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tracks for testing speakers

A couple of weeks ago, one of our clients came in for a demo of an amplifier. The wise man brought his own speakers in to see how they would match with the Yamaha he had his eyes on. The thing was, he wasn’t overly happy with his speakers, so he was tossing up between a new amplifier or alternatively tossing out the speakers and replacing those. Sadly, he could only afford one or the other. 

Until good old Deano showed him that his speakers weren’t that bad at all. There were was actually nothing wrong with them, all that was needed was some decent tracks to review the speakers with. If your source is bad, there is no speaker in the world that will make it sound good.

Which tells us something about how important tracks are; not only when you relax at home, listening to some music. But also when you audition speakers (or headphones) for a future purchase. 

And that brings us to the point: what tracks do you use when auditioning potential new speakers? 

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Comments | Posted in Home Theater Guides By Mattie Belsack

For your ears only

4/11/2018 8:00 am

AV products for the hearing impaired

It's a common problem: due to hearing loss, some folks can’t hear sound in its full detail, contrast or richness. When we listen to music, frequencies are lost and nuances can't be processed fully.

And when it comes to watching television, even at a decent volume, many people can't quite make out the dialogue. Turning the TV full blast doesn’t help. And many more people seem to struggle with this than we realise. 

Luckily, when it comes to watching television or listening to music there a number of things you can do. 

 

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Comments | Posted in Home Theater Guides By Mattie Belsack

subwoofer and speaker

We have a bit of thing with subwoofers. It’s because adding a subwoofer can be one of the most powerful upgrades you can make to your home theatre or stereo system. Yet, a lot of people are not convinced of their merits. With a good subwoofer it’s like you can feel the room breathing. I guess it’s one of those things you have to experience to realise. But also... one subwoofer is not the same as the next.

The best subwoofers add dimension, impact, excitement, and low-frequency extension without negatively affecting the overall accuracy and believability of your system’s sound. A big subwoofer can do this – and so can a small one. One of the misconceptions we want to address is that a bigger subwoofer isn’t necessarily better. For someone who’s not familiar with acoustics, the reasons for this may not be readily apparent.

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Comments | Posted in Home Theater Guides By Mattie Belsack

Iconic speaker nostalgia

22/10/2018 8:00 am

Yamaha NS-1000I don’t know if it’s just us who have noticed, but it seems that the latest thing in loudspeakers world is to release new versions of previously iconic speakers.

I’m sure the right psychologist will come up with an explanation of some sort, but I wonder whether it ties in with the whole resurgence of vinyl as well. Like a bout of global audiophile nostalgia? Who knows…

In a short amount of time 3 different speaker brands that date back to the early Hi-Fi years, managed their way on to the Rapallo radar. Now, I don’t know about you, but when things pop up in threes, I pay attention ;-) The funny thing is that while all three speakers are undeniable speaker legends, the companies each approached the current day speaker re-release in very, very different ways. 

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Comments | Posted in Home Theater Guides By Mattie Belsack

PrimaLuna valve amplifier

Like with anything in life, running a business is a balancing act between ‘The Wants’, ‘The Needs’ and ‘The Musts’. 

Valve amplifiers have been on ‘the Wants-list’ for quite some time. The thing with ‘Wants’ is that you have to time them carefully. After all, you don’t want to compromise ‘The Musts’ and ‘The Needs’. I mean, do that and the business will go bust pretty quickly. 

So, these valve amplifiers that have been on our Wants list? Timing was (finally!) right to get serious about them. Slowly but steadily we have been expanding the audiophile Hi-fi side of Rapallo and you can’t do that with a straight face without having some decent valve amplifiers in your offerings.

So, what’s the big deal with valve amplifiers? 

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Comments | Posted in Home Theater Guides By Mattie Belsack

Elac Miracord 70 turntable

After some umming and arring you have decided to join the ever growing group of people that is giving vinyl a renewed place in their home. No longer is it solely appealing to the audiophile elite that is willing to fork out many thousands of dollars for a high-end set-up. To more and more people, there is appeal in casually having a turntable alongside their audio streamer, both used in very different situations, both providing pleasure in audio. 

But once you start your research, you bump into options and decisions, you weren’t even aware you were going to face. One of them is the choice of a MM versus a MC phono cartridge. 

Although the outcome for both is the same (creating audio from a records groves), both designs are very different and so are their characteristics. Time for us to have a dig into the world of phono cartridges. 

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Comments | Posted in Home Theater Guides By Mattie Belsack

Perreaux 255i integrated amplifier

Just a few months ago, Perreaux announced that they had changed ownership. After fronting Perreaux for 20 years Martin handed the company over to Edwin Nieman. 

So when  a couple of weeks ago, we posted a review for the Perreaux 255i on Facebook, there was a fair bit of response from several long-term Perreaux customers. There was a clear curiosity about what the new ownership would mean for Perreaux. 

While we at Rapallo had met Edwin in person shortly after the take-over, we thought it was time we had a chat with the new man behind Perreaux and get him to introduce himself to our Rapallo customer base. 

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Comments | Posted By Mattie Belsack

Beyerdynamic Xelento remote

About a week ago, I got a message from Rapallo’s Ben: ‘We’ve got these earphones in. I have never felt so close to music before. Voices feel so real and intimate, like the singers are standing right in front of you or singing softly into your ear. It's quite an emotional experience. I can only call it ‘silky smooth’. I ’m saving up for these.’

He was talking about the Beyerdynamic Xelentos. 

Now, it’s not unusual for one of the Rapallo guys to fall absolutely in love with one of our products. Usually, one of them goes head over heels and the other two nod in agreement, but the ‘I want’ is usually reserved to just the one of them. Which is not that hard to understand considering their differences in ages (young adult vs middle aged), passion (audiophile vs musician vs home theatre fanatic vs a combination of any of the previously mentioned) and personality (well… we won’t go there :-)). But when it come to the love for this pair of in ears…

 

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Comments | Posted in Reviews By Mattie Belsack

ELAC Debut 2.0

With CEDIA 2018 now finished, we are getting bombarded with new products. Just a couple of days ago, both JVC and Sony caused some stir in the world of AV with their newly announced home theatre projectors. If keeping up with all the new and improved AV products is doing your head in, you’re not alone. The question to ask is, is it really necessary to forever update your AV system? Are we really talking about an improvement, or are we just buying into the next marketing trick?

The life cycle of electronics is extremely short these days. Do you need to upgrade? The answer to that question is sometimes ‘yes’, sometimes ‘it depends’, but more often than you would be led to believe it’s ‘no’. 

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Comments | Posted in Home Theater Guides By Mattie Belsack


MusicCast multi-roomI speak from first-hand experience when I say that a multi room audio is awesome. It wasn’t until I (under slight pressure from my better half) ended up with a 4 zone multi-room audio system in our own house that I actually got to appreciate it. But just like I did, a lot of people still consider it a luxury. I tell you: it is not!  Some things are a waste of money, some things you only appreciate once you get to experience them. This is one of those.

Say ‘multi room audio system’ and people think ‘Sonos’.  And while that is definitely a popular option, there is so much more to the topic. See, a multi room audio system can be, but doesn’t have to be wireless to start with. Multi room audio systems are quite a wide topic that can be completely tailored to your own wishes, needs and budget. It can be as sophisticated or as simple as you want it to be.  

 So how do you go about creating a multi-room audio system? 

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Comments | Posted in Home Theater Guides By Mattie Belsack

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