LATEST ADDITIONS

Ed Selley  |  Nov 13, 2010  |  0 comments
Roksan Radius 5. 2 £1,399 (inc. arm) Putting the competition to shame in terms of rhythm and pace, the Radius 5. 2 has much to recommend it The Radius design has undergone so many changes over the years that practically no single part is left of the original, yet it is instantly recognisable as the same model.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 12, 2010  |  0 comments
Universal panacea Can a preamplifier costing as much as a small car really make a difference? Jason Kennedy ponders the accepted order What better time than the new era of austerity for us to discover how much difference a really good preamplifier can make to an already impressive high-end system. Mark Levinson was one of the first to build seriously engineered high-end amplifiers. We don’t mean excessively large or massively powerful, although it was ahead of the power game, we mean Rolls Royce or SME-style build quality. It’s unusual for us to review a preamplifier on its own, but the new No.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 12, 2010  |  0 comments
King of the Castles Castle Acoustics is back! There’s a new owner in IAG and whole new range called Knight, Dominic Todd listens in to see if the old magic is still there Castle Acoustics was a Yorkshire-based company started in the early 1970s. Best known for its rich, real wood veneers and refined acoustic, the firm soon established a following from those appreciating a warm, full-bodied sound. As with many of the British greats, however, Castle fell upon hard times at the turn of the millennium and came under the ownership of IAG (International Audio Group). With IAG’s impressive portfolio that includes Quad, Castle should be in safe hands and as if to prove the parent company’s commitment, the all-new Knight range is voiced by IAG’s Director of Acoustic Design, Peter Comeau – of Heybrook HB1 and Mission 780 fame.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 12, 2010  |  0 comments
Cartridge upgrader Here's a novel way to enhance your cartridge's performance. Richard Black checks out Audio-Technica’s new MC transformer Moving-coil cartridges are wonderful things, but they suffer from a disadvantage in their extremely low output, often less than 1mV peak, or one two-thousandth of what most CD players produce. Clearly, low-noise amplification is a must. Because they have a low impedance, the self-noise of such cartridges is actually very low, but getting an amplifier to match or (ideally) better it is hard work.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 12, 2010  |  0 comments
DAC to the future Arcam, one of the pioneers of off-board DACs re-enters the market. Ed Selley finds out if the wait was worth it Over 20 years ago Arcam produced the Back Box standalone digital-to- analogue convertor. This was one of the first (for obvious reasons, the claim to exactly who was first is hotly contested) devices that could bypass the output of an existing CD player via an S/PDIF digital output and convert it to an analogue signal via a higher-quality output stage than the CD player had internally. Consequently, the Black Box was highly regarded and sold well.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 07, 2010  |  0 comments
Rega style for less Rega has revised its entry-level record player, adding a new tonearm and platter material. Jason Kennedy asks if the brand still 'owns' the sector Rega, once the king of the affordable turntable sector has just reasserted its position in the market a brand-new entry-level model, the RP1. This new turntable replaces the rather dowdy P1 and sports not only a new platter material, but a totally new tonearm to boot, an arm we are told that hints at changes to come across the entire range. New mould The platter is now moulded in phenolic resin which was once known as Bakelite; one of the first plastics to be used in manufacturing and usually associated with radios from the forties and fifties.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Binary beauty US valve stalwart Audio Research has launched its first Class D power amp and as Jimmy Hughes reports, its 450 watts prove addictive Given its penchant for producing large, heavy, behemoths, Audio Research’s launching of a Class D power amp is more than slightly surprising. While Pure Class A still sets a benchmark when the highest quality results take precedence, there are many practical drawbacks – excessive heat, large size, high price, massive power consumption – need one go on? The DS450, on the other hand, features an analogue-based Class D pulse-width modulated switching output stage. High output power, low-running temperature, low-power consumption and excellent sound quality are promised. But can such clever technology really challenge Class A’s sonic supremacy? Up the stakes Like most power amps, the DS450 is fairly simple.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Digital demon A high-end DAC, the Stello DA100 Signature is intended for the audiophile who thought he had everything. Richard Black investigates Stello is a brand of April Music, a Korean manufacturer of distinctive audio electronics. The distinctiveness is felt not just in the looks, but also in the features: this is just about the only DAC we can think of with an I2S input. Matched – surprise, surprise – by a Stello CD transport, this is in fact an industry-standard interface, but is normally used within equipment (on circuit boards rather than between boxes).
Ed Selley  |  Oct 22, 2010  |  0 comments
Mobile library Malcolm Steward discovers a neat solution for losslessly storing up to 3,000 ripped CDs with zero effort, a minimal outlay and no catch The Vortexbox name represents two things: it is a suite of Linux (Fedora-based) software applications that provide users with a music library. It is also the name of the software installed on the company’s ripping NAS (Network Attached Storage) appliances. The software is freely downloadable, while the hardware – a range of fully equipped DLNA-capable (Digital Living Network Alliance) appliances – starts at the genuine value-for-money price of £385. 3,000 albums at CD-quality You can load Vortex Box software onto any PC, where once installed, it will automatically rip CDs to FLAC and MP3 files, ID3 tag those files and download the cover art.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 22, 2010  |  0 comments
Hi-fi’s own HD box Theta's Compli Blu is a state-of-the-art universal (Blu-ray) disc player that, says Alvin Gold, brings HDMI into an audiophile context What is your view of the ideal disc player? There are a number of possible answers to this, but definitely high on the list would be those models that bridge the apparently irreconcilable gap that distinguishes the various flavours of both the audio and video disc with the minimum loss of fidelity. Using versatility and performance as yardsticks, this new model from Theta potentially, at least, comes near the top of the list and, perhaps, at the absolute pinnacle. How so? Well this is a high-end transport which can be used as a full standalone player. It’s happy dealing with almost any 12cm disc that is round and silver, be it audio or video.

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