SoundStage! HiFi

  1. Does it have a built-in hard drive? No. Can it burn CDs? No. Does it play Blu-ray Discs? No.

    These were the questions my friends asked as we sat on a patio, enjoying some beer before the rain that has plagued much of this summer began falling again. I’d told them I was working on a review of a new CD player, and I wasn’t too surprised. I don’t know many people who’ve bought a CD in the past year, let alone anyone who’s purchased a device whose sole purpose is to play CDs. If the medium hasn’t yet died, it’s certainly on life support, as demonstrated by the fact that sales of vinyl have actually surpassed those of the shiny plastic discs.

  2. In July we unveiled a SoundStage! InSight video about Amphion Loudspeakers, filmed in June in Finland. Near the end, Amphion’s owner, Anssi Hyvönen, says: “In this country, we have a concept that a poor man can only afford the best.” He explains that the idea behind it is that you buy something of high quality, then keep it for a long time.

  3. Reviewers' ChoiceI remember my first experience of a Hegel Music Systems component. It was seven years ago, at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. I’d never heard of the Norwegian outfit before curiously wandering into their exhibition room, but I left mightily impressed by what I’d heard: Hegel’s entry-level H70 integrated amplifier ($2000 USD) was driving a pair of power-hungry Bowers & Wilkins 802 Diamond speakers ($15,000 pair) to uncomfortably loud SPLs and making sweet, sweet music.

  4. SoundStage! UKIt was an offhand remark by a mainstream “technology” writer, one who isn’t even worthy of the term “hack,” but he made me stop and think. This observer of the latest gadgetry -- his bailiwick is mobile phones and gaming, but he fancies himself an audio expert -- let slip the observation that high-end audio is becoming “cool” again. We should be so lucky, but what’s so momentous about this revelation is that it came from someone who has been writing off high-end audio equipment for a decade as the sole province (with some justification) of boring “beardy old men.”

  5. Recommended Reference ComponentIn Roger Kanno’s review of the Bryston 4B3 stereo/mono amplifier, published in June 2017 on SoundStage! Hi-Fi, he described its sound as “virtually faultless,” praised its “ability to drive just about any speaker with ease,” and declared that it “may well be the best value today in a high-end, high-powered, solid-state amplifier. . . . If I were in the market for a new amp, I’d buy the Bryston 4B3 without hesitation.”

  6. Note: Measurements can be found through this link.

    Audio Research Corporation (ARC) and its reputation for high-quality audio equipment are well known to audiophiles. The company was founded in 1970 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by William Z. Johnson, who had a plan to forward the state of the art of music reproduction. ARC was sold in 2008 to Fine Sounds SpA (since renamed the McIntosh Group), which owns other well-known audio brands, including McIntosh Laboratory, Sonus Faber, and Wadia.

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