Country of Origin
Reviewer: Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: PS Audio PWT; Dr. Feickert Blackbird MKII/DFA 1o5/Zu DL-103
DAC: Phasure NOS1 DAC; T+A DAC8 [loaner]
Streaming sources: XXHighEnd; iTunes; Devialet AIR; La Rosita Beta; Qobuz Desktop, Tidal Desktop; Sound Galleries SGM 2015 [loaner]
Preamp/integrated/power: Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); dual Devialet D-Premier; PTP Audio Blok 20; Hypex Ncore 1200 based monoblocks; Trafomatic Kaivalya; Trafomatic Reference One; Trafomatic Reference Phono One; Music First Passive Magnetic; Gold Note PH-10 phono pre amp with PSU-10 external power supply [in for review]
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Arcadian Audio Pnoe; Podium Sound One; WLM Sub 12; Sounddeco Alpha F3; dual Zu Submission MKI; Soltanus Virtuoso ESL
Cables: complete loom of ASI LiveLine cables; full loom of Crystal Cable cables; full loom of Nanotec Golden Strada; Audiomica Pearl Consequence interconnect; Audiomica Pebble Consequence
Power line conditioning: PS Audio Powerplant Premier; PS Audio Humbuster III; IsoTek Evo 3 Syncro; AudioMica Allbit Consequence
Equipment racks: Solid Tech and ASI amplifier and TT shelf
Indispensable accessories: Furutech DeMag; ClearAudio Double Matrix; Franc Audio Ceramic Disc Classic; Shakti Stones; Kemp polarity checker; Akiko Audio Corelli,Costello and Phono Booster; Pink Faun LAN Isolator
Online Music purveyors: qobuz.com, tidal.com, bandcamp.com, amazon.co.uk
Room treatment: Acoustic System International resonators, sugar cubes, diffusers
Room size: ca. 14.50 x 7.50m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls, wooden flooring upstairs, ca 7 x 5m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls and concrete floor downstairs
Price of review item: €895 with Ortofon 2M Red, €1'415 with Ortofon Quintet Bronze
Over the last few years, how one enjoys playback of music has changed substantially. From buying and owning a physical carrier with music on it to leasing just access to musical content by means of a streaming service, the days of amassing mega collections and showing them off with pride are no more. Modern-day collectors do have their own massive collections which often outnumber physical collections in leaps and bounds – but these collections are virtual and also volatile! They can be hostage to a vendor lock. When you cancel your subscription to Qobuz, Tidal or one of the other streaming services with better data quality, your collection is—poof—gone. There's not even a way save it to a text file through the Qobuz or Tidal interface. One must sign up with a service like Soundiiz to make that happen.
So, streaming has ended the supremacy of shiny discs for good. Sales of physical CD are at an all-time low. Surprisingly, sales of good old vinyl are soaring. Second-hand records are back in popularity everywhere and a good deal of new releases are of very good quality as well. This means that more and more music lovers again are entering the magical world of playing vinyl. That large format, the TLC needed to preserve its unscratched quality and the—tada—interactive way of actually using the medium are very tempting differences. Instead of passively consuming music which is the only option with streaming, one must actively participate in the playback experience. With streaming, it is dirt easy to create a play list with favorite albums or curated tracks, hit the play button and listen to hours and hours or even days or weeks of non-stop music.
Vinyl can be far more physical fun because the experience means that one has to get up from the lazy chair every 20 minutes or so to flip sides or cue up the next record. This is a wholly different way of enjoying music. We find it more profound, intense and satisfying. Fortunately more and more music lovers discover this blissful musical gratification for themselves. Want proof? It's at all the audio shows. Almost 90% of all the rooms at all the shows we attended over the past few years had at least one turntable source which was actively used.