Lab: Paul Miller

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 24, 2019  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingWith its aluminium-plated boron cantilever and precision elliptical diamond stylus, this hand-built Japanese moving-coil cartridge is a rare yet special thing to behold

All things considered, 1986 was an unlikely time to launch a high-end phono cartridge brand, and all the more so considering it happened in Japan. When I moved to Tokyo four years after Yasuo Ozawa started Shelter, what the Japanese call 'Analog Disc' was almost as dead as the proverbial Monty Python parrot. True, you could slum it around the seedier sides of downtown Shimokitazawa and Asagaya and find an isolated second-hand record shop, but the only news in town was the shiny new Compact Disc.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 23, 2019  |  0 comments
hfncommendedFrom the company that's built itself a reputation as the go-to brand for personal audio devices, can this simplified xCAN headphone amplifier continue the success story?

Once only known for odd small USB or S/PDIF signal conditioning devices, iFi Audio has grown in stature to encompass a wide range of mainly digital products, and has plans to keep on expanding into new areas – including a highly innovative Bluetooth speaker on the stocks claiming very superior performance. However, two of the success stories of 2018 were its DSD products – the EISA Award-winning xDSD pocket DAC/headphone amp, and the very fine desktop Pro iDSD [HFN Sep '18].

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 18, 2019  |  0 comments
hfncommendedThe latest addition to the Italian manufacturer's range is said to be a ground-up design to make the most of its hybrid – valve preamp, solid-state power amp – configuration

Based in Treviso, Italy, Unison Research has long specialised in making very traditional looking tube amps with polished wooden chassis and rows of glowing bottles on display. At the same time its Unico series has adopted a more mainstream aesthetic and includes valve-based amplifiers that, well, don't really seem like valve amplifiers. Despite an outward appearance suggesting a completely conventional integrated amp, the Due – which sells for £2500 in standard silver with black available at a £100 premium – is very definitely a valve amp, or at least half of one.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 16, 2019  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingEuropean Audio Team's (EAT) third E-Glo phono preamplifier is half the price and size of the second – can the E-Glo Petit redefine the entry-level/high-end phono stage?

As the most affordable of EAT's three MM/MC phono stages, the new E-Glo Petit has its work cut out, as there are plenty of killer phono stages at this £1249 price point. Nevertheless you should still prepare to revel in a transistor/tube hybrid phono stage bursting with facilities, in a package – not counting the 18V wall-wart power supply – with a footprint of only 226mm wide by 250mm deep, plus sockets and wooden cheeks.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  0 comments
hfnvintageSometimes you rediscover a classic once so far ahead of the curve that it cuts a dash to this day – and we're not just talking style but sound. Is this '80s amp one of them?

The 1980s was a decade of great change. Consumer products that had been the stuff of science fiction just 15 years earlier – digital watches, home computers, LaserDisc players – were now increasingly commonplace. The era had a dynamic, hedonistic feel, and it was now acceptable not just to have wealth but to show it.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 10, 2019  |  0 comments
hfncommendedDesigned for movies as well as music, the idea of a 'universal' disc player is an appealing one. Now that Oppo is out of the picture, how does this battleship Pioneer shape up?

Though maybe not for the hi-fi purists, who will look with disdain at any machine in which ultra-high-frequency video circuits are buzzing away, potentially affecting audio purity, for the pragmatist the concept of a 'universal' disc player is very appealing. In one machine you can have both a piece of hardware capable of playing both CDs and SACDs – and more – and a high-quality video source for a home cinema system.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 09, 2019  |  0 comments
Employing a novel dual-pulley drive system and a bespoke 10in tonearm, AVM's first deck is a flamboyant addition to the rapidly expanding pantheon of high-end turntables

Ibuilt a unique record player for my son's 18th birthday,' says Udo Besser, Managing Director of AVM (Audio Video Manufaktur) GmbH, 'and that's what sparked the development of this turntable'. What then kept the fire burning, he told HFN, were the numerous requests for a vinyl spinner from his customers, adding that, 'also, turntables are my passion'. So Udo set about designing his own deck from scratch, and the £5490 AVM Rotation R 5.3 you see here is a clean-sheet design, new to the market.

Reviews: Hi-Fi News Team, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 09, 2019  |  0 comments
This month we review and test: Danish String Quartet, Vincent Peirani, Xavier Sabata, Ben Webster and Ariana Grande.
Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 08, 2019  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingJoining the 'horsepower club', Chord Electronics rolls out its flagship pre and massive (and hefty) monoblock power amps. Does the sound live up to the imposing style?

At the risk of tempting fate, I wonder whether there's a power output arms race going on between manufacturers. The arrival of the new Ultima power amplifiers from Chord Electronics – at £30,000 apiece in either silver or black, along with the matching (and similarly-priced) Ultima preamp – suggests so. After all, their rated power of 780W/8ohm load is just north of the 768W claimed by Naim's 'Statement' NAP-S1 monoblocks [HFN Jun '15] – a target vaunted as 'one horsepower'. In practice, Naim's NAP-S1 achieved 795W/8ohm in PM's lab tests at the time, but it seems that in the current ultra-high-end amp scene, there ain't no substitute for cubic inches – or something like that.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 29, 2019  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingWho knew that TechDAS could follow the remarkable Air Force III with an even less-expensive, air-bearing, vacuum hold-down turntable? We welcome the Air Force V

Reason to celebrate: at £12,500, TechDAS's latest turntable – the Air Force V – costs one-tenth the price of the current Air Force One [HFN Jun '13]. Re-read that sentence. It means that the glory of owning one of the true upper-echelon turntables has been reduced by 90%. And you still get 90% of the performance.

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