LATEST ADDITIONS

Ed Selley  |  Jul 02, 2010  |  0 comments
Rip, touch and play Malcolm Steward test runs the Qsonix Q105, a 21st Century music library system for people who have no interest in computers here is a vital question facing any manufacturer of a hard-disk music player. It has nothing to do with what size disks to use or what sort of case to put it in. It is rather more rudimentary, i. e what sort of person is going to buy it? If the answer is the hard-core audiophile, then the manufacturing task is immediately simplified.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 02, 2010  |  0 comments
Room service Thanks to this innovative room correction device, enjoying studio quality sound in your own home is a lot easier than you think, says Richard Black Novelty is a bit of a moveable feast. A CD player can still have novelty interest if it uses a new DAC chip or a different kind of output circuit. The PARC, though, is something quite unlike any product we’ve reviewed in Hi-Fi Choice before. It’s a room correction unit, and it’s true we’ve seen the odd one or two of these, but it works in a very different way from any other we’re aware of.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 02, 2010  |  0 comments
Entry-level excellence Naim regards the CD5 XS as an entry-level player. But as Malcolm Steward discovered, its performance tells a completely different story The Naim XS series, which includes the CD5 XS, is more than just a simple evolution of the previous X series models. Each component is said to have been engineered to work harmoniously with the rest of the range and providing significantly enhanced overall system performance. Naim also regards the XS range as a superb introduction to its Reference series models by offering what it says is genuine high-end performance at an affordable price level.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 02, 2010  |  0 comments
Bright and beautiful In this exclusive review Jimmy Hughes looks at Linn's new 'universal' phono stage and discovers a must-have tool for LP lovers It goes without saying that Linn’s Uphorik phono stage will have plenty of appeal to serious vinyl enthusiasts: those lucky individuals with a top class turntable, arm and cartridge, who are intent on making their precious collection of LPs sound as good as is humanly possible. Yet, the Uphorik will also appeal to record fans in general, proving once and for all that the vinyl LP is still very much alive and kicking in 2010. Which is pretty impressive news, given that its rival, the compact disc is fast approaching its 30th birthday. More importantly, vinyl is becoming increasingly popular among younger hi-fi enthusiasts born long after its heyday - see our feature on p84.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Yamaha MCR-640 - £600 The budget price is tempting, but with Yamaha’s not-quite-separates you get what you pay for Question: when is a hi-fi separates component not separate? When it’s not functional apart from its sibling – which makes the R-840 amplifier a separate but the CD player not. The latter has its own power supply and mains lead but simply refuses to power up when not connected to the amp via the supplied data lead. The amp will work, but isn’t so attractive on its own with effectively just the one line input, plus of course digital and analogue radio and the iPod dock. Linked up, the two units form a pretty well-specified system.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Arcam Solo Mini - £750 Solo was one of the first one-box systems on the market and still holds its own against the newcomers Arcam didn’t invent the all-in-one system, but it gave the breed a lot of street cred with the original Solo (still available) and this, the half-width version. Despite its diminutive size, it does a lot of stuff, so excuse a slightly telegraphic rundown of its features. . .
Ed Selley  |  Jun 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Audio Analogue Enigma - £1,295 Beautiful Italian design and one Russian valve makes this one-box system something of a wonder Audio Analogue’s smartly designed products are familiar features in the pages of this magazine – we’ve reviewed quite a few of them over the years. This recent addition to the company’s range brings together radio, CD and an amplifier, though it lacks frills such as digital input, USB socket and iPod dock. The use of a valve is an obvious talking point, though the usual question arises: when the circuit is otherwise resolutely solid-state, what is one valve going to do other than add some character? Still, it’s a nice visual feature, glowing gently behind its own little window. The hard work of providing current for the speakers is handled by a pair of integrated-circuit amplifiers, mounted on an internal heatsink at the rear, next to the large toroidal mains transformer.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Consonance Forbidden City Ping - £1,495 It looks like a chunky amplifier with a CD and radio added on, but the Ping has plenty of bang for your buck Out of all the systems in this group, this is the one that most resembles an amplifier with added bits. Mostly that’s because it’s quite powerful and, therefore, has the real estate that’s associated with powerful amps (big transformer, reservoir capacitors and heatsinks), but it’s even bigger than it strictly needed to be and is really quite imposing. The front panel layout can be annoying, though – all those little squares prevent one taking in the button labels in a hurry! Features are minimal, but there is a USB input. Although it’s an A-type socket, which would normally be for a USB stick or similar, it’s actually intended for use as a DAC fed from a computer – you’ll need an A-to-A USB cable, but one is provided with the Ping.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Harman/Kardon MAS110 - £650 These futuristic black boxes look and sound the money, but don’t be hoodwinked by their lively style At an attractive price (including loudspeakers, which we didn’t include in the review though a brief listen suggests they’re decent), this little system looks rather futuristic, with its shiny black finish unspoiled by buttons or other such fripperies. It shows fingerprints, but a quick wipe sees things right. Although quite a lot of functions are in fact banished to the remote, including source selection, the front panel of the CD player does at least have transport controls, touch-sensitive ‘buttons’ which light up when power is applied, while the amp has a volume control. Actually the ‘CD player’ is also the preamp part, but no, you can’t mix and match the parts as they share a power supply and the only input to the amp is via the multi-way lead.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Shanling MC3000 - £1,400 With its retro looks and technology, Shanling's MC3000 is right on trend and challenges the competition The chassis design of this device started life as a CD player and it’s thanks to some nifty lateral thinking that Shanling has been able to expand its remit to amplification, radio reception and even an iPod dock. Some of the work to do that was straightforward enough; for instance, putting the power amplification and mains transformer in the ‘towers’ at the back. Some was really quite clever – the volume control and input selector are each operated by a knob masquerading as the top of one corner pillar. There’s nothing unusual about the internal construction, though, the parts quality is impressive, with a very recent DAC chip and quite a few good-quality op-amps.

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