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Hi-Fi Choice  |  Dec 11, 2018  |  0 comments
Expanding its portable X-Series range of components, iFi Audio’s £299 xCAN is a pocket-sized analogue headphone amp with the added convenience of Bluetooth to enable quality streaming from compatible digital devices. Housed in a similar lightweight case to the company’s xDSD (HFC 439), it measures 67 x 19 x 95mm (WxHxD) and weighs 127g. It eschews the USB audio connectivity and standalone DAC capability offered by its similar-looking sibling, and is strictly a headphone amp that offer 2x 1,000mW of power output to drive headphones connected to its 3. 5mm and 2.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Dec 10, 2018  |  0 comments
Making its UK debut at The Hi-Fi Show Live, Harman’s Luxury Audio Group showed the first two models from the Mark Levinson 5000 Series with the N° 5805 and N° 5802 fully discrete, direct-coupled, Class AB integrated amplifiers. Both designs claim a power output of 2x 125W into 8ohm and the 5805 has three stereo line-level inputs – one balanced XLR and two single-ended – and a newly designed MM/MC phono stage with front panel selectable gain levels and infrasonic filters, and rear panel capacitive and resistive loading settings. Four digital audio inputs are also provided: one coaxial and two optical S/PDIF, and one asynchronous USB for up to 32-bit/192kHz PCM, DSD128 and MQA support. The 5802 is a digital-only design with six digital audio inputs and offers the same USB file support plusBluetooth connectivity with aptX HD.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Dec 07, 2018  |  0 comments
UK distributor Karma-AV introduces two new systems from SVS with the Prime Wireless Speaker System and Wireless SoundBase bridge, priced at £699 and £549 respectively. Measuring 160 x 260 x 180mm (WxHxD) and claiming a total of 200W amplification split four ways to drive the individual 25mm tweeter and 114mmmid/bass driver fitted to each standmount, the aptly named Prime Wireless Speaker System handles connectivity via Bluetooth – with aptX support – and wi-fi as well as wired connections from optical and line-level sources. Control is via smart device over wi-fi using the DTS Play-Fiapp, which offers multi-room capability for up to 16 zones and supports 24-bit/192kHz playback as well as Amazon’s Alexa voice control. A dedicated output provides a wired connection to a sub, while a USB port accepts the US-based company’s SoundPath Wireless Audio Adaptor for wireless subwoofer connection, which can also be used for charging mobile devices.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Dec 05, 2018  |  0 comments
Following its award-winning LS50 Wireless active loudspeaker system introduced in 2017 (HFC 413), respected hi-fi speaker maker KEF looks set to continue to be the go-to-brand in compact music systems with the introduction of its £1,000 LSX wireless stereo speakers. Packing in 200W of Class D amplification (2x 30W + 2x 70W), the smaller two-way standmount design measures 155 x 240 x 180mm (WxHxD). It employs the respected Uni-Q driver array with a 19mm aluminium dome tweeter and 115mm magnesium/aluminium alloy cone mid/bass driver – recognised for its wider stereo imaging over a larger area – and is combined with the company's Music Integrity Engine DSP to ensure accurate time alignment and phase coherence, no matter where the LSX is placed in a room. The twin active stereo speakers support wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity – with Apple AirPlay 2 support expected early in 2019 via a firmware update.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Dec 05, 2018  |  0 comments
With more ways to listen to music than ever before, the type of products we choose to use differs for many of us. While I always prefer to hear my favourite tunes on my main hi-fi system – comprising floorstanding speakers, pre/power amplification and dedicated sources for all format types – the majority of my friends and family listen to theirs via discreet smart speakers. At first glance, some might see my setup as old fashioned, but play an LP, CD or music stream and its doesn't take long to see why I have the setup I do. Here at Hi-Fi Choice we realise that listening to music in this way isn't always possible due to the practicalities of our domestic arrangements, and consumer electronics firms along with the specialist hi-fi industry have been quick to identify the interest in small wireless music systems that meet our practical demands while offering great sound quality.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 17, 2018  |  0 comments
Reimagining its hi-res streamingand wireless lineup, Bluesound – the Canadian multi-room music system specialist – unveils its Generation 2i (Gen 2i) platform, with extensive hardware and software updates. The comprehensive redesign sees updates in all Gen 2i models that includes dual-band wi-fi, AirPlay 2 support and two-way Bluetooth with aptX HD support. A 3. 0 version of its BluOS control app is included in the Node 2i network streamer (£499), Powernode 2i network streamer and amplifier – now with two Toslink/3.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 14, 2018  |  0 comments
One of the many demo highlights from last weekend's The Hi-Fi Show Live 2018, the Titan 505 standmount is the latest to join the Kudos Audio flagship series. The two-way isobaric bass reflex design features two new double-coated hard paper cone mid/bass drivers crafted by SEAS in a back-to-back arrangement. Quoted sensitivity is 87dB/1W/1m into 6ohm with a frequency range of 40Hz to 30kHz. The tweeter is saidto be a “precisely tailored” 29mm fabric dome and the loudspeaker’s internal crossover can be bypassed to enable active operation with selected systems including Linn Exakt and Devialet Expert.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 13, 2018  |  0 comments
Known for its mid-priced moving-coil cartridges, Hana has announced a deluxe line with its M-Series moving-coil cartridges. Hailing from Tokyo’s Excel Sound Corporation, the ML and MH cartridges (Low and High output options) are a development of its SL and SH designs that we reviewed in HFC 408, and utilise a Microline nude diamond tip stylus for improved tracking and performance. Both cartridges quote a frequency range of 12Hz to 45kHz with a tracking force of 2g and have threaded fittings built into the top of the cartridge body for ease of mounting. Distributed in the UK by Air Audio Services Ltd.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 12, 2018  |  0 comments
Following the introduction of its £3,299 SP1000 portable music player last year, Astell&Kern has announced a new flagship in the form of the SP1000M priced at £1,999. Another bold industrial design, the body shape uses the company’s distinctive, irregular split planes to give the SP1000M a similar tactile quality to its upmarket sibling.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 09, 2018  |  0 comments
Following the introduction of its Ingenium turntable design almost half a decade ago (HFC 379), Cambridgeshire-based AVID Hi-Fi has unveiled the Ingenium Plug&Play. Priced at £1,250 and fitted with a tonearm and moving-magnet cartridge, the packaged deck replaces previous Ingenium models and the company says: “Everything on this turntable has been reworked, from the chassis design that now sports AVID’s trademark oversized A emblazoned into the body, to the new inline power switch – now 5A with dual pole switching to allow total power isolation to the motor”. A new bearing hub has been designed with future upgradability in mind, allowing for the supplied MDF platter to be changed to a precision aluminium version to further enhance sound quality and lower the noise floor. Look out for our world-exclusive review next issue and click here for more.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 08, 2018  |  0 comments
2018 has been a busy year for Audiolab which has seen the hi-fi specialist move into the in-ear headphone market with two M-EAR designs and unveil its £149 M-DAC Nano DAC/headphone amp (below). The company is well regarded for its DACs and traditional components and the arrival of the new 6000 Series shows it hasn't forgotten its roots. The familiar design builds on the highly-regarded 8000 Series with two new full-width components in what it describes as its best value components ever. Priced at £599, the 6000A is a Class AB integrated amplifier rated at 2x 50W into 8ohm that incorporates two optical and two coaxial digital inputs along with three line-level RCA analogue inputs and a moving-magnet phono stage input.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 01, 2018  |  0 comments
Discover a wealth of memorable sounds at The Hi-Fi ShowLive2018 10th/11th November 2018 at the Beaumont Estate conference centre, Old Windsor Advance Tickets are on sale now! Buy nowand fast track through The Hi-Fi ShowLivereception, or pay on the day Clickherefor the latest ticket and show info and download the in-depthShow Guideand see thefloor planand explore details of every room. See you there! . . .
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Oct 30, 2018  |  0 comments
Like many readers, I am lucky enough to have a well thought-out hi-fi system in my lounge that plays CDs, hi-res files and vinyl for any serious listening while sat in comfort on my sofa. But for background music in the office, kitchen or even the garden, I tend to use smaller music systems to give a musical backdrop to my daily routine. Let’s face it, as the most popular wireless streaming tech out there, several are Bluetooth speaker setups that enable me to play my favourite tunes from a paired device. The short-range wireless transmission standard has long been derided by audiophiles for its poor audio quality, but continuous codec development has enabled significant improvements and many of the latest batch of Bluetooth speakers are capable of great sound.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Oct 19, 2018  |  0 comments
Italian maestro Sonus faber has announced a new loudspeaker collection. Like all its models, the Sonetto range is handcraftedin Vicenza, and the new lineup sits between the company’s existing Venere and Olympica loudspeaker collections. With five models sold as stereo pairs, it includes two standmount and three floorstander designs, plus two home cinema centre speakers and an on-wall model for multi-channel installations. Starting with the Sonetto I (£1,450), the smallest standmount is a two-way configuration ported cabinet measuring 219 x 359 x 305mm (WxHxD) fitted withthe company’s 29mm DAD (Damped Apex Dome) tweeter and a 150mm mid/bass driver that claims 87dB sensitivity and 4ohm nominal impedance.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Oct 18, 2018  |  0 comments
Following the Kanta N°2 floorstander launched last year (HFC 435), French brand Focal has introduced two new stereo models to the range featuring the same bold design – available in eight colour finishes – with flax fibre cone driver tech partnered to its IAL3 27mm beryllium dome tweeter. The £4,499 Kanta N°1 (above) is a two-way design described as being suited to both stand or shelf placement, thanks to a tunable port.

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