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Audio Accessory Reviews

Sennheiser HD 238 Precision High Resolution Stereo Headphones

Sennheiser HD 238 Precision High Resolution Stereo HeadphonesLet me start this review by getting a few things clear: I am not, or was not anyway, what I would consider a true audiophile. I also am not (or was not) much of a headphone user. All this changed when I got the chance to spend a couple months with the Sennheiser HD 238 Stereo Headphones. Have you ever had a toy or product that just made you giddy every time you got to use it, and you ended up loosing track of time because it was so enjoyable? The HD 238s have been that for me.


The Synergistic Research ACOUSTIC ART Real-Time Analogue Room Treatment

ACOUSTIC ART SYSTEMVibratron, Gravitron, Magnetron, and Bass Station: the sci-fi names alone are enough to raise eyebrows. But when you add in the fantastic appearance of the resonating bowls, and the claims that they can tune your listening room and ameliorate most commonly encountered speaker-room interactions, it’s hard not to think that someone is either toying with you or daring you to entertain a new paradigm of acoustic science.


Denon AH-NC732 Noise Canceling Headphones

Denon AH-NC732 Noise Canceling HeadphonesI suppose in this iPod generation we shouldn’t be surprised by the explosion of new headphone options. Breaking it down, there are 3 types of headphones really: in-ear, on-ear and over-ear. In-ear offers the best solution for portability while over-ear is typically large and cumbersome and generally provides the best reproduction and comfort, it is usually reserved for the audiophile or studio engineer. On-ear however may offer the best of both worlds, especially if they travel easily, offer comfort, clean fidelity and outside noise cancellation - hence the new AH-NC732 from Denon.


Cambridge Audio DacMagic


Cambridge Audio has come up with a product that has wowed everyone: the DacMagic. For $479, you get a DAC that is fully differential (a stereo DAC on each of the two channels), upsampling to 24/192, very low specified distortion, and selectable output filters. Does it perform as claimed? Read our review to see for yourself.


Squeezebox Duet Wireless Music Streamer

squeezebox-duet-teaser.jpgUPDATED November 16, 2009 - We have all noticed the proliferation of media servers on the market over the past several years. The problem is, they are quite expensive, usually in the thousands of dollars, and some in the tens of thousands. Well, finally, there are some products that will let you play your music in any of those rooms you want, by ripping your CDs to a music directory on your PC and using a wireless "Streamer" in the room where you want to listen to them. There are several music streamers on the market, including Squeezebox, which has several models. Their newest entry is the Squeezebox Duet, which is the subject of this review.

Please take a particular look at the end of the review where I updated my opinion about this product on November 16, 2009.


Denon AH-D7000 Headphones and Headroom Ultra Desktop Headphone Amplifier

Denon AH-D7000My first “high end” system consisted of Sennheiser HD-580 headphones, an original HeadRoom headphone amplifier, an Audio Alchemy DAC in the Box, and a Sony Discman with an optical digital out. I was a college student at the time, and there was no way of having a real, properly set up hifi system in my dorm room. It was clear to me at the time, listening to both my system and uber high end Hifi in shops, that my little headphone setup blew away many high dollar loudspeaker based systems.


Electric Bamboo AC Line Purifier

electric-bamboo-10-08-fig-1a-thumb.jpgThe gloves were off, and the gauntlet thrown. On May 26, 2008, Jim Pierce of Amazing Audio sent me (Jason Serinus) a major challenge via e-mail.


Furman IT-Reference 20i Power Conditioner

Furman IT-Reference 20iI’ve been suspicious of power conditioners ever since they first appeared – sometime in the Jurassic Park period I think. Just like the science in that movie is a little glossed over, so is the science of AC power glossed over by wild claims for power conditioning products.


Torus RM-10 Power Conditioner, Isolation, and Protection Unit

Torus RM-10Torus Power makes as wide an array of isolation transformers as I have ever encountered. The 100 amp version (RM-100) would be a great addition for supplying isolated AC to an entire home theater in custom install situations, but a small one like the RM-10 is useful especially for digital sources and projectors, the total power of which does not exceed 10 amperes.


Theta Generation VIII Series 2 Digital-to-Analog Converter/Preamp

Final Theta Generation VIII Series 2 Digital-to-Analog Converter/Preamp

Many moons ago, in March 2003, Secrets published one of the first reviews of Theta's then state-of-the-art two-channel DAC/preamp, the Generation VIII (aka Gen. VIII). Close to six years later, after umpteen advances in digital chip technology, Theta has released a significant, Series 2 upgrade to the original Gen. VIII. The upgrade, which can either be easily installed at home or purchased as part of a new unit, renders such significant improvements to the sound as to demand a new review.


Meridian F80 Compact System - Radio/CD/DVD Player

meridian-f-80-radio-teaser.jpgI really don't know what else to say here. The F80 is a very simple, very elegant, and fantastic way to play incredible sounding music from your favorite FM stations as well as CDs and iPod, all from an enclosure not much larger than a shoebox.