Featured Reviews

Topping TP30 & Topping TP31 Headphone DAC Amplifiers

Topping TP30 & Topping TP31 Headphone DAC Amplifiers

For many audio hobbyists the biggest kick comes not from being able to buy something very expensive, (though I do hope to experience this someday) but rather from discovering a really good value. With my enthusiasm growing for headgear the opportunity to find such bargains is turning into a quest. One of the first products in the category is the Topping TP31 and it’s sibling, the TP30. The difference between the two is that the TP30 has a USB input, while the TP31 is Coaxial.

Specifications:
Inputs: Coaxial, RCA Line in L/R
Outputs: Line out RCA L/R, Headphone
Jack, Speakers L/R
Amplifier: Class-T Tripath TA 2024 BTL

Configuration
Output Power 2 x 15W @ 4ohm, 2 x
10W @ 8ohm
Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) 98dB
Dynamic Range 98dB
IHF-IM Distortion 0.1% @ 1W, 4ohm
THD Distortion:
0.03% @ 9W, 4ohm
0.1% @ 11W 4ohm
0.1% @ 6W 8ohm
10% @ 15W 4ohm
10% @ 10W 8ohm
Power Efficiency: 81% @ 15W, 4ohm, 90% @ 10W, 8ohm
Input Sensitivity: 200mV
Power socket:
TP-30 DAC: TP30 uses the 2704 with 16 bit 48khz
TP-31 DAC: Built-in high-fidelity coaxial DAC (PCM1793) – support for 32kHz-192kHz 16-24bit PCM format digital coaxial signal
Headphone Output: 3.5mm 16-200 ohm
Face plate: 8mm thick CNC machined aluminum
Connectors: High quality Gold Plated RCA
Size: 4 inches wide x 8 inches deep x 1 ¾ inches high
Weight: Main unit only 720g

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An Amplifier for all Mankind: Class D Audio SDS-440C Amplifier Review

An Amplifier for all Mankind: Class D Audio SDS-440C Amplifier Review

Specifications:

  • Two Channel Amplifier with adjustable gain
  • 220W RMS Per Channel into 8 ohms
  • 440W RMS Per Channel into 4 ohms
  • Size: 12″ X 12″ X 3.5″
  • Shipping Weight: 20 Pounds
  • MSRP: $665.00

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Vista Audio i34 Integrated Tube Amplifier

Vista Audio i34 Integrated Tube Amplifier

Specifications: 

  • Power: 35Wpc Bandwidth: 15Hz-35kHz
  • Inputs: CD, Tuner, Aux.
  • Outputs: 4 and 8 ohm
  • Input sensitivity: 0.6Vrms
  • Tubes: 2xECC832, 4x E34L Toroidal transformers
  • Gold plated terminals Stainless steel chassis
  • Price: $980

When I was a kid I remember going down to main street with my grandfather to the appliance store. Inside was a vacuum tube testing machine, there he would plug in a couple of tubes from the console television in an attempt to be handy and save my parents a few dollars. To his credit and my thrill he pulled up a chair to the machine and had me stand on the cushion. From that point I was able to assist him in picking the proper socket for each tube. Had this occurred today I can imagine the horror of tube fanatics as we handled each tube without gloves. The most exciting part was watching the tubes glow after pushing the “test” button.

Some thirty years later with the help of the Vista Audio i34 integrated amplifier I have rediscovered my fascination for vacuum tubes. I’ve always been a solid state audio fan, but over the years I would occasionally wonder about a piece of tube gear in an advertisement. But it never went past a fleeting wishful moment…..until now. The Vista Audio i34 has definitely opened my eyes. read more…

Pink Floyd – ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ A DVD-Audio review by Nicholas D. Satullo

Pink Floyd – ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ A DVD-Audio review by Nicholas D. Satullo

In 2003, High Fidelity Review trumpeted one of surround music’s best moments, the release of Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon‘ as a 5.1 SACD. While by all accounts the disc enjoyed enormous popularity among surround music enthusiasts, there were two immediate questions presented: What would it have sounded like if released as a DVD-Audio disc? And what about the original quadraphonic mix by sound engineer Alan Parsons? The debate over the two competing surround formats was fresher then, and there was a thirty year allegiance to the 4.0 quadraphonic mix of original surround engineer Alan Parsons, a mix that was never endorsed by the group itself, but which had itself become a cult classic since the release of this giant work in 1973. read more…

My Old Friend: The Audiolab 8000A (first series) Integrated Amplifier

My Old Friend: The Audiolab 8000A (first series) Integrated Amplifier

The Audiolab 8000A integrated amplifier is an old friend. I have listened to this amplifier for the better part of fifteen years. To me, it feels like coming home.

It is a full functioning, integrated amplifier (including a MC and MM phono stage). Well-built chassis-terrible sheet metal. The front panel is well built and simplicity itself. All controls are well laid out, have a reasonable feel to them and are easy to discern. Finished in a dark grey, it is handsome in the utilitarian sense of the word. No, Tag McLaren made the electronics high style, but the basic Audiolab is not ugly. Typically British with cheesy, sheet metal. Knock on the top or sides and it rattles like a 30-year-old Datsun 510 (I owned one of these great cars too. I got rid of it because, at that time, I was a young idiot—I simply didn’t appreciate what I had). No engineering degree or the ability to contort one’s body is required to operate it. read more…

Totem Dreamcatcher Speakers

Totem Dreamcatcher Speakers

Manufacturer: Totem Acoustics Saint-Leonard Quebec, Canada

Type: Compact 2-way bookshelf speaker, rear ported

Frequency Response: 57 Hz – 25kHz

Impedence: 4 Ohm

Power Handling: 100 watts max

Crossover: 2.5 kHz 1st order

New $430-470, Used pricing: $250-300 read more…

Pink Floyd – ‘Dark Side of the Moon’  An SACD review by Nicholas D. Satullo

Pink Floyd – ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ An SACD review by Nicholas D. Satullo

High Fidelity Review is going to let you in on a secret. When Capitol Records releases the long-awaited ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ SACD in New York next week, it will become a matter of public knowledge what our world exclusive advance review permits us to verify – it is a sparkling success, defying the gravity of expectations that invariably tug at such a staple of popular music. James Guthrie, the sound engineer responsible for the new 5.1 mix of the album, found a way to succeed where there were ten thousand ways to fail. read more…

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