Howard Kneller

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.

Howard Kneller  |  Feb 15, 2022  |  1 comments
I’ve been told the pandemic is over and that things are opening up. That’s hopefully the case, I said to myself as I headed out to the February 9 launch of the Marantz Model 40n network integrated amplifier ($2,499).
Howard Kneller  |  Oct 27, 2021  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent sound quality
Impressive power in a small package
Extensive feature set
Minus
So-so headphone preamp
Lacks room correction
Non-backlit remote

THE VERDICT
Cambridge Audio’s feature-packed wireless network streamer/integrated amplifier offers substantial power and generally excellent performance at a reasonable price.

Now headquartered in London, English audio product manufacturer Cambridge Audio was founded in 1968 in the university city of the same name. The company's initial product was the walnut-trimmed 20 watts-per-channel (Wpc) P40 integrated amplifier. (Notably, the P40 was the first consumer audio amp to contain a toroidal transformer, a now de rigueur feature in high-end audio.)

Howard Kneller  |  Jul 07, 2021  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Outstanding performance and build quality
Wireless multiroom streaming-capable
Roon Ready and AirPlay 2-compatible
Minus
Lacks front panel display
No HDMI input

THE VERDICT
Simaudio's Moon 280D is a bit light on features when compared with its wireless network music streamer/DAC competition, but it offers exceptional build quality and audiophile-grade sound.

Simaudio, an audio manufacturer located in Quebec, Canada is well-known for both the build quality of its products and the whopping ten-year warranty it offers. Many of the company's wares are decidedly high-end—the 230-pound Moon 888 monoblock amplifier ($118,888 per pair), which is rated to output a massive 888 watts at 8 ohms and double that down to 1,776 watts at 4 ohms, for example.

Howard Kneller  |  Mar 17, 2021  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,835

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Great sound quality
Multiple HDMI inputs (w/ARC)
Effective Space Optimisation room correction
Built-in phono stage
Minus
Dealer setup recommended
Small speaker terminals

THE VERDICT
Linn's all-in-one wireless streamer/amplifier/DAC offers impressive sound, sleek looks, and plentiful connectivity options.

According to the corporate lore of Scottish audio manufacturer Linn, in 1973 a newly married engineer named Ivor Tiefenbrun went shopping at his wife's direction to buy home furnishings. To his wife's chagrin, the story goes, he instead returned with a stereo system. After setting it up, Ivor was disappointed with the sound, but soon discovered that moving the turntable from his listening room into an adjoining room improved the system's performance since the speakers' output no longer interacted with the turntable and distorted the audio signal.

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