LATEST ADDITIONS

Ed Selley  |  Sep 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Point of reference The CD player we have used as reference for nine years is being replaced by this CD/streamer 'music centre' and Jason Kennedy is gripped Resolution Audio’s Opus 21 has been a reference CD player for us since it’s introduction at the turn of the century. This diminutive two-box unit gives more detail, dynamics and sheer musicality than most and we will be very sad to see it go. Or, at least, we will be, if we can’t get our hands on its replacement the Cantata Music Centre. Because not only does this new player look incredible, it also manages to up the sonic ante to an unprecedented degree.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Format specialist Marantz plugs the yawning gap that exists between high-resolution audio and video sources. Alvin Gold may have found 'the one' The idea of universal disc players is not new. They’ve been around in the form of computer drives for a long time, as well as domestic disc players, but the players are usually not quite what you might expect from the description on the tin. The players, for example, have traditionally limited themselves to CD, DVD-Audio and SACD, while computer drives will invariably include DVD-Video, Blu-ray and baseline audio compatibility in the form of compact disc.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Affordable Xcellence Kudos's £2k Cardea C2 was a finalist for 'Best Speaker over a £1,000' in last year’s HFC Awards. Paul Messenger looks at a bright newcomer Kudos might be a relative newcomer on the British loudspeaker scene, but it has rapidly established popularity among dealers and customers alike. And that’s in spite of the fact that its original Cardea range of floorstanders and standmounts carry quite substantial pricetags. Made in England The basic idea behind the new X-series is to provide Kudos quality at rather lower prices.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Get into the groove Jason Kennedy is a sucker for the latest sub-£500 vacuum vinyl-cleaning system from ‘Chi-fi’ analogue specialist Hanss Hanss Acoustics is a Chinese firm with a penchant for all things ‘vinyl’. It has some pretty impressive turntables and a rather good phono stage in its range, so the debut of this innovative and attractive record cleaner was only to be expected. A curvy box built out of extruded aluminium, the RC20 is significantly less imposing than the competition, yet it offers much the same spinning and sucking abilities – skills that are intrinsic in the pursuit of vinyl freshening. It doesn’t offer the cleaning thread found on Keith Monks machines, but neither does it cost that sort of money.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Tube upgrade Funk Firm's dramatic rethinking of the armtube has finally born fruit, Jason Kennedy finds out if it’s ripe for the listening Arthur Koubesserian is one of those audio engineers who genuinely thinks outside of the box. He has been doing so since he set up Pink Triangle in the late seventies and his Funk Firm continues the theme with its first tonearm. The FXR takes a radical approach to the problem of resonance by placing a carbon fibre cross section in the middle of a thin, walled aluminium tube. An approach which he claims makes an incredibly stiff, yet light-weight tube that’s far superior to the beams found on other tonearms.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Whiter than white Germany's number one speaker brand makes a welcome return to the UK. Paul Messenger tries the pick of the bunch Although black is the fashionable finish in loudspeaker-land, albeit with high-gloss highlights, it’s just one of just two alternatives available for this speaker (the other being high-gloss white!) This is such a beautifully styled, finished and presented loudspeaker, it clearly comes from a major brand with plenty of muscle. The Canton name might not be well known here in Britain, but it was founded back in 1972 and is Germany’s leading hi-fi speaker brand, with a large collection of different ranges in its portfolio. The latest contenders The Chrono SLs are the latest range to join the ranks, effectively upgrading and updating the original Chrono models, bringing much sharper and more modern-looking styling, alongside engineering improvements in enclosure, crossover and drive unit performance.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Full stream ahead The Arcam Solo neo is the first ‘hi-fi’ one-box system to provide network music facilities Malcolm Steward swops five boxes for just one The Arcam Solo first saw the light of day around six years ago when most audiophiles had CD as their primary source. That is probably still the case for many but there is increasing demand now for machinery that can handle streamed music, whether it’s sourced from the user’s home network or from the internet. And streaming ability is what the Solo neo brings to the party. Naturally, being a member of the Solo family, it also offers CD and radio capabilities – the latter now including internet broadcasting – along with its integral preamplifier and power amplifier stages.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 15, 2010  |  0 comments
Parasound P3/A23 - £800/£900 This pre/power duo boasts a sound performance that adds extra dimension to vocals Parasound is a name which will be familiar to those interested in American audio, but historically it’s not had much visibility in the UK. These two products are part of the company’s ‘Halo’ range, value audiophile products designed in America but built in Taiwan. Very nicely built, too -– the cases are well finished and exceptionally solid, while the look and feel are generally first-rate. The P3 preamp is well equipped with inputs, including a balanced line input and also a phono stage.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 15, 2010  |  0 comments
Astin Trew AT1000/AT5000 - £650/£850 Confident duo packs a punch with all types of music, but is less subtle with more complex melodies Astin Trew is a young company which we’ve watched develop with increasing admiration. We’ll come to the all-important sound performance in a few paragraphs, of course, but we would be remiss if we didn’t praise the company for the highly professional look and finish of its amplifiers: these are really very smartly made units that, clichés aside, genuinely transcend their price tag. Most of the manufacturing process is carried out in China, but AT has done its homework and attended to all sorts of details. And the insides have hardly been skimped on, either.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 15, 2010  |  0 comments
NAD C165BEE/C275BEE £650/£900 NAD's budget combi looks very promising, but while looks can be deceiving the listening test reveals all From the original kings of budget audiophilia, comes a particularly well-equipped preamp and a strikingly powerful power amp, all tastefully presented in traditional NAD charcoal black. NAD is one of only very few brands to include tone controls, although as our Marantz news feature on p8 shows, they might be making a comeback! There’s also a subwoofer output which we don’t imagine too many stereo folks using, but the rest of the facilities are very useful. We’re particularly impressed with the flexible phono stage, which caters for both MM and MC cartridge and even has adjustable loading. The C275 BEE power amp is a chunky beast with the option to be used in bridged mode if its normal 150 watts isn’t enough for you.

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