LATEST ADDITIONS

Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011
Swiss player combines SACD replay, digital inputs and sumptuous aesthetics to great effect The new 540 SACD ‘Digital Player’, a snip by Soulution standards at £17,850, benefits from the trickle-down of technology from its flagship 745 model. Finish is sumptuous, and the curved edges of top panel and front fascia combine to soften the 540’s physical presence, making it disappear more than most big hi-fi boxes, leaving one to focus on a single rotary dial, a meagre trio of buttons and a slender disc drawer. Screw heads, heatsinks, logos, etc are absent. Digital inputs include coaxial, optical and balanced connections which can all handle incoming data up to 192kHz/24-bit.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011
SACD capability and a clever variable output make the McIntosh a strong performer The SACD won’t go away because enough of us realise that it sounds fabulous. It still has an important market in Japan, and supporters in unlikely places which keep the software flowing. McIntosh is one: as traditional a manufacturer as you can name, and not tempted towards controversy. Mac’s approach to SACD is almost matter-of-fact: it eschews 5.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011
The latest Evolution drops SACD to focus on CD Krell’s first non-amplification component was the SBP 64X DAC. Twenty-two years on we have this high-end player, following on from the Evolution 505 but this time it doesn’t play SACDs. The two look pretty much the same: the front panel layout is virtually unchanged, although the transport drawer is replaced here by a disc loading slot. Above this is a bold, blue-lit dot matrix display.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011
The latest revisions to the big Norwegian increase its appeal Electrocompaniet’s current Classic series looks forward as well as back, with products designed to be integrated into modern multichannel, multi-source systems. The ECI 5 MK II integrated amplifier looks pretty much the same as the previous ECI 5 model, [HFN Oct ’09]. But there are major internal changes, although Electrocompaniet emphasises that all its amplifiers are still ‘made in the TIM-free school based on the principles laid down in the works of Dr Otala and Dr Jan Lohstroh’. The changes in the new ECI 5 MK II seem to have been mainly intended to meet the demands of big modern speakers when driven to high levels with rock music.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
This clever little speaker still sounds more than respectable An audio pioneer, Jim Rogers possessed real acoustic engineering talent as well as in electronics. The original Rogers folded corner horn may not offer true stereophonic reproduction, but it’s a fine room-filling beast. And as for the later flat-to-the-wall Wafer speakers, based on Philips drive units and measuring just 2in thick, these are surprisingly magicalsounding. Then there’s the JR149.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
How does the original CD player stand up nearly thirty years after its introduction? It was in March 1983 that the compact disc system officially arrived in Europe. With it came the first European-made CD player, the top-loading Philips CD100. Four years before, in March 1979, Philips had given a first press demonstration of a Compact Disc player prototype, using 14-bit digital encoding. Philips was already marketing 30cm video discs but believed that there should be a separate, smaller disc format for audio.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
Revisiting the first British solid state amplifier Goodmans was one of the most prolific loudspeaker makers of the 1960s, also supplying the radio and television trade. The company ran from 1932, ending when the TGI group was broken up in 2004. But the brand name as such survives marketing a range of DVB set-top boxes and LCD TV sets. Introduced in 1966 with a price tag of £49 10s, this compact little amplifier, the Maxamp 30, measured just 10in tall, 5in wide and 7in deep.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
The ancestor of a modern classic still has much to commend it Author of a couple of 1967-8 HFN features comparing the operation of output stages in Class A and AB transistor amplifiers, Jim Sugden then owned a company producing lab and test equipment. But thanks to a collaboration with Richard Allan, a company making speakers based nearby in Yorkshire, the first Class A amplifier made by Sugden was marketed under the Richard Allan name. The A21 amplifier made its first public appearance at the ’68 London Audio Fair in London. A 10W-per-channel integrated, it sold for £52, like Leak’s Stereo 30.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
The first solid-state Quad remains a classic of the genre Exemplifying all that was admirable in British hi-fi, the 33 preamp (£43) and 303 power amp (£55) were Quad’s first commercial solid-state offerings, the company having waited for the new-fangled transistor to settle down before embracing it in 1967. It was in many ways ‘a solid-state Quad 22’. Any previous customer would have immediately recognised the control locations, the flushmounted rotaries, the balance control under the volume control, the press buttons that also offered Quad’s unique, fully cancellable filter and tone controls and RIAA selectors. In size, the 303 and the Quad II power amps were nearly interchangeable.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Nov 16, 2011
Cosmetically identical, the latest revisions to the OC9 are all internal. For those wanting a taste of luxury at a sensible price there has long been Audio-Technica’s AT-OC9. First introduced in 1987 it has always been regarded a bargain of sorts, boasting robust construction, excellent tracking ability and a polished and pure sound. Certainly it was less romantic and mellifluous sounding than many cost-noobject MCs, but it was highly detailed and refined while possessing terrifically tight bass and vivid imaging.

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