“This may be the best cartridge I’ve ever heard”: Ken Kessler reviews DS Audio’s new flagship Grand Master optical pickup for Hi-Fi News

The Grand Master optical cartridge is not only DS Audio’s new flagship, but its completely new design also sees in the company’s ‘third generation’ of what is proving to be a peerless approach to phono cartridge engineering. Ken Kessler finds his music delivered “with such conviction that I was getting too emotional to be critical.”

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MBL N51 integrated amplifier & N31 CD/DAC among Canadian high-end journal Audiophilia’s Products of the Year

Published and edited since 1997, Audiophilia is one of Canada’s most popular web magazines for audio and music journalism. The magazine’s annual Product of the Year awards showcase the review team’s top picks from the equipment reviewed in full that year. Of the 17 products awarded, two are from German MBL.

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“Are you mad?” Record label owner Cameron Jenkins explains his move into high-end audio and the case for the pro and audiophile worlds coming together

“Audiophiles maintain a not-so hushed reverence for recording engineers, producers and independent record label owners. Deep down they harbor a desire to lay claim to being one, if not all, of the above.” writes David Blumenstein for US audiophile webzine DaGoGo.com. Which begs the question of why Cameron Jenkins, who already is all of the above as well as a classically trained musician and songwriter, has taken to opening his very own retail hi-fi shop/service. Blumenstein interviews Jenkins to find out more.

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Hi-Fi Plus Preamplifier of the Year: Townshend Allegri Reference

“It’s hard to appreciate how critical the preamplifier is until one like this comes along and reveals what you thought was a limitation of the source was actually a distortion by the preamp,” says Hi-Fi Plus of the Townshend Allegri Reference, which is now a worthy winner of one of the magazine’s top annual awards.

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Hi-Fi Plus Power Product of the Year: Computer Audio Design’s Ground Control Reference

“Passive earth or grounding systems are fast gaining traction in audio, but few can muster quite the same gavitas – or, for that matter, gravitational pull – as the top ground Control Refrence (GC-R) model from Computer Audio Design,” says Hi-Fi Plus in its special annual awards issue.

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MBL chief engineer Jürgen Reis inducted into The Absolute Sound’s High-End Audio Hall of Fame

Jürgen Reis, the brilliant engineer behind MBL of Germany’s celebrated line of loudspeakers and electronics, has been honoured by US audio magazine The Absolute Sound.

“For all his contributions to the building and testing of audio equipment, and the enjoyment of music played back on it, this extraordinary man for all seasons, Jürgen Reis, is hereby inducted into The Absolute Sound’s High-End Hall of Fame,” writes the magazine.

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Hi-Fi News Yearbook 2020: Audio Analogue, Dan Clark Audio, Exposure and Scansonic among 2020’s “jewels of high-end audio”

“Now, more than ever, is a time to celebrate all that brings us joy,” says Hi-Fi News editor Paul Miller in his introduction to the magazine’s annual Yearbook. This may have been the global annus horribilis of them all, but still, there has been “hardware to inspire our senses and music to sustain our souls”.

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