Hi-Fi Choice

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Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 04, 2019  |  0 comments
The Vena II integrated amplifier looks almost identical to its 2014 predecessor finished in Lancaster grey, save for the model number and updated input labelling to the front panel. Priced at £649, Quad’s entry-level integrated comes in the standard grey finish, but for an extra £100 is also available wrapped in a choiceof three veneered or lacquered-wood finishes, including sapele mahogany, gloss black or white.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 04, 2019  |  0 comments
It must be great to be Italian. For all the country’s quirks, it’s one of the richest seams of European culture and so much beauty has come from within its borders. Whereas we Brits can congratulate ourselves for inventing most of the essential tools for modern life – from the steam railway and the jet engine to the worldwide web – Italy has made things of great beauty, in so many forms. The sonnet is one such example – 14 lines of verse in iambic pentameter.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 04, 2019  |  0 comments
A US brand distributed in the UK by Decent Audio, Aesthetix has announced the introduction of Mimas, the first integrated amplifier from the high-end component manufacturer. A hybrid design combining a valve preamp stage – using a single 6DJ8 valve per channel in a fully differential, balanced configuration – with a solid-state power amp section, it’s power output is rated at 2x 150W into 8ohm and claims to almost double that into 4ohm. Hand assembled in California and priced at £8,725, it offers five line-level inputs as standard, with a variable gain MM/MC phono stage and/or DAC module with two coaxial and two optical inputs and a USB port for an additional £1,500 each. Click here for more info.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 03, 2019  |  0 comments
Distributed in the UK by Decent Audio, Colorado-based Ayre has introduced the first product from its entry-level 8 series. The EX-8 integrated ‘hub’ is available in five variants with a different array of input modules priced from £5,750 to £7,750. It’s rated at 2x 100W into 8ohm and is built around fully balanced, zero-feedback circuitry. With the Net module installed (from £7,500), it provides six digital inputs (Ethernet, USB, AES/EBU, S/PDIF and two Toslinks) and has embedded support for Spotify, Qobuz and Tidal streaming services as well as being Roon-ready.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 03, 2019  |  0 comments
Known for its specialist tonearms, Jelco – distributed in the UK by Divine Audio, but supplied here by ISOkinetik – has made its SG-1 digital stylus pressure gauge available as a separate item priced at £79. Previously supplied with its flagship TK-950 tonearm (HFC 438), the SG-1 is a well-made gauge with a non-magnetic stainless-steel bracket fitted to the sensor plate. Pressing the on button illuminates the green backlit LCD display and zeros the balance.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 03, 2019  |  0 comments
As the smaller of a brace of powered speakers, the MusicCast 20 represents the entry point of Yamaha’s wireless speaker range. MusicCast is the company’s ambitious multi-room system and as well as working on its own, the 20 can also be integrated with other MusicCast products as part of a multi-room or multi-speaker setup with products detecting one another for full flexibility and seamless integration around the home.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 03, 2019  |  0 comments
As last month’s Group Test of entry-level network audio players showed, the streaming sector is hotting up with a wide selection of easy-to-use players to choose from at some very attractive prices. As if to further demonstrate the growth in the market, Yamaha has introduced its keenly priced MusicCast NP-S303 music streamer that’s designed to be an easy network audio add on to an existing hi-fi setup, or to partner with its matching full-size integrated amplifiers as part of a unified system.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 03, 2019  |  0 comments
There is a school of thought among some loudspeaker buyers that a standmount design is a bit of a waste of time. The reason being that, as long as you aren’t intending to pop said loudspeakers onto a bookshelf, then by the time you have located them in your room and perched them on some suitable stands they take up roughly the same amount of room as some floorstanders, so why not just opt for them in the first place? While things are more complicated than this, you can see the logic.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 03, 2019  |  0 comments
Since the demise of the iPod Classic and the rise of the smartphone as the portable audio device of choice for the majority of users, the digital audio player market has struggled to flourish. This hasn’t stopped some specialists from carving out a niche, though, and Astell&Kern has been offering a considerable range of high-end players for some time. With an eye on keeping things in the real world, the A&norma SR15 is at A&K’s more affordable end of its extensive product range and is £100 more than the AK70 (HFC 428) that’s more recently been updated to mkII. The specification of the SR15 improves on the AK70 mkII and it’s fitted with 64GB of internal memory, which is supplemented by the inclusion of a microSD card slot for a card up to 400GB.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 02, 2019  |  0 comments
The premier of the monster ULTIMA preamp and monoblock power amps from Chord Electronics certainly drew big crowds eager to geta first look at the newest beasts to arrive from the Kent-based specialist audio brand at last year’s Hi-Fi Show Live held in Windsor. Launched to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary with two ground-breaking introductions to its Reference range, the ULTIMA preamp (above) and twin mono power amps dominated one of the show’s largest demo spaces in a spectacular showcase that was joined by the company’s Blu MkII CD/ digital transport and DAVE DAC/preamp and partnered with probablythe world’s most striking loudspeaker – supplied in the shape of KEF’s Muon flagship. A single ULTIMA power amp measures 480 x 350 x 670mm (WxHxD) and weighs in at 86kg. It’s rated at 780W into 8ohm (for 0.

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