Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

The SoundStage! Network's mulit-author blog section related to hi-fi, home theater, and more.

Evaluating the SVS SB16-Ultra Subwoofer

With the process of setting up the SVS SB16-Ultra complete, it was time to put this monster of a subwoofer through its paces to see how it performs. The first question I wanted to answer was whether the SVS app is preferable to the included small, plastic remote control. In a word, yes. The remote does provide basic controls such as volume and turning the display on or off, but the app gives the user far more control with direct access to functions such as the Parametric EQ and adjustable crossover. For users who don’t want their smartphone by their side in the listening room, the remote is handy in a pinch. The app, however, is made for you control freaks who want everything the sub is capable of right at your fingertips. I’ll use the app.

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Pairing the SVS SB16-Ultra Subwoofer with My Monitor Audio Speakers

I’ve had a set of Monitor Audio Studio standmount speakers ($1400 per pair when available, all prices USD) anchoring my multipurpose music/movie/YouTube stereo system for a few years now. This two-way minimonitor (mini Monitor?) is a high-resolution transducer, what with its AMT tweeter and dual midrange-woofers—both drive units derived from the company’s costlier Platinum series of flagship loudspeakers. The thing they lack, though, is deep bass. That is of course where SVS comes in.

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Exploring the Heart of the SVS SB16-Ultra Subwoofer: An Interview with Smith Freeman

In my May 1, 2021, SoundStage! Ultra article, “What Matters Most in an Audio System: The Loudspeaker Drive Unit,” I interviewed Vivid Audio’s technical director, Laurence Dickie, one of the world’s preeminent loudspeaker designers. The interview was all about drivers, obviously, and their importance above all other single factors in the design of a finished loudspeaker. In that article, Dickie—whose Vivid loudspeakers such as the Giya series are legendary in the industry—said something important:

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Unboxing the SVS SB16-Ultra Subwoofer

Rarely does high-end audio offer a value proposition like that seen in the SVS SB16-Ultra subwoofer ($1999.99, all prices USD). Now that might sound like a bold statement, but as I was unboxing this big, bad SVS sub, I couldn’t help thinking about just what was enclosed in the massive cardboard box my son and I had hoisted up into my listening room.

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The Technics SU-R1000: Fully Digital Tour de Force Integrated Amplifier Plays Records

With its large, analog VU level meters and old-school design aesthetic—and considering Technics’ reputation for producing turntables like the legendary SL-1200—you might think that the Technics SU-R1000 is an all-analog integrated amplifier at first glance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lurking below its impeccably polished casework are a plethora of novel technologies, including an all-digital signal path and the company’s effort to take on the absolute state of the art with its Reference Class integrated amplifier.

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Temple Audio: In a Class of its Own

Among the best-known British hi-fi brands, there are some much smaller “under-the-radar” companies that almost never receive the recognition or acclaim for the quality of products that they design and produce. Some of you may already be familiar with Temple Audio, but for those who are not, the company designs and creates a range of high-end products (most notably, amplification and power supplies) at their headquarters in Manchester, North West England.

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Audeze's CRBN: An Actual Game-Changer in High-End Headphones?

The story of Audeze’s CRBN electrostatic headphones, which the company announced today, is unusual. And judging from the brief listen I got last week at Audeze’s Santa Ana, California, headquarters, so is the end result.

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Magico M9 Loudspeakers: No Compromises Allowed

My visit to Magico LLC at its Hayward, California, factory on July 16, 2021, was all about the company’s new M9 flagship loudspeaker ($750,000 per pair; all prices USD). You’ve seen the M9 press release. Maybe you’ve seen a few of the available M9 photos. My goal was to dig into the heart of it. I wanted to see the guts of the M9: cabinet, drivers, nuts, and bolts. And once I had all of that digested, I wanted to hear it.

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Heal Our Land—The Concert

Music is universal and healing, and no one is more committed to using those qualities to promote harmony than Simeon “Sanch” Sandiford, a record executive, promoter, and music enthusiast. His love for the music of his native island, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is boundless, as is his belief that music can bring people together. On August 14, 2016, Sandiford organized a concert featuring pianist Felix Roach at the Little Carib Theatre in Port of Spain. Sandiford promoted the show to help call attention to Roach’s album Felix Roach Plays the Spirituals, which Sandiford’s record company, Sanch Electronix, had released on HDCD a few weeks earlier.

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From Monitor Audio Studio to Gold 100 Loudspeakers: Part 4

As I said in “Part 3” of this series, Monitor Audio sent a Gold W12 subwoofer ($3300 USD) to pair with the Gold 100 loudspeakers I had in for audition. I’ve owned Monitor’s discontinued Studio loudspeakers for several years, and I wondered what the logical next step up the Monitor line would be. The Gold 100 proved to be a worthy successor to the Studio, although the improvements were more subtle than groundbreaking—after all, the Studio is a fantastic speaker in its own right. Would the W12 take the Gold 100s to the next level?

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Acoustic Revive's New Audio Cables and Accessories Use Rare Mineral Found Only in Japan

Founded in 1997 by Ken Ishiguro, Acoustic Revive is a Japanese maker of audio cables and accessories that is headquartered in the city of Isesaki-shi, about 60 miles northwest of Tokyo. As a teenager growing up in Isesaki-shi during the 1970s, Ishiguro became swept up in the ten-year anniversary of the Beatles’ Japan invasion and frequently visited local audio shops to hear the band’s music.

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From Monitor Audio Studio to Gold 100 Loudspeakers: Part 3

Happy with the transition from a pair of Monitor Audio Studios to a pair of Monitor Audio Gold 100s, I wanted to see what it would take to get to the next level of sound quality with my A/V setup. The current system is powered by a vintage Coda Model 11 stereo amplifier capable of outputting 100Wpc in pure class A. The Coda is fed by an Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray player using its analog RCA outputs and integral volume control. Cables are AmazonBasics speaker cables and RCA interconnects. The primary source for this system is an older Roku digital media player connected to the Oppo via an HDMI cable. I watch Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, YouTube, and FloSports over this system.

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From Monitor Audio Studio to Gold 100 Loudspeakers: Part 2

In “Part 1” of this four-part blog on my journey with Monitor Audio loudspeakers, I gave you a brief rundown of the physical and design differences between the Monitor Audio Studio ($1400 per pair, all prices USD), a pair of which I own, and the Gold 100 ($2300/pr.). I decided to compare the Gold 100 to the Studio for a couple of reasons: first, the Studio is now discontinued, and the Gold 100 is a logical purchase for someone in need of a reasonable-sized standmount speaker at a good price. Second, what audiophile would not enjoy the experience of comparing some closely matched loudspeakers?

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A Surprise Live Musical Event with Les 9 de Montréal

Canada has had a relatively low per-capita death rate from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and when you adjust for population size, Canada currently boasts one of the highest percentages of single-dose vaccinations in the world. Despite these successes, provincial governments across Canada are still maintaining strict lockdown measures, in the hope of avoiding a fourth wave of coronavirus outbreaks and unnecessary deaths. But these lockdowns have kept many businesses closed and countless people out of work.

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From Monitor Audio Studio to Gold 100 Loudspeakers: Part 1

Monitor Audio’s Studio loudspeaker was introduced in 2018 and was touted as having Platinum-level drive units in a clean, simplified cabinet (Platinum is Monitor’s flagship speaker line). As I needed something to fill the (speaker) void left when I moved from my longtime residence to a rental house, while my family and I searched for a larger home, I promptly bought a pair. I detailed this purchase in “Jeff’s New Temporary Audio System,” published in May 2018 on SoundStage! Ultra. The $1400-per-pair Studios (all prices in USD) would be driven by a vintage Coda Model 11 class-A, 100Wpc stereo amplifier. When we moved into our current residence in summer 2018, the Monitors and the Coda moved, too. Although I built a new reference system, the Studios and the Model 11 were set up as part of a simple A/V system that I still use today for streaming movies and listening to music over YouTube.

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