Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

The SoundStage! Network’s multi-author blog about hi-fi, home theater, and more.

From Microsub to Tactical Nuke: Living with Perlisten's D15s Subwoofer

A few months back I wrote about the system in my new living room, which includes an NAD M10 V2 integrated amplifier-DAC, Focal’s 1000 IW6 two-way in-wall loudspeakers, and KEF’s KC62 microsubwoofer. I love the KC62 because it’s perfect for my use case: a tiny 10″-cubed footprint married to extension and control below 30Hz. It looks unobtrusive in my room while still offering proper audiophile performance. If there’s an asterisk to this heroic little subwoofer, it’s the matter of output. Above a certain volume its extension begins to roll off to ensure that the little-sub-that-could doesn’t blow itself to pieces, and no matter how accomplished the hardware or DSP is, there is no replacement for displacement (as they used to say in the car world).

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Hans's Main Stereo System: KEF, Hegel, Siltech

A system is only as good as the room that it’s in, and as I explained in my last article, I’ve had some pretty mediocre rooms over the last decade. But my now-six-month-old daughter gave me and my wife an excuse just over a year ago to move from South Philadelphia to the Philly suburbs in search of additional space and more in the way of peace and quiet. One of my non-negotiables for our new abode was a finished basement that I could turn into a listening room, and after failing to land any of the first five homes we bid on in the historic pandemic housing market, we struck gold on our sixth and landed our dream home.

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New Noise #7: Connective Tissue

November 11 is Veterans Day in the United States, the day we honor U.S. military veterans. Despite occurring during cold, grey November, it’s a happy day—as opposed to Memorial Day, which is not a happy day, since it’s the day we mourn those who have fought and died while wearing our nation’s uniform. Conversely, that day occurs in May at the joyous onset of summer . . .

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SME Turntable Upgrades and a Limited Edition Series of Model 60

Earlier this year, SME launched one of the world’s truly great turntables, the state-of-the-art Model 60 flagship. Evidently, engineers have been busy at SME, in Steyning, West Sussex, UK, because the company is now releasing updated, Mk2 versions of every model in their range, from the Model 12 and Synergy to the Model 30. When you consider that the Model 30 has been in production since 1990 without major revisions and is still regarded as one of the world’s finest vinyl spinners, the significance of this launch is obvious.

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New Noise #6: A Fall Arriving

Our new-to-us forever home is a mid-century modern designed by architect Carter Sparks for builders Jim and Bill Streng, Sacramento’s mid-century modern specialists. Sparks studied under Joseph Eichler’s architects, the former designing more than 3000 homes in the Golden State’s capital. Ours features a post-and-beam aesthetic, east-facing sliders and windows, and a large internal atrium skylight with exposed aggregate walkways and three internal garden beds.

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Hans's New Digs: Living Room System—Focal, NAD, and KEF

Since I began writing for SoundStage! back in 2011, I’ve written from—erm—compromised listening spaces. My grad school apartment building was full of senior citizens whom I respected too much to play music too loudly. My first apartment with my now-wife was a 750-square-foot concrete studio in Center City Philadelphia that was an acoustic nightmare. And our century-old, 1020-square-foot first home together, in South Philadelphia, was a long, narrow row house that left my stereo most of the way down the long wall of its open-floor-plan first floor, resulting in horrendous room modes. I vowed that if we ever lived that suburban life, I would have two things: (1) a proper listening room that was truly my own, with as few compromises as possible, and (2) a big family room with a nice television and an audio system that was both inconspicuous and super user friendly.

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Michi On a Budget?: Celebrating 60 Years of Rotel With the Diamond Series RA-6000 Integrated Amplifier-DAC and DT-6000 DAC/CD Transport

When I spoke with Rotel’s CTO, Daren Orth, last year about the company’s decidedly high-end Michi X5 integrated amplifier-DAC I was reviewing at the time, he emphasized how the Michi products weren’t just intended to be one-off designs to show off what Rotel engineers could create at higher price points. Instead, they were designed as scalable platforms that could be used as a basis for other Rotel products. Some of that Michi technology went into very affordable models like the MKII versions of the brand’s A and RA series of integrated amplifiers, but to celebrate its 60th anniversary, Rotel has gone all out by introducing two top-of-the-line components in its new Diamond series, the DT-6000 DAC/CD transport ($2299, all prices in USD) and the RA-6000 integrated amplifier-DAC ($4499). While products in the new Diamond series have the same general appearance as other Rotel products with traditional black and silver finishes and slightly updated cosmetics, they are described as having “Michi-inspired” circuit designs.

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The Joys of DIY Audio

Though they were less numerous than today, a plethora of hi-fi companies in the postwar era developed and sold the products that laid the groundwork for stereo both as a hobby and as ubiquitous home entertainment. Some of their names are recognizable to us still: loudspeakers by Klipsch and Tannoy; electronics from McIntosh Laboratory and Harman/Kardon; turntables by Thorens and, later on, Technics. Today, these companies are regarded as hi-fi royalty, with reputations built on their accomplishments more than half a century ago. However, off-the-shelf speakers and electronics weren’t an early hi-fi enthusiast’s only option: in the days of stereo’s infancy, it was not uncommon for one to assemble or even fabricate the components of the system oneself.

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Mobile Fidelity and Walking Through the Vinyl Jungle

It’s rare for something that would normally be of interest to a few audiophiles—a small slice of an already small pie—to get attention from the outside world. I was among the many vinyl lovers who were following what became known as the Mobile Fidelity scandal for a few weeks when the Washington Post published a story about it on August 5th. Two days earlier, SoundStage! Global had posted a piece by Matt Bonaccio that gave an overview of how the story unfolded, so I’ll direct you to those links for the details.

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Denmark’s DALI Expands Its Global Hi-Fi Reach—Factory Tour and Observations

Quick! What’s the second-largest hi-fi speaker manufacturer in the world? I’d say that you’ll never guess, but since this article is gonna tell you about my recent tour of the DALI factory in Nørager, Denmark, I think I may have given it away.

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The DALI Kore Loudspeaker Experience: To Copenhagen and Beyond

“On your left you can see the Queen of Denmark’s residence, and if you look over to the right, you can see shipping containers converted into university students’ residences,” said our guide as we putted through Copenhagen’s harbor on a tour boat.

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MoFi . . . Just Another Record

I have this recurring dream that hits me about once every six months. I’m back in university, it’s getting close to the end of the year, and I realize that I haven’t attended a single class for one particular course. I’m now silently dream-freaking. I realize I can’t complete the course, I can’t drop it, and it’s all my own fault.

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The Needle and the Damage Done: Mobile Fidelity's DSD Scandal

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL), the record label known for its audiophile-grade remasters of hundreds of classic albums, has recently become a cause célèbre among collectors and audiophiles on YouTube and social media. In July, it was revealed that the label’s supposedly all-analog vinyl mastering process actually involves converting the source tapes to DSD files before cutting the master disc, flying in the face of their previous claims.

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Return of a Legend: Upgrading with the Paradigm Monitor SE 8000F Loudspeakers

Can you call the Paradigm Monitor SE 8000F ($1699.98 per pair, all prices in USD) a legend if it is the first iteration of this new model? I do, because it’s based on the highly regarded and long-running Monitor 11, the largest model in Paradigm’s previous Monitor line. The model names for the Monitor SE line are mostly new, but the 8000F clearly owes much of its heritage to the beloved Monitor 11. In fact, Zoltan Balla and Blake Alty from Paradigm said as much in their recent interview with Dennis Burger on our SoundStage! Access website.

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New Noise #5: Moving, in Stereo

We’re moving.

It feels great to finally say it. We’re moving. We’ve been in our current house on the wrong coast for eight years (plus another year in an apartment), the longest we’ve ever stayed in one place. It’s a lovely little mid-century modern at the top of a cul-de-sac in a great spot—near trails, good schools, and community comforts that we value.

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