This is a review and detailed measurements of an early sample of just announced Fluid Audio Image 2 reference monitor. Company asked me to measure it in private last year but today gave me green light to publish.
This is a crowded field so I was very pleased when I saw the built-in sub with dual opposing 8 inch drivers. The main weakness I find in most active monitors is lack of power/response when in deep bass and this remedies that. Back panel shows the functionality you expect in this class including a foot switch to silence the sub:
I am told the production version has reduced noise/hiss by 17 dB and has some fine tuning (although substantially the same as what I measured). It costs US $1,899 / 1799€.
This is a review and detailed measurements of the SOLUPEAK RC-11 passive volume control. It was kindly drop shipped to me by a member and costs US $17.
As you see, this comes in a nice little aluminum enclosure as opposed to the typical plastic post. This should help with interference. Being passive, the back just has the requisite RCA jacks:
SOLUPEAK RC-11 Measurements
I fed the unit 2 volts and set its volume to max:
This is the same performance as not having the unit. So if you don't attenuate, it is transparent. I dropped the level by 10 dB and performance hovered around 112 dB so even then, results are very good.
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Nan-6 Planar Magnetic headphone. It was kindly drop shipped to me by a member and costs S$999 (US $750).
Other than the cheesy logo and rough finish of the metal parts, the headphone "looks the part" as our British friends would say. It is exceptionally comfortable and fit on my head nicely. A pair of velour pads and what looks to be half a dozen filters also come with it. I stuck with the unit as shipped (as shown above). There is no documentation with the unit so I don't know what the filters do (if anything different).
A high-end looking balanced cable comes with the unit.
The claim to fame of this headphone is that it is supposed to be clone or close to Hifiman Susvara/HE-6 at a much cheaper price.
Note: The measurements you are about to see are made using a...
This is the review and detailed measurements of the NAD Wireless USB 2 stereo DAC. It is on kind loan from a member and costs around $250.
The unit is smaller than it looks in NAD pictures. The transmitter is tiny and not much bigger than a USB charger. It is self powered over USB and gets warm. The receiver looks fine and sports both RCA analog out and Coax S/PDIF digital:
As you see there are three independent RF channels so you can have three such devices in your household.
The longest RCA cable I had allowed me to separate the receiver by about 12 to 15 feet (3 to 4 meters) and performance remained the same. Company spec is 40 meters.
NAD Wireless DAC 2 Measurements
Let's start with digital Coax output out of the unit and see the...
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Elac Carina BS243.4 stand-mount speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and sells for US $999.
Even though this is a speaker designed by Andrew Jones, it is a continuation of the line traditionally designed in Germany with much higher sales price and it shows. The cabinet and hardware is way above budget class. It feels extremely solid and well put together. This is the first time Andrew has designed a speaker with folded tweeter (AMT).
Back panel sports some of the fanciest, nicest, largest binding posts I have seen on such a small speaker (hard to see in the picture):
As you can see, there is a cut out to allow the port to exhaust. This a compromise that allows the speaker to be placed close to the wall yet...
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Burson Soloist 3X Performance balanced headphone amplifier. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $1,200.
The overall package feels heavy and solid but I am not a fan of lack alignment of all the connectors, holes, etc. Volume control is digital but controls a Muse IC volume control. The microprocessor managing it is very fast and responsive but alas, there is no acceleration. If the volume is too loud -- which can very well be with this powerful amp -- good luck in turning it down quickly! We are talking many turns to go from 99 to zero. Very strange how many companies miss implementing this useful feature.
Back to volume control, there is a glitch between volume level 35 and 36. It is a minor tick but otherwise it is silent as it adjusts its volume.
This is a review and detailed measurements of the SMSL HO100 balanced (input) stereo headphone amplifier. It was sent to me by Aoshida Audio and costs US $149.
The HO100 matches its companion DO100 DAC. Switches feel nice and so does the volume control. While 4.4mm penticon connector is provided, its output is no more than 1/4 HP jack (so it is for convenience, not power).
What is unusual and welcome at this price point is inclusion of AC adapter and XLR inputs:
As with other SMSL products I have tested, it comes with regulator and safety certification:
SMSL HO100 Measurements
As usual we start with 4 volts in (for XLR input) and adjust the output to get 4 volts out. This meant using medium...
This is a review and detailed measurements of the SMSL DO100 stereo balanced DAC with Bluetooth. It was sent to me by Aoshida Audio and costs US 239.
Sorry about the fuzzy front panel picture. It looks better in person. The rotary control makes it nice to adjust volume. Back panel is the usual affair but with USB-C connector instead of the usual Type B:
Nice that AC adapter is built into the unit so you don't have to worry about a dongle. The usual SMSL remote control is provided.
SMSL DO100 Measurements
Let's start with our usual dashboard using XLR balanced out:
This is superb performance especially at this price, landing the DO100 nicely in our top 20 list of best DACs ever measured:
A member asked me a while ago to test the ultra cheap ($18) UWAYKEY Mini Bluetooth Amplifier on Amazon. To make the clickbait title work , I omitted the cost of the external power supply you need to bring yourself. What you get is a three board assembly:
It took less than 5 minutes to put the heatsink on the main class D amp chip and sandwich the main board with the top and bottom. The chip used must be for smart speakers as it has voice prompts when you change inputs. Speaking of that, it has Bluetooth (which I did not test), analog and USB in. The little heatsink has no air flow and in testing, it got quite hot to touch at times.
For testing, I used my lab power supply and set the output voltage to 24 volts (max spec). The supply has 3 Amps max current. Amplifier is rated for dual 50 watts at...