LATEST ADDITIONS

Richard Stevenson & Paul Miller  |  Mar 05, 2009
Just occasionally very creative people can pair two otherwise completely incongruous items and come up with something truly special. Take strawberries and cream: who would have thought mixing a ground fruit with the soured milk of a lactating mammal would sire an international tennis tournament and two weeks of eastern European girls running around in short skirts? Marvellous. But an SACD player with a traditionally video-centric HDMI connection? I’m not so sure. The reason is multichannel SACD audio and getting that data to an external DAC with almost zero jitter.
Andrew Harrison and Paul Miller  |  Mar 04, 2009
It’s no idle exaggeration to say that the Sondek LP12 has been a touchstone for record playback during the three decades-plus of its continuous production. And although Linn Products has earned its credentials as a progressive company by embracing new areas of business such as multiroom and AV electronics, and despite the low demand for record players compared to the heyday of the 1980s, the LP12 has stubbornly stayed in the catalogue. It’s a reminder of the company’s heritage but also surely a testament to the turntable’s abiding popularity, since Linn wouldn’t trouble itself to make something no-one would buy. Externally almost identical since 1973, many small changes have been made inside over the years in order to improve its sound, principally by tightening tolerances on metal components and substituting superior suspension pieces.
Ken Kessler & Paul Miller  |  Mar 04, 2009
It was as inevitable as Rocky 2. As soon as SME issued the Model 20/12 turntable in 2006, enthusiasts wondered, would it be joined by a 30/12? Shortly before he passed away that same year, Alastair Robertson-Aikman revealed that it was definitely happening. And almost two years to the day after the funeral, his son Cameron announced the Model 30/12. Its name was a given.
Paul Miller  |  Mar 04, 2009
Naming a cartridge after a firebird that rises from its own ashes may be a portentous omen, given Transfiguration’s previous success in crafting high-class pickups. So maybe the incendiary title is supposed to serve more as a pointer to a fiery performance? After the revamp of the brand’s lineup, this model doesn’t have a natural predecessor, by price at least, since it’s pitched below the former top Temper model, and above the similarly obsolete Spirit. But at £1350 it sits neatly between the award-winning Orpheus (£2750) [March ’07] and the new entry-level Axia at £890, and closely resembles the Spirit in body shape. Like former Transfigurations, it uses an unusual ‘yokeless’ generator inside with ring magnets surrounding the sets of coils.
John Bamford and Keith Howard  |  Feb 25, 2009
I didn’t need much persuading to audition this sumptuous pair of floorstanders made by Revel, one of its flagship Ultima2 range. Priced a cool £11,000 they exude opulence from their sculpted front baffles in gloss black, highly lacquered cabinets finished in real wood veneer (ours were the mahogany version; also available in piano black) and hi-tech drive units. Revel’s Ultima2 range comprises the Studio2 that we have here, an even larger model called Salon2, a slim bookshelf that’s suitable for on-wall use dubbed Gem2 and the Voice2 centre speaker. Commensurate with price, attention to detail is fastidious; to ensure that each Ultima2 loudspeaker is matched to within a fraction of a decibel to its prototype reference, a final tuning process is conducted on all production units to ensure absolute uniformity.
Keith Howard  |  Feb 25, 2009
Siltech may be best known as a cable manufacturer but it already has a track record of branching out, in spectacular style, into other product areas. High-end watchers will recall that early in the new millennium Siltech introduced its limited edition 80W Single Ended Mono Triode valve power amplifier and matching preamp, which included novelties such as a specially manufactured output valve. Now from the Dutch company comes a statement loudspeaker design, the Pantheon, with a price tag of £65,000. Once again the engineering is novel and the production run limited – only 39 will ever be made.
Keith Howard  |  Feb 25, 2009
Approaching a reviewer to assess a product is simple: the manufacturer or distributor contacts the magazine and they arrange delivery. That’s it. One assumes that the product is suitable for the magazine, and it’s up to the editor to assign the reviewer. But never in my 25 years as a reviewer have I been so nagged, badgered, pestered, henpecked and begged to write a review.
Richard Stevenson & Paul Miller  |  Feb 06, 2009
I have a fondness for NAD. The brand has succeeded over the decades by creating products just a few degrees askew from those of everyone else; never following the herd but, equally, rarely radical. In two-channel audio this has often meant a stripped-down, fundamentalist approach with products having an appealing Bohemian quality. However, when it comes to multichannel AV, eschewing key technologies in favour of a ‘music-first’ approach could be a little too existential for its own good.
Ken Kessler & Paul Miller  |  Feb 06, 2009
Debate that’s been raging since the dawn of hi-fi, Integrated vs Separates boils down to this: the former’s benefits over the latter include the removal of a pre-to-power cable connection, the need for one less AC outlet, less shelf space and – above all – the knowledge that the two sections are optimised for each other. Separates, however, counter with truly dedicated power supplies for each section, as well as isolation of the pre and power amp stages for less potential for undesirable interaction. Traditionally, the higher you go up the price scale, the more likely you are to opt for separates. Over the decades, milestone integrateds would appear that upset the formula: Sugden’s A48, specific models from Rogers, McIntosh, AR, et al.
Steve Harris & Paul Miller  |  Feb 06, 2009
There cannot be many words more overworked than ‘classic’. Sometimes it means a previous model, kept in production ‘by popular demand’, perhaps because the new replacement model doesn’t quite cut it. Sometimes it means a new emulation of an old and once successful product, which may bear little real resemblance to a famous forebear. Conrad-johnson’s website straightforwardly lists all its discontinued models as ‘Classic Products’.

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