So much to unpack in this month’s Stereophile! As House Of Stereo continues to grow and modernize its product lines, we cant help but check every month to see which of the products in our orbit have made it for testing. For September 2021, Jim Austin, Herb Reichert, Michael Fremer and Julie Mullins have unpacked and listened to several products near and dear to our hearts. In reality we have a lot to be thankful to Julie Mullins for beyond her excellent review on the Phono Box RS2, because over the course of our acquaintance, we’ve had several excellent conversations about Hi-Fi and what it means to both of us. Julie and I have similar tastes and ways of thinking audio through – so when I read her articles, I don’t have to stretch to understand what she is hearing. Over the course of these aforementioned conversations, I began to open up about what it is like going from manufacturing to operating a retail store – where the differences lay and the myriad challenges both sides face that I now have a more nuanced understanding of. What I didn’t realize was that these conversations were starting to lead to something, and that something is now here. It took a customer sending me a congratulatory email for me to skip ahead to the back pages (Pg. 125) and see the article entitled “The Next Generation” My mother has never been prouder, and my kids couldn’t even sit through the recitation. If you are a subscriber, happy reading! If you aren’t, go pick one up this month… it’s a good one!
AudioVector R8 Arreté
Off the top: AudioVector’s R8 Arreté Speakers have wowed so many people here at the House Of Stereo…Jim Austin did a great write up and we agree wholeheartedly with his findings. The R8 Arreté are one impressive pair of speakers – one that I’d own in a second if small children weren’t sure to leverage one as the pole of a blanket fort (it’s happened). In fact, the best sounding room award in Jacksonville goes to the owner of a pair of R8’s and it is driven with a monoblocked pair of T+A’s A 3000 HV Amplifiers with analog duties handled by VPI, van den Hul phono and Phasemation cartridge. There is something about AudioVector, and while I might never attain what I’d consider eloquence in describing music, AudioVector makes me want to try. Sadly, at times I find myself zoning out to tracks I’ve heard thousands of times in my life (and hundreds of times over the course of a single audio show) and could recite each note in my sleep. However, with the R8’s (and 6’s and 3’s and 1’s come to think of it), I’d never felt more engaged. That line about rediscovering all your old favorites? I now truly know what they mean. That’s what AudioVector does – bring a freshness and realism to music in a way that I had not experienced, with a soundstage that goes beyond my body to each side.
Other Reviews of the AudioVector line:
R8 Arrete: Hi-Fi+
Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition (HE)
Next up is the Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition (HE) review by Herb Reichert. I’m a long-time Naim fan thanks to my fathers esteem for the British brand. Their Statement, Classic and NAIT series are legendary components that have always captured our imagination, and their Uniti series bridges the gap between traditional HiFi and modern digital audio. With a great looking display on the front and one of the coolest volume knobs we’ve ever seen on top, the Atom HE could never be accused of being bland looking. A few months ago, Herb reviewed our T+A HA 200 Headphone Amp/DAC and declared it one of the best out there. He is right of course, the T+A is the top performer we have EVER heard, but with a price that puts it out of reach for a chunk of the market, we were happy to see him turn his eyes to the more attainably priced Atom HE. With a great control app for phone and tablet and a bevy of physical connections and online services at your fingertips, the Atom is wildly attractive for newcomers and experienced audiophiles alike. Like its 50w speaker playing Atom brother, the Atom HE is versatile – able to play some of the most demanding headphones without breaking a sweat. It is definitely a must-have device for modern audiophiles looking for an all-in-one solution that brings style to match its considerable substance. Come in for a listen!
Read More on the Atom HE:
Pro-ject Phono Box RS2
Pro-ject is company that in my short three years of retailer experience I have come to realize is multi-layered. They first caught my attention as a firm who made affordable turntables perfect for the elusive market of non-audiophiles dipping their toes into the Hi-Fi water. That’s where we started with Pro-ject, but it was not until we met and had a conversation with Heinz (President of Pro-ject) at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest that we came to truly respect his and Pro-jects vision of making Hi-Fi audio accessible at all price-points that we took a closer look at all Pro-ject has to offer. Case in point is the Phono Box RS2 – perfect for a two-turntable setup, with settings that are changeable on the fly, a dual-mono design, no op-amps in the signal path, and balanced and RCA inputs – all for $1999; this is an impressive piece of gear. We had the good luck of selling one to a former Stereophile reviewer on the day the article came out. He sat and talked with us for a while on his audio journey and experiences, and we got a cool picture in the bargain. He’s just walked back in the door and when i asked him how he is enjoying it, he broke into a big smile and said ” this is the single biggest step up in my system I’ve had” Apparently his last phono stage was the PS Audio GCPH, gear I have no direct experience with, but transparency and brighter and lighter tonality are , and this is beforfe breaking in… in the last few hours of listening however, space and dimensionality vastly improved.