the DS Audio DS 003 phono preamplifier from the SoundStage! Audio-Electronics Lab, click this link.

Reviewers' ChoiceIt’s rare to find anything under the sun that’s truly new in the world of analog LP playback. Since the advent of the LP—and even going back to the first 78—the sun has risen and set on the same technologies. A turntable has one main job, namely, spinning the disc at a specific and constant speed. The tonearm needs to hold a cartridge and move in a precise manner with as little friction as possible. The phono stage? For nearly 70 years now, its job has been to amplify the punky little signal put out by the cartridge, and then invert the RIAA equalization.

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Cyrus Audio CDi-XR CD Player

Cyrus is back. Well, maybe they never really went away, but it’s been a while since they had much of a presence in the North American market. It’s been almost four decades since the introduction of the Cyrus One integrated amplifier from this electronics brand offshoot of Mission loudspeakers. The two companies haven’t been affiliated for years, and Mission is now part of the International Audio Group (IAG), which has purchased a number of different brands, including Luxman, Wharfedale, Audiolab, and Quad among several others.

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miniDSP SHD Power Integrated Amplifier-DAC

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

Reviewers' ChoiceSince 2009, miniDSP has developed a plethora of audio products relating to its namesake technology. The company’s current offerings include the UMIK line of measurement microphones, digital room correction systems, active crossovers, and many other DSP platforms for audio applications. Hong Kong–based miniDSP’s products are relatively inexpensive and are known for their excellent value. The subject of this review, the SHD Power, is the company’s most expensive product at $1549 (all prices in USD), but it is the least-expensive streaming integrated amplifier-DAC I know of that incorporates Dirac Live room correction.

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Atoll Electronique IN200 Signature Integrated Amplifier

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

Atoll Electronique was founded in France in 1997 by brothers Stéphane and Emmanuel Dubreuil, with the goal of producing “reasonably priced true high-end audio electronics” for the audiophile market. Atoll manufactures preamps, power amps, integrated amps, DACs, CD players, and music streamers. Unlike many other audio manufacturers today, Atoll has been steadfast in upholding the ideas of hand-crafting its wares in-house and sourcing parts nationally (80% of parts are made in France). What isn’t sourced in France comes from the EU, except for some specialty and custom-made parts. All Atoll products use discrete components that are hand soldered and tested throughout each phase of production; assembled products are rigorously tested before being declared ready to ship.

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Simaudio Moon Voice 22 Loudspeakers

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

Simaudio was established more than 40 years ago as an electronics manufacturer. Today, employing more than 60 people in its facility in Boucherville, Quebec, the Canadian company is best known for producing preamplifiers, power amplifiers, integrated amplifiers, and phono preamplifiers sold worldwide under the Moon brand name. Earlier this month, the company surprised everyone by announcing that it would enter the loudspeaker market—a bold move, because that’s a tough nut to crack, even for an established brand, since there are already so many speaker manufacturers the world over. But there’s a legit reason for the move—the people at Simaudio felt that the company simply had to enter the segment with a speaker to mate with a product they call ACE, which was introduced about five years ago and currently sells for $4200 (all prices in USD).

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