LATEST ADDITIONS

Ed Selley  |  Mar 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Can't knock Okki Nokki Cleanliness is next to fidelity when it comes to vinyl, but where on earth did this device get its name? Jason Kennedy scrubs his grooves Okki Nokki distributor Ken White has been selling second-hand records since the nineties, so he knows a thing or two about filth, enough it would seem to have sought out this strangely named machine and decided to bring it to the UK. It’s certainly priced right at £395 – we don’t know of a cheaper alternative that has built-in vacuuming capabilities and the ability to spin in both directions. Not only that, but it comes complete with concentrated cleaning fluid and a goat’s-hair brush. The name, incidentally, is Dutch for ‘thumbs-up’.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Emotional rescue Italian stalwart Monrio has a refreshingly honest design philosophy when it comes to hi-fi. Jason Kennedy gets passionate about the stylish TL 2 Monrio is an Italian company with a refreshingly honest aim, “Our pretension is neither to bring a real listening experience to your house – it is not possible to do it – nor to imitate the reality but to represent it in the best possible way. ” Few companies have the strength of character to be this open about their approach. It does, of course, grant Monrio founder Giovanni Gadzola licence to make highly personal products, but the fact that he has been selling them for over three decades suggests that his tastes are not unique.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 28, 2011  |  0 comments
The new romantic Emille brings modern, digital inputs to old-fashioned valves in its most affordable amplifier ever as Ed Selley finds his top pick of 2011 so far Emillé takes its name from a giant, ornate bell that is considered a national treasure in its native Korea. Its range of well thought-out integrated, pre/power amplifiers and phono stages is entirely valve-based and has worn commensurately high-end price tags up until now. The £2,450 Ara is not exactly cheap, but is comfortably Emillé’s least expensive integrated amp ever and targets a rather more accessible and competitive price point. The good news is that there is little sign of cost-cutting.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Cayin and able Jimmy Hughes auditions newcomer Cayin and its retro-inspired pre/power that's giving the high- end establishment a run for its money Cayin is the brand name of Zuhai Spark Electronic Equipment Co. – a Chinese company making good-value, high-end electronic products. The unashamedly retro- looking SP-30S and SP-40M tube pre/power amp is one of its tastier offerings, with the promise of excellent performance at a realistic price. But, what should one expect from an amplifier like this? It used to be oh-so simple; tube amps sounded rich, warm and friendly, while solid-state types were lean, mean, and bitingly sharp.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Island in the stream A music file player that doesn’t stream, what’s going on? Jason Kennedy examines the first in a new breed of transports The engineers at Brystson have made the radical decision to build a digital music player that doesn’t stream music from a computer. Their angle is that streaming is bad, but digital music files are not. Is this then a brief diversion from the tidal onslaught of streamed music over solid software, or it could signal a new angle that brings us music files without the complications of streaming. Bryston’s approach is to let you access music files stored on USB drives, be they thumb drives or hard drives which you stock up with music on the computer and then plug into the player.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 28, 2011  |  0 comments
CD-free supersonics Linn’s new Akurate system with digital streaming promises superb sound and a slick user interface. Has CD finally met its Waterloo, asks Jimmy Hughes? World-famous conductor Herbert von Karajan’s response, on being introduced to the delights of the compact disc in the early 1980s, was “All else is gaslight”. It’s a great one-liner, but was he right? Wasn’t CD little more than a digital version of the vinyl LP anyway, with a laser replacing a stylus? If so, then Linn’s Akurate DS system is far more radical. It takes the whole process of listening to music in the home to another level, replacing physical sources like CD or SACD with music stored on a hard drive, while offering remote access from the comfort of your armchair.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Life partner Audiovector’s 'upgradable' speakers can be improved when funds allow. Paul Messenger investigates a unique proposition from Denmark The Ki-series is relatively new and also relatively inexpensive by Audiovector’s standards. The Ki 3s are the sole floorstanding models in a range that also includes a standmount and home cinema oriented variations. But each Ki-series model comes in three versions – Standard, Super and Signature – with superior engineering features as one moves up the ladder.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Cube is no square Arcam has distilled its audio expertise into a compact iPod system – the rCube. Richard Black asks if this is the ideal office/kitchen set-up? All sorts of ‘iPod solutions’ have popped up in the last few years, responding to the quite astounding popularity of Apple’s little devices. Arcam has had docks in its catalogue for a while, but this is something altogether more comprehensive, basically making up a full music system when an iPod is plugged in. Inside the compact, but quite heavy housing (and yes, it is indeed a cube, 200mm each way) are stereo speakers, amps to drive them and the full iPod dock shenanigans.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Opera Callas This very compact and exquisitely presented stand-mount has a thoroughly unconventional multi-tweeter Opera and its associated electronics brand Unison Research both share premises near Treviso in north east Italy. And in the best Italian tradition, this standmount looks absolutely gorgeous and is very substantially built too, though it’s not exactly cheap at £2,875 per pair. A solitary and rather small 135mm driver with a 100mm diameter magnesium alloy cone covers the bass and midrange. It has a large (38mm) fixed solid copper ‘bullet’ phase plug and is assisted by reflex loading from twin rear ports.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Spendor SP2/3R2 This speaker might look old-fashioned, but that’s really the whole point of Spendor’s Classic range Spendor arrived on the scene at the beginning of the 1970s, bringing a strong BBC heritage along with a number of interesting innovations that its competitors arguably didn’t fully appreciate. One of the most significant among these was a radical approach to enclosure design. The theory goes as follows: building an exceptionally stiff structure might serve to reduce the amplitude (ie relative loudness) of cabinet vibrations, but it also increases the frequency at which they occur, so that the enclosure coloration tends to occur in the midband where human hearing is most sensitive. The alternative Spendor approach, originally inspired by the BBC’s desire for accurate speech monitoring, is the ‘thin wall’ cabinet approach, backed by heavy damping pads, which pushes the cabinet wall vibrations down into the bass region where they’re considered less intrusive.

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