Trinnov Amethyst Preamplifier, DAC and Digital Processor

Here in the land Down Under, we’re in the homeland of DEQX. Due to their pricing and powerful local marketing, it’s likely hard for other manufacturers of competing products to get a foot in the market. For that reason, to me companies like Trinnov Audio and Holm Acoustics have always had a sense of mystique about them – you just don’t hear that much about them in this country. But once you start investigating on the web, you can find a great deal about the design and philosophy of Trinnov Audio.

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Lumin T1 Network Player

With more people than ever now relying on streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, or one of the plethora of more esoteric services as the primary source for their music, it is encouraging to know that most hi-fi manufacturers are now offering dedicated components to allow us to get our ‘musical fix’ in this manner (and potentially put an end to the accumulation of little silver discs to clutter up the cupboards).

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TARA Labs The Muse Interconnect and Speaker Cables

Over the last few decades, periodical fluctuations notwithstanding, the increased availability and reduced cost of high-grade materials, in conjunction with the development of more advanced software-controlled CNC machines and engineering software/computer modelling programs, have allowed the development of high-end audio of increasing sophistication and complexity. While this has meant that current affordable audio components offer superb engineering and build quality, at the other end of the scale, we have über high-end equipment employing up-to-the-minute material technologies and sonic performance that encapsulates what is presently technologically possible. Cable manufacturers are also utilising this wider engineering tools palette, adopting new techniques and materials in complex designs to bring the humble ‘wire’ up to spec in order to more adequately support these more sophisticated electronics and speaker systems. Enter TARA Labs’ The Muse.

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Faber’s Power La Potenza & Grounding Box Power Products & La Potenza AC Cable

During the early days of taking up this hobby, there were certain chapters of audiophile lore that I found harder to swallow than others. While it’s not hard to hear the changes to a system made by switching to a different component, it can be hard to reach a consensus about the effect of upgrading cables and other ancillaries… It just couldn’t work, right?

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Definitive Technology Demand D11 Loudspeakers

While on a personal level I have a vibrant zeal for high-end audio and the results from the creativity and imagination of talented designers with less restrictions in production budgets, I’m also fascinated by what is possible to achieve when boundaries are tightly set on products aimed at the entry level. There have been many occasions where budget fare has impressed me with a sonic performance that is way above the expected. I found myself in such a scenario when I popped-in to Audio Connection, one of Sydney’s most respected and longest-established high-end audio retailers, while there to collect a Gryphon amplifier (Diablo 120 soon-to-be-reviewed). A zigzagging multi-dimensional conversation with affable proprietor Josef Riedeger on all things audio somehow wound up in the following scenario…

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Follow-Up: Yamaha NS-5000 Loudspeakers – Editor’s 2nd Opinion

As much as audio has advanced in the last 40 years or so, many enthusiasts will fondly – and admiringly – recall the Yamaha NS-1000, a truly iconic speaker that with its beryllium-based drivers heralded an unprecedented technological advancement in transducer design. Equally time compressing is my recollection, as if it was only yesterday, of the pleasure I had reviewing the Yamaha NS-5000 loudspeakers for another publication in another life (and this is a follow-up to Joshua Givorshner's first-dip review, link here). Over several weeks I had naught but sheer enjoyment from these highly-developed music communicators.

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REDGUM Audio RGPH2ENR Signature Series Phono Stage

REDGUM Audio’s Ian Robinson (Chief Designer) and Lindy Gerber (Marketing and Administration) run this uniquely ‘Aussie’ manufacturing concern and the team rate among the most dynamic, and nicest, duos in our local high-end industry. The company’s website, product instruction manuals and the nomenclature of the wide variety of product offerings also reflect the laconically quirky “larrikin” humour Australians are renowned for. But be reassured here and now that, while appreciating the lighter side of life, both Gerber and Robinson have their feet firmly planted on solid ground – REDGUM Audio designs are the fruit of astute design and concrete engineering principles.

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Yamaha NS-5000 Loudspeakers

Japanese conglomerate Yamaha is a company that to most would need no introduction. Now with over 20,000 employees and holding the position of the world’s largest manufacturer of musical instruments, it is a far cry from its relatively humble beginnings. If it wasn’t at first obvious, the three interlocking tuning forks encapsulated in its logo are an obvious reference to the musical beginnings that have subsequently followed the company from its inception as a piano and reed organ company dating back to 1887.

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Nordost Sort Kone BC Resonance Control System

While I've been a music lover for as long as I can remember, I've also been into audio equipment for many moons, from an over-zealous enthusiast in teenage years, to subsequently morphing into an ardent audiophile to, for over 15 years, the ever-passionate professional reviewer for a number of publications. In that time, I’ve come across all-manner of audio accessory. From the tweaky to the freaky. Some made noteworthy differences and others were… well, either ineffectual or just not copacetic with my system or biases at the time. But I’ve never held staunch close-mindedness about ‘tweaky’ accessories – I was always prepared to give stuff a go despite snake-oil-ish claims made about what are sometimes near-whacky products. But then other products are based on science, despite their seemingly tweaky nature, and promise worthwhile gains within the context of a revealing audio system. Enter the Nordost Sort Kone Resonance Control System.

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Vinnie Rossi LIO Modular Integrated Amplifier

As audio system complexity grows in relation to our rising demands for a wider choice of music listening alternatives, manufacturers have had to make product development decisions based on either product integration, additional stand-alone offerings or a mixture of both. As an example, you may have an integrated amplifier – itself, an amalgamation solution – which may present the option of a factory-fitted in-built phono stage or an independent unit which could be acquired when convenient when funds allow. Another method of providing multiple functionality, added features and diverse playback options is by way of modular design. This method requires particular design attention and presents its own engineering challenges but, when done right, a modular design can provide extended functionality, simplicity in terms of component count and, importantly, potential performance benefits by way of eliminating added componentry and interconnecting cables. Vinnie Rossi’s LIO integrated amplifier takes this extremely clever and challenging-to-implement concept to its full potential.

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Sennheiser HDV 820 Headphone Amplifier

Recently, under guarded supervision (actually I’m often under guarded supervision but that’s another story…) this reprobate listener had the privilege of experiencing the distinctly esoteric and musically liberating Sennheiser statement headphone system, the HE-1. The music selection was limited but that serene aggregation of valves and marble and electrostatic drivers brought me ecstatic peace in an instant.

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Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2 Loudspeakers

Bowers and Wilkins. Yes, B&W... A name familiar to almost every audiophile that ever obsessed over their bits, bytes or tonearm balance. From the almighty Nautilus, an absolute landmark of a speaker, the DM6 and its unusual shape, the mighty 801 and 808 which are coveted, collected and admired to this day.

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