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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Rotel Michi X5 Integrated Amplifier-DAC

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

I admit I wasn’t previously aware that venerable but value-oriented Japanese audio manufacturer Rotel began producing its high-end Michi products back in the 1990s. So I received the news of the Michi line’s reintroduction last year more with curiosity than anticipation. However, after reading glowing reviews of new Michi products—a preamplifier, stereo amplifier, and mono power amplifiers—from various reviewers, including our own Aron Garrecht and Edgar Kramer, I was more than a little interested in the company’s more recent announcement about the latest additions to the line: two integrated amplifier-DACs.

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Accuphase C-2850 Preamplifier

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

Reviewers' ChoiceThe Accuphase brand was created in 1972 in Tokyo, Japan, but the company behind it was named Kensonic Laboratory, Inc. In 1973, the company moved to Yokohama, where it is currently located, and released its first products: the C-200 preamplifier, P-300 stereo power amplifier, and T-100 AM/FM stereo tuner. In 1982, Kensonic Laboratory, Inc. changed its name to Accuphase Laboratory, Inc., to “unify the brand and company name,” according to the Accuphase website. The original branding featured Kensonic as the company and Accuphase as the brand.

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Paradigm Founder Series 100F Loudspeakers

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

Reviewers' ChoiceLast April, after we published my SoundStage! Global blog about setting up the Paradigm Founder 100F loudspeakers, the many e-mails and other messages I received make me think, as I type these words, that this might turn out to be the most-read review I’ll write this year. If so, I think there will be three main reasons for that.

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Bryston B135 Cubed Integrated Amplifier

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

Reviewers' ChoiceSeveral months ago, I was working one evening and paused to check my e-mail. I was saddened to read an article, sent to me by fellow SoundStage! Network writer Roger Kanno, announcing that Brian Russell, Bryston’s president, had suddenly died. I’d met Russell only once, but that encounter had had a profound impact on my interest in high-end audio.

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Rotel RA-1572MKII Integrated Amplifier-DAC

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

Rotel was founded in 1957 as an original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) of audio components, but has been making high-value audio gear under its own brand since 1961. Other than NAD and Cambridge Audio, I can’t think of another company with a similarly long history or reputation, or as wide a range of entry-level and mid-priced models. So this longtime admirer of Rotel’s excellent budget gear was thrilled when a review sample of their RA-1572MKII integrated amplifier-DAC recently appeared at my door.

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iFi Audio iPhono3 Black Label Phono Stage

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

Reviewers' ChoiceIt’s rare that I begin a review by confessing a personal bias, especially one directly relevant to the component I’m about to describe. Here goes.

I like big components—large, heavy ones, preferably in flashy cases with chunky faceplates and lots of heatsinks. And if the component bristles with tubes, odds are I’ll like it more. I guess part of my desire for big, ostentatious audio gear is the pleasure I take in building up a big, aesthetically pleasing system at the front of my listening room, right between my speakers. I’ve got a big, heavy audio rack, so I guess it’s reasonable for me to fill it with boxes to match. At least that’s what I tell myself.

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Focal Aria K2 936 Loudspeakers

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

After evaluating KEF’s diminutive LS50 Meta stand-mounted loudspeaker ($1499.99/pair, all prices USD), I wasn’t keen to raise my hand to review Focal’s far bigger and heavier Aria K2 936 floorstander ($5990). I knew they’d be a pain to schlep up to my third-floor listening room. I guess the little KEFs had made me a bit soft.

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