Welcome to the new year. In between some great beach walks (that’s the mouth of Blueskin Bay on a beautiful Christmas day in the pic above), we’ve been busy with exciting components and systems that are going to make this coming year so much more enjoyable for you…
When you choose to buy an audio component or system, there is an expectation that it will reveal music in a way that’s not just definitively better, but will take you places both cerebral and emotional that you haven’t been before. These are the unknown pleasures that make a home music system far more than just another electrical appliance.
The best components will deliver this experience but it can be daunting to research, select and purchase the right one for you. Which is why we put so much into the reviews we write.
First review – the Nuprime Evolution DAC
NuPrime have come a long way since the introduction of their first component in 2015 – anyone with a NuForce or NuPrime model will appreciate their remarkable performance and innovative approach. The new flagship DAC model – the Evolution – has just been released and it is unequivocally the best digital component I have heard but just saying this isn’t enough. You’ll want to know why it is better, the difference you’ll expect to hear and how it will work within your own system. And there must be comparisons, so you can at least have a feel for what scale of improvement you can look forward to. This also allows you to make a valid judgement on the value and if it is in fact the best choice for you. Read our in depth assessment here.
The Evolution DAC has been challenging to review – it literally took us to places unknown, revealing music in a way I’d not heard before and making me question the status of analogue playback. Layered over this was a remarkable transition over 4 weeks as it ran in – good as it was initially, after a month of almost continuous listening it was clear in every way that it is quite possibly the best component that NuPrime have yet released. This level of performance will remain unknown for most – high end electronics are esoteric by their very nature but if you have a passion for sound quality and all that it can do for you, do take the time to learn about this remarkable component.
There will be a lot happening with NuPrime this year – from their partnership with the cool little D-Stream brand, new products including a very special AC filter for cleaner power and better sound to more Evolution level models. We’ll detail these shortly. I’m also putting together a much better guide to the Nuprime range as a whole – with so many models to choose from the question will be which is the best combination and way to prioritise both electronics and speakers in order to get the best end result at any given level.
Step into our garden…
The new Monitor Audio Gold 5G (fifth generation) speaker range has just landed but unlike the NuPrime Evolution DAC, you can very much see what’s going on. These are an impressive speaker in every way – the size, finish and driver technology are second to none. We already have the most impressive floor standing model – the 300 – here in a beautiful high gloss ebony. And limited stock of the smaller and cinema models have also arrived.
The sound quality is something else again. When Monitor Audio let loose their Studio model last year, they disrupted their own hierarchy of models as the Studio sounded quite unlike any other, being blindingly fast, detailed and accurate in a way that even more costly models weren’t. But while I love this singular approach the Studio can be uncompromising. The new Gold series somehow manage to better the Studios in all their key virtues; transparency immediacy and sound-staging. Yet bring you all the benefits of a larger speaker; depth, efficiency and a massive room filling spread of sound.
The Gold 5G series have been taken right up to Platinum-II level – while there are some subtle detail and specification differences when comparing equivalently proportioned models within the two ranges, I would suggest that, given what I’m hearing with the 300s, they are very close. They are magnificent by anyone’s standards – the construction and gloss finish is flawless, the sound is every bit as deep and powerful as you’d expect given the size but also open, immediate and detailed like the Studios – they have all the agility and finesse of a small speaker but none of the limitations.
If there is anything you should come and visit us to audition, it is these speakers.
We will write more about these soon but even at this early stage we’re completely in awe. To make it even better, the range means there are Gold 5G series options for a broad range of listeners – the stand or shelf mount 100 (NZ$3500 the pair), the slim floor standing 200 at $7500 and the seriously substantial 300s to unleash the full potential of any system.
Nativ – visually and operationally unique
The complete Nativ product range will arrive here in the next few days. Their dealer coverage in Europe has exploded as both design and performance conscious music lovers are discovering this system. This created a bottleneck in production which put our own orders back.
The Vita touchscreen server and streamer in our own system has been great with a recent software upgrade making it much better again. We’ve got new Vitas in stock with both SSD storage options, walnut and new maple table stands for you to select from right now.
Nativ Vita eliminates all the compromise and complication associated streaming and server systems. Far better sounding than any computer, smartphone or disc player, it can easily be used by the entire family and will literally become the center of your music listening experience.
The new Wave DAC, Pulse power supply and CD ripper all build on and enhance the Vita giving you the options of complete systems that are visually and operationally unique.
Set in a rural valley just outside of Ōtepoti-Dunedin with native bush and rivers Totally Wired offers a unique retail experience. We invite you to visit. Here are some shots of ways we have been enjoying summer without leaving home that may inspire your days off too – Vifa home series ‘Copenhagen’, Tivoli portable ‘PAL BT’ and Vifa portable series ‘Reykjavik’.
Read more on our Value page for simple and effective solutions for enjoying music.