Audio Arc: Audiophile Blogs Digest – Oct 12, 2023

Welcome to a new edition of Audio Arc!

We take a broad sweep across a diverse range of blog posts to bring you a comprehensive and exciting perspective on everything sound-related. Let’s take a look at the highlights from this week.

Audio Equipment

Sound-sculpting with the McIntosh MQ112 equaliser

By: The Editor,

The McIntosh MQ112 is a sophisticated analogue equalizer designed for enhancing audio in various settings. Unlike a mere room-acoustic fixer, the MQ112 offers the capability to shape sound through eight key frequency bands, ranging from 25Hz to 10kHz, with a ±12dB adjustment range for each band. It also features specialized knobs for further sonic tweaking, including a “Tilt” knob that subtly shifts the tonal balance. Users have the flexibility of both balanced and unbalanced inputs and outputs, as well as a second pair of outputs for versatile system integration. Priced at $3,000, it aims to optimize audio playback by allowing granular control over sound characteristics. Read more

Review: PSB Passif 50 Loudspeakers

By: Jamie Gillies,

The review of the PSB Passif 50 Loudspeakers highlights their unique sound and aesthetic, emphasizing their excellent performance particularly when spinning vinyl records. Designed by Canadian audio expert Paul Barton before his retirement, these speakers are priced between $2,500 and $5,000 and are noted for their detailed sound and small, walnut-veneer enclosure featuring titanium dome tweeters and a 6.5-inch woofer. The review suggests they are best for focused, critical listening and recommends them highly for those with a budget under $4,000, especially if their primary source is vinyl. Additionally, they work well with both tube and solid-state amps, although they may require some positioning and break-in time to achieve optimal sound quality. Read more


By: Paul Rigby,

The Q Acoustics 5020 speakers are stand-mounted units priced around £500–£599, designed to work with amplifiers over 25W. They have a standard sensitivity of under 88db and a 6-ohm impedance, offering a balanced output, firm bass, and midrange detail. The speakers feature a 25mm silk-dome tweeter and a 125mm mid/bass unit with a Continuous Curved Cone design. While they don’t employ the more sophisticated Gelcore system found in higher-end models like the Concept 30s, they do have P2P bracing and a rear bass port. They perform well in sound tests but fall slightly short of the more expensive models in terms of control and detail. Still, they excel in conveying the emotional depth of music. Overall, they offer a compelling combination of price, performance, and versatility. Read more

Kii Seven Wireless Music System


The Kii SEVEN Wireless Music System is a versatile and advanced audio solution for both home entertainment and music production. It allows for independent use, stereo pair arrangements, multiroom speaker systems, or 3D immersive setups. It integrates with top-tier streaming services and has multiple input options. The system is designed for seamless workflow in professional studios, supporting analog inputs, AES input, and optional Kii Control. It also offers compatibility with Dante Audio systems and Dolby Atmos. Its unique features include Custom Waveguided Tweeter, 5″ midrange, cardioid dispersion, two 6.5-inch woofers, and built-in 600 Watts amplification, aiming to provide exceptional sound quality and room adaptability. Read more

A Trifecta of New Schiit: Skoll Phono Preamp, Midgard Headphone Amp, and Hel+ Gaming DAC/Amp

By: Michael Lavorgna,

Schiit Audio has launched three new products: Skoll Phono Preamp, Midgard Headphone Amp, and Hel+ Gaming DAC/Amp. Skoll, priced at $399, is touted as the world’s least expensive balanced phono preamp and supports a range of customizable settings through a remote. Midgard, costing $229, introduces a new feedback topology called Halo that aims to improve acoustic performance and allows users to compare sound quality through different output jacks. Hel+, priced at $199, is a reengineered DAC/amp for gaming that offers high reliability, a longer warranty, and a year-long hot-swap period. All products are available for direct purchase. Read more


Audeze MM-100 & Sennheiser HD 660S2 Two Affordable Open-Back Headphones!


Audeze and Sennheiser have released two new affordable open-back headphones. The Audeze MM-100, priced at $399, is a full-sized, over-ear, open-back planar magnetic headphone designed for music professionals and audiophiles. It features a lightweight, premium chassis, supple gel-filled leather ear pads, and all-new planar magnetic drivers for class-leading detail and low distortion. The Sennheiser HD 660S2, priced at $599.95, is a follow-up to the HD 660 with improved bass impact and extended sub-bass. It promises a natural and balanced sound with breathtaking resolution and precision. Both headphones offer high-quality audio at more affordable prices. Read more

Hot Headphones For The Holiday Season

By: AudioHead,

Discover the latest hot holiday headphones unveiled at the CanJam event in Southern California, including Schiit Audio, Abyss Headphones, Woo Audio, and ZMF Headphones. PartTimeAudiophile’s Editor-In-Chief, Marc Phillips, also shares his impressions of the engaging headphone gear he is currently evaluating. Tune in to The Occasional Podcast for more updates and interviews with industry experts. Don’t miss out on this season’s educational episodes covering a range of audio topics. Stream the podcast on your favorite platform or subscribe for future episodes. Read more


Beethoven / Septet / Members of the Vienna Octet

By: humorem,

The review discusses a vinyl pressing of Beethoven’s Septet by Members of the Vienna Octet, highlighting its superior sound quality compared to modern repressings. The 1959 Decca pressing is lauded for its “Tubey Magic,” full-bodied bass, and natural tonality, which contribute to a three-dimensional, immersive listening experience. The review critiques the inadequacies of modern vinyl and digital formats in capturing this richness. The Septet itself is noted for its innovative scoring and prominence of the clarinet. The review aims to guide audiophiles in recognizing the virtues of vintage pressings, arguing that only by comparison do the shortcomings of other formats become evident. Read more

Interview with singer, pianist Fiona Joy Hawkins and singer, violinist Rebecca Daniel at 2023 CAS

By: Byron Baba,

Read an interview with singer and pianist Fiona Joy Hawkins and singer and violinist Rebecca Daniel at the 2023 California Audio Show. They discuss their music careers, favorite instruments, and past performances. They also share their thoughts on the show and the audiophile community. Find out more about these talented artists and their experiences at the event. Read more

New Who’s Next Blu-ray Disc Included With Super Deluxe Boxed Set Features Plangent Processes-Restored Original Stereo Plus Steven Wilson’s New Dolby Atmos and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround Sound Mixes

By: Mark Smotroff,

The 50th anniversary super deluxe edition box set of The Who’s ‘Who’s Next’ includes a Blu-ray Disc featuring new stereo, surround sound, and Dolby Atmos remixes by Steven Wilson. The star of the show is the Plangent Processes / Jon Astley restoration and remastering of the original Stereo album mix, which eliminates tape speed inconsistencies and brings out clearer instrument separation and tighter vocals. The Dolby Atmos and 5.1 mixes are generally excellent, although some tracks had to be reconstructed or simulated due to missing tapes. Overall, the box set offers an immersive listening experience for audiophiles. Read more


And that’s a wrap on this week’s edition of Audio Arc. Don’t forget to join us again next week for another compilation of compelling audiophile content. Until then, happy listening!

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