LATEST ADDITIONS

Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011
An aesthetically attractive and somically capable loudspeaker Surely the most impressive-looking speaker of this group, the Elac FS 189 is a five-driver three-and-a-half-way sporting three 175mm bass drivers, a 140mm midrange unit and Elac’s vaunted JET tweeter, whose pleated diaphragm identifies it as a development of Oskar Heil’s famous Air Motion Transformer. The lower two bass drivers are rolled off at 180Hz, leaving the upper bass unit to crossover to the midrange driver at 500Hz and it to the tweeter at 2. 8kHz. Like the FS 247 Sapphire [HFN July ’11], reflex bass loading is accomplished via two ports, one located near the top of the back panel and the other in the cabinet base, where it vents to the outside via the gap between the cabinet and integral plinth.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011
Larger than average drivers give the Dali a performance edge Compared to the other speakers in this test the Lektor 8 – largest of Dali’s five-model Lektor range, not including the centre speaker and sub – looks almost old-fashioned. It isn’t size zero thin, for a start, because it uses twin 8in (200mm) bass drivers rather than the ~170mm units of the Quadral, Elac and Paradigm. Moreover, those drivers – along with the 5in midrange – don’t boast hi-tech- looking metal diaphragms but Dali’s familiar wood fibre reinforced coated paper cones, which are a dull brown colour. It’s a lot of speaker for the price, though, and those unmodishly large bass drivers – reflex loaded by ports front and rear – promise to move plenty of air.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011
A handsome design with some likeable characteristics If you ask me, the bow-fronted Aviano 8 succeeds in looking modern while retaining a certain British reserve. Certainly it’s a notable contrast to the rather garish Teufel, and not just in the looks department. A four-driver two-and-a-half-way, the Aviano 8 has three 6. 5in drivers featuring M-S’s dished CPC (Continuous Profile Cone) aluminium diaphragms and a 25mm aluminium dome tweeter, nestled behind a protective grille.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011
A sophisticated design making use of some interesting technologies As befits the product carrying the largest price tag here, the Paradigm Studio 60, now in version 5 guise, looks the classiest of the bunch. A four-driver, two-and-a-half-way design, it is visually most notable for the side and back panels of its enclosure being transformed into a single, continuous curve, the inherent stiffness of which bodes well for low levels of cabinet talk. Also distinctive is its 25mm gold anodised aluminium dome tweeter whose diecast mounting protrudes from the top of the cabinet to reduce diffraction effects and is compliantly decoupled from the baffle to isolate it from vibration. The 140mm bass-midrange driver, with its satin anodised aluminium cone and large phase plug, is decoupled too, as are the twin 140mm bass drivers with mineral-filled polypropylene cones.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 16, 2011
Innovative technology helps the Quadral stand out from the field A mere glance at the Platinum M4 is sufficient to identify it as a Quadral, the bass drivers recessed behind aluminium slats being a clear visual cue, whether the speaker carries the Quadral name or that of its prestige Aurum brand. It isn’t just a cosmetic feature but a part of Quadral’s enhanced form of reflex loading – there’s a large port at the rear of the cabinet – which really does perform differently if the relatively flat impedance curve is anything to judge by. A four-driver three-way, the Platinum M4 matches its twin metal-coned bass drivers to a similar metal-coned midrange unit, above which is not the ‘ribbon’ (actually leaf) tweeter we’re used to seeing in Aurum models but Quadral’s RiCom-M ring tweeter, which is unusual for its annular diaphragm being of titanium. Quadral claims that it produces character-free treble output with broad dispersion.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011
These floorstanders from direct retail giants Teufel are strong value for money It’s not so long ago that I asked, rhetorically, in these pages how JBL could sell a four-driver, three-way floorstander (the Studio 190) for a mere £480 a pair [HFN May ’11]. Well, JBL eat your heart out: the Teufel Ultima 40 is also a four-driver, three-way floorstander and it sells for just £349 a pair, plus a delivery charge of £20. During the review period, in fact, it was on special offer for even less: a barely credible £299 at one point. How does Teufel do it? A significant part of the answer is that it sells direct to the customer, cutting out the middleman.
John Bamford and Paul Miller  |  Dec 16, 2011
The first in a new breed of ‘computer transports’, WideaLab’s Aurender S10 employs a Linux-based OS and solid-state storage to render your music collection via digital outs. Aurender music servers are new to the UK. Made by WideaLab, a specialist subdivision of Korea’s Wonik Corporation, they are designed for pure audio replay of a lossless digital music library – aimed squarely at audiophiles who care passionately about sound quality. That’ll be us, then!
Ken Kessler and Paul Miller  |  Dec 16, 2011
Though celebrated for digital products, Esoteric cares more about analogue than you’d expect – the company’s E-03 phono stage joins the ranks of the greats. We’ve come so far down the digital path that we’re at a stage where there’s been a near-complete volte face in expectations: where once we awaited digital products from companies with their roots in analogue, we now entertain analogue products from companies with their roots in digital.
Andrew Simpson and Paul Miller  |  Dec 16, 2011
Roksan's iconic vinyl spinner remains one of the most forward-thinking decks on the market and the latest version now comes with a raft of considered upgrades Back in the early 1980s if you were serious about vinyl replay and had the money, the obvious contenders to splash your cash on were Linn’s LP12, followed by rivals such as Michell’s space-age GyroDec or the left-field Pink Triangle. Despite drastically different looks, all three decks were essentially attempts to take the late Edgar Villchur’s ground-breaking three-point sprung suspension design to the next level. Then, in 1985, Roksan came onto the scene with the Xerxes, which promptly turned this perceived wisdom on its head. As Tufan Hashemi, Roksan Audio’s Managing Director, explained: ‘We argued that using a suspended or floating surface to support a record could not allow it to be accurately read, as the record itself would be floating.
John Bamford and Paul Miller  |  Dec 16, 2011
In celebrating the company’s 60th anniversary Nagra’s specialist hi-fi division pays homage to the ‘king of tubes’, the timeless 300B triode, in a new stereo amplifier 'A key difference between consumer electronic components manufactured for hi-fi systems and professional products made for sound engineers is the fact that you can drag pro gear across a room by its mains lead without it breaking,’ quipped an industry veteran to me, way back when. Witticisms like that, noted during formative years, tend to remain embedded in one’s memory banks for life. As does the iconic Nagra marque. Think Nagra and you think Swiss precision engineering at its finest: electronics made for professionals.

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