Howard Kneller

Howard Kneller  |  Nov 30, 2022  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Stellar performance
Full feature package
Small physical footprint
Killer price
Minus
Small, monochrome display
Modest power rating

THE VERDICT
A small, but technology and feature-rich all-in-one component that delivers large and impressive sound at a fraction of its expected price.

Like many, I've embraced music streaming, but refuse to give up my CDs and LPs. As a result, my stereo system contains multiple components and a thicket of wires. For people who won't tolerate such complexity, Panasonic's Technics has thankfully introduced the SA-C600 streaming CD receiver ($999). This impressively small component features an integrated amplifier, a streamer, a CD player, a phono stage, an FM tuner, and a headphone output.

Howard Kneller  |  Nov 16, 2022  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Museum-quality aesthetics
Audiophile sound
Feature-packed (DSP, HDMI ARC, phono)
Extensive connectivity
Minus
Placement requires care

THE VERDICT
The Omnia’s large and well-defined soundscape, striking industrial design, full feature package, and connective versatility make it one of the most desirable wireless speakers available.

Due in no small part to its propensity to produce exquisite wooden cabinets, Italy-based Sonus faber has for many years created some of the sexiest speakers around. Of course, for a country that claims Ferrari, Prada, and LaPerla, sexy seems to be easy. Still, Sonus' sexy factor seems to be the result of several things other than just the country of origin. There's the addition by the company of keen-eyed Chief Design Officer Livio Cucuzza in 2010. Also, in 2021 the company purchased the masterly De Santi woodworking factory, with which it began working with back in 1986.

Howard Kneller  |  Oct 25, 2022  |  1 comments
Nobody ever went broke betting that the latest turntables and phono stages from the Austria’s Pro-Ject delivered good sound and high value. With that precept in mind, I headed to Brooklyn’s trendy Café Kitsune last week to attend a demonstration of the company’s new “True Balanced Connection” turntables and phono stages.
Howard Kneller  |  Oct 21, 2022  |  0 comments
Audio-Technica celebrates the accomplishments of its founder Hideo Matsushita and the milestone of the company’s 60th anniversary at New York’s vintage-cool Turntable LP Bar & Karaoke Club.
Howard Kneller  |  Jul 13, 2022  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Spacious, rich sound
Gorgeous aesthetics
Tank-like build quality
Feature-packed
Minus
Small display
Limited wired connectivity options
Lacks room correction

THE VERDICT
The Marantz Model 40n is a thoroughly modern music streaming machine that sounds great and delivers a robust set of features without losing sight of the brand’s storied past.

I attended a launch event for the Marantz Model 40n a few months ago and marveled at just how far the iconic brand has come since founder Saul Marantz took his first steps as an audio pioneer way back in 1945. In true hobbyist fashion, he modified his car radio so he could listen to it at home and, once it was up and running there, continued tinkering with it to improve its performance.

Howard Kneller  |  Jun 29, 2022  |  0 comments
Bowers & Wilkins, the equivalent of audio royalty in England and around the world, staged a press event yesterday at Soho House in New York City’s trendy Meatpacking District to flex its muscle in headphones, a category the brand has been slowly expanding over the past decade or so.
Howard Kneller  |  May 04, 2022  |  0 comments
KEF’s April 30, 2022 “An Evening with Satchmo” event, featuring special guest Grammy winner Ricky Ricciardi, Director of Research Collections at the Louis Armstrong House Museum and Archives, marked the first time that I wore a suit since the pandemic’s start. Although the manufacturer events that I’ve recently attended have each raised the bar on luxury, this one promised to significantly up the ante. It featured not only a semi-formal dress code, but high-end food and spirits and Louis Armstrong music and video clips in an elegant setting—KEF’s Marlboro, New Jersey Music Lounge, which the company describes as an “idea, training, and experience center” that’s physically attached to its U.S. corporate headquarters.
Howard Kneller  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,548 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Stellar performance
Powerful internal amplifier
Modular design accommodates updates and additional features
Minus
Modestly built chassis
Small front-panel display
Uninspired remote control

THE VERDICT
The C 399 delivers great performance, impressive features and flexibility, and high value in a modest, yet handsome package.

While waiting on the arrival of NAD's C 399 integrated amplifier for review, I checked it out on the company's website. What I saw there was a minimally adorned exemplar of the black-box design school, with steel chassis panels of ordinary fabrication and a small display showing mostly monochrome text. Yawn. Well, a funny thing happened when the C 399 finally arrived, and I unboxed it. I took a shine to its no-frills, understatedly handsome looks. Sure, there are more striking-looking components out there with more robust build quality, but they'll cost you.

Howard Kneller  |  Mar 16, 2022  |  4 comments
Why does summer always seem to fly by and winter to drag on? Why does the line you're in at the supermarket always seem to be the one moving the slowest? What is Roon? These aren't the easiest questions to answer.

For our purposes, we'll address the question of Roon, a subscription-based digital music library and streaming management software that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux-based computers as well as music servers like Roon's own Nucleus and Nucleus Plus.

Howard Kneller  |  Mar 09, 2022  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $4,995

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Outstanding performance and build quality
Stunning 14.9-inch high-def color touchscreen
Highly customizable operation
HDMI ports for connecting to a TV
Minus
Lacks headphone output, phono input, and room EQ

THE VERDICT
Gorgeous design, audiophile-grade sound, an alluring touchscreen, and 4K video output make the HiFi Rose RS150 a high-value item despite its premium price.

My listening room has seen components from three different South Korean audio manufacturers over the past year, and in each case the performance, build quality, and aesthetics of the product have been uniformly superb. But what really impressed me about them is the extent to which each used software and/or circuitry developed in-house rather than purchased off-the-shelf. Call me slow, but I think something special is going on south of the 38th parallel.

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