John Grandberg

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John Grandberg  |  Mar 15, 2013  |  13 comments

Parasound hasn't released a DAC in nearly 2 decades. That streak is now broken thanks to their new Zdac. Was it worth the wait?

John Grandberg  |  Mar 06, 2013  |  15 comments

Icon Audio is a self-professed "small company" based Leicester UK. Since 1999 they have been in the business of making tube-based audio gear, chiefly amplifiers and preamps but also CD players and even tube-friendly speakers. I examine their HP8 MKII headphone amplifier to see what Icon is all about.

John Grandberg  |  Feb 04, 2013  |  3 comments

Consonance probably intended for this EL34 based tube integrated to be used in a dedicated listening room driving some high-efficiency speakers. And it does that quite well. Thanks to its relatively compact size and built-in headphone amp, it works perfectly for desktop audio too, which is why it fits here at InnerFidelity.

John Grandberg  |  Dec 16, 2012  |  14 comments

There was a time, not long ago, when the terms "high-quality" and "computer speakers" were seldom used together. If one desired reasonably good sound from their computer, they spent $100 to $200 on something like a Logitech or Klipsch 2.1 setup and called it good enough. Things have changed since then and the MM-1 from Bowers and Wilkins was among the earliest models to offer serious sound to match their good looks. That was nearly 3 years ago - are they still relevant today?

John Grandberg  |  Dec 07, 2012  |  5 comments

I just love checking out previously unknown (to me) gear from Japan. They have quite a few high quality headphone-oriented brands that don't get much exposure anywhere else. Case in point - the Izmo M1. Check out the picture above: looks like a nice portable amp right? That was my first thought as well but it turns out I was wrong. Sort of. It's far more than just a portable amp but can impersonate one with the right accessories.

Confused yet? Allow me to explain...

John Grandberg  |  Oct 25, 2012  |  17 comments

Electrostatic headphones. Just mentioning to term conjures thoughts of supremely expensive systems and frustratingly confusing naming conventions. Example: the Stax SRS-4170 system is comprised of the SR-407 headphones and the SRM-006tS amplifier. But the official name is "earspeaker" instead of headphones, and "driver unit" rather than amplifier. And at $2,000 this is merely a mid-range system, with the top models selling for significantly higher prices.

Woo Audio aims to help make 'stats more accessible with their WEE transformer box. Read on to find out why this thing might just be your ticket to electrostatic goodness at a reasonable price.

John Grandberg  |  Sep 21, 2012  |  15 comments

Meizu, former maker of DAPs (Digital Audio Players---back when that was a word people used for non-iProducts), attempts to reinvent themselves as a contender in the smartphone world. Their latest is called the MX 4-core, and it aims to beat Samsung's new Galaxy S III at its own game. With competitive specs, unique features, and a few surprises up their sleeves, Meizu just may pull it off...

...at least as far as audiophiles are concerned.

John Grandberg  |  Aug 27, 2012  |  14 comments

Focusrite, a pro-audio firm, calls this a "high-quality headphone interface with a difference"--the difference being their Virtual Reference Monitoring feature. They say it "emulates the experience of mixing in real rooms, with real speakers, using headphones." That's a big claim for a small device.

Let's see if it actually delivers.

John Grandberg  |  Aug 06, 2012  |  13 comments

The Cube from NuForce: a diminutive metallic device measuring less than 2.5 inches in each dimension, packed full of features including a speaker, a DAC, and a headphone amplifier.

There's no way this thing actually sounds decent ... is there?

John Grandberg  |  Jul 19, 2012  |  31 comments

Leckerton Audio offers a revised version of an old favorite. It's a portable amp with a built in DAC - featuring USB, coaxial, and toslink inputs. Plus it's fairly compact. And it's reasonably priced.

What's not to like?

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