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AIG EQUIPMENT REVIEWS

Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 Pro In Ear Headphones

Xtreme Mac FS1 Headphones

“If only the other bleary-eyed, white-earbud-using subway riders knew how good I have it with headphones like these. Not only am I being spared the concerto for shrieking brakes and deafening track clatter by the Superfi’s 26 dB of isolation, I’m enjoying fantastic sound; Sound that, until recently, had absolutely no business coming from such tiny headphones…”

Torus 20 Amp/120 Volt Power Conditioner

Torus AO24-ACB-A1AB Power Conditioner

“The power conditioner market seems to be quite highly populated these days, and new players, one would hope, will have a real story to tell, rather than just a smoke and mirrors exercise like some players currently out there. We’ve seen the giant parallel bypass inductors that come out of the swamp, defying physics, and other approaches that themselves approach fraud. Close encounters of this kind we don’t need…”

XtremeMac FS1 In Ear Headphones

Xtreme Mac FS1 Headphones

“Eighteen or twenty four months ago a comment to the effect that the Ipod accessory market was significantly larger than the market for the Ipod itself might elicit a laugh. Even a casual survey of the internet these days (just google “Ipod case” to see what I’m talking about) will demonstrate just how massive a product wave Apple has touched off, and just how much larger the accessory market is now…”

Panamax Max 5510 AC Power Conditioner / Regenerator

Panamax Max 5510 AC Regenerator

“The Max 5510 is Panamax’s most feature-packed power filtration/protection product, designed to handle the power needs of an entire home AV system in one (small) power amp-sized box. Panamax calls the 5510 an “AC regenerator”, adopting a hot catchphrase of the past several years. This, I think, is a case of the marketing department getting a little carried away…”

Shure E5C In Ear Headphones

Shure E5C Headphones

“Just in case you somehow hadn’t noticed, portable audio is hot. White hot. Ipod white. The Ipod has become the Sony Walkman of the 21st Century and gained a cachet and ubiquity in popular culture unrivalled perhaps by any piece of audio equipment ever invented. Ipods are now the object of enough consumer lust that they can actually be dangerous to their owners…”

Sonic Impact Tripath Amplifier (T Amp)

Sonic Impact T Class Amplifier

“If you’re the kind of audiophile who keeps on top of all things related to reproduced music via the internet, then there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already heard about the Sonic Impact Class T Amp, which has recently become a hot topic of various forums, zines, newsgroups and other online text repositories dealing with audio gear…”

Echo Indigo Laptop Sound Card

PSB Platinum M2 Loudspeaker

“More than just a headphone jack (the Indigo actually has two 1/8″ gold plated mini jacks) the Echo Audio card is a D to A converter as well as a high quality analog output stage. It supports up to 24 bit, 96 kHz signals, uses a 100 Mhz Motorola DSP chip and has a nice, chunky analog volume control knob right on top. For those looking to use their notebook as a recorder, Echo also makes an Indigo with an analog input as well as a model aimed at DJs, featuring two independent stereo outputs.”

Menttor 5.1 Surround Headphones

Menttor 5.1 Surround Headphones

“The Menttor is a plug-and-play 5.1 surround system, but here it is through headphones, and therefore may be of interest to many who like music, movies, or TV at hours when others in the home are sleeping. This quite large, but very light, headphone system, has 6 drivers, and the amplifier/DAC box, which is very small, has a Dolby Digital/DTS chip, and 6 channels of amplification…”

Leapfrog Wavemaster 30 Wireless A/V Extender

Terk Wavemaster 30 audio video range extender

“I’d had one of these gadgets operating when I was called by the Terk PR agency to ask if I wanted to play with the Wavemaster 30. By “these gadgets” I mean a box that sends audio and video wirelessly to a similar receiving box in another room. The original was an RCA that I bought after seeing it at a Thomson dealer show…”

Audiophile APS 1000 Power Regenerator/Conditioner

Audiophile APS 1000

“Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) have become a part of computer operation over the last few years, and have probably prevented data loss in many instances of power interruptions. Here we have the next stage of evolution, the Audiophile Power Supply, this one the largest and most expensive model in a line of three, with further variations in battery power also available…”

RCA Lyra Portable MP3 Player

RCA Lyra

“Like most of the first wave of MP3 players to hit the market, the RCA Lyra is a very compact portable device, smaller than most cell phones, aimed at dethroning the discman style CD player from portable supremacy. Whereas some portables, like Creative Labs’ Nomad, use computer style hard drives for file storage, the Lyra falls into the smaller, less expensive category of players using small, removable chip based memory cards…”

RCA Video Source Selector

RCA Video Source Selector

“Over the past few years, the number of video sources has multiplied much more quickly than the number of A/V inputs on most televisions. It’s not uncommon for people to have three or more A/V sources: DVD player, VCR, satellite receiver or cable box, maybe a LaserDisc player and videogame console, and, from time to time, a camcorder…”

ETF Listening Room Analysis Software

ETF -- Click for Review

“For audiophiles, listening rooms are a bit like the weather. We talk about them, but few of us do much about them. We might experiment with speaker placement and listening-chair position, and some ambitious souls try to tame room problems with products like ASC Tube Traps. But not many of us go beyond that….”

Tweaking the Light Fantastic - Aaron Marshall Investigates Some Effective and not so Effective Tweaks

Black Diamond Racing Cones

“High end audio gets away with murder. By the standards of the non-audiophile, most of the stuff we buy, and what we pay for it, can be explained only by a form of selective dementia affecting us in all areas having to do with reproduced sound. How many other industries cater to a demographic as fanatical, as restlessly compulsive, and as willing to suspend its collective disbelief? The answer may lie in another question: How many businesses are charged with selling something as slippery and unquantifiable as the aesthetics of sound?”

Inouye Synergistic Power Line Conditioner

Inouye Synergistic Power Line Conditioner

“Power conditioners are one of those products which teeter on the edge of mainstream audio acceptability these days. While they probably have a better reputation than carbon fiber shelves or ebony pucks many audiophiles would lump them in the same shady category, labeling them as the foolish toys of misguided, obsessive compulsive and moderately paranoid audio freaks….”

AIG Tweaks: Imagers and Cleanjack

Oppo 970 HD

“Andrew Marshall’s original Imager design was quite straightforward: a circular neoprene ring that surrounded the tweeter and absorbed energy that would otherwise have been radiated along the speaker baffle and re-radiated milliseconds later at the listener when it reached the edge. The design was sound, and 5000 pairs were sold with not one consumer complaint or return, and a plethora of praise for the improvements wrought with normal direct radiating box speaker designs…”

Grado Reference Series RS1 Stereo Headphones

Grado RS1 Stereo Headphones-- Click for Review

“I reviewed and ultimately acquired the Grado SR125 headphone almost two years ago (Smr 95), and have since used it in concert and session recordings for monitoring. The thing I’ve always liked about this phone is that it sounds more like speakers than any other I’ve heard in its timbral balance; other headphones tend to be rather bright and spitty by comparison…”

Acco Acoustic Panels

Acco Acoustic Panels-- Click for Review

I first discovered these acoustic absorbers at the Montreal Festival du Son more than a year ago, as demonstrated by genial Yves Boudreau, about whom I have a brief anecdote: at this year’s show I ran into Yves for the third show in a row, his display in the main ballroom just over the way from ours for AIG Imagers, recordings, etc. He greeted me warmly, saying, “Ah, Mr. Marshall, how are you?” My reply was, “Fine, but please call me Andrew…”


  Outside the Speakers

    Random Thoughts on the Music Mask
    NPR on Whether Audiophiles Still Exist
    Audiophile Grade Mics?
    CDs Sales Die, LP Sales Fly
    Some High End 'Phones from CES

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