LATEST ADDITIONS

Ed Selley  |  May 16, 2011  |  0 comments
Bronze Age High-performance speakers needn’t cost the earth – Ed Selley listens in on the latest evolution of the popular Monitor Audio Bronze Series Monitor Audio has been producing the Bronze series, its entry-level full-size speaker range, for some years now. And the latest update takes the line-up from BR to BX status and features a full choice of standmounts, floorstanders and supporting multichannel equipment. Design refinements include single- bolt driver fixings and HiVE reflex ports borrowed from the more expensive ranges. The £500 BX5 tested here, however, is the smaller of two floorstanding models.
Ed Selley  |  May 16, 2011  |  0 comments
Triumphant return Get ready - Onkyo is back in 'serious' hi-fi after a 20-year gap and HFC's Ed Selley reckons this new pre/power is a real tour de force Onkyo has been out of the high-end hi-fi market for almost twenty years – long enough for us to believe that they had left it for good. But the brand is back and it has come out shooting. The components you see here are part of a new range of elite, flagship hi-fi products for 2011. This on its own would be good news.
Ed Selley  |  May 16, 2011  |  0 comments
The final frontier Primare's beautifully built, full-width phono stage is the perfect partner for serious vinyl systems says analogue addict Jason Kennedy Primare’s new R32 has got to be the biggest phono stage on the market for under a grand, In fact, you could fit a dozen Dynavector P75 MkII stages inside it! Size is not usually considered a bonus in such devices but it has two benefits: you get a component that matches the rest on your rack and it’s extremely well built. You also get plenty of space between the power supply and the internal circuitry. When you are amplifying the pitiful output of a moving coil cartridge you need the quietest environment you can get and this is one way of achieving it. Back in black In 2009, we reviewed Primare’s R20 phono stage (HFC 320), which was half the width of the R32 and nearly half the price, but had the unusual feature of variable gain for the MM input only.
Ed Selley  |  Apr 28, 2011  |  0 comments
The right balance With Magic Racks your hi-fi literally floats on rubber bands and as Richard Black discovers, it provides a unique way to isolate your system. There have been plenty of new designs for equipment supports over the years, the majority of them taking rigidity seriously along with such anti-vibration measures as spikes. A few, though, seek to decouple equipment more thoroughly using sprung or otherwise ‘floppy’ support systems, with or without damping. Newcomer Magic Racks has come up with an ingenious way of implementing the floppy approach, using what are basically rubber bands – long strips of neoprene rubber, placed between supports in such a way that they keep equipment clear of the floor or the level underneath, while allowing it to bounce freely.
Ed Selley  |  Apr 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Getting the cleaners in A noisy mains supply can ruin the sound of your hi-fi says Jimmy Hughes, as he discovers the latest technology from Isol-8's SubStations Sooner or later, even the most sensible hi-fi enthusiast starts to wonder what sort of difference having a mains conditioner might make to the sound of their equipment. Mains electricity is the ‘fuel’ that powers your system. So it stands to reason; the cleaner the fuel, the better things should sound. But then doesn’t the power supply in each individual hi-fi component deal with whatever impurities that might be present in the electricity supply? Well, to a degree – yes.
Ed Selley  |  Apr 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Just for the record Can a humble cartridge-maker craft the perfect phono stage? Dynavector’s radical P-75 looks to invigorate Jason Kennedy’s LP collection In many respects you would expect companies that make cartridges to be the best placed to design a phono stage, but this is still quite a rare practice (van den Hul and Rega are notable exceptions). Dynavector is not just a cartridge maker of course, it has an electronics wing in New Zealand and used to make an amplifier with stereo- enhancing circuitry, there is also a discontinued head amplifier on its website. Its compact P-75 phono stage is now in its second generation and has something of a cult following, so we thought it time to investigate. Degrees of grain The P75 does a couple of things rather differently to most.
Ed Selley  |  Apr 24, 2011  |  0 comments
A Shure thing Shure's flagship SE535 is the closest you can get to a good hi-fi system on the go. Dan George marvels at the triple drivers making it happen Ipod sales, now into the hundreds of millions, have driven enormous growth in the headphone and specifically, earphone market, to the benefit of music lovers everywhere. With growth comes investment and with that comes developments in technology, leading to flagship models such as the SE535. These sound-isolating earphones are all about the triple drivers they contain.
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.

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