Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

Unboxing the Rotel A11 Tribute

As I mentioned in a previous post, my two-channel system is a veritable revolving door of integrated amplifier review units as of late. I recently took a deep dive into Marantz’s PM-KI Ruby, the last in a long line of Signature pieces personally tuned by brand ambassador Ken Ishiwata before he left the company in 2019. Last month, I followed that up with a look at Rotel’s A11 Tribute (you can read the full review here). A tribute to whom, you ask? The same Ken Ishiwata, who consulted with Rotel on a redesign of the popular budget int-amp before his passing in November of 2019.

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A First Look at Vincent Audio's SV-500 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier

I’d love to tell you that we audio journalists are immune to buzz, that we’re dispassionate evaluators who pay no heed to the excitations of the enthusiast community. But the truth is, we’re enthusiasts, too. So, as Vincent Audio’s star has continued to rise over the past few years, I’ve grown increasingly intrigued by the brand and eager to put my front paws on one of its hybrid integrated amplifiers. Today is that day. The Vincent Audio SV-500 is now sitting in my two-channel audio system betwixt a pair of Paradigm Studio 100 v5 towers, warming up and getting ready to be fully reviewed on SoundStage! Access very soon.

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Incoming: Marantz PM-KI Ruby Integrated Amplifier

Would you consider Marantz’s $3999.99 (all prices USD) PM-KI Ruby integrated amplifier an affordable audio component? If so (or if not), how exactly do you define “reasonably priced”? It’s a question that has dogged me since the start of my career, and it’s one that every publication for which I’ve written has answered differently. At Wirecutter, a $1500 A/V receiver is pushing the upper bounds of acceptability in terms of pricing. Back in my Robb Report days, that same AVR probably would have been too cheap even to consider covering within our pages.

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Unboxing DALI's Oberon Home-Theater Speaker System

For me, the key to most good unboxing experiences is the juxtaposition between expectations and initial impressions. Unfortunately, that put me at something of a disadvantage when I was tearing into the packaging for DALI’s new Oberon home-theater speaker system, comprising the Oberon 1 bookshelf speakers ($599/pair, all prices in USD), Vokal center ($549), and E-9 F subwoofer ($799). Given that this was my first hands-on experience with the manufacturer’s offerings, my expectations were nebulous, to say the least.

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