LATEST ADDITIONS

Ed Selley  |  Feb 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Black beauties From Germany's number one speaker brand, this Canton standmount, as Paul Messenger confirms, boasts some high-class credentials Despite a number of serious attempts, the majority of German loudspeaker brands have hitherto had very little impact upon the UK marketplace. Canton, however, certainly has the muscle to change that, via its newly appointed UK distributor Computers Unlimited. The Canton catalogue might be exclusively speaker-oriented, but it’s no less comprehensive. The hi-fi section alone comprises no fewer than eight distinct ranges and more than 60 models and the Ventos are close to the top.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Arcam A38 A favourite among the blind-listening panel in terms of its performance, the Arcam A38 is a solid all-rounder Arcam’s amps haven’t changed much externally since the introduction of the ‘Full Metal Jacket’ range several years ago, but their internal design has seen a fair bit of evolution. In its description of the A38, Arcam draws special attention to the output stage design which, it says, is much less sensitive to thermal conditions than traditional output stages. The issue of ‘warm-up’ of audio electronics is a long-standing bone of contention, some saying it’s of little importance, while others maintain it’s crucial for proper performance. What’s often forgotten, though, is that the temperature of the output transistors can vary by many tens of degrees during the course of a track, as the music goes from soft to loud and back.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Creek Destiny 2 The Destiny 2 is a worthy contender in the upmarket stakes and a sublime performer to boot Creek describes this model as its ‘high-end’ offering: that’s relative, of course, but it’s certainly true that this is the fanciest and most highly specified model ever made by the stalwart of sensible audio that is Creek. It’s a very solid device externally, quite slimline, surprisingly heavy, and very smart, thanks to its use of brushed aluminium for top, front and side panels. Fit and finish are excellent throughout and although it lacks the super-thick front panel that’s the usual fitment for true high-end audio, it otherwise looks the part to an admirable degree. It’s heavy because there’s a lot going on inside.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Cyrus 8xpd With its excellent credentials, the shoebox-sized 8xp d is an amplifier to contend with One of the undeniable advantages of surface-mount electronics assembly is that it allows a manufacturer to get more into a given space. The Cyrus one-size-fits-all case is half-width and of quite modest height, but this amp includes one of the biggest mains transformers we’ve seen in an integrated amp. Behind it are the output and preamplifier stages and a most impressive array of inputs and outputs. There are six ‘normal’ analogue inputs, a ‘Zone 2’ output, two preamp outputs, twin speaker outputs on BFA terminals, a mini-jack headphone output, a socket for connection to Cyrus’s popular PSX-R power supply upgrade and no less than five digital inputs: two each optical and electrical and one USB.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Roksan Caspian M2 With its tuneful performance and natural detail, the Caspian M2 is lined up to be the perfect hi-fi partner Roksan started out in turntables, but quickly diversified into amplifiers and the Caspian name goes back a long way in the company’s history. This particular iteration is in outline specification, your completely average integrated amplifier circa 2010, with six line inputs, an 85-watt nominal output and no funny business at all, unless you count the deeply funky touch-screen remote control. The appearance is distinctive, though, with that stainless steel top panel and as you’ll expect if you know the maker, there are a few interesting touches inside. The most obvious of those, after removing the cover, is the pair of mains transformers which between them take up the left half of the chassis.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Sugden Mystro From a brand with a long pedigree, the Mystro could well be the answer to all your amplifier needs We’re not sure how to pronounce the name, but we are sure that this is a Sugden unlike those we’re familiar with. For over four decades (!) the firm has been synonymous with low-power Class A amplifiers. This one changes everything, offering 50 watts of Class AB power from an all-new circuit. Mind you, in many ways it harks back to yesteryear, offering as it does a mere three-line inputs plus phono, single speaker outputs, no preamp or even ‘tape’ output, and remote control for volume only.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Leema Acoustics Pulse III With its proprietary interface and stylish controls, the Pulse III is the next phase in Leema’s enviable amp range As one of our listeners observed after the veil had been lifted on the amps, “That Pulse looks like a set-top box”. Maybe it does, too – and Leema mentions in its literature that the Pulse is intended to be for all the family. Maybe, indeed, hi-fi with the easy familiarity of a set-top box is no bad thing in this day and age. It’s a bit of a deluxe STB, though, not least thanks to the milled-from-solid aluminium front panel and solidly made casework.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Needle- sharp Dynavector has added two new moving coils to its small, but well formed range. Jason Kennedy finds out what they can do for your vinyl We have yet to encounter a Dynavector cartridge that we don’t like, but new ones don’t come along very often, so when two arrive like buses on a cold night, it’s a cause for celebration. As is the Japanese company’s style, the new DV-20X2 is available in low and high output varieties, the low output version requires a transistor phono stage or step-up device, while the high can be used with valve and MM phono stages. This, combined with a traditional two-gram down-force, makes the DV-20X2 a very easy cartridge to accommodate on modern turntables, or even older ones so long as they don’t have a very low mass arm.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Just add speakers Rotel has consolidated its hi-fi know-how into just one £1,200 box, adding streaming for that 21st century touch. Richard Black investigates The term ‘all-in-one system’ is becoming more and more ambitious as more bits and bobs come to be considered standard parts of a system. With the RCX-1500, Rotel has arguably enlarged the envelope compared with previous products we’ve encountered under that general heading. The obvious bits are there – CD player; DAB and FM radio; amplifier; line input and a couple of digital ones – but the RCX-1500 goes a lot further.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Count on Cantata Jason Kennedy looks at the matching 50-watt integrated for our favourite CD player of 2010. Can Resolution Audio shine with its amps, too? Last year we had some bad news. Resolution Audio discontinued one of our favourite CD players, the Opus 21. The good news, however, was that it replaced it with the Cantata Music Centre, which went on to win several HFC awards in our 2010 Awards issue.

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