Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Reference 160M Amplifier (February 2019)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Livio Cucuzza on Audio Research's Industrial Design (November 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Past, Present, and Future (October 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - KEF's New R Series for 2018 (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio Moon 390 Digital/Analog Preamplifier and Streamer (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - EISA 2018-2019 Awards Introduction (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio's $118,888 Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers (June 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Totem's Tribe Tower (May 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion's Three Newest Argon Loudspeakers (April 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Making the Hegel Mohican CD Player (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Estelon Lynx Wireless Intelligent Loudspeaker (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh's Five New Solid-State Integrated Amplifiers (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Amphion's Krypton Loudspeaker (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier (December 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)

To S. Andrea Sundaram,

Thank you so much for your enlightening and thorough review of the ADL GT40 way back in 2011. I have been using the GT40 since about that time, and your review hit on all the reasons why it has been the perfect component in my simple, modern vinyl/digital system for over three years. I haven't seen any other components that offer the GT40's combination of DAC and ADC to allow the ripping of vinyl to hi-res WAV files. I think I'm looking to upgrade, and I wondered if you had knowledge of any similar products?

I say "I think" because I have been very happy with my system but am wondering what would be a logical upgrade. I rarely pay attention to the 80,000+ MP3s in my iTunes library, and instead only listen to vinyl LPs, usually ripping them as I listen. I only listen to WAV files ripped to 16-bit/48kHz in my iPhone 6 Plus and on the iPod in my car. The vinyl leans towards classic rock, jazz, and some classical. I'm collecting Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab records, vintage vinyl, and new pressings of contemporary bands.

My setup is simple: Rega P3-24-> Ortofon Bronze cartridge-> Bellari VP130 preamp-> ADL GT40-> Mackie HR824 MK2 powered monitors. Accessories: Spin-Clean MKII; Zerostat Milty 3; Primacoustic Recoil Stabilizers; HiFiMan HE-400 headphones.

I'm wondering if you thought the system would be most improved by better powered monitors (Genelec?); or with an improved turntable (Well Tempered Lab?); or an upgrade from the ADL GT40, if there is one.

United States

When it came out, the GT40’s combination of features might not have been quite unique, but it certainly was rare. However, given that you are using an external phono stage, you do have other options. For A/D/A duties, you could look to professional or home-studio equipment, but the headphone amp will probably not have been a design priority, if it even works when you’re not connected to the computer.

The first similar product that comes to mind is also by Furutech -- the Esprit. Fellow SoundStage! writer Vince Hanada favorably reviewed the Esprit in 2013. In particular, he found it to be very quiet, which was one of my complaints about the GT40. It also has greater flexibility in setting recording levels, and gives an indication of clipping. For those reasons, it may be worth an audition. Furutech has also announced the Stratos, which appears to be an upgraded version of the GT40. No one I know has heard it, so I can’t offer any guidance on that product.

I haven’t heard the monitors you own, but they have a good reputation. Besides, it makes more sense to me to improve the front end, so that the recordings you have made from your LPs won’t let you down, if you eventually upgrade speakers or headphones. All of the equipment you’ve listed offers very solid performance. It may be worth looking into upgrading the phono stage, or adding structural modifications to the turntable/tonearm -- there are lots of these available for Rega turntables. The best way to start is to think about where your current system isn’t entirely satisfying: noise performance, neutrality, drive, etc. Then think about which component is most likely to affect that performance parameter. I hope that helps, and good luck. . . . S. Andrea Sundaram