reviews

Aurorasound VIDA Prima Phono Preamplifier

Aurorasound is a company in Yokohama, Japan. Designer Shinobu Karaki has 28 years’ experience working for Texas Instruments Japan, Inc. He is also a passionate musician, music teacher and a long-time audiophile. His love of music, combined with trained ears and extensive know-how in electronics and integrated circuits makes Mr. Karaki well suited for designing high-end audio components.

Aurum Cantus Leisure 2 SE Loudspeaker

During the preparation for this review, I kept thinking about the theme of the Disney movie “Aladdin”: a diamond in the rough. Here at 10 Audio, we’re always looking for products that offer excellent value for the money in addition to offering outstanding sound. So the “rough” would refer to the price category of these beautifully finished speakers: $1600 with stands.

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Ayre Acoustics VX-5 Twenty Stereo Power Amplifier

The Ayre VX-5 Twenty stereo power amplifier has been in production for about 5 years and followed the well-received V-5xe amplifier. The “Twenty” designation celebrates the Boulder, Colorado company’s 20 years in business. The excellent build quality and beautiful casework belies the amplifier’s recommended list price of $8950. The amplifier is fully-discrete, fully-balanced, and features a zero-feedback design. 

Ayre K-5xe MP Preamplifier

The Ayre K-5xe MP line level preamplifier has been in production for about five years and is mostly unchanged since its introduction. These long production lifetimes are standard for Ayre Acoustics which is located in Boulder, Colorado, literally at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Ayre has consistently produced fine sounding audio components which appear regularly on recommended lists.

B&W Nautilus 804 Loudspeaker

Craftsman. Snap-on. Stanley. Fluke. These are some of the best tools made. You have heard of them. You might even own a few. Why would you buy a Craftsman hand tool? Because you know it will do the job, it will be well made, and you know that if you need a hand tool, Craftsman most likely makes it.

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B.M.C. MCCI Signature ULN Phono Preamplifier

The original B.M.C. Audio MCCI phono preamplifier earned very positive reviews when it was introduced in 2013. Carlos Candeias used his designs for the $1400 Aqvox Phono 2Ci, reviewed here on 10 Audio, and introduced a much-upgraded model as the MCCI under his own brand, B.M.C. Audio. The MCCI ($3890) was replaced with the MCCI Signature ($4298) in 2016.

B.M.C. MonoS Phono Cable & Origin Live Silver Hybrid 2-S Phono Cable

B.M.C. Audio is a familiar name here at 10 Audio. Their wonderful MCCI Signature phono preamplifier, in various iterations, has been a reference for several years. Their new MonoS cables are based on Mono crystal OCC (Ohno Continuous Casting) Silver conductors:  MonoS.

Balanced Audio Technology VK-220 & VK-250SE Power Amplifiers

These two amplifiers are children from the same BAT family and have similar BAT sound qualities. The 125W per channel VK-220 ($3000) and the 150W VK-250SE ($7000) employ mosfets in their output stages. Both amplifiers are fully balanced designs and have XLR input connections. Both amplifiers weigh 75 pounds and measure 19” wide x 6.5” high x 16” deep.

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