The Top Five of Yung
We have tested the British ATC several times; in February 2021 we were at the Artone Studio with Tim Knol as our musical guest and played with the SCM-40A, an active studio monitor. What a wonderful speaker this is. We are immediately drawn into the music which is no doubt due to the mid-dome unit which provides a very refined midrange, something we also see in Quested studio monitors in this price range. Neutrality and musicality in 1 package; to get speakers, amplifiers and cabling as separate components together for say 10,000 euros will not be easy. Connect a nice preamp and source to these ATCs and you’ll never want anything else.
In January we were introduced to this beauty that also performs more than excellently. This amplifier is just right and is also sublimely designed. The beautiful appearance of the Gato AMP-150 really adds to the experience. Moreover, it will increase the acceptance of “black box-avoiding family members” for audio equipment. For us, the introduction to GATO was a departure from an unwritten rule that audio should only be functional and that design plays a secondary role. Good design does matter, if the audio performance is right. And with the Gato this is in order.
MOON 610 LP
In September, we had three phono preamps from the Canadian company MOON visiting us: the 110LP, the 310 LP V2 and the 610. The nice thing about such a test is that we can hear where the models differ and what they do extra. We hear how with each step up in the MOON series, more musical information is extracted from the same signal. The characteristic of MOON is already audible at the entry level, the 110 LP V2. The 310 LP already reveals a lot more detail, spaciousness and layering. The 610 LP is the ultimate in detail. What this preamp can get out of a record is amazing, we were really impressed. It was special to experience what the quality of the power supply does to the sound of this type of amplifiers.
This brings us to the subject of power. An undervalued component in the audio chain and very unfairly so. Good, clean and shielded power makes us system sing. It’s like dirty water in your drink; it doesn’t taste like it either. Power in your home is plagued by switching power supplies (o.a LED), power demanding appliances (washer, dryer), RF radiation. We highly recommend a good filter for your audio equipment. Make a distinction between low voltage devices such as DA converters, streamers, switches and preamplifiers; and so-called high current devices such as power amplifiers or active speakers. Especially with power equipment applies; try before you buy so here is no advice for a particular brand. Look and listen to the livestreams we broadcasted on this subject at the end of 2021 and to reviews of the Hypsos Ferrum.
Diffusers and bass straps
Another “forgotten audio vegetable”; the acoustic treatment of the room in which you listen to music. The good news is, installing acoustical absorption and diffusers also increases the sound and quality of your space in a general way. Living rooms are usually of mediocre quality when it comes to sound. Too many reflections making voices quickly sound too loud and it becomes tiring when many people talk at the same time. Especially now that we are home more because of corona, an acoustic treatment is no unnecessary luxury. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot. When we remodeled the Alpha-Audio studio, we used acoustic panels for damping and diffusion that are also used in studios. We mention a few examples in the report on this renovation. Good acoustics, we estimate, determine at least 30-40% of the quality of your music experience.