Category: Solid-State

Dayens Menuetto Stereo Integrated Amplifier – A Magnificent Gem

“It was all a dream.” – Notorious B.I.G. In the 80s, Dejan Dobrins’s love for music had him pondering about how to improve his enjoyment. He wanted something better than what was out there – and so immersed himself in the world of DIY audio. He developed his own loudspeakers, amplifiers, and eventually the entire…


Eleven XI Audio Formula S Headphone Amplifier and PowerMan Review

It is recommended to place the PowerMan below the Formula S, unlike what’s depicted in the photo. I’ve reviewed quite a few headphone amplifiers last year. Including the $7,999 Woo Audio WA33 and the $15,000 Wells Audio Headtrip Reference. The centerpiece for those reviews was my reference headphone – the Abyss AB-1266 Phi. There’s a reason…


Chord Electronics TToby Stereo Power Amplifier – Compact Without Compromise

In order to review more bookshelf speakers for near-field listening, I’ve spent the past few monthsref auditioning amplifiers. For some time now, I’ve been driving my high-sensitivity Omega Compact Alnicos Monitors directly with the full-bandwidth signal of the Chord DAVE. It takes transparency to unimaginable levels but understandably doesn’t always have the dynamic drive and body…


PS Audio Sprout100 Integrated – The $599 Overachiever

I first witnessed the PS Audio Sprout100 at AXPONA 2018. Guarding the tiny device was the great Bill Leebens (PS Audio’s Director of Marketing). He explained it was a new design being released in May 2018. Come to think of it, I haven’t reviewed a piece of PS Audio gear since the impressive LANRover. The…


Wells Audio Headtrip Reference Headphone Amplifier – A $15,000 Musical Indulgence

The first time I heard the $7,000 Wells Audio Headtrip was during my headphone shootout a few years ago. It wasn’t until a year later I met the man himself, Jeff Wells, at a SoCal CanJam. The Headtrip sounded even better the second time around, especially with the power-hungry Abyss headphones. This is most likely…


$500 Portable DAC/Headphone Amps – iFi Micro Black Label vs. W4S uDAC-HD vs. Chord Mojo

I find that about 75% of the time, DAC performance tends to correspond with their price. Whether they incorporate a galvanically isolated async USB port or some other kind of noise reduction approach (e.g, powered off battery), you generally get what you pay for. Unlike my previous portable DAC shootout, where I compared DACs at wildly…


iFi Pro iCAN Headphone Amplifier Review – A High Performance Fully-Balanced Flagship

At this point, everyone realizes when you get something from iFi, it’s like Christmas came early. You get all the widgets and switches without sacrificing performance. Their iFi Nano iUSB3.0 is still the quietest and most transparent USB conditioner I’ve ever heard. iFi never fails to provide enough features to tailor to all musical palates…