reviews

Paradigm Persona B Loudspeakers

The Paradigm Persona B is the smallest speaker in the new Persona product line. It is a stand mounted, 2-way speaker using beryllium for the dome of the tweeter and also for the cone of the mid-woofer driver. While this very light and strong material is being used by several manufacturers in their tweeters, Paradigm is the only one to apply a beryllium cone to a woofer.

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Pass Labs X250.5 Stereo Power Amplifier

The Pass Labs X250.5 stereo power amplifier may very well be the world’s best 15 Watt per channel stereo amplifier. Even though the amplifier is rated as 250 Watts per channel, it runs in Class A mode up to 15 Watts, then shifts gears into Class AB for the remainder of the power rating. It is easy to both hear the shift and see the shift.

Phoenix Engineering RoadRunner Tachometer - Falcon/Eagle Power Supplies and VPI SDS Motor Controller

Many turntables today include an electronic speed controller for the motor that drives the platter that makes the records go round and round. The purpose of these controllers is to make sure that the motor sees a very constant signal to maintain a very constant speed. The ear is more sensitive to variations in speed than to small inaccuracies in the exact frequency.

Placette Passive Line Stage Preamplifier

Finally...sigh...a component that does exactly what the manufacturer says it does and nothing more. This is the first component in my experience that has so little identifiable character as to be, in the most exact meaning of the word, transparent. But before I tell you how I really feel about this little gem, let's address the two major stereotypes of the passive preamplifier breed.

Prism Orpheus Digital Interface

A long and winding road leads to this review. The road is by no means smooth and straight, bumping along with disappointing gear and side trips to failed technologies. The road is an analogy for this writer’s audiophile journey, which currently finds us in a very nice place thanks to the Prism Orpheus Digital Interface.

Prism Sound Callia DAC Preamplifier

Prism Sound is well known in the pro audio space where their analog to digital converters (ADCs) are used in many of the best recording studios worldwide. The Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC was reviewed here in 2009. The Prism Callia USB DAC Preamplifier is a new product aimed primarily at the home or non-professional market.

PS Audio AV Power Center 5000

The PS Audio AV Power Center 5000 is a remarkable device with an extensive list of features that places it at the very forefront of this product category. From the PS Audio Web site:

PS Audio Digital Link III D/A Converter with Cullen Circuits Stage 4 Modification

By way of introducing Cullen Circuits, please let me share a quote from their Web site:
“Rick Cullen has been building high-end home AV products for over 35 years, first as the production manager of PS Audio and later as the head of Cullen Circuits.

PS Audio GCC-500 Control Amplifier and Underwood HiFi-modified GCC-250 Control Amplifier

There are two kinds of listeners. Only two. There are the “eye-closers” who become lost in the music, losing track of time and where they are. They put on a record or CD and soon are immersed in a world of sensation. Astral traveling? Asleep? Hypnotized? At the end of the music, the return to reality can be jarring.

PS Audio GCPH Phono Preamplifier

I do not recall ever listening to a component where the concept of diminishing returns was such a recurring theme. Diminishing returns is an economic principle that says where a basic function can be served at relatively low cost, small incremental improvements are gained at disproportional cost increases. In other words, it can cost a lot more for just a little improvement.

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