Hi-Fi Choice

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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 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 02, 2019  |  0 comments
Danish loudspeaker company Dynaudio has introduced its five-strong Evoke Series, which includes two standmounts, two floorstanders and a dedicated centre for multi-channel setups. Designed at its purpose-built R&D facility in Skanderborg, the series fits the same new 28mm Cerotar tweeter with Hexis inner dome to all models. All Evoke drivers were developed alongside the company’s more upmarket Contour and Confidence loudspeaker designs and employ strong ferrite+ magnets as well as the company’s proprietary MSP (Magnesium Silicate Polymer) cones to its bass drivers. The Evoke 10 (£1,250) is a two-way standmount with a 140mm mid/bass driver, while the 20 (£1,800) employs a 180mm mid/bass driver.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 02, 2019  |  0 comments
Wales-based Leema Acoustics has unveiled its Elements Streamer, billed as a space-saving DLNA/UPnP network music player with a built-in DAC, offering integrated Spotify Connect, Deezer, Qobuz and Tidal streaming services alongside USB drive playback. Priced at £1,295 and conceived by Leema co-founder Lee Taylor, the player is based on the streaming module found in the company’s £2,995 Quasar integrated amplifier (HFC 425), and control is via a free app available for Android and iOS devices. Connectivity options include both balanced and unbalanced outputs, optical and coaxial digital outs, as well as a USB input and Ethernet network port. Twin wi-fi antennas aim to provide increased signal stability.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 02, 2019  |  0 comments
One event that really caught our eye at last year’s busy Hi-Fi Show Live was the unveiling of Copland’s CTA408 hybrid integrated amplifier that utilises both valve and solid-state circuitry. Unlike many other manufacturers, Copenhagen-based Copland prefers to do things differently and the CTA408 is based around an arrangement usingthe latest KT150 output valves and its own output transformers, offering a power stage rated a 2x 75W into4 and 8ohm that’s equipped with a special startup procedure designed to prolong valve life. Measuring 435 x 220 x 460mm (WxHxD) and weighing 26kg, it offers four line-level inputs and a tape loop, plus a fully shielded phono stage that has dedicated moving-magnet and moving-coil inputs and a solid-state circuitry design said to use 100+ discrete components. A dedicated Class A headphone amplifier is also built in, and the 6.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 02, 2019  |  0 comments
Acoustic Energy introduced its 100 Series in 2017 – the Cirencester-based company’s 30th anniversary year – with the launch of the AE109 (HFC 425), the new series’ top floorstander at the time priced at £600. The AE120 (pictured above) is the latest addition to the entry-level series and is a true three-way floorstander with sensitivity rated at 90dB. The slimline floorstander measuring 200 x 900 x 300mm (WxHxD) sees the new addition to the 100 Series continue to focus on traditional design values for a modern setting that have been carefully thought through. Twin 110mm bass drive units underpin the AE120’s performance, partnered with a dedicated midrange driver that’s housed in its own enclosure designed to mitigate the harmful effects of rear wave reflections, the company says.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 02, 2019  |  0 comments
Damping pucks fulfil a number of useful functions, such as helping to keep the surface flat during vinyl playback or by adding to the rotation mass to reduce instantaneous speed changes when tracking loud passages of music and limiting record slippage. The DPS claims to go one further by collecting and removing unwanted vibrations during playback.
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.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 01, 2019  |  0 comments
Releasing a trio of standmounts for the first time on UK shores, Definitive Technologyis part of the Sound United group that also includes hi-fi specialists Denon and Marantz. Designed in California, the baby Demand 7 measures 140 x 248 x 222mm (WxHxD) and claims 85dB sensitivity. It’s priced at £529 and employs a 114mm mid/bass driver partnered to the same offset 25mm aluminium dome tweeter that’s fitted to each Demand model along with the company’s 20/20 Wave Alignment Lensfor improved stereo imaging and dispersion. Priced at £799, the Demand 9 is the mid model measuring 165 x 297 x 300mm (WxHxD) with a 133mm mid/bass driver and 229mm passive bass radiator, and claims 88dB sensitivity.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 01, 2019  |  0 comments
Sometimes, the arrival of an entirely expected model can still be surprising. For the last couple of years Rega has been replacing its RP series of turntables with Planar decks, so it didn’t take an enormous amount of deduction to work out that this would continue up the range to include the RP8. What wasn’t so obvious is that the Planar 8 would be so different to its predecessor and almost every other Rega turntable that came before it.

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