Melodika BSSC95xx

Melodika is a Polish brand that has advocated a no-nonsense approach to audio equipment since its inception. The core of its offerings are cables and accessories, and the priority has always been the same - to give music lovers good sound for as little money as possible. When it comes to cabling, I've always associated Melodica with the budget-priced but extremely elaborate Purple Rain series. Signal, speaker, digital, and power cables, as well as splitters, adapters, or plugs - everything is here. I also like the concise descriptions focused on technical issues and parameters. Construction, conductors, cross sections, shielding, resistance, and other facts, rather than reports of sound written in verse and tales of geometry inspired by the concept of yin and yang. Wanting to go a bit further, the company introduced the Brown Sugar series. It currently contains seventeen items, all of which are speaker cables and jumpers. This is quite remarkable, as the idea wasn't born yesterday, and still, we haven't seen a single signal, digital, or power cable in this series. Instead, Melodika decided to show us - yes, you guessed it - another speaker cable. But what a cable it is!

Pylon Audio Jasper 23 Active

It's not surprising that more and more people are interested in hi-fi equipment that is luxurious, beautiful, and offers excellent performance, but at the same time is as simple to use as a network speaker. Some audiophiles believe that increasing the comfort of our music experience automatically reduces the sound quality. If we have a pile of sources and amplifiers connected with expensive cables, if our living room has been transformed into an anechoic chamber, if before each listening session, we carry out an elaborate procedure of warming up the system while checking the humidity of the air and the voltage in the socket, we deserve great sound, and if we buy easy-to-use active loudspeakers, we don't. Is it true? Manufacturers of audio electronics have already discovered that it can all be simplified. Almost every new all-in-one system is an instant sales hit because all you have to do is add a pair of decent speakers and your home stereo is ready. But what if you could go one step further and eliminate the need to buy any electronics? This mission has already been undertaken by many companies, as the idea itself is not new or revolutionary. However, it has…

Davis Acoustics Krypton 6

Among lovers of audio equipment, there is no shortage of people who believe that the greatest improvement of sound quality can be achieved by replacing cables, buying a power conditioner, or an anti-vibration rack. Sometimes, however, it's worth coming down to earth and reminding ourselves of the basic rules that govern this world. If we want to build a decent stereo system, we should first choose loudspeakers that match the size and sound of our listening room and then select a suitable amplifier and source. Everything else can be taken care of later, choosing cables and accessories to spice up the effect. Unfortunately, many music lovers trying to buy hi-fi equipment stumble at the first stage, ending up with too large speakers or positioning them so as not to disturb the rest of the household rather than achieve a balanced and spacious sound. It's believed that monitors are the optimal solution, especially in smaller rooms, but are they? In many cases, they have to be placed on stands anyway, so they take up as much space as medium-sized floorstanders. And where's the upside? That we won't experience any problems with a booming bass? Perhaps a better solution would be to…

Vermouth Audio Rhapsody

Designers of hi-fi equipment will never cease to amaze me with ideas for the names of their products and brands. We have already seen gear lineups inspired by celestial bodies, mythological characters, precious stones, weather phenomena, and popular drinks. I remember when a friend working in one of the showrooms told me with some disbelief that he would now sell cables called, for example, "Root Beer" or "Vodka." At first, I thought he was screwing me, but it turned out that he was earnest, and now these cables can be found in Audioquest's catalog. Hendry Ramli, the founder of Vermouth Audio, went one step further.

Bowers & Wilkins 706 S3

Bowers & Wilkins has long convinced audiophiles that the only way to achieve total listening satisfaction is chasing the original - the sound recorded in the studio. This leads to the obvious conclusion that our home stereo system should be the last element of the chain, which starts with the microphone, and that gaining more at the end means losing less during the whole process. It's hard to argue with that. And while it's a bit pointless to compare home electronics with professional equipment, I appreciate any manufacturer who stays true to this straightforward philosophy. While the idea can be explained in a single sentence, putting it into practice is quite complicated. Transport the sound from the recording studio to the home? But, wait a minute, isn't that what almost all the people involved in this subject have been trying to achieve for 145 years (that's exactly how long it's been since the invention of the phonograph)? Yes, but no one can deny that we have made tremendous progress in this field and are still moving forward.

Neat Acoustics Majistra

Neat Acoustics has been designing and manufacturing loudspeakers since 1989. The company was founded by Bob Surgeoner, who has devoted most of his life to music, playing primarily blues, rock, jazz, folk, country, and bluegrass. The company's other key employees also work as musicians, which is virtually unheard of in the audio industry. In 2006, Bob was joined by Paul Ryder, who plays guitar in several bands in northern England. Since Paul is also an experienced sound engineer, the company set up its own recording studio. The professional approach to recordings is also intended to be a benchmark for the sound of the loudspeakers. A variety of musical instruments are on hand at the Neat Acoustics factory, including piano, string organ, harp, double bass, synthesizers, and a wide range of electric and acoustic guitars and other stringed instruments. High-resolution recordings can be played back instantly in the listening room. Bob and his team let music rule the tuning and sound of its speakers to the exclusion of almost all other criteria. All aspects of the design are evaluated empirically. This time-consuming, iterative process can take months before a design is considered finished.

Pylon Audio Jasper 23

When I review new Pylon Audio speakers, the same word usually comes to mind - progress. First loudspeakers available in high-gloss and mat lacquers, the first proprietary drivers, first cabinets manufactured for well-known foreign brands... Enumerating the next milestones and delighting in the technical, qualitative, and business successes of the Polish company, however, doesn't interest me as much as in what direction its offerings are heading and what value its new models will represent. Here, too, one can observe stable, thoughtful development driven by rising customer expectations and investments in machinery. Over the past few years, many speaker series has expanded to include the most majestic three-way models, and new designs from the excellent Ruby line have been introduced, but we had to wait a very, very long time for the next price and quality barrier to be overcome. Finally, Pylon Audio introduced the powerful Amber floorstanders, now available in mkII version. The new flagship should generate huge excitement, but such gigantic speakers are not for everyone and will not play well in any room. However, we have known for a long time that Pylon Audio is working on a series of loudspeakers that is a development of the concept…

Octavio AMP

Audiophiles love beautiful, original, and, unfortunately, very expensive electronic devices. Turntables made with incredible precision, powerful tube amplifiers, huge loudspeakers, thick cables - we associate all this with a sophisticated, engaging sound, but there is no doubt that above a certain level all this fun begins to smell of madness. This is perfectly evident at exhibitions, where one can taste the sound of stereo systems worth millions of dollars. Some visitors get the impression of participating in a sick experiment. The degree of complexity of such extreme systems, as well as their dimensions and prices, have a repulsive effect on music lovers. Besides, let's be honest, when visiting a showroom with such equipment, didn't you ever think to yourself that at such prices you'd better start looking elsewhere? Didn't you come to the conclusion that even if you got such a set for free, you wouldn't have anywhere to put it? Some companies have recognized this problem, but their solution is most often to put the dream of owning a decent stereo completely out of your head. Don't have lots of cash to spend on your hi-fi? Then get some small network speakers or a soundbar and sod off. And…

Dual CS 429

Dual has recently made a spectacular comeback. The legendary turntable manufacturer, which not long ago we used to associate only with vintage gear, suddenly came back into the game. First, a high-end model Primus Maximus was presented to the world, which can be interpreted as a kind of manifesto, a showcase of technical capabilities, and perhaps an announcement of the following models, which will be its simpler and cheaper counterparts. However, if we are looking for a budget turntable, we should instead not look at the devices occupying top positions in the catalog. I know, at first glance, all the inexpensive models available on the market seem similar. Still, it is enough to look at a few key components such as a cartridge, tonearm, drive, and rear panel equipment to already have an idea of which one is built solidly and which one just looks nice in pictures. If you take the time to do this, you will realize that Dual is not only a company with a history dating back to 1900 and an object of sigh for audiophiles who remember the 1970s, but also a company that offers some of the most interesting and best-equipped budget turntables. Will…

KBL Sound Himalaya II

Many manufacturers of high-end cables try to convince us that we are paying for advanced technical solutions, incredibly precise engineering, exotic materials, and details worked out to perfection, such as patented connectors coated with silver, gold, rhodium, or all those expensive metals altogether. To some extent, this is true, for it is difficult to achieve great sound when trying to build such cables from cheap conductors, the worst quality dielectrics and connectors worth two dollars. It's easy to imagine that when all these components are the best money can buy, the price of such cable goes through the roof. Is this madness? Probably yes, but it doesn't change the fact that there is no shortage of people willing to buy high-end cables, as well as companies ready to provide them with what they want. What is shocking for a novice audiophile does not seem so strange to someone who has been building their system for many years, and has already spent tens of thousands of dollars on speakers, amplifiers, sources, and anti-vibration racks.

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