reviews

Balanced Audio Technology VK-43SE Preamplifier

Balanced Audio Technology (BAT) is a decades old company specializing in, you guessed it, balanced audio components. They have produced a long line of vacuum tube and solid-state preamplifiers and amplifiers, phono preamplifiers and, more recently, digital converters.

BAT VK-P5 and VK-P20 Phono Preamplifiers

The Balanced Audio Technology VK-P5 phono preamplifier is a well built, reliable, and easy to use stand-alone phono stage. It was a sonic disappointment.

Benchmark AHB2 Power Amplifier

The Benchmark AHB2 solid-state stereo power amplifier immediately grabbed the audio world’s attention about 7 years ago when it was introduced. Combining state of the art specifications, cutting-edge technology, and amazingly small size and light weight, the $2999 amplifier quickly became a must-audition.

Benchmark DAC1 D/A Converter

Several of you have sent emails to me with your comments about my preference for analog sources. These comments range from “Right on, Dude. You got it right!” to “Your reviews are worthless without including digital as a source”. There is quite a wide range of opinion out there in hyperspace. I appreciate all of your feedback, whether supportive, critical, or just informative.

Benz-Micro LP Moving Coil Phono Cartridge and Tri-Planar VII Tonearm

Good old Benz-Micro cartridges. They have been around for so long that we take them for granted. As Rodney Dangerfield might have said, they get no respect. After living with the Benz “Ebony” LP moving coil phono cartridge for more than a year, I suggest that this is a mistake. Let’s see if we can elevate the awareness of and respect for the Benz-Micro brand.

Benz-Micro LP-S and Gullwing SLR Moving-coil Phono Cartridges

Gullwing SLR Moving-coil Phono Cartridges

Time marches slowly in the world of high-end audio. We rarely see new products that can be called “revolutionary”. While there are certainly new ideas, new materials, and new circuits developed by creative audio engineers, the vast majority of products are updates and refinements to previously released components. We have two of these under review here.

Berkeley Alpha DAC Series 2 and KingRex UC384 USB-to-S/PDIF Converter

I do not want to make the brave new world of digital music appear more complicated than it is already, but this investigation into the audio quality of the Berkeley Alpha DAC Series 2, from Berkeley Audio Design, LLC, highlights the uncertainty that should be attributed to almost any conclusions for almost any digital component from almost any source.

Bob’s Devices CineMag 1131 Blue Step Up Transformer

I can sum up this review right now: Turn it up! Loud has never sounded so good!

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