I’ll keep this short. 2019 was yet another full-filled year of HiFi adventures. Although I’ve experienced the most audiophile burn-out ever – it was an incredibly rewarding experience.
plenty of shows this year. Check out my Munich 2019 Grand Tour video which has about 200,000 views! As far as reviews, my focus was undoubtedly on audiophile cables. There aren’t many reviews of cables (due to the crazy amount of trolls) so I’m happy to fill that gap. I strongly believe it could be the most overlooked tweak that could make or break a system. And it doesn’t have to be expensive.
As for 2020, I’m looking forward to reviewing more loudspeakers and amplifiers. Hence, it only makes sense to set up a new dedicated listening room on the ground floor. We’ll see how that goes.
Thanks to you, Audio Bacon has grown exponentially over the past few years. These reviews take an
enormous amount of time, effort, and personal resources. I just want to thank our supporters and those who have sent kind words of appreciation. They go a long way in keeping me focused, motivated, and sane. I look forward to providing even more value in 2020.
Happy New Year everyone!
https://www.similarweb.com/website/audiobacon.net Headphone RAAL Requisite SR1a These headphones sound absolutely incredible. I even wondered “Does this sound better than most 2-channel systems I’ve heard?” I sat there trying to pick on it. And was left dumbfounded by how different yet accurate these headphones sounded. It has some of the best alignment and forming of tonal cues I’ve ever heard. Both in perspective and colored variations. Notions of soundstage, imaging, and resolution don’t come to mind. It just sounds naturalistically full, textured, and I dare say – analog. And this is in a noisy show environment. In-Ear Monitor Periodic Audio Carbon At $399, the Periodic Audio Carbon is probably the most high-value IEM I’ve heard. In a way, it combines the sonic qualities I enjoy about some of the higher priced universal and custom IEMs – into a much more affordable package. Unless you’re a die-hard sparkle and soundstage chaser, the Carbon is guaranteed to provide the utmost enjoyment of music. Power Cable Snake River Audio Signature Cottonmouth Out of all the power cables, I’ve spent the most time with the Snake River Audio Signature Cottonmouth. This cable simply has the most accurate tonal color and timbre I’ve heard from a power cord. And by a fair margin. The result is a more emotive listening experience. It encourages you to rediscover and be drawn into your favorite recordings. The Cottonmouth Signature doesn’t sugar-coat or glamorize. It’s faithful to the variances in tone, texture, and percussive energies. It’s an open, free spirit with spectacular tonal balance. It’s aggressive (Snoop Dogg) or soft (Adele) when called for. Not to mention, an effortlessly large soundstage. Digital Coax Cable WAVE High Fidelity STREAM Although I haven’t written a formal review of the WAVE High Fidelity STREAM, at around $1,000 USD for a PAIR, they’re not only great value but has a tonal balance I enjoy over other cheaper and pricier options. RCA & XLR Interconnects Iconoclast UPOCC From the first few seconds to months thereafter – the only thing that crosses our minds about the Iconoclast isn’t a “flavor” but a “ faithfulness.” This, in turn, converts into a deeper and more emotional connection to our music. Isn’t that the point of this journey of ours? We’ve had both feet firmly in the subjective camp. After listening to the Iconoclast, we now have a foot in both. With perhaps the larger toes on the objective side (gasp). The Iconoclast cables sound “right,” measure well, and are relatively affordable. Needless to say, these cables will be our new reference – and are the cables to beat… at any price point. DAC Chord Hugo TT 2 I know I’ve been lagging on a full review, but I’ll have one up soon. Although not nearly as transparent or resolving as their flagship DAC, the Chord Electronics DAVE, the TT 2 has a tonal quality that sounds very natural. In fact, I had the TT 2 in my main system for months…and didn’t really feel the urge to swap back to the DAVE. It has a meaty low end, rich mids, and although treble doesn’t extend as far as DAVE, it’s enough for my ears. Going back to the DAVE and you get more of the impression that “they’re there” – and that’s what you’ll be paying extra for. For 99% of audiophiles, however, the TT 2 will be an end-game DAC. Floorstander Loudspeakers ACA Seraphim Loudspeakers ($25,000) From the low-level dynamics to its explosive yet controlled punchiness. There are a perspective and articulation I don’t hear from many of the systems. Resolution and timbre are also some of its strongest (and important) attributes. Piano and guitar sound as they should. And voices have an eerie and convincing presence. The soundstage was naturally sized and the performers were full-bodied with a gravitational pull. Bookshelf Loudspeakers Living Sounds Audio LSA-10 Statement Now I don’t say this lightly: I’m positive the LSA-10 Statement or LSA-10 Signature may be an end-game bookshelf speaker for many. It epitomizes what we as audiophiles are constantly seeking. A speaker that is dynamic, has fine tonal quality – and is faithful to the nuances and harmonics of the art. The word “truth” was recurring in my notes. Product of the Year Voices were locked in, textural cues were prominent, and the acoustic mold is definitive and precise. This is exactly what a musically holographic sound should sound like. There’s this huge acoustic image with some of the deepest and widest soundstage I’ve ever heard. It’s also scary in how it delineates the tonal variations of every recording. In comparison to their $129,000 POSH Statement, these Grande Avant Garde X loudspeakers seem to also have the touch of warmth I craved for. Being Best of Show at AXPONA 2019, I couldn’t wait to hear them again in Munich. This time with VTL electronics. My feeling is that the VAC electronics (at AXPONA) were a little warmer sounding while VTL focused more on spatial resolution. Overall, my impressions were the same – these Grand Avant Garde X ($13,590/pair) loudspeakers sound incredible – regardless of price. These speakers could be the end-game – without breaking the bank.