Hi-Fi Choice

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Hi-Fi Choice  |  Dec 13, 2018  |  0 comments
Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. Often when a new product comes my way for review, I’ve read up so much on it that I know precisely what it is and what to expect from it sonically. With the Vincent SV-500 integrated amplifier however, I did no such thing – although it has been on sale for a while now, this particular model is something of an unknown quantity to me. So, I simply remove it from its box, plug it in and start listening.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Dec 12, 2018  |  0 comments
Although not known for my soldering iron skills, I’ve dabbled in DIY – especially in my earlier years of hi-fi addiction. Before I became a scribe, I managed to destroy a number of perfectly good components by ‘modifying’ them. I now know that whatever my talents may be, they don’t extent to re-engineering consumer electronic devices. Yet it was a fascinating learning curve, even if my greatest lesson was to stop messing around.
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 11, 2018  |  0 comments
Acoustic Energy made a great name for itself back in the late eighties and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Following a recent management buy out, the Gloustershire-based company has a renewed sense of momentum with various new speaker designs – several of which I have sampled – including the AE109 (HFC 425), a highly capable entry-level floorstander from its 100 Series.
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 10, 2018  |  0 comments
Warp back 10 years and almost every integrated amplifier you could buy was essentially an analogue preamp in the same box as a Class AB power amplifier stage, with a power supply to make them both work. Their greatest concession to modernity was a remote control, and if you were really lucky it would let you toggle between and adjust the volume. Now, the landscape has changed dramatically, and it’s products like this that show the way.
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 07, 2018  |  0 comments
I must confess to being somewhat surprised by Sennheiser’s decision to opt for a closed-back design for its new high-end dynamic headphone. Offering the advantage of isolating the listener from external interference and preventing leakage, the design is often considered a compromise in terms of sound quality as the drivers in each earcup create the same amount of sound from both sides of the diaphragm as it vibrates.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Dec 06, 2018  |  0 comments
Before we get to the brand new and rather imposing tower you see before you, a little Brit-fi archaeology. You’ve doubtless heard of Falcon Acoustics, not least for its assertion that among the host of latter-day copies, it makes the most authentic and accurate recreation of the legendary BBC LS3/5a standmount monitor. A decent enough claim to fame. But to fully appreciate the provenance of the company, its specialisations and its aspirations, we must dig deeper.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Dec 06, 2018  |  0 comments
Worthing-based Flare Audio already has a number of low-cost in-ear designs, but the Flares Pro is the first model to grab our attention and is aimed at audio aficionados. It can be connected directly to a player using the supplied cable fitted with a 3. 5mm jack plug or wirelessly using the lightweight clip-on Bluetooth DAC/receiver with aptX support, which claims 12 hours battery life when charged via USB. Everything is supplied inside a multi-layered, cube-shaped box with three sizes (small, medium and large) for each of the Earfoams Everyday, Universal and Audiophile ear-tips, plus there’s a fabric carry case that fits neatly into a pocket for life on the road.

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