Thank you to all of our friends and colleagues for making RMAF 2018 our most successful show to date!
Below are links to some of the show coverage we received.
Thank you to all of our friends and colleagues for making RMAF 2018 our most successful show to date!
Below are links to some of the show coverage we received.
“Linnenberg Elektronik’s Telemann is a thoroughly modern DAC-preamplifier with just enough connectivity -- one analog input, five digital -- and audiophile adjustability (selectable digital filters) to satisfy a wide range of listeners. And though it’s put together nicely, it’s not audio jewelry. Its remote control is small and minimalist but works just fine, and the whole kit operated without a hiccup in my system.
But what’s important here is not a successful hunt for a hi-fi trophy but the Linnenberg’s sound. Music came to life through the Telemann, with tonal colors vividly portrayed, a lively jump factor with real transient snap, and soundstage precision to impress your friends. You can get more if you spend a lot more, but I’d want to run an A/B comparison of any such candidate with the Telemann to make sure I wasn’t just getting sound that was different.
Linnenberg’s combination of great specs subjected to final judgments by the human ear has resulted in good things for the Telemann. Compare it with your DAC-preamp of choice and you just may find out that, when the right company is making the product, $5600 worth of sound is all you need.”
Full review here
“After Mark Sossa and I had finished installing all his gear in place of mine, we spent the next few hours trading tracks via Roon, listening, and chatting. What I learned about him and Well Pleased Audio Vida is that, unlike many audiophiles and audio dealers and distributors, he doesn’t have the goal of acquiring more expensive gear as time goes by. Sossa doesn’t trade in budget equipment, but he also doesn’t sell the outrageously expensive gear that’s becoming less and less relevant in today’s world. His goal is to sell products capable of a level of sound quality at least equivalent to that of the super-expensive stuff, at prices reachable by many audiophiles. He does this through choosing his brands carefully, and ensuring that the sonic synergy of those brands’ products is optimal, to result in a sound whose overall quality is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Full article here
Qln Prestige Three is a 2-way floor standing speaker.
Based on the classic Qln Signature 3 design. Such as time alignment leaning baffle, minimized baffle area around the dive units.
Prestige Three offering refined speaker engineering at the pinnacle of a classic 2-way speaker design.
Incorporating over four decades of speaker research, development, design and construction, the Qln Prestige Three carries the legacy of a timeless combination of form, function and performance. Re-engineered to provide an unprecedented high-end 2-way floor-standing audio transducer, presenting truly enticing audio reproduction without any impediment or compromise, packaged in perfect symbiosis and harmony.
The Qln Prestige Three is a 2-way floor standing design where many parts have been sourced from the Qln Signature 3. Cabinet design are at the core of the design principal. Crossover have been redesigned and major parts have been improved due to our experience and many hours of listening tests to seek the best sound matches for this speaker. Every speaker models are unique and every component are carefully selected and matched to each other for the very best sound performance.
As with previous Qln designs. Priority has been set around getting technology out of the way to make music lovers be able to effortlessly concentrate on enjoying the magic of listening to music. Performed by stereo equipment at the very far end of the performance spectrum. At Qln we believe the music should always be in the forefront, not the stereo equipment.
Cabinet and crossover
A slanted baffle provides perfect time alignment between woofer and tweeter. The truncated pyramid cabinet top with its minimised baffle area suppresses any standing waves inside the cabinet also offering improved 3D imaging.
By again basing the cabinet construction around Qln’s unique Qboard® technology, structural resonances are eliminated. The bass reflex port with its trumpet shape at both ends eliminates air turbulence.
Cabinet is de-coupled from the floor via solid feet with cones and pucks constructed out of hard, high damping materials.
The constant impedance crossover has been completely redesigned and hardwired with non-inductive capacitors for the tweeter part and high-end oil-filled capacitors for the woofer part with flat foil inductors used at the most critical places. All components are fastened with damping glue and remaining coils are baked to avoid any internal component and filter resonances. Resistors with high power handling capabilities offer lower noise and temperature stable performance, altogether resulting in perfect timing within the crossover and with low noise throughout the entire frequency range.
Treble and bass/mid-range drivers
The bass/mid range and treble drivers have been specifically selected and custom developed by industry renowned Danish driver manufacturer Scan Speak and offer the latest in 21st century advanced driver technology.
The unique coated Kevlar® bass/mid-range driver with its built-in copper rings in the magnet system offers symmetric drive and higher dynamics in the mid-range concurrently suppressing inter-modulation distortion and resulting in industry leading high-end voice handling and astonishing micro/macro dynamics from a 2-way speaker design. The long stroke woofer with 19mm long voice coil work in a perfect match to the large inner volume that give powerful bass below 30Hz.
Likewise, the unique tweeter offers superb vocal rendition and excellent imaging at all listening positions. Its large roll surround and textile dome diaphragm provides a flat frequency response above 30 KHz with outstanding off-axis dispersion. The unique AirCirc magnet system and its rear chamber eliminate any reflections and resonances.
Cables and speaker connectors
Internal cabling is our own specially design and produced in Sweden. Solid core pure copper wires are wrapped around a polypropylene core with polypropylene isolation. All components are carefully hand selected and individually tested for any deviance’s. Speaker terminals are WBT Nextgen® connector with minimal connection material are used for lower distortion made of silver/copper material.
All parts have one thing in common. Non-resonant behavior from connector, cables, crossover, speaker drivers through the cabinet with the damping feet. This suppresses disturbing noise, offering more and better dynamics with better silence between the tones thanks to the lower noise floor.
The Prestige Three presents a more relaxing sound with remaining details – nothing is added – just pure music!
Impedance: 8 ohms
Amplifier requirements: 25-250 Watt RMS
Sensitivity: 87,5 dB SPL 1 Watt 1m
Low frequency performance: -3dB 28Hz
Cabinet: Qboard® Technology
Terminal: Single wire, WBT Nextgen®
Dimensions (HxWxD): 900x210x420mm, with feet 954x310x483
Weight: 27,0 kg each
Finish: Walnut Piano, Walnut matt, White satin
Strictly balanced architecture
The WIDOR features a completely balanced architecture, with no back and forth conversion. In consequence, two identical amplifiers are employed, one driving the speaker+ and one driving the speaker- terminal. While this doubles costs, it relieves the circuit ground from carrying the speaker return currents, resulting in a clean and unspoiled ground potential.
Ultra wideband design
The high quiescent current design of the pre-amp and driver stages enables a core speed close to 1.5MHz, slowed down only by input and output filtering to match real world requirements. With filters in place, the small signal as well as full power bandwidth (!) measures an impressive 500 kHz. The lower frequency limit is around 0.3 Hz. No coupling capacitors are used throughout.
Inherently low noise
High resolution audio is intrinsically tied to low noise and low distortion. System noise is the lower resolution limit of an analog system, because it determines the smallest signal not masked by a noise floor. Hence, low noise levels and thus a wide dynamic range are desirable. A-weighted output noise measures 20µV for the WIDOR giving a SNR of 126dB or an equivalent of 21 bits!
Regulated power supply
Every section of the WIDOR amplifier is powered by high speed and low noise linear-voltage-regulators. Even the high current drawing MOSFET output stage is supplied by a tightly regulated supply with an instantaneous current capability of +/- 50A. Ripple and noise free supply rails are essential for the low noise operation of the whole amplifier. It further helps to reduce distortion and improves damping factor.
Lateral MOSFET output stage
The lateral MOSFET transistor originally developed by Hitachi in the late 70’s is probably the only semiconductor power device solely made for audio use. Famous for its tube like characteristic and perfect bias stability under any load conditions, the WIDOR uses two pairs of tandem devices in each output stage. The H-bridge output transistor array is energized by a heavy duty toroidal transformer running a bank of 480.000µF storage capacitors.
We are proud to announce our new partnership with world class cable manufacturer Swiss Cables from Entlebuch, Switzerland. We encourage you to take a moment and read over their innovative design philosophy, and core manufacturing principles.
In a high resolution and time-correct audio system, the quality of cables will prove as important as the quality of the active chain components.
Swiss cables products are the result of a complete blank sheet research approach, taking no pre-existent design paradigms for granted and leaving no stone un-turned to find better solutions and offer our clients with genuine sonic advancements and ownership value.
That said, we strictly believe that all theory is void when not confirmed in practice - clearly audible. We are confident that a few minutes listening to the Swiss cables products will convince even the most discerned listeners that these cables establish a new performance benchmark, offering true reference sonics at unheard of favorable pricing.
Copper based custom alloy, produced by advanced casting in protective gas environment, tempered to resonance-optimized hardness, conductor surface treated for optimal field propagation, signal flow and energy transfer.
Custom field-balanced conductor geometry, yielding optimal field orientation and signal propagation while avoiding standing resonances found in conventional cable designs.
As a consequence, the signal flows more freely with minimal energy transfer losses and bandwidth equalization effects.
Advanced air-dielectric design, which eliminates MDI* and signal-reflection causing dielectrics and manufacturing methods, thereby avoiding the occurrence of multiple distortion sources and signal altering mechanical compression, damping and uncontrolled frequency curtailing effects found in conventional cables.
*MDI, micro discharge interface distortion. the micro discharge interface distortion effects were discovered - already decades ago - by Dr. Pierre Johannet, a researcher at the french national electricity institute in the context of very comprehensive signal processing research. In summary, MDI results from very steep, high-amplitude ultrasonic spikes which occur during all electrical signal propagation.
At frequencies relevant to audio, this discharge energy can take on sine wave character with significant impact on the audio signal, and can show up as measurable audible distortion by inter-modulation. swiss cables® in addition, MDI creates positive langevin ions (electrically charged particles in the room air), which, besides causing physical discomfort, have been found to obstruct natural sound field propagation in the listening room.
Research into MDI has shown that the majority of modern dielectrics, including the much lauded teflon, plain or foamed, are associated with an increase in MDI.
We have reviewed numerous cable termination technologies and countless connectors of different design and material composition to select those which provide the purest signal and overtone preservation, octave to octave energy equilibrium and energy transfer.
Unsurprisingly, we found that simplistic formulas like "minimum metal“ don´t do the complex realities justice and can easily be annihilated by the choice of a single unfavorable manufacturing method or materials. the new Swiss cables signal- and power-line cables are designed for listeners who value true fidelity performance and know it when they hear it. For those, a few minutes with these new generation products will be sufficient to recognize the groundbreaking performance and extreme value offered.
"The role of a quality Hi-Fi rack system should be to provide support and a form of isolation and/or coupling to combat vibrational distortions in order to allow the full potential of your components to shine. In the case of the new SGR Audio Model V Statement racking system, the above mandate has been met to the highest degree. The additive elements of six isolation techniques, most importantly the viscoelastic decoupling, the Corian ‘Energy Sink Isolation Pads’ inserts and the superbly solid machined aluminium supports, in my opinion, have proven themselves to provide worthwhile sonic improvements over the excellent last-gen flagship rack (and every other rack I’ve had in-house, for that matter). Sonically, of particular importance are the exactness in terms of low level detail, the gains in tonal and textural nuance and the added precision in image density and placement.
The above is enough of a clincher in itself, should you be weighing your options when considering the purchase of a top-level racking system. But there’s so much more on offer with the Statement rack. It features solid engineering principles built into its design, it’s beautifully styled and finished (aspects which also apply to the company’s lower rung options), is offered in natural or black aluminium with attractive platform insert veneer options. It’s the result of fabrication with a fervent eye to detail. What’s more, it’s built in Australia by a company which is pulsing with increasing power and interest internationally.
The SGR Audio Model V Statement Hi-Fi racks are a winner of a design and are now staying in situ as an essential component within the context of SoundStage! Australia HQ’s reference system."
- Edgar Kramer
Full review here
The new flagship Innuos music server takes Digital Audio to a new level, building on the award-winning ZENith SE.
Double-enclosure linear power supply
• New power supply architecture designed in
partnership with Dr. Sean Jacobs.
• Separately enclosed AC/DC conversion stage
to isolate transformer vibration and EMI
• Regulation stage within main system
enclosure to shorten the clean DC power path.
8 independent power rails
• Reduces electrical noise generated by
regulators’ voltage conversions.
• An individual dedicated power supply for each
Custom designed components
• Innuos-designed USB board with a dedicated
5V power line.
• Independently powered 3ppb OCXO clock for
higher precision and lower phase noise.
• Ethernet reclocking.
• EMI-Optimised motherboard exclusively
designed for Innuos.
We are proud to announce our official Distirbution partnership with SGR HiFi Racks here in the United States. Featuring 6 levels of rack isolation technology in a beautifully executed design, SGR rack's deliver the highest level of performance for your audio components.
Please visit www.sgrhifiracks.com for more information.
"The fantastic innards showed not a drop of stray solder and instead, large traces, clamps and bolts which were exceptionally orderly. The core circuit is based on multi-stage parallel filtration across seven main blocks. Phase control, surge suppression, DC blocking, compensation battery charging and entry-level filtration are all found in the starter module under the biggest hood next to the IEC socket. Then the current passes through highly conductive and massive C11000 cathode-copper rails to a double buffer loaded with high-quality compensation batteries designed by GigaWatt. The goal here is to increase current efficiency for non-linear loads like power amplifiers and decrease any power differences between the filter's input and outputs. Past this stage and prior to the outputs again via massive copper rails sit three separate sections powered in parallel. Each one is a bit different to work with different loads yet all sport RLC blocks with GigaWatt's proprietary filtering and decoupling capacitors topped with iron-powder core filters."
Full review here
"The sound was lovely, warm and free, with fine depth...a delightfully non-fatiguing winner. - Jason Victor Serinus
"This combination of gear sounded incredibly smooth, resolving, with the right amount of tonal weight and timbre. Instrumentation and voices are precisely localized in the soundscape while effortless relaying quick and heavy dynamics." - Jay Luong
"The Well Pleased A/V room also had me shaking my head in disbelief. I really hit it off with Mark Sossa, the man behind Well Pleased. Charming, full-of-life, and blessed with boundless energy, Young Mr. Sossa hit one out of the ball park with his globally-sourced system: Rethm Bhaava loudspeakers ($4495 - India), Qualiton a50i tube integrated amplifier ($7500 - Hungary), Innuos Zenith SE music server ($7000 - Portugal), Aqua La Voce S3 DAC ($4750 – Italy), Gigawatt PC-3 SE EVO+ power conditioner ($6500 - Poland), and a fine Anticables loom (cable prices not listed - USA). While hardly cheap, the Well Pleased system delivered musical value all out of line with the asking price." - Maurice Jeffries
"The sound was beautifully warm and free from resonance. It floated a fine soundstage with exceptional depth and width." - Jack Roberts
"Another system perfectly suited for a small- to medium-sized room was displayed by Well Pleased A/V (wellpleasedav.com). I was very taken with the Rethm Bhaava ($4,495), a modest-sized speaker with an almost-fullrange 7 inch driver back-loaded to a labyrinth and supported by two eight inch drivers with their own power amp (rethm.com). Will it play metal rock? Maybe. But it will do brilliantly at classical and vocal music, and it’s neither huge nor expensive. If you move from the little room with Falcon speakers, the Bhaava might be the next, and final, step up. The Qualiton A50i ($7,500), an integrated tube amp running KT120 devices, looked and sounded good. (audiohungary.com)" - Richard Weiner
"The big bonus with a monitor like the Qln is that mechanically, we have lower box talk and smaller reflective surfaces to not feed our ears with constant hints of sonic origins. Psychologically, there's a smaller barricade to seeing those musical events which occur right behind the speakers. The more visually obtrusive enclosures get, the more they stand in the way. They take up space which our ears (try to) insist is really occupied by instruments. Closing our eyes removes this conflicting sensory message. But listening with our eyes open, there was no argument that the Signature 3 seemed to stage even more freely than our narrow floorstanding Audio Physic 4-ways. Time alignment, physically inert construction and compact cabinetry all combined to fully liberated 3D programming by the Staging Unlimited Corp. That equals a closer approximation of 'no boxes' with fewer contradictory subliminals. It's why soundstage freaks would love these Swedes when set up accordingly. They really do disappear."
Full review here
"The Telemann is a very well-engineered product and I have to admit I like the simplistic look and smaller form factor. The inclusion of galvanic isolation and a linear power supply is a huge plus. If only some of these higher priced DACs had linear power supplies or the option to use one.
I had a great time listening to the Linnenberg Telemann DAC. Its separation/layering and imaging capabilities are the best I’ve heard from a chip-based DAC. Depending on which digital filter you choose, the tonality of the Telemann could go from neutral and a bit on the brighter side of neutral. It’s smoother and isn’t abrasive or digital sounding like most of the chip DACs I’ve heard in the past. It also has the lowest noise-floor of any of those off-the-shelf DACs.
If you’re looking for a warm/lush/sweet/intimate/cozy DAC, the Telemann won’t be a good fit. However, it’ll pair beautifully with preamp/amps with tube stages and denser/richer sounding components. Regardless, even with solid state amps, I was able to listen for hours without fatigue. The Telemann’s explosively holographic and dynamic nature is simply addictive. It makes the speakers disappear and fills the entire room with wonderful music. Classical, acoustic, and small ensemble recordings sound particularly good. There are gains with higher resolution files such as DSD which has more finesse, incisiveness, and musical articulation. There are just more details in the bends and twists in the music.
That said, there’s plenty of low-end rumble and rhymic delight across all genres. The Telemann never loses its composure when played loud either. I think one of the beauties of this DAC is the seven adjustable filters which allow you to tailor for your system and sensibilities.
The Linnenberg Telemann is insightful, highly resolving, and snappy. Aural presentations are excitingly clear, airy, and pristinely dynamic. You’ll get a real sense of the acoustic space the recording took place in. Most importantly, musicality doesn’t get lost in the transparency and you’re always kept engaged and entertained."
Read more at https://audiobacon.net/2018/03/24/linnenberg-telemann-dac-review-a-german-excitement/#E8TBKrQR22iWUiB0.99
"That's the downside of top-class hifi. Like a constantly narrowing path, more and more potential mates disqualify themselves one way or the other - if one has opportunity to explore options at different performance strata. To 'stay on' path becomes more and more selective. That's how LinnenberG's Liszt walked it. At 200 watts, they turned out to be rare beasts of multiple refinements." - Srajan Ebaen
Full review here
In Episode One, I had listened to the previous drivers in the Bhaava for two hours, then removed them and installed the new drivers. In the first two hours, many wonderful things were happening, but there was a nagging dry, papery coloration, only noticeable on female vocals. I let them rest over the weekend, pondering: is it the whizzer? Is it the transition from main cone to whizzer? Is it a reflection of the rear wave off the rear of the top of the labyrinth coming through the paper cone? Will it go away with break-in? I all but dreamed about it over the weekend.
Yesterday, returning to the same system as before, having neither touched nor moved anything, it was gone. Perhaps the drivers just needed a rest after flying halfway ’round the world. Jetlag? Who knows? But it was gone from the first minute.
As the Auqua HiFi La Scala MkII Optologic DAC, (hereafter referred to as the La Scala; I’m tired of typing all that), Shindo Monbrison and Shindo Cortese F2A warmed up, extraordinary things began to happen.
The musicians and instruments appeared across the front of the room, hanging in the air like holograms, but not as some translucent, anemic waifs from beyond, but rather fully kitted out with blood, breath, bones and sinew. Not typical of widebanders/FR. (Looking at you, Lowther, Fostex.)
I tend to sit on the couch, reading, writing, or fending off the dog, and music plays, but I’m not necessarily caught up in it, especially when I’m putting something through initial break-in as I am now. That’s not happening with the Bhaavas. Frank Sinatra, Diana Krall, Melody Gardot, SRV, all DEMAND my full attention. Not only are voices and instruments unique in timbre, dynamics, pitch accuracy, etc, differences in recording and mixing declare themselves with a clarity I don’t think I’ve experienced before, certainly not at this price level. Each album is unique in its approach and execution. Audio Note refers to this as comparison by contrast. Never mind comparing what you hear to some abstract absolute; that’s nonsense. The ability to communicate the differences in all aspects between recordings tells you a very great deal about what kind of a job a component, or system, is doing.
What I’m hearing from the Bhaavas, what I’m hearing from this system, tells me that its doing a truly exceptional job. I think this is what I’ll be using to evaluate the recording sessions with The Royal Boys, a local bluegrass/Americana/roots trio, next week.
In the meantime, I’ll just settle in, give the recordings I have on hand my full attention and ENJOY!
Full review link here
"The Rethm Maarga is a unique speaker with little competition. Yes, there are other speakers based on wideband drivers, but none that I know of that offer its combination of high efficiency, low-frequency performance, and value. The Maarga is an extraordinary combination of sound and vision. I found it well suited to music lovers such as I -- those whose stereos are in the living room, not tucked away in a dedicated listening space. When they weren’t turned on, they were lovely pieces of furniture with high Wife Acceptance Factor. When they were turned on, they provided lively, enthralling sound that was immersive, real, and completely non fatiguing. Given the Maarga’s fantastic sound quality at low volumes, it should also be well suited to the music lover who wants to listen late at night as the family sleeps. The Maarga might also be the ideal speaker for the music lover already smitten with low-powered amplification and/or tubes and who seeks a high-efficiency speaker at a moderate price (for the high end). The Maarga positively bloomed on that first watt, and needed no more than that to fill my living room with sublime sound.
That’s not to say that owners of high-powered solid-state amps couldn’t also fall in love with the Rethm Maarga, but such overkill would miss the point. If a big, beefy power amp is your thing, the Maarga’s allure will likely escape you. Think of a pair of mature, well-broken-in Maargas driven by a high-quality, cleverly designed, small-batch, low-watt amp as a long, complex, and magical marriage -- a wonderful, many-layered mystery tour to your favorite musical places. I found that the Maarga’s strengths -- microdetail, speed, soundstaging, coherence, layering, nuance, presence, depth -- came alive with just the tiniest bit of power. With a pair of Maarga's wisely driven by such an amp, prepare to exit the audio-upgrade merry-go-round.
Maarga is Sanskrit for path; the word is often used in the context of seeking the path to enlightenment. Is the Rethm Maarga your path to audio nirvana? I’ve found it to be mine. A must-listen for the music lover with worthy amplification."
. . . Tom Mathew
When was the last time you had an epiphany in your audio life? Something that put a rift in your paradigm shift? A real game changer, like ping pong to rugby? I had one just a couple weeks ago involving the Inuos Zenith MkII server and the Aqua La Scala MkII Optologic DAC.
Let me back up and get a running start at this. From around 1984 until 2002, I tolerated CDs. I didn’t do any serious listening with them EVER. Then, from ’02 until about ’15, I actually enjoyed CDs via Audio Note transports & DACs, but still leaned heavily toward vinyl for serious listening, (with the exception of one show in Milan when I found myself neutral between the two formats. It only took a $250,000 transport/DAC combo to get me to that point!)
Around 2015 I started trying to use computer files at shows so as to not appear outdated as buggy whips, but feeding my MacBook Pro through an SP/Dif->USB converter and on to the Red Book DACs was inconvenient as hell and seriously unsatisfying, uninvolving, all too easy to ignore in favor of either vinyl or CD.
For the last year or two, I’ve tried to get interested in music servers, but reading about server this, end point that, network bridges, power supplies, exotic Ethernet cable, etc, made my eyes glaze over, followed by pitching forward into my laptop. Now, I started with computers in the punch card and acoustic phone coupler modem period, serving as a teaching assistant in a grad level Computers in Communication course at BU, so it’s not like technology overwhelmed me; I just wasn’t interested in running a Higher Ed gauntlet for the privilege of playing music.
Then, in the last couple of months, several dominoes fell over in rapid succession. First, I bought an Innuos Zen Mini server to use at home. The promised ease of use was really my entire motivation. That part was well satisfied. Import a CD? Load it into the slot. The Mini will convert it to FLAC, scoop up metadata, note titles, etc, organize it into your onboard terabyte library and spit the disc back out when it’s done. Roon is an easily implemented option, (although Innuos’ proprietary library system is very good), TIDAL is at your fingertips, and you select your music via your smart phone or tablet and wifi from anywhere in the house. If it finds something weird about a disc during importation, the Mini puts it in quarantine where you can review and correct it later.
I was taking an absolute minimalist path at home: the Mini fed the internal DAC in my Cambridge Audio integrated, which then propelled signal along 30 year old zip cord under the carpet to a pair of ancient Snell Type K speakers sitting on the floor. Eek! Still, what I heard told me that the Mini was providing clean, clear punchy signal to the DAC/amp combo. The Mini beat out my MacBook Pro on musical points and thrashed it on ease of use. Two thumbs up, but for the Forge, I wanted more.
So I bought the ZENith Mk 2. Goodbye switching, wall wart power supply; hello linear power supply with ultra low noise regulators, Nichicon MUSE caps and medical mains filter. Dual ethernet ports with isolation transformers. Fast, silent SSD storage. Quad core Intel CPU, 8GB RAM, 4GB in-memory playback. Ultra low noise USB output. Yum. Contemplating all this plus a purpose-designed OS, I begin to see why a tricked out, kludgy laptop might not be the best solution anymore.
While the ZENith sounded wonderful with various DACs feeding the Leben CS-600 integrated amp and DeVore Fidelity O/93 speakers, the penny – no make that a pound coin – really dropped when I received the Aqua La Scala MkII Optologic DAC.
I bought it for its discrete R2R ladder converter, FPGA decoding, non-oversampling, no digital filter, fully discrete, valve-MOSFET, Class A, no negative feedback analog stage, etc. A big plus is its modular construction. The Optologic Conversion System, which first appeared in the flagship Formula DAC, was integrated into La Scala’s most recent upgrade and older units can be upgraded. (Take that, digital obsolescence! I hereby resign my component of the month membership.)
But the reason it’s never leaving is the resulting sound and what it does for music. 50 hours in, this combination is hypnotic, immersive, compelling, detailed but not etched or edgy, punchy but liquid, PRATty, then languid by turns, swinging, swaying or marching as required by the music.
These 2 boxes contain a world of clever tech all slavishly devoted to music. Will they replace my analog sources? No. Am I spending a lot more time exploring on TIDAL, browsing and buying on HDTracks and enjoying it all on a deeper level than I ever expected? Yessir!
By the way, you are cordially invited to Old Forge Studio to hear what I’m struggling to describe!
“Kick back and let your ears roam free!”
Review can be found here
"The Linnenberg Telemann is an absolute top DAC, which could be underestimated due to its inconspicuous appearance. Even if one has to forego a fully machined housing and other attributes that many other manufacturers clearly consider indispensable, and that would significantly increase the price of the Telemann, it is important to do without: technically and acoustically, the Linnenberg DAC operates at a level that only a few devices can reach. It offers a combination of tonal neutrality and highest resolution, is sound and thus transports the maximum sound quality that allows the recording. In subtle but audible nuances, the sound character can be adjusted to your own sound ideals by choosing different digital filters. The built-in volume control and the ability to "jumpering" the cinch output to the analog input, and thereby controlling another source, creates additional flexibility. In a reduced setting, the Linnenberg Telemann can thus replace an additional preliminary stage."
The profile of Linnenberg Telemann: