Lab: Paul Miller

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 27, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingMoving-coil pick-ups are inherently 'balanced' and Pro-Ject is determined to reveal them at their best with this balanced-wired version of the X2 deck and phono preamp

One burning question is begged by the arrival of Pro-Ject's X2 B turntable and Phono Box S3 B phono stage: why did it take so long for the industry to simplify a balanced vinyl-playing front-end? It's not like balanced operation wasn't adopted by high-end listeners decades ago as superior to single-ended for both line-level sources – DACs and top-flight CD players – and pre-to-power amp connections. MC cartridges are inherently balanced. So why the wait?

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 24, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingNow owned by AudioQuest cable's parent company, GoldenEar has added the compact Bookshelf Reference X to its range – the final design from longstanding CEO Sandy Gross

Looking at the BRX (Bookshelf Reference X) loudspeaker, it's easy to feel slightly unnerved by the amount of, well, 'technology' that's been squeezed into its compact dimensions. But then we should remember it hails from American brand GoldenEar, a company that – under the auspices of founder Sandy Gross – has always seemed to approach loudspeaker (and subwoofer) design a little differently to many rivals.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 20, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingJapan is home to more boutique cartridge brands than any other hi-fi territory, and the Harmony, brainchild of vinyl addict Yasuo Ozawa, is a product of this artisanship

According to the dictionary placed at my elbow, the definition of 'harmony' is 'the process by which individual sounds are joined together or composed into whole units or compositions'. That, and the obvious association with the world of music, probably explains why it's appeared in the name of more than a few domestic and pro-audio brands and products over the years. This particular celebration of 'Harmony' comes in the form of Shelter's flagship moving-coil cartridge which, at £4300, is far from the costliest pick-up on the high-end scene.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 19, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnvintageThe first CD player from the Japanese brand to boast real 'kerb appeal', this mid-'80s machine also inherited key technology from previous models. How does it sound today?

Any early Compact Disc player from Matsushita (Panasonic/Technics) holds a particular fascination. The company was excluded from the top table when the CD format was created, in spite of (or perhaps due to) its pre-eminent position as the world's largest producer of electronic consumer goods.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 17, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedJust as Marantz's 40n integrated takes its design cues from models of yesteryear, the partnering CD 60 player confirms the brand's commitment to the 'legacy' silver disc

Is there really a CD revival on the horizon? Rolling Stone magazine kicked off the year bristling with optimism about the return of the Compact Disc but, behind the hype, there's little dispute that this physical format offers great lossless fidelity and costs next to nothing secondhand. Until audio hipsters cotton on to the trend, of course... Sound United, owner of the Marantz and Denon brands among others, concurs, which is why it's launching not one but two CD spinners in 2022. We're not going to talk about the entry-level Denon DCD-900NE here, but about the still very affordable £749 Marantz CD 60.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 13, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingNot all Wilson Audio's loudspeakers are man-sized floorstanders and its most compact models have been crying out for a partnering, flexible active subwoofer. Meet LōKē...

Wilson Audio's product naming strategy has always raised eyebrows, but the new LōKē reinforces its love for puns. This £9500 powered subwoofer's moniker either shows that it's the baby sister to Wilson's gigantic Thor's Hammer, or it's a play on 'Low Key'. Or maybe not. Whatever the rationale, its pronunciation is helped by diacritical marks to ensure we do not rhyme its name with 'woke'…

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 10, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingGermany's 'Sound Performance Laboratory' has launched its largest stereo power amp yet. We pair the s1200 with SPL's Elector preamp for a big-hearted, all-analogue system

Based some 40 minutes west of Düsseldorf, SPL sounds like an attractive prospect for those who like their music loud – though in this case the name has nothing to do with Sound Pressure Level, standing instead for 'Sound Performance Laboratory'. Mind you, the promise of room-shaking raises its head again with the new flagship power amplifier in the company's domestic – or 'Professional Fidelity' – range, which promises 'Mastering Grade Listening'. The new Performer s1200 (£6499) may only measure a smidge under 28cm wide and a little over 20cm tall, making it a tiddler in the pantheon of high-end stereo power amps, but it's still capable of a claimed 300W/8ohm, rising to 520W/4ohm. This should be more than enough for even the most demanding speakers and level-hungry listeners.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 06, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingBoasting wireless connectivity with high-res digital sources, the LS60 W combines style with substance and great sound

In the decade since the launch of the LS50, in celebration of KEF's 50th birthday [HFN Jul '12], there have been rumours about a floorstander to complement the popular bookshelf model. But whatever these wishful thinkers had in mind, I'm pretty sure it wasn't as outlandish as the LS60 Wireless. As the name indicates, it's both a nod to the 60th anniversary of the brand and its technical evolution by incorporating active electronics – DSP, DAC and amplification – and streaming.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 03, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingEngström's pursuit of the 'pure Scandinavian Sound' reaches its peak in the ARNE amplifier – a triode tube amplifier that takes aim at solid-state competition

This isn't our first encounter with the valve amplification from Swedish company Engström, the ERIC Encore power amps [HFN Oct '21] lighting our blue touch paper of interest. The ARNE integrated amplifier, its 'entry-level' offering, is quite possibly an amp best suited to what comedy writer Danny Robins made famous as 'The Cold Swedish Winter', it also doubling as potent heat source. The curvaceous glass cover protecting the pairs of power triodes gets very warm indeed, so this amp needs plenty of 'fresh air'.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 29, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedReplacing both the xCAN and xDSD, iFi Audio describes the xDSD Gryphon as its most ambitious portable headphone amplifier yet. Is this another boost to the success story?

Since launching in 2012, iFi Audio has established a reputation for delivering affordable, compact, often portable audio products. And at some pace too – looking back over the past decade, it's hard not to feel overwhelmed by the number of devices the company has released. Not all are entirely 'new', because iFi Audio likes to 'tweak' its products, which is why the xDSD Gryphon tested here follows the EISA Award-winning xDSD DAC [HFN Jul '18], and also serves as a successor to the xCAN [HFN Feb '19].

Pages

X