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Reviewers' ChoiceIn 1993, Rotel released the first three models in what became their critically acclaimed Michi line of electronics: the RHB-10 power amplifier, the RHC-10 passive controller, and the RHQ-10 equalizer. Rotel claimed that the Michis represented the very best they then had to offer in terms of design, technology, and sound quality. Over the next few years Rotel released five more Michi models, including a smaller power amplifier (RHB-5), an active preamplifier (RHA-10), an FM tuner (RHT-10), and a mammoth CD player (RHCD-10). The Michis were easily identified by their deep-gray cases of heavy-gauge steel, complemented by meticulously finished side panels of Japanese redwood -- but it was the many progressive technologies implemented in each that made them special.

Some 15 years ago, after improving the sound of my two-channel audio system by upgrading all of its cables, I looked into doing the same for my home-theater rig. An obvious place to begin was with the Monster Cable coaxial S/PDIF interconnect that was between my DVD player and A/V receiver. Remember, this was around the time HDMI cables first appeared.

Reviewers' ChoiceMy very first hi-fi purchase was a pair of Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk.II floorstanding speakers, in 2002. My local dealer had set up a head-to-head with Bowers & Wilkins’s vaunted Nautilus 804, a beautiful loudspeaker that I fully expected to take home a pair of. But something about the boxy Dynaudio spoke to me.

Merge Records MRG 730LP
Format: LP

Musical Performance: ***½
Sound Quality: ***½
Overall Enjoyment: ***½

Bob Mould is mad as hell and wants you to know it. In an online interview he describes his new album, Blue Hearts, as “the catchiest batch of protest songs I’ve ever written in one sitting.” Even when he’s contented, as he was on Sunshine Rock (2019), Mould plays exhilaratingly loud and fast rock’n’roll. Add anger to the equation and you get, well, punk rock. On “American Crisis,” the first single from the album, Mould and his band sound more like the Sex Pistols or the Clash than anyone else.

The last several months I’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink on luxury purchases, high-end sound quality, and where they overlap. It began in August 2020, with “The Purchasing of Luxury Audio and the Pursuit of Hi-Fi Are Two Different Hobbies,” in which I examined why people make luxury purchases in general, how this global appetite for luxury goods includes high-end audio, and why an audiophile who seeks only the high-fidelity reproduction of recorded music might be completely removed from such an experience.

You’d think the Great Pandemic of 2020 would create the perfect conditions for getting some writing done. Well, if you lived in the Thorpe household, you’d be wrong. Back in July, we decided to invite risk, expense, and chaos into our lives and start some major home renovations. We bashed down some walls to make our first floor into one large open-concept space, re-doing the kitchen at the same time. The second-floor bathroom became a full-on gut job, and the basement powder room (a small room with a toilet and sink, in case that euphemism isn’t shared by the rest of the world) also got some love.

Is Room Correction the Answer? The NAD M33 Integrated Amplifier Review (Take 2, Ep:18)

Can Small Speakers Sound Better? DALI Menuet SE Loudspeaker Review (Take 2, Ep:17)

Peter Thomas: From the BBC to PMC - SoundStage! Icons (October 2020)

Sonus faber's Paolo Tezzon on the New Lumina Loudspeakers - SoundStage! Talks (October 2020)

Is This the Best Class-D Amplifier? Purifi Audio's Eigentakt Amplifier Review (Take 2, Ep:15)

The Simaudio Moon Product Universe - SoundStage! Talks (September 2020)

Magico A1 Loudspeaker Review (Take 2, Ep:14)

Inside the KEF LS50 Meta - SoundStage! InSight (October 2020)

Naim Audio Supernait 3 Integrated Amplifier Review (Take 2, Ep:13)

How Hegel Approaches Integrated Amplifiers - SoundStage! Talks (September 2020)

Nordost Talks Clocks, Oscillations, and Synchronization - SoundStage! Talks (September 2020)

"i" for Improved - PMC's New Twenty5i Loudspeakers - SoundStage! InSight (September 2020)

PMC Fact.8 Signature Loudspeaker Review! (Take 2, Ep:11)

Which is Better? Elac Navis ARB-51 vs. Focal Shape 65 (Take 2, Ep:10)

Amphion for the Home, the Studio, and Billie Eilish - SoundStage! Talks (August 2020)

The NEW Hegel H95 Integrated Amplifier Review ! (Take 2, Ep:9)

Estelon: Loudspeaker Excellence and Originality from Estonia - SoundStage! Talks (August 2020)

Zero-Distortion Amplification: Halcro Out of Hiatus - SoundStage! Talks (August 2020)

Best Active Speaker? Elac Navis ARB-51 Speaker Review (Take 2, Ep:8)

Vivid Audio's Inventive and Spectacular S12 Loudspeaker - SoundStage! InSight (August 2020)

Qobuz Hi-Res Traction and Younger Listeners, with David Solomon - SoundStage! Talks (July 2020)

Schiit Audio Ragnarok 2 Integrated Amplifier Review (Take 2, Ep:7)

Schiit Audio Bifrost 2 DAC Review (Take 2, Ep:6)

Vinshine Audio: Kinki Studio, Magico, and More in Singapore - SoundStage! Talks (July 2020)

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