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We are inviting you to celebrate the year 2017. We are doing this the best we can, by pointing out the most interesting products, recordings and designs. We hope that our list is going to help you order information and return to the products that we have omitted. Have a read!

POLAND | Cracow/Warsaw

The SPECIAL AWARD category is some kind of “Best of the Best”, but, apart from sound, we also take into account the given idea, people engaged in the project and the influence of the product on the audio world. This year, we have awarded two companies: Ayon Audio and Verictum in this way. The former has been awarded for a device which shows digital CD and SACD recordings from a completely new perspective. The Polish company deserves this award, as it has prepared a coherent offer of a power supply and filtration system based on solid scientific grounds, which also proves excellent in every system.

Super Audio CD player

Ayon Audio

TEST: No. 164 | December 2017
Award: GOLD Fingerprint

The point of reference for this player were analogue master tapes. Although every second manufacturer declares that they strive to find out the musical truth in this way, I happen to know that this is not true – master tapes are rare and expensive, and one needs to have a well-calibrated tape recorder for the purpose – or it is actually best to have two. The owner of Ayon Audio, Gerhard Hirt, took the risk and invested a lot of money in this project. The fact that only 50 “High Fidelity” edition players will be manufactured means that he will never get a return on investment from sales. However, this is the way breakthroughs are achieved – and the CD-35 HF Edition is one in the field of digital players.

No. 01/50 remains at the “High Fidelity” REFERENCE SYSTEM as a reference player.

Power supply + passive RFI/EMI filters


COLUMN: No. 158 | June 2017, read HERE
Award: RED Fingerprint

Power supply and RFI/EMI noise filtration are now one of the most frequently exploited niches of the audio world. Owing to a rapid increase in such a type of noise, this proves to be key for obtaining optimal sound. As there has been conducted little well-documented research on the subject, one can find many solutions that have been created by accident or ones that cause new problems by eliminating the existing ones. For me, the system offered by the Polish Verictum company is an example of how to combine knowledge, passion and musical sensitivity. It is based on solid theoretical grounds verified during listening sessions. It is the best thought-out system of this type that I know and it will improve the sound of even top high-end systems.

The “Statement Award” category aims to point out the products that become the point of reference for other products. It is some kind of a “model” in its category, no matter what its price is. Here you will find products that have enchanted us and can be used in any system, irrespective of its price.



TEST: No. 159 | July 2017, read HERE
Award: GOLD Fingerprint

The Chord Electronics company system is one of the absolute leaders of the audio world. It offers superb tonality, smooth sound and brilliantly differentiated sound planes. The English source gives us something extra, i.e. the feeling of experiencing natural music characterized by dynamics known from analogue tapes. It is an outstanding sound source, a Compact Disc player which shows the incredible worth of the format. And there is also the excellent DAC with a USB input which can be used to transfer audio files. A great job!



TEST: No. 154 | February 2017, read HERE
Award: GOLD Fingerprint

The amplifier, presented for the first time in 1989, is still one of the best devices of this type in the world (if not the best one). The way it sounds makes it hard for us to say more than a little about its sound, except for the fact that it is beautiful. As I wrote in its test, it could be limited to one short sentence: “The Kondo OnGaku sounds beautiful” – and that would be the whole truth. We are just people, though, and there is still a long way to go before that starts to mean anything to us. However, thanks to such amps, we are much closer to achieving the aim.


Lumen White

TEST: No. 160 | August 2017, read HERE
Awards: GOLD Fingerprint | BIG RED Button

Lumen White speakers come from a small manufacture whose defining characteristic are unusual housings. Known in top high-end circles and highly regarded in Japan, they offer outstanding sound. By using drivers with a ceramic membrane, they are a model of high resolution and precision. The Kyara is the latest and at the same time the smallest model which fits smaller rooms. The speakers are able to make music from even poor recordings interesting and to literally enchant listeners with better ones. We do not listen to them as “speakers” but a wide-open window in front of us, with another world on the other side – one of recorded music with its pros and cons, but mostly with its beauty. Warning: these speakers require the best possible audio path and do not tolerate imperfections! They are the first audio product in “High Fidelity” history to have been awarded the BIG RED Button reserved for the best music recordings – it is because the speakers are both an audio product and a musical instrument.


Tenor Audio

TEST: No. 158 | June 2017, read HERE (Polish)

The Tenor Audio Phono 1 phono stage is the first product that I thought of when I was faced with the task of handing out awards for the year 2017. The Canadian ultra-high-end brand does everything the best it can. This is why their offer is so limited – one preamplifier, one stereophonic and one monophonic power amp, and one phono stage. Each of the devices is extremely expensive, but when money does not matter, it is hard to find better ones. The Tenor Audio Phono 1 is the absolutely best (though not the most expensive) phono stage that I have ever listened to in my system! How could it not receive the award of the year? MD




Acoustical Systems

TEST: No. 160 | August 2017, read HERE (Polish)

The Acoustical Systems Aquilar turntable arm surprised me a lot. This German brand had somehow not been detected by me earlier. As a happy user of the Schroeder CB, I had even not looked for another arm for my J. Sikora Basic turntable. Since the first day of our listening sessions, I knew that the Aquilar belongs to a yet better league. It is easy to set, with an above-average number of controls and settings, and simply sounded brilliant with each cartridge that I used with it, even high-end ones. As a recommendation, let me just write that, sooner or later, the Aquilar will become part of my system. MD


W + T

TEST: No. 160 | August 2017, read HERE

Mr Oliver von Zedlitz’s turntable is a top-class device. It is similar with Cantano – the W turntable and the T arm. It is modest in expression, sophisticated in design and sounds beautiful. It is not as effective as other turntables, i.e. does not seduce us after a short listening session. One needs experience to understand what the device is about – the beauty of music and not imposing the device’s own character – nothing more or less.



TEST: No. 155 | March 2017, read HERE (Polish)
Award: GOLD Fingerprint

I concluded the test of this turntable with the following words: “Fantastic engineering, excellent workmanship, an outstanding turntable.” Elaborating on that, I will say this is a device which guarantees incredibly engaging sound. The musical message of the Kronos Pro is perfect, its design is excellent and workmanship – admirable. It can be used as a basis to build the ultimate analogue source.


Miyajima Laboratory

TEST: No. 153 | January 2017, read HERE (Polish)

ETR-STEREO is more than another step-up transformer, as we can use it to adjust sound to our preferences. It is not a typical product of this type also because the elements that are usually weaker in such transformers, such as lower dynamics and less “presence”, do not constitute central, but rather secondary changes here. Its strengths, though, are: velvety treble, beautiful harmony and a large scale. It is worth trying out, especially with cartridges designed to be used with transformer load, as then we get the fullness and peace that nothing else can give us.



TEST: No. 162 | October 2017, read HERE (Polish)

It is an excellent set. The turntable is incredibly easy to set and characterized by sound which invites us to listen to music. Starting with hi-fi, it is possible to point out the features which result from compromises, such as quite low dynamics and average differentiation; part of this “offer” are also weighted down bass and withdrawn treble. This time I would not use such appraisal criteria, as this does not make sense. Here everything sounds together, it is dense, warm and pleasant. It is a perfect proposal for beginner music lovers.



TEST: No. 156 | April 2017, read HERE
Award: RED Fingerprint

The Zephyr combines a “forgiving” character and the absolute truth about a recording, which is totally exceptional. It fantastically differentiates recordings, despite its warm tone. It is a turntable which invites us to its own world and lets us forget about technical problems of recordings. However, if we are interested in the pressing or production method, etc., it will be an equally good tool – the way we listen to it only depends on us.




TEST: No. 158 | June 2017, read HERE
Award: RED Fingerprint

The test was concluded in a way that left nothing to doubt: it is a perfect device which sounded like a high-class turntable. Its characteristic features include: sweetness of the treble, very large phantom images – especially vocals – and strong, a little tuned up bass. It is a bit soft, but that should not bother anyone. The depth of sound is incredible. Thanks to these features, I seriously got interested in audio files for the first time in my life, seeing their potential and not just one of market offers. While listening to music, one does not pay attention to the sound stage, tone and dynamics, etc., as everything is natural and normal. If digital audio and files go this way, we will finally get a sound source as good as the best physical media sources. Bravo!!!


ERC-3 Gen2 (HDCD)

TEST: No. 159 | July 2017, read HERE (Polish)
Award: RED Fingerprint

As I wrote in the test, the Emotiva can be treated as a high-class CD player despite its quite low price. With such discs, we get an incredibly balanced and rich musical message with a large sound stage and solid, tangible vocals located a little in front of the speakers’ base. This is not going to be very fast sound and bass will not have such high resolution as in the case above. Nevertheless, we will talk about a great musical message – not very fast, rather romantic than explosive, but very mature. An additional advantage are HDCDs that sound better, deeper, cleaner and lower. They can become a basis for a great collection of musical recordings.


Gold Note

TEST: No. 159 | July 2017, read HERE

It is an exceptional player. In many respects, the CD-1000 sounds the way that the most expensive CD players in the world would not be ashamed of. It guarantees very beautiful saturated tone and builds large solid sound sources in front of us. Sound dynamics and vitality are outstanding here. It is a fantastic source of digital sound – not only CDs, but also files, as WAV and FLAC files from a USB-connected file player sounded really nice. However, CDs still sound better, which is naturally demonstrated by the tested device. Mature or even warmed up sound with incredible colours – if this is your type of sound, you will never part with it.



TEST: No. 160 | August 2017, read HERE

It is a player which draws out an incredible musical message from semiconductors – one that is natural, soft, a little warm and with open treble. Softness and resolution result in vividness and velvetiness. It is not aggressive sound, it is far from that, but it is not drowsy, either – the strong open treble does not allow that, while very well kept rhythm makes things go forward. It is a very good example of harmony between form and content, a successful combination of art and technology – and company materials give us exactly the same information.


iFi iDSD
Award: RED Fingerprint

TEST: No. 155 | March 2017, read HERE

The iDSD BL can be used both in less costly and much more expensive systems. It sounds a little warm, with emphasis on low midrange. Everything in it is “to the point”, coherent, compact, dense and characterized by high resolution. An additional benefit is the exceptionally musical and power efficient headphone amplifier that can be used with both inexpensive headphones such as the AKG Y50, Focal Spear earphones and the AKG K3003, as well as the most expensive planar headphones available. Each time, the device will show their own character, without covering it with its own problems. I would not label this device with the word “budget”. Then we would lose a chance to save a large amount of money – if we only accept its certain limitations, the converter can be used in a much more expensive system and no stranger will be able to guess that our DAC is two or even three times cheaper than the amplifier or speakers.



TEST: No.156 | April 2017, read HERE

The LampizatOr Golden Atlantic digital-to-analogue converter replaced the Big7 created by Mr Łukasz Fikus that I had used in my system. It is less universal (as different types of tubes cannot be used in it), makes use of inexpensive pentodes (operating in a triode mode) instead of cult triodes, it is smaller and lighter... And all that did not prevent me from making the replacement. It is a device which ingeniously plays DSD files (without any conversion), has a very good (separate) DAC for PCM files, sounds natural and musical, simply the way it should, giving listeners great joy and satisfaction from listening to music. MD



TEST: No. 160 | August 2017, read HERE

Let us listen to this device with any speakers and recordings – it is extremely universal. Let us listen and decide whether we really want to add a preamplifier to our system, whether we truly need a big amp and high selectivity (detail). If these are unnecessary elements, or – let me put it this way – at a low energy level, let us give the device a chance. This is high-end at its best and we get an excellent sound stage as a bonus.


TEST: No. 161 | September 2017, read HERE

The device is very quiet – i.e. it does not make noise or brumming sounds, which is a great advantage when it comes to tube devices. Music is treated seriously, i.e. it has a suitable dynamic and tone structure. It is a dynamic device with strong alert bass that is not hardened, however. The whole sound is rather soft, but like a cougar and not sponge. While listening to it, one does not get the impression of listening to a tube device as the midrange is not burnt and the foreground does not move forward. Resolution is really good here, but it is worth knowing that reverberations are a bit shortened and promoted sounds are direct. That is why the sound as a whole is balanced and even. It is still a tube amplifier and it does not pretend to be different, but it is aware of what has taken place in the audio domain in the last 60 years. It is a tribute that one can be proud of.


TEST: No. 163 | November 2017, read HERE (Polish)

This is another Luxman amp which sounds like a tube device but with better bass control and higher dynamics. It is very “humane” sound from an amplifier with really developed functionality. There is no D/A converter in it, as it is part of the company philosophy – these are separate devices. Let us combine it with dynamic columns that deliver dense sound and we will not resist any recording from the golden era of rock, jazz or classical music.


TEST: No. 162 | October 2017, read HERE

The sound of the Qualiton A50i is absolutely “tube” in the sense that its tone has been specially shaped to achieve this effect. However, this is not the aim in itself. The purpose is to make it possible for any recording to be listened to for itself and not for sound. The scale, tone and sound planes are the elements that we will discuss with our friends, even if we do not buy the amp. There is something magical in the sound – something that probably only tubes can give us. If one succeeds in presenting it in this way, i.e. as an advantage and not a burden, we will obtain beautiful sound focused on music and not technology.


TEST: No. 157 | May 2017, read HERE
Award: GOLD Fingerprint

Let us say this: GOLD Fingerprint for an inconspicuous D-class amplifier may seem an exaggeration. However, this is a beautiful amp made by beautiful people. If we look at it closely, we will understand that it is a perfect incredible product – its tone is very close to what is shown by much more expensive, sophisticated tube devices, while the dynamics and successful “handling” of large volume are the same as from a very good transistor. The price we pay includes differentiation, selectivity and 3D sound source images. An advantage is equally good treatment of both poorly produced and perfect recordings. As always, the choice is yours. I would not hesitate.

Super Sound Device

TEST: No. 161 | September 2017, read HERE
Award: RED Fingerprint

The 30 watts offered by the Sound Experience amp do not seem a lot. However, in medium-sized rooms and without excesses with the volume knob, they are enough to control most available speakers, also those difficult ones. Due to aesthetic reasons, I would rather see the amp in the company of Spendor speakers from the Classic series, or Graham Audio or JBL ones, also from a classic series. If we opt for Harbeth speakers, then it rather should be the new M40.2 or M30.1 version – the older M40.1 are too warm for the amp. However, there is no obstacle to using the amp to drive Focal, Magnepan or electrostatic speakers. We will get warm, full and fleshy sound close to us with them. It is beautiful and wise sound, perhaps without outstanding resolution or selectivity, but so ordered that this does not especially shock us.


TEST: No. 157 | May 2017, read HERE (Polish)
Award: RED Fingerprint

Yamaha is a big company – one of the largest that deal with audio products. On the one hand, that enforces product standardization, a product replacement cycle, savings, etc. The company, which is probably clear, should also remain mainstream in the audio business. On the other hand, the firm uses its opportunity to lower prices to a level unavailable to small companies. As it also offers good engineering and employs people who clearly listen to their products before they leave the design department, we get a really functional amp which also sounds great – or the other way round: one that sounds great and is really functional.


Solaja Audio

TEST: No. 158 | June 2017, read HERE
Award: RED Fingerprint

The Serbian amplifier is a perfect example of how to skilfully use technology and just a little money to prepare a device which, in almost every respect, is better than any product of the company’s competitors – even if the latter is a few times more expensive. The amp’s disadvantage is poor tolerance of compression and distortions, as well as very limited functionality. There are many amplifiers available within the price range of up to 4000 PLN that are more “forgiving” for recordings and offer many more functions. However, none of them will give you so much joy of listening to music as the Solaja Audio Sedra Three.


Advance Paris

TEST: No. 160 | August 2017, read HERE (Polish)

The system can do surprisingly much, both when it comes to functionality and sound; it is nice and neat. Though there is nothing exceptional in its artistic design – perhaps apart from controls in the amp – there is also nothing to bother us. Its sound is close to the best models from the 1990s when rebellious engineers used MOS-FET transistors to warm sound up and weigh it down, in this way making it closer to tube sound. There are disadvantages of such an attitude, as the sound neither has high resolution, nor selectivity, while the images of instruments rather melt into the background than stay 3D. Fine, fuck it – it is great, cool sound for a little money.


TEST: No. 162 | October 2017, read HERE
Award: RED Fingerprint

Let us think about the German system as an emotions-carrying medium. It is an amp which will not leave us indifferent – it will engage us, attract our attention, but also calm us down. It sounds incredibly full and dense, as if proving that nothing will sound like this – only a SET tube. Emphasis is put on low midrange, but the device also has good low bass and nice treble. It shows wonderful space, building it around us in the form of a “bubble”. It is extremely easy for it to energize the air in a listening room, including it in the world it creates. It is strong enough to drive even large speakers, but not in too big a room. A beautiful amplifier and an even better headphone amp – it is a great reminder of what the audio industry was like in the “golden era”.




TEST: No. 162 | October 2017, read HERE
Award: RED Fingerprint

The Acuhorn system plays music in a special way. There are a lot of elements in its sound that are characteristic for the sound of a vinyl disc and SET amps, but without pretending or mimicry. It is different technology, which can be heard due to, among others, very well controlled low bass and a kind of peace. The devices discretely encourage us to listen to music. They build up enormous space – deep and surrounding the listener, if that is what a recording “says”, but with foregrounds situated behind the speakers’ baseline. It is a unique system from Poland, based on components that are rarely used in the audio industry.


CD14 + A14

TEST: No. 153 | January 2017, read HERE (Polish)

The Rotel system is well thought-out, has been listened to and well developed. It is characterized by above-average functionality and each of its components does its job well. Everything has its purpose and function, and these elements have been “tuned” in this way. In short, it can be said that this is a modern interpretation of the “British sound” with its warmth and fluidity, but with added dynamics and extension of the range downwards. Everyone who is looking for some rest and relaxation in music will like it.



Avatar Audio

TEST: No. 161 | September 2017, read HERE
Award: RED Fingerprint

These are incredibly clear and fast speakers – real monitors. They are characterized by excellent treble and spectacular imaging. The latter is similar to what is heard from an analogue master tape, i.e. instruments are not clearly separated and selectivity is not the most important – it is all about fullness and all elements sounding “together”. The tone of the speakers is very even, but their sound is perceived from the perspective of mass that is lower at the low midrange than in classic designs. No. 4 are interesting columns that will be liked by people who listen to classical or vocal music and small bands. They are the addressees of the long review placed before the “conclusions” section. I think they will know what to do with it. These are speakers worth “setting” the whole system in order to fit them.


TEST: No. 163 | November 2017, read HERE (Polish)

The LS3/5a with the Chartwell logo, manufactured by the Graham Audio company, is one of the best speakers from this family that I have listened to. It does not forcefully try to be modern, but also moves one step forward in comparison to former models, as it presents very clear midrange and balanced higher bass. It requires quite a large amp and should not play music too loud, but this should be clear. A beautiful souvenir from the past, showing that the audio industry with the help of R&D departments and scientists introduced what is best into the business. Although over 50 years have passed since the first BBC LS3/5a speakers were made, they are still real MONITORS, without any “buts” or “on the condition that”.


TEST: No. 162 | October 2017, read HERE

The Dynaudio Special Forty are speakers that produce expansive, accurate, high-precision sound. They build up large phantom images and present them well in space, as well as wonderfully demonstrate changes in dynamics. They are small and guarantee high-class sound with as big volume and great passion as from quite large floorstanding speakers, without attempting to copy them. These are simply the Dynaudio Special Forty.


GENUIN FS 3 mk 2

TEST: No. 154 | February 2017, read HERE (Polish)

The Blumenhofer Genuin FS 3 mk2 speakers attracted my attention already at audio exhibitions, which rarely happens. At my home, they quickly confirmed that they actually have a lot to offer. They are universal, work with a few-watt SET tubes and 100-watt transistors. Using these speakers, one can play almost every kind of music with both, perhaps except for the heaviest metal. The speakers are quite small, but able to sound clean, dynamic, with excellently led, even if not especially powerful bass. Their sound is exceptionally coherent, without any colouring, excellently showing spatial aspects and the acoustics of recordings. These speakers simply give us a lot of fun from listening to music. MD

Pylon Audio

TEST: No. 156 | April 2017, read HERE

The Diamond 25 do a lot of things very well and only few just well. These speakers are very good at imaging, building expansive and very well-ordered space. They combine instruments within it, but also leave them enough free space to “breathe”. Their tone is fresh and the sound open. They are not “romantic”. The bass goes low, but it is not always evenly controlled. It is well thought-out, coherent, open sound with a really universal expression. The speakers can be used to listen to any kind of music, demonstrating the same set of features with each.




TEST: No. 161 | September 2017, read HERE

What the Quality Recovery System Level 1 platform introduces into sound is darkness characteristic for high-end. The sound of the device is exceptionally well-matched to the character of the Acoustic Revive power strip, as well as my whole system. “Ordinary” darkening is disadvantageous for it, while the Asura platform broadens its field of activity, improves perception and focuses attention on music itself, making it sound much more interesting and engaging – simply better.

The platform is part of the “High Fidelity” REFERENCE SYSTEM


Franc Audio Accessories

TEST: No. 155 | March 2017, read HERE
Award: RED Fingerprint

Looking at the Modular rack, one can see its enormous potential. It is not expensive and anyone can afford it, adding new elements as the appetite grows. It is nice, which makes it easier to place it in a classic room with a TV set and a kitchenette, etc. Finally, I see its great potential to be developed “from within” – i.e. upgraded. If such upgrades are well thought-out and logically explained, it will be possible to almost indefinitely improve it, as soon as we decide that “it is time”.


Pro Audio Bono

TEST: No. 156 | April 2017, read HERE (Polish)
Award: GOLD Fingerprint

The Ceramic 7SN, new feet prepared by Mr Władysław Skrzypczak, are perfect. They give us better resolution, depth and naturalness than other products of this type. They allow sound to become more “analogue”, if this is understood as organic and internally ordered sound. The sound of the feet is as soft and massive as what we usually get with high-class turntables. It is the best Pro Audio Bono product that I have dealt with and the first one to have been awarded the GOLD Fingerprint.

The feet are part of the “High Fidelity” REFERENCE SYSTEM


Rogoz Audio

TEST: No. 159 | July 2017, read HERE

The Rogoz Audio Trio/BBS is a perfect rack characterized by beautiful tone and a strong foreground (what I am talking about, of course, refers to the devices that are placed on it, but the mental shortcut is necessary if we want to avoid annoying repetitions). Sound is always energetic, full of life and colours with it. Resolution and selectivity are a bit worse, so if we care about these particular aspects, we will need to look for something else. However, if we are fans of full-blooded, energetic and tangible sound, the Trio will be one of the best candidates to become the main piece of furniture in our room – not only for listening purposes, but right next to the armchair.



TEST: No. 155 | March 2017, read HERE

The Stacore platform is one of the best anti-vibration products currently available on the audio market. In some respects, things can move forward only with active platforms that have their own problems – in the end, these are elements that “follow” – i.e. react to a vibration after it occurs. What is more, their operating range is max. 1 kHz and above that it is “pure lottery”, as they are not designed with the thought of audio, but to be used with microscopes. A broadband damped active platform dedicated to audio products has not been created yet. So, if you have a suitable rack and equally good equipment – take the Stacore platform and you will not regret it.


Townshend Audio

TEST: No. 158 | June 2017, read HERE (Polish)

The solution proposed by the British company perfectly matches experiments with Linn turntables, but with better bass control and resolution than springs themselves can offer. In this respect, the Seismic Isolation Pods feet, which can be used as a starting point in tests, are yet more impressive. The complete platform provides a bit more contour and better brightened up sound. The most important features of the device are: depth, smoothness and fullness, without a loss of control and resolution. The Seismic Vibration Isolation Platform is a simple tool which brings about sophisticated, multidimensional effects.



Divine Acoustics

TEST: No. 159 | October 2017, read HERE (Polish)
Award: RED Fingerprint

Halley provides an incredibly tangible musical message – low, dense and warm. It does not lack the treble which is not, however, characterized by especially high resolution or selectiveness, just like low bass. A listener’s attention focuses on the broad frequency range, but with emphasis on the lower midrange. So far, only cables manufactured by the Swedish Supra company have sounded similar, while, at the same time, it is an antithesis of the sound of cables produced by the British Nordost (other ribbon cables). It is a very, very nice cable from a man who knows what music is about.



TEST: No. 155 | March 2017, read HERE (Polish)

The Supra XL Annorum is a kind of “tonic” which allows us to control the “vices” of a system, but without warming it up. When we place this cable between the amp and speakers, we will surely get nice tone and sonorous, well-developed treble with a “sweet” flavour, and a lot of information that will be recognized and will become part of a larger whole, giving the impression of sound richness. For the little money, it is an offer worth a special recommendation.



TEST: No. 160 | August 2017, read HERE
Award: RED Fingerprint

If you are looking for an excellent cable at a low price, appealing to the “analogue” hemisphere in our brain, buy the Black II without hesitation. Only those who value high resolution and selectivity, as well as those who have a lot of electronic music in their collection should first try it out in their system and decide whether the cable suits its character. It is quite likely, though, that it will also stay there – it is a really universal cable characterized by beautiful tone. I recommend it!



Acoustic Dream

TEST: No. 158 | June 2017, read HERE

The Acoustic Dream conditioner costs more than many audio components that we usually deal with. Its workmanship and technical concept move it to high-end regions where it settles permanently due to its sound. When connected to it, my system sounded more like I was playing music from a reel-to-reel tape recorder with a master tape than from a digital disc. The conditioner is not warm but rather dark and it does not add detail, but rather, by entering the depth of sound, incredibly improves differentiation at every level. The shortest review could be as follows: with the conditioner from above the sea of music, one is much more engaged in listening than without it. I liked the device very, very much, as it is a professional product for professionals.


Acoustic Revive

TEST: No. 157 | May 2017, read HERE

The influence of the RPC-1 on sound initially does not seem too big. We will notice it and recognize its role within a longer period of time. Then it will become apparent that what we had before was not what we wanted. The filter cleans the “forefield” from noise that we used to perceive with music and that we were not able to indicate: without the filter, sound is simply less direct, less “here and now”. When the filter is used, sound seems clearer and more unambiguous, with more open midrange. The device does not sharpen or brighten up anything, but yet sound seems – let me repeat myself – more open.

The filter is part of the “High Fidelity” REFERENCE SYSTEM


Shunyata Research

TEST: No. 159 | October 2017, read HERE (Polish)

From among all systems designed for supplying power to audio devices that I know, the Shunyata Research with the Triton v3 conditioner and the Σ Sigma NR cables is the most neutral. It is incredibly easy for it to open a window to another reality in front of us. The systems of the abovementioned companies bring sound to us, show close and tangible sources, and demonstrate midrange (especially low midrange) saturation. Just like everything in the audio domain, this is not for everyone and not for every system. In a synergetic system, however, this is going to be the only possible choice, as all other options will seem coloured.




Publisher: SOLITON SL 719-2

REVIEW: No. 159 | July 2017, read HERE (Polish)
Awards: RED Fingerprint | BIG RED Button

The 3C album has characteristic sound. It is dense and thick, with strong bass. When present, the treble is very clear and sweet. However, at most times this is sound focused on warm midrange. Glaring effects and sharpness have been avoided, and there is not too much contour, either. It is rather soft and very friendly sound. Although the album was recorded at three different places and includes a track from the year 1986, it sounds very coherent. I think it is both due to mix and mastering, as, ultimately, each of the parts has its own expression and there is no doubt who is playing at a given moment. In electronic music, all these elements are hard to combine, so I had no doubt when I awarded the album the BIG RED Button for sound.


Marek Pospieszalski gra piosenki, które śpiewał Frank Sinatra


REVIEW: No. 157 | May 2017, read HERE (Polish)
Awards: RED Fingerprint | BIG RED Button

The resolution is incredible, rarely found in contemporary recordings (not in Poland but elsewhere in the world). Despite the distance from the front line and the location of the band on a large stage, one does not get an impression of “thinness” and a lack of mass – it is full, dense sound. Of course, this is not “tangible” sound in the sense that it does not “come forward” to us, crossing the line which connects the speakers. However, we do not need that at all, as we perceive these recordings very physiologically, recognizing their credibility under our skin. Great music and outstanding sound – this is one of those albums that I would like to get in the form of an expensive version straight from Japan, on a Platinum SHM-CD, in a packaging of the 7 inch mini LP type, or – even better – recorded on a Master CD-R. It would be a jewel in my collection.


Already it is Dusk

Publisher: REQUIEM RECORDS 147 | ELK 2 | 2017

REVIEW: No. 159 | July 2017, read HERE (Polish)
Awards: RED Fingerprint | BIG RED Button

The album was beautifully released. It is again a gatefold cover made of thick cardboard (160 x 160 mm). The disc is placed inside using an opening on one side, while on the other side there is an attached nice booklet with text in Polish and English. The size of the cover and the booklet let us read the information without problems. We get music that enchants us already when we listen to it for the first time. A risky combination of so many different musical styles and trails is “harmonized” here with the sound of the Hammond organ. Although this is not the legendary B-3 model known from, among others, recordings of progressive rock giants, it sounds excellent, nicely combining the sacred (church organs) and secular (the organ at a concert) dimensions. We can infer from photographs in the booklet that the organ was amplified using a speaker newer than the organ itself. I do not know what it was like in reality, but the result is excellent.



Polish Jazz vol. 25

CD: 9584359 | LP: 9584353

REVIEW: No. 161 | September 2017, read HERE (Polish)
Awards: RED Fingerprint | BIG RED Button

The original version of Mieczysław Kosz’s album sounds very good. It is sound that is full of swing, with nice colours, good sound planes and exceptionally well captured tonal balance which has stood the test of time. However, it is the remastered version and not the original that is really impressive. First of all, it is ca. 2 dB quieter (!) than the original, but not too quiet, which results in greater freedom and “breath”. In fact, pp and ff are better differentiated in the new version, while they are more compressed on the original album. The digital remaster 2016 is perfectly coherent – it is a much better version than the older ones, as it is more credible and, at the same time, more pleasant to listen to. It is an excellent job, both when it comes to the vinyl and CD version! Let me add one more thing: this is beautiful music.



Polish Jazz vol. 15


REVIEW: No. 161 | September 2017, read HERE (Polish)
Award: RED Fingerprint

The new digital version is gorgeous! It is clear, has perfectly differentiated 3D images of instruments and excellent resolution. Finally, the tonal differentiation of cymbals and percussion instruments is clear enough to take part in shaping the musical message. The treble sounds beautiful, it is soft and sweet, but also wonderfully defined. These are the elements that are better (!) than in the original vinyl version. Dynamic changes are shown really carefully. In the vinyl re-edition they are less clear and only the original vinyl version presents them in a similar way. One needs exceptional skills to present material that is already quite old (almost 50 years old!) in such a tonally sophisticated way. The sound is soft, but also tangible, full, dense and has good resolution.


Greatest Hits
Wersja 0.9.1 (Beta)


REVIEW: No. 153 | January 2017, read HERE (Polish)
Award: RED Fingerprint

The Greatest Hits album hits one on the head with each subsequent track and some of the tracks evoke really strong emotions – for me, it was the track entitled O konkubentach. They evoke emotions, so they are important, sometimes funny and good (in the meaning that they are “warm”), but always with nerve. They unite the band and listeners, and that is a union of, let me put it this way, “brothers”. Sound comes across as even more interesting against this background. As you can read above, Maciek decided to produce the album in lo-fi quality. If that was really the case, I wish all “DIY people” that their prim albums are at least as hi-fi as the lo-fi Babylon Raus album. The thing is that some of the tracks sound incredibly “wide”. The first one was prepared in a way that makes it sound like a cool QSound recording, i.e. it is spatial, with sounds around the listeners’ heads.


Hibernacja Nr 1

Publisher: GAD RECORDS GAD CD 058

REVIEW: No. 163 | November 2017, read HERE (Polish)
Award: RED Fingerprint

It is a soft, ethereal musical message without too much dynamics. I do not know if that was the intention while the album was recorded, but the remastered version has brought out the pastel quality, the smoothness of these recordings. The recordings never sound aggressive or attack us with sounds, which has sometimes been the case with other remasters of Komendarek’s albums, as well as with new versions of classic Jarre’s albums. There is something hypnotising in this music – something that the non-imposing remastered version has emphasised and made even more magnetic.


Tribute to Charlie Haden

Publisher: For Tune 0125(081)

REVIEW: No. 162 | October 2017, read HERE (Polish)
Award: RED Fingerprint

I admit that I listened to this album both as part of my professional duties, i.e. while testing devices, cables and speakers, as well as for pleasure. It is an album which contains music played with emotions, intuition and passion – it both constitutes a tribute to the Master and includes the musicians’ – mostly Wojciech Pulcyn’s – own voice. The sound is quite warm and set on low midrange. It is a result of an obvious measure taken to make the leader’s instrument prominent and nice. The emphasis put on its role is natural, without consequences in the form of weighing sound down too much or covering everything with thick bass – it is the opposite. It is perhaps the first time that I have heard an album recorded at the Polish Radio Studio in Warsaw, characterized by such high resolution, but also fluid, dense and simply good.


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Anniversary Edition

REVIEW: No. 159 | July 2017, read HERE

The Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album with a new mix and master, prepared by Giles Martin, is fantastic! Not everything can be improved, as subsequent tracks were added and mixed during recording sessions, while Giles Martin had access to the final, four-track working version. I think, however, that he has extracted a lot of music from it – and that was the aim. Bravo!


Love Songs

Publisher: ABC (Int’l) Records AAD-245A

REVIEW: No. 159 | July 2017, read HERE

When I heard this recording, a compilation of Nat ‘King’ Cole’s songs – Love Songs – for the first time, I was stunned. I know what Master CD-Rs can give us, but these are almost always copies made using digital “Master” files, while here we have a copy of an analogue master tape. The sound is incredibly energetic, large, with perfect resolution and, above all, it is natural. When the tracks were compared to ones from other released versions, it appeared that the ABC version is much better than even the excellent Analogue Productions mono version – its stereo versions present the vocal in a way that makes it an ugly and sharp.

The energy that I am talking about is the key to understanding the whole musical message. The amount of information is so large that it saturates the sound to such a degree that it almost vibrates. I do not mean that the sound is distorted, but almost supernaturally credible – I have never heard such Cole’s voice before. Despite that, differentiation is better than on classic albums, perhaps apart from the best Platinum SHM-CDs and Crystal Discs. When we listen to subsequent songs, we can perfectly hear differences between individual tracks and masters (it is a compilation), resulting from changes in recording techniques. We perceive them as changes and not mistakes. We do not focus on finding problems, but wait for another track. Compared to the Master CD-R, classic pressings sound grey and dull. It is a model album.


Mare Balticum Vol. 1

wyk. Ensemble Peregrina | Agnieszka Budzińska-Bennett & Benjamin Bagby

Publisher: Tacet T243
Premiera: 12.2017

REVIEW: No. 164 | December 2017
Award: RED Fingerprint | BIG RED Button