Not that long ago, I upgraded my ageing NAD 7140 receiver to a new NAD preamp/amp C326BEE to drive my Bryston 3B. One of the reaso for the upgrade was that I was looking forward to a remote control of the volume of my preamp. If Audiocubics had been around then, I may very well have been tempted to buy this piece of gear rather than a new NAD. I don't regret it though, as it is a very transparent preamp/remote combo!
But here comes the Audiocubics R-Cube and look at what it does for a mere 295USD:
"The R-Cube system is a showpiece stereo remote volume control with superb audio characteristics and a sophisticated minimalist look. Appearance is just as important as performance in excellent audio gear and brushed or machined aluminium and exotic rich hardwoods enhance the R-cubes aesthetic. The cube shape satisfies the performance design goal of minimum possible total signal path and catches the eye with it's geometric simplicity. Each R-Cube is hand crafted out of brushed aluminium, with machine-turned aluminium buttons and a single 192 colour LED light indicating volume level. Select exotic hardwoods with a lustrous oiled finish and matching machine-turned aluminium buttons are used on the handheld remote to give it visual and tactile appeal. The R-cube is constructed with gold/teflon RCA jacks, silver/teflon wiring, triple eutectic solder and a minimum possible signal path in order to maintain maximum signal integrity throughout.
The Audiocubics R-cube system is a simple and elegant remote stereo volume control that is as much art as it is high performance audio gear." I really love that simple statement!
The specs are impressive and the looks! That's "hawt" as hell! I might buy one just for that alone...
And look at the different finishes for the remote itself, like cocobolo or purpleheart on top of anodised "aluminium" and black acrylic or the very vintage walnut!
I am also thinking about using this Audiocubics between my OPPO and the Bryston 3B for a very minimalist setup, bypassing the NAD altogether. I think that would be very cool!
Ideas for future products could be to add switching between two sources: I would connect the OPPO on one and the output of my NAD phono stage to the other - and a headphone amp! Au boulot Curt!
Santa Claus included in His shipment of goodies this lovely, simple and inexpensive new toy - and I gather my friend Len Wallis had a hand in this this...
But between my own travels, visitors from overseas and...work, I have not had a chance to try this wonderful addition to my hifi kingdom.
We are experiencing a very strong storm here in Sydney, really the tail of a cyclone hitting the Coast 6 hours drive north, so it is a good time to set it up (a breeze...sic) and clean a few records and take the time to listen to the results.
First cab off the rank is "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" by Simon and Garfunkel, a 1969 CBS record pressed in Holland and purchased in Paris for 49.00 francs, which was quite a sum at the time) which has seen many needles and turntables over the years (Dual 1219, Clement for a few nights, ERA 455, Rega Planar 3 since 194, and more recently Rega P1 branded NAD. BTW, as my daughter is in Paris for six months, I have pinched the glass platter of her (my old...) Planar 3 and installed it in the P1 which brings a significant improvement to the overall sound.
Back to cleaning, after three spins clockwise and three counterclockwise and a good dry with the special doth provided, it has to be said that most of the surface noise is gone, and it brings clarity to the whole affair. For sure, there is still audible noise in the groove in between songs, indicating that the brushes are not doing a great job in the depth of the groove, but gently clean the upper part of it satisfactorily to bring back the music to a very low level of noise free enjoyment.
Next I tried my original 1968 US pressing of the "White Album" from the Beatles bought in Mexico City at the time. This record has been abused at parties, on portable plasticky japanese player a la Teppaz, then on the same turntables as mentioned before. It is so damaged that I bought the 30th anniversary pressing which is still in pristine condition. However the 1968 pressing is still quite not there after the cleaning, as the needle collects a nice little fluff of dirt after the second side of the record finished playing. I think I will have to try a second clean another day and maybe keep it as a collector item, rather than a playable pleasure...I will let you know.
(That's 25 years ago, mon Dieu...)
Having said that, this Spin-Clean costs less than one hundred dollar and will restore most of your precious "galettes" to a listenable condition. To get something more efficient would cost about ten times more with a Clearaudio machine that would probably be my next choice up. But frankly, I rather spend the price difference on more records! Let me have your own cleaning stories...
You guessed it correctly - I was waiting to have my very own OPPO BD-95 to start reviewing sources encountered at the CES! And yes, it was my birthday present, and yes it does all it is supposed to do and does it very well indeed and I love it to bits!
It has been reviewed by every conscientious hifi journalist on the Planet, including a raving Ken Kessler, not a mince feast!
So, I am not going to do an in-depth review here, but after having listened to half a dozen CDs or so and two Blu-Ray, I can confirm that this machine does extract information from these discs in an extremely accurate way and present it to your ears in full colour - absence of noise, perfect silence between notes, accurate decays, impeccable timbre accuracy and amazing dynamic range even on my NAD amp - my Bryston 3b having decided to blow a fuse in the installation process and being at the Syntec hospital for a few more days!
I can't wait to get it back and enjoy even more firmness in the bass and more silk in the treble.
On a very rare recording of Memphis Slim in Paris in 1963 (INA FCD 127), recorded in various large and small venues, you can instantly recognised the differences, rather than just feel them on another player. It was particularly true of the recordings at "Les Trois Maillets", Memphis's favourite joint in Paris, where I was fortunate enough to meet and listen to him playing and singing with no mike, my arm resting on his piano, and that was a few years later in 1971, when I was at Uni. A real life and live experience...
It just confirms that a well designed 24/192 player can give a better sound than vynil and at a fraction of the price (1500$), my references being Michell Orbe (6000$) and Bergman (12000$) here...or a good old Rega, bien sur!
I have listened so far to Dire Straits "Private Investigations" and Andrea Boccelli live in Tuscany on Blu-Ray
- the video performance limited only by the smallish size of my LG LCD screen, but still providing blacker blacks and more accurate colours and nuances (ah, that sunset in Tuscany...), and on CD Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, and Rite of Spring on Decca (see my "Music" page), Carl Orff's Carmina Burana on DGG - a challenge for the NAD amp, I have to say... - , Carmen Fantasy with Anne-Sophie Mutter (obviously...should I say that to me Anne Sophie Mutter is to music what Sophie Marceau is to French Cinema???)) also on DGG, Astrud Gilberto Gold collection of Brazilian inspired songs on Verve, also on Verve "Ella and Louis", on Decca again the Organ Symphony and violin concerto number 3 by Saint-Saens, and The Astounding Eyes of Rita by Anouar Brahem playing the oud so graciously on ECM - and by the way, I still found time to work and cook!
Nuforce - all you need for your desktop audio
Nuforce is one of those myriad companies that breathe by hooking up with Apple iPods, iPhones and iPads and provide a superior audio experience out of these trendy/fancy devices.
Nuforce produces a suite of stylish and high performance DACs and desktop headphones and speakers amps.
Their specifications are quite high and their prices quite reasonable, so it is definitely a product that has found a niche in a crowded market.
They can bundle up their products with Tangent Audio EVO speakers, a great team indeed!
NAD - no it does not mean Noise And Distortion...
It is no big secret that I am a fan...
Over the years, I have owned a NAD 7140 receiver - now retired after 23 years of good service - and now a NAD turntable (a clone of the REGA P1) a NAD phono stage PP3i and a NAD C326BEE, used only as a preamp to drive my Bryston 3B, and a second hand tuner 4150.
So it was fitting to see NAD exhibiting a triphonic speaker system, very Microphase-like indeed!
That is certainly a piece of equipment I will not buy, but it would certainly a good buy for someone not as biaised as myself...
I am not too sure how I came to own one of these fancy French contraptions, and I have no recollection how it disappeared from my life, apart from the fact that I had a very naughty kitten at one point who really enjoyed playing with the antiskating counterweight!
One can always use a cover, I hear you say, but there is great debate out there, whether or not it affects the sound!
The cat certainly did!!!
This was quite an elaborate design, with a floating subchassis and an arm based on an unprecedented (and unrepeated, as far as I know) virtual design pivot.
I heard on another forum that JC Verdier had a hand in the design...If it is true, then it would have been the most inexpensive of his designs!
The whole thing was pretty difficult to set up and was very wobbly indeed, but the sound was quite an upgrade from the Dual it replaced.
It is also at that time, that I started to be very found of the Grado cartridges, certainly contributing to the notch up in quality from the inexpensive Shure cartridges used on the Dual.
It is also at that time that I started to work for HP in the Test & Measurement division - now Agilent, and had access to the best test equipment in the World!
I had a big garage at the time, all fitted as an electronic laboratory, where I played with MOSFET amplifiers, ICE amplifiers modules from Sanken (I used to sell them...) and curiously, not much with tubes and speakers. All this happened before I moved to Scotland and discovered NAD, and the battle between Linn and Rega, the emergence of the CD...and started designing the Microphase speakers.
All photos are courtesy of www.vinylengine.com
We have had several versions of the cabinets and filters.
The first hundred or so were made without any commercial objective of profit whatsoever and we had the crossover made on the fly (see photo in previous post) and the internal faces of the cabinet were lined with bitumen for added neutrality. We even had a very limited series finished in piano lacquer (8 coats with resanding in between coats) which we sold for about 4 times the price of the standard ones (see photos of my daughter's system below featuring a pair of them, together with MY Rega and a A60 amp from A&R Cambridge, now Arcam)
BTW, I bought myself a NAD turntable for Christmas. They are obviously made by REGA, but with a cheaper mindset, and on a positive note the new Rega 251 arm and Ortofon OM5E cartridge, an improvement on the Grado I use on the Rega.
Under commercial pressure, later versions were not lined with bitumen and the filter was later built on a printed circuit board. Although it does not seem to affect the quality of the sound too much, I am still to do an A/B listening test to make sure.
My next project is actually to build new filters on air core inductors, better capacitors (all from Solen...after all they are a French company!) and also implement an impedance compensation network on the midrange driver, and no PCB. There is also room for improvement with the damping cloth used inside the cabinet. I will keep you posted on these experiments.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.