Alpha Audio has had an unprecedented number of products in its hands this year. Partly due to mass testing, we have certainly been heading towards 120 products again. Processing this with a compact but loyal review team is impressive. In this part: the Top 5 of Yung Lie!
Buchardt A500 and System Audio Legend 5.2
Active speakers combined with good DSP (Digital Signal Processing) are the future. We heard this during the first livestream of the year. Colleague Martijn has delved even further into what is possible with the DSP settings in his review. We also experienced this with the Illusonic IAP8, but then you are talking about a processor of about 15k.
Unbelievable what these little speakers are capable of. If the DSP is further refined with software updates, it will only get better.
A reader already wrote it during the blind test of integrated amplifiers of ± EUR 2,500; this is the sweet spot of most brands. Our first serious amplifier we bought was a Linn Majik-1 and it was also at about this price point at the time. You can always do better, and you’re talking about separate pre and power amplifiers. A good integrated amplifier is nice because of its simplicity. And the Arcam just played wonderfully.
Your editor has been using Audirvana since 2013, back then as a musical shell that freed us from the mediocre quality of iTunes. With Audirvana as a plugin, iTunes sounded many times better. After that, the application was especially popular with UPNP and Mac users.
Since the release of Audirvana Studio, there is a functioning Windows version and the interface has been thoroughly overhauled. The technical philosophy of Audivana founder Damien Plisson, that the best audio quality is achieved over a computer when the processor has to do as little as possible, is heard right away. Audirvana simply sounds the way music should sound.
Read colleague Jaap’s review and you will understand what we mean.
Digital audio is not finished. The digital reference system in the Alpha Audio studio sounds – of course – fantastic. The digital audio chain that gets this done is equally fantastic; a high-end audio PC, a reclocker/masterclock, a tweaked Ethernet switch, special power supplies for the audio PC, separate power filters for the digital equipment, quadruple shielded network cables, decouplers under the Mutec… so on and so forth. We can create a “Pat and Mat” episode about this.
Fortunately, since a few months there is also a turntable and a phono preamp in the Alpha-Audio studio. The STD 305D with SME 3009 tonearm and ADC TRXII cartridge.
Phono preamp is the Primare R35. The turntable is a classic from the 1980s, a Scottish brand that could rival the Linn Sondek LP12 but unfortunately had a short existence. In this livestream, the system is prominently featured and listened to. With all – or perhaps because of its imperfections – listening to an LP is an experience that provides relaxation and lets us enjoy the music.
Analog is back, even in Alpha Audio’s listening room!