In our first two installments of the “Audiophile System Builder” we focused on assembling a desktop audio system for under $1,000, and a more sophisticated system for your den or living room that will set you back $2,500. Don’t get us wrong – $2,500 buys you a lot and it should. But is there any rational reason to step up and spend double that amount? And when does the law of diminishing returns start to kick in?Think about it this way: Is there any single item you own more of than music? Unless you have been listening to the same 10 CDs for the past ten years (or are an unabashed pirate), it is likely that you own hundreds if not thousands of albums (CDs, downloads, records) which had to drain a rather sizable portion of your savings. We’re willing to wager that the average person has spent more than $5,000 during their lifetime on music alone. For some of us, that number is in the $20-30,000 range. Knowing all that, why do people balk at the … [Read more...] about The Audiophile System Builder: Part III – Herring, Hemp, and Hong Kong
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High-end audio doesn’t usually show its face at CE Week, but this week in New York we discovered a little gem tucked away in the corner from British speaker manufacturer, Monitor Audio. As part of its new Airstream series of products (which includes the S300 powered AirPlay desktop loudspeaker system [$500], and ASB-2 Soundbar [$1,600]), is the $500 AirStream A100 Integrated Amplifier.What makes the Airstream A100 so intriguing – aside from its curved shape – is that the engineers at Monitor Audio have packed so much technology into such a small enclosure; including a 50 watt/channel Class A/B power amplifier. With so many manufacturers pushing Class D amplification at the moment, it is somewhat surprising that Monitor Audio would steer clear of a switching amp which runs cool and opt for this “old-school” approach, but the proof is in the pud…listening. In reality, the rigid polymer and die-cast aluminium chassis acts as a heat sink to help keep the … [Read more...] about CE Week 2013: Monitor Audio takes on NAD with the Airstream A100 integrated amp
In the first four installments of the Audiophile System Builder, we discussed more than a dozen system options between $1,000-$10,000 that offer a genuine taste of high-end audio for both the desktop listener and those looking to assemble a first-rate system for their living room or den.Regardless of your budget, there are some great system configurations available that will have you enjoying your music collection for years to come, but you need to know where to start. Putting together an affordable system from the myriad of choices is not an easy endeavor, and unless you have access to a great dealer with an extensive line-up of products, you are almost forced to buy online based on reviews or word of mouth alone – a practice that does not guarantee success.Spring is a great time of year for the audio industry and the consumer because it’s the time of year when an enormous number of new products are launched at press events and trade shows in New York, Montreal, and … [Read more...] about The Audiophile System Builder V: 21st Century systems from NAD, Dynaudio, and PSB
Situated along a narrow roadway that looks down upon the western bank of the Hudson River in Nyack, New York sits a design firm that is flirting with danger. The folks at Symbol Audio probably don’t know it yet (although I suspect they are starting to figure it out) but they have created a product that deserves a lot of attention. And not just from the buying public – at least those who can afford its initially-high asking price – but from the industry that pretends to sell lifestyle.Our earlier coverage of the Modern Record Console generated a lot of buzz, but that could never have been the end of the story for me. After finishing the initial piece on this $26,000 bespoke home entertainment system, I took a trip underneath the basement stairs and extricated more than sixty copies of Dwell magazine (the 10 most recent copies occupy a special place on my night table/permanent remote control stand) dating back to 2000. Yes, it was a convenient way to get out … [Read more...] about Dare to dwell: Symbol Audio’s Modern Record Console is how audio should work in the home.