Richard Holliss

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Richard Holliss  |  Jan 22, 2015  |  0 comments
At the pinnacle of JBL’s loudspeaker range, the Everest is a monster of a speaker weighing 142kg and priced at a whopping £35k each, its 250-litre enclosure 1110mm wide to accommodate two 15in drivers side by side. While it doesn’t require an enormous listening space, a room does need to be adequately wide in order to space a pair apart satisfactorily. The Everest has been JBL’s flagship ‘Project’ speaker for nearly three decades. Carried over from the out-going model are the speaker’s two horn-loaded beryllium compression drivers: the 100mm diameter 476Be high frequency unit and the 25mm 045Be-1 ‘UHF’ supertweeter, working up to a claimed 60kHz.
Richard Holliss  |  Jan 22, 2015  |  0 comments
This is the largest floorstander in Dynaudio’s Excite range: a new series of entry-level speakers from the Danish company, all designed to be easy to drive. And the X38 not only looks considerably more sleek than the 380 floorstander we tested from Dynaudio’s Focus series [HFN Jun ’13] but it comes at only half the price. The X38’s twin long-throw woofers and midrange driver have supple rubber surrounds and one-piece cones formed for smooth dispersion. They are made of Dynaudio’s magnesium silicate polymer [MSP] for light weight and high rigidity, while the drivers’ chassis are die-cast aluminium, with neodymium magnets and large but lightweight voice coils.
Richard Holliss  |  Jan 13, 2015  |  0 comments
Auralic will be a new name to many readers as only recently has this innovative brand become available to UK audiophiles. Based in Beijing, Auralic calls its Vega a ‘digital processor’. We’re more likely to call it a digital preamplifier, since it’s a DAC with a (digital) volume control and Class A preamp built in – not merely a high-current DAC output. There are no analogue inputs but neither are there any fixed-level line outs, so to use it simply as a DAC you connect XLR or RCA outputs to your amp and leave the gain set to max.
Richard Holliss  |  Dec 22, 2014  |  0 comments
In Tony Michaelson’s company started with one diminutive but memorable product, called simply ‘The Preamp’. He started by making them on his kitchen table… What made the product so eyecatching was the acrylic front, with the product name illuminated in red. In its original form, The Preamp had an appeal all of its own. It was so tiny, so simple, yet so businesslike.
Richard Holliss  |  Nov 07, 2014  |  0 comments
Metronome’s T3A Signature CD transport, despite its not inconsiderable price, is substantially more affordable than the company’s ‘sculpted art’ Kalista and Calypso models. It’s a manual top-loader with an integrated power supply, housed in a sturdy chassis with a thick fascia of brushed aluminium available in silver or black. The unit sits on three substantial feet with circular recesses, into which inverted Delrin cones magnetically locate for maximum isolation from any external vibration. Sliding back the top plate cover of the T3A to load a CD reveals its transport mechanism, a Philips CDM12 Pro 2 v6.
Richard Holliss  |  Nov 03, 2014  |  0 comments
Van den Hul’s latest hand-built pick-up is called The Crimson and comes in a choice of natural light and dark wood finishes as well as a coloured [also wooden bodied] version. There’s a polycarbonate option too. Although nudity is currently the trend for modern MCs, with generators exposed for all the world to see, The Crimson doesn’t quite go all the way and chooses to cover at least a little of its modesty. Still, most internals are visible – and breakable, if you’re ham-fisted.
Richard Holliss  |  Nov 03, 2014  |  0 comments
Despite using a tube that has been around since Methuselah was in short trousers, there’s nothing old hat about Audio Research’s new LP1 phono stage. It is a hybrid designed to mix the low noise of solid-state with the musicality that comes from glowing bottles. JFETs were chosen for their combination of low noise and excellent sonic performance, the company says. They provide a decent (claimed) 47dB of gain, enough for all MM and some higher output MC phono cartridges – and then comes the 6H30 tube buffer.
Richard Holliss  |  Nov 03, 2014  |  0 comments
You can’t help but be impressed by Canor’s house styling, distinctive yet unfussy with its black acrylic panel set into the fascia, within which various indicator lights and displays appear. And you can choose between the pleasingly sober charcoal finish seen here or go for the contrasting effect of a black band on brushed aluminium. Naturally, the TP306 VR+ has the simplest fascia, as the only front-panel control is the on/standby button in the centre. When connected to mains power, LEDs show standby mode, muting while warming up, then unmuting.
Richard Holliss  |  Nov 03, 2014  |  0 comments
The GT version of the Tron Seven phono preamplifier marks the ultimate evolution of the series design. The range starts with a MM base model, with the MC variant next. The Reference model adds high quality resistors and capacitors; the Ultimate adds silver-wired MC transformers and ‘four nines’ silver internal wiring. It also has twin switched inputs, with MM/MC, or MC/MC options.
Richard Holliss  |  Nov 03, 2014  |  0 comments
After 28 years at Texas Instruments Shinobu Karaki is now designing phono stages. His new Vinyl Disk Amplifier (VIDA) joins a thriving market for analogue-related products in his homeland. Its late ’60s styling isn’t out of place next to, say, a similarly ‘period’ looking Leben tube amp. Yet peer inside its case and you’ll see circuitry that’s as modern as the latest Mitsubishi motor car.