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June/July News: BAT, VPI, KEF and More
By Music Direct Brand Ambassador Bes Nievera

Summertime is in full swing, but rather than taking a break or a vacation, we're crazy busy with activity at Music Direct – and enjoying great, recent online and print reviews of many products we proudly carry. Among the highlights:

In Stereophile, reviewer Herb Reichert sums up Balanced Audio Technology's new VK65SE amplifier's flexible capabilities against a number of amps and speakers, including his beloved Magnepan .7's. "The BAT drove my speakers with a subliminal intensity that made recorded music sound more believable and more tangible... That subliminal intensity is the VK-65SE's greatest strength," he wrote in the magazine's June issue. Meanwhile, John Atkinson, reviewing the Pro-Ject Audio Systems Stream Box S2 Ultra, declares, "[The] Stream Box S2 Ultra, used with its iPad app, gave sound that was indistinguishable from that using my Nucleus+ with Roon to stream audio over my Ethernet-wired network. Not bad for something that costs only one-third the Roon server's price." Relatedly, the Meze 99 Classics earn Ken Micalef's praise. "I was immediately taken with the 99 Classics' top-to-bottom coherence: a generally even tonal spread, with no part of the audioband dominating the rest. Spatial performance was good for sealed headphones, with generously sized images focused at the center of my cranium. Even at loud volumes the 99s kept their cool, never sounding shouty, edgy, boxy, or otherwise criminal in the treble. Midrange to lower frequencies were also evenly distributed. Generally, all frequencies were reproduced with well-proportioned weight." In analog, VPI's Voyager phono preamplifier has Mike Fremer ear. He compares it to one of PS Audio's venerable preamps, the 4.5. "Like the old PS, the new Voyager sounded wide open on top, clean and transparent in the midrange, and reasonably well extended and nimble on the bottom. Best of all, its transparency extended from top to bottom of the audio band with no obvious ‘there' there – which is good!" Finally, Art Dudley's assessment on our runaway accessories hit of the year, IsoAcoustics's Gaia and Orea equipment isolators, is as spot-on as our sales team's astonishment regarding the immediate results the offer. "I have it in mind to send the IsoAcoustics distributor a check before the week is out." To get a better feel on the IsoAcoustics story, Paul Morrison stopped by our office for a full-on instructional of the entire line's capabilities. We think you'll be equally impressed!

Meanwhile, at The Absolute Sound, the Esoteric E-02 Balanced MM/MC phono preamplifier won over reviewer Allan Moulton. "Lest you are thinking that the E-02 must commit more sins of omission rather than sins of commission, I'll simply say that omission was never on this phonostage's menu," he says. "It's certainly capable of immense power, substance, and harmonic structure when called upon. A better description of the impression I had during my audition of the Esoteric was of an invisible hand, always at the ready with plenty in reserve; allowing things to be the best version of themselves." The magazine's Drew Kalbach is similarly enthralled with the KEF LSX Wireless bookshelf speakers. "One thing that I found never really needed tweaking was the LSXes' soundstaging and imaging," he raves. "It just threw up this big wall of sound, way bigger than such tiny speakers look capable of. On the [Beirut] track ‘Corfu,' my backwall felt like it was vibrating with sound. I could pinpoint where the woodblock snap in the latter half of the track was happening, both in depth and width. This was probably my favorite aspect of the LSXes' sound, just the sheer physical size of the stage they created. I never felt like they were ‘small' speakers, even on tracks that beg for absolute monster sound."

Online, the always charming John Darko divulges his feelings for the NAD M10 BluOS streaming amplifier citing three standout qualities. "The first is super tight bass, [second is] transparency in the extremes, [and thirdly] a finesse in surface textures... You get a more incisive top end from the M10s... It draws the outlines of other players a little bit more cleanly (and) a tighter low end." Andrew Robinson, assessing the Klipsch Heresy III tower speakers, is more blunt, stating, "Damn! It's just really, really good... It doesn't take a lot of power to get up and dance." And Steve Guttenberg chimes in on the Klipsch Forte III tower speakers with equal enthusiasm, calling the model "a force to be reckoned with."

As always, everything you're reading about is in stock and ready for immediate delivery. So, click away, or give our sales team a call at (800) 449-8333!

July 8, 2019

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