LATEST ADDITIONS

Review: Tim Jarman,  |  May 30, 2024
hfnvintageArriving in 1967, the Ravensbourne Stereo was the first transistorised amplifier to be introduced by Rogers Developments, and slotted into the manufacturer’s range between the existing HG88 integrated and Master pre/power models. At a time when the HG88 sold for around £46 and produced 15W in total from ECL86 tubes, the Ravensbourne was £64 and offered 25W per channel from modern silicon transistors.
Review: Andrew Everard,  |  May 24, 2024
hfncommendedInspired by Leema Acoustics' flagship Constellation series, this pre/power combination is the first fruit of the Welsh brand's new Quantum range. Does the Graviton have gravitas?

The tone of the announcement of the new Leema Acoustics Quantum range has the air of a Hollywood blockbuster: '25 years in the making…' it begins. But perhaps this hyperbole can be forgiven as this is the Welsh company's first new range in more than ten years and sees the technology of its flagship lineup simplified to reach more affordable prices. Here we have the first two Quantum arrivals, both available in silver or black – the Neutron preamp, with 13 inputs including a built-in DAC, is £1500, as is the Graviton stereo power amp, rated at 150W/8ohm. Buy the two together and you save £200, bringing the package price down to £2800.

Steve Sutherland  |  May 21, 2024
From a rock 'n' roll first to punk's earliest record, this Detroit studio was a pit-stop for the pioneers whose creations would shape music's history, as Steve Sutherland explains

There will be plenty of time to talk about Death in a moment. Right now, though, just you concentrate on ramming that speaker deep down in the toilet bowl and make sure the microphone is firmly propped underneath so the sound will bounce off the water and create an echo effect when it's sent back to the other speaker in the studio next door. Oh, and while you're at it, see that wooden pallet underneath the chair? Make sure it's mic'ed up because the foot-stomp is gonna drive the beat.

Review: Mark Craven,  |  May 20, 2024
hfnoutstandingComplete with a new streaming module, T+A's latest network-attached DAC/preamp is the perfect partner for its PA 3100 HV integrated and A 3000 HV power amplifiers

Tipping the scales at a hefty 26kg, measuring a portly 46cm deep and 17cm tall, and selling for £14,900, T+A's PSD 3100 HV appears every inch the flagship DAC/streamer/preamp. Except that it isn't – that accolade is reserved for the German brand's SDV 3100 HV [HFN Oct '19], which has been deemed its 'reference' model since its arrival in 2019 and remains available for £26,040.

Mike Barnes  |  May 17, 2024
Released in 1981, the third album from the UK kings of Gothic rock built upon the stark sounds of its predecessor, added even more melancholy, and contained a song that the band's leader and singer Robert Smith would later describe as 'life-changing'

From 1976, UK punk produced such a surge of energy that it was like riding a wave, both for musicians and fans alike. The Cure began in earnest in Crawley that year, as The Easy Cure, having grown out of a number of other bands dating back to their schooldays. Robert Smith was on guitar and vocals, Lol Tolhurst on drums and Michael Dempsey on bass. Their sound was sparse and urgent, fuelled by punk but with a finger on the pop pulse.

Review: Adam Smith,  |  May 16, 2024
hfnoutstandingThe most compact of three floorstanding models in what will ultimately be a four-strong range, PS Audio's 'triple ABR' aspen FR10 packs a deceptively huge punch

For a 50-year-old company that released its first loudspeaker barely two years ago, PS Audio has not been resting on its laurels. Coming swiftly on the heels of the flagship £30,000 aspen FR30 [HFN Jun '22] are a raft of junior siblings. First up was the £20,000 FR20 [HFN Apr '23] and now we have the baby floorstander of the range, the £10,000 FR10. As an aside, I don't think we'd be letting the cat out of the bag by revealing a fourth model is in the pipeline – the two-way, ABR-loaded FR5 standmount. If it isn't priced at £5000, I'll eat my hat.

Review: Mark Craven,  |  May 13, 2024
hfnoutstandingBuilding on the earlier D2 platform, Lumin's equally compact D3 model features a new processor, new DAC, LeedH volume control and support for increased file sample rates

It's not only loudspeaker brands playing the trickle-down technology game. Lumin's D3, its new entry-level streaming DAC, borrows liberally from the Hong Kong manufacturer's costlier network hardware, utilising elements both inside and out to effect a comprehensive upgrade on the previous D2 [HFN Jul '20]. Its maker says the D3 'brings the audiophile potential of music streaming within everyone's reach', and while the £2195 price tag makes that somewhat debatable, it certainly has plenty of appeal.

Review: Ken Kessler,  |  May 09, 2024
hfnoutstandingArtisanship and innovation meet in this precision-engineered turntable/arm combo that brings 21st century know-how to bear on a pre-Millennium turntable technology

Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks. After decades of being dismissive of idler- or rim-drive turntables, if not downright hostile towards them, I have had my ears opened by Reed's Muse 1C. A previous owner of a Thorens TD 124 [HFN Jun '59] and a Garrard 401 [HFN Dec '65], I never considered them to be as rumble-free nor as quiet as direct-drive or belt-drive turntables. The Lithuanian-designed and built Muse 1C, at £9998 without arm, the least expensive model in a range of three, has changed all that.

Steve Sutherland  |  May 07, 2024
Ex-Happy Mondays stars Shaun Ryder and Bez returned to the top of the UK charts with this rockin', rollin' and rappin' LP. Steve Sutherland applauds its return on 180g

Pinch yourself. You're not dreaming, although it might get a bit Alice In Wonderland a little later on. We are dining al fresco on a terrace overlooking vineyards near Nice in the South of France. At the head of the table is our host, Michael Hutchence, who we have popped over from London to interview.

Review: Jamie Biesemans,  |  May 06, 2024
hfnoutstandingMore sober than the 'steampunk' styled RA180, and more powerful too, the new RA280 takes HiFi Rose's GaN FET-based Class D architecture into the audiophile zone

HiFi Rose delighted, and in some cases flabbergasted, hi-fi enthusiasts with its RA180 [HFN Jul '22], an amplifier that looked like it had just escaped from the pages of Gibson-Sterling's steampunk classic The Difference Engine. Boasting lots of knobs and dials on the outside, and novel GaN FETs in its Class D power amp on the inside, it was undeniably 'something else'. It was quite an unexpected product from the Seoul-based brand too, as up to that point HiFi Rose was principally known for streamers and DACs with very large touchscreens [HFN Jun '21 and Mar '22].

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