Hifi Zine
The enthusiast's audio webzine

Equipment Reviews

HifiZine publishes independent reviews of a range of audio equipment. We don’t impose budgetary constraints – equipment is reviewed at the interest of our reviewers.

Charisma 103 Moving Coil Cartridge

“The Charisma 103 moving coil cartridge delivered rich, full-bodied sonics that made me spin record after record in simple enjoyment,” writes Patrick Dillon in his review of this modified Denon 103 from Charisma Audio. “It came alive without fussy adjustment or tweaking, a boon to vinyl lovers no matter their rigs. Whichever way you slice it, the Charisma 103 is great value. Unhesitatingly recommended.”

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Valvet A4 Class A Monoblocks

Patrick Dillon visits the world of Class A amplification with the Valvet A4 monoblocks. His conclusion? “When you hear them over an extended period of time on music you love, you come to realize there is something quite special about these amplifiers. … The Valvet A4s are capable of delivering musical reproduction that is as good as I can remember hearing. Class A all the way.”

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Bybee Gold RCA Adaptors

Patrick Dillon test-drives a pair of Bybee RCA adapters. He finds them position-dependent. But where they work, he concludes that “It’s these small incremental improvements in tone, timbre and decay that the Bybees repeatedly provided that has me quite impressed with their value. Taking them out is as noticeable as putting them back in.”

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Ice Age Audio Power Cables

Patrick Dillon explores the range of cables from father-and-son business IceAge Audio in his own rigs. Impressed by their performance-price quotient, he nominates them as a new value leader. “No magic here, no spoof science, just well chosen material, solid workmanship, and really sane prices.” The review concludes with a short Q&A with proprietor Rick Parker.

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BenQ treVolo Portable Electrostatic Speaker

“With piles of snow in the back yard, ice storms rolling across the northern States, and a Christmas tree still gracing a corner of the living room, the holiday will be with us for a while longer. Along with the tree, I’ve been living with a small but exciting powered speaker system that redefines clarity and versatility on the desk top.” Oliver Masciarotte tells.

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Bryston BLP-1 Turntable

As the vinyl resurgence continues apace, Bryston enters the turntable market. Patrick Dillon gives their new offering, the BLP-1, a spin and reckons it sets the bar for sonics and usability at the price: “Here you have an investment in vinyl playback that will pay-off in the years ahead. If you place a premium on music and a simple life, here’s your ‘table.”

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1More Triple Drivers – A Product Review and Comparison

Eddie Ciletti is a life-long audio engineer and technician. He tries to find the balance between the art and the science of sound. In this article for HifiZine, he judges the 1More triple-driver IEMs against seven competitors in terms of fit, seal, ability to reproduce the lowest bass notes and kick drum resonance, a smooth upper midrange presence and a delicate, “airy” treble.

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Edifier H840: good sound for a song

“I never really consider myself a headphone user” writes Patrick Dillon as he starts his review of the Edifier H840 portable over-ear headphones. Nonetheless, he admits to regular headphone use anyway, and decides that “the H840s offer a bargain-basement price for a genuine taste of good sound. For all essential matters: sonics, ergonomics, and price, Edifier have a winner here.”

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Tisbury Audio Mini Passive Preamplifier II

“Sometimes, it’s the little things that drive you crazy… take, for example, gain. It seems there’s always too much or too little, never the perfect Goldilocks amount.” Oliver Masciarotte test-drives the Tisbury Audio Mini Passive with adjustable gain switches as a solution. “For modest or minimalist systems, the Mini Passive is a no–brainer; versatile, compact, low cost and aurally unobtrusive.”

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PranaFidelity Fifty90 loudspeakers

“A couple of years ago at RMAF I lucked into a room on the quieter Sunday morning session… the sonics were excellent, the music interesting, and the vibe relaxed…” Patrick Dillon continues the journey by spending quality time with the PranaFidelity Fifty90 standmounts in his own listening rooms, concluding that “the Fifty90s are among the most memorable pairs I’ve had the good fortune to spend unhurried listening time with in my own home.”

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