Lab: Paul Miller

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngThey may typify Stateside heavy-metal hi-fi, but this pre/power amplifier from one of the high-end's best-known names is really all about simplicity and directness

Depending on your point of view, what you see before you are either objects of absolute hi-fi aspiration or a symbol of everything that's wrong with high-end audio in the 21st century. Along with compatriot Krell, Mark Levinson is one of those names that's likely to be known even by those with only a passing interest in hi-fi and – though the marque has undergone several twists and turns in its near-50-year history – it remains one of the best-known in the audio business.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnvintage.pngWhile designed for the pro market, this rugged little workhorse of an amp from 1978 found its way into domestic systems of the day. How does it sound, 30 years on?

How sad. Last year was the 70th anniversary of the founding of Crown, and the event seems to have gone unmarked. The only notable occurrence was that its parent company, Harman International, was acquired by Samsung, which is a rather forlorn way for this most American of brands to celebrate seven decades.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfncommended.pngCompact yet comprehensively-equipped, beautifully-made, with balanced outputs, MM/MC capability and a sane price, what’s not to like in Bel Canto’s e.One Phono?

Awash as we are with terrific phono stages, it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. From sub-£50 units to £30,000-plus fantasy hardware, there are probably as many standalone phono stages on offer today as during the Original Vinyl Era. What Bel Canto offers with its e.One Phono, in its more cost-effective range, is a way to enjoy the adjustability demanded by perfectionists, at a sane price.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfncommended.pngWith a radically different design to other MCs, Lyra's second-to-top cartridge has a sound unlike anything else around. Costly yes, but what price the pursuit of perfection?

Analogue addicts find themselves with a bewildering array of choices that extends way past which turntable and/or tonearm to buy. The world of cartridges is complex and potentially baffling, especially with moving-coil types. Many eventually progress from buying the big brands to trying out specialist makers – and it's here that we find Lyra. Its products inhabit a niche within a niche: they are all hand-built, low-volume devices that for nearly a generation now have sold largely to devotees of the brand.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfncommended.pngCombining simplicity with flexibility, this pre/power combination from one of the best-known names in French hi-fi has much to offer – including the odd quirky feature...

Like some other French audio companies, Yves-Bernard André's eponymous brand has hovered on the periphery of UK hi-fi enthusiasts' perception. But the company has been on a mission to change all that, taking a more global view with a lineup extending to no fewer than five product ranges. The Passion models, represented here by the £6750 PRE550A preamp and £5750 AMP650 power amp, sit near the top of the pile.

Review: Lee Dunkley, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngThe svelte D 3020 contrasted with the iconic 3020 amp of '78, but this V2 trades-in USB for phono and Bluetooth in a bid to regain its crown as the ultimate 'starter amp'

The original NAD 3020 integrated amplifier of the late '70s was a genre-defining product – a compact integrated full of useful features that cost relatively little and became recognised for bringing high-quality home audio to a much wider audience. I wouldn't mind betting that many readers will have owned one at some point or at the very least be familiar with its reputation as an 'all go, no show' audiophile amp for its remarkably likeable sound but rather retiring 'grey slab' looks.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngClaiming to be 'the last digital front-end you will ever need', can this combination of wide-ranging compatibility and ongoing upgrades match up to that ambition?

The ever-evolving digital audio landscape has made buyers wary and manufacturers jumpy. It seems that each time a company launches a 'definitive', future-proofed product, some new format or twist pops up for its moment in the sun as the 'must-have' way to store and play music. However, some manufacturers handle this problem better than others, thanks to designs able to deal with every known format of the moment, and having either modular construction or firmware upgradability to keep up with changes.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngMaking the step from software supplier to hardware brand, Roon has developed a pair of boxes designed to sit at the heart of a system. But what do they actually do?

Having been something of a ‘sleeper’ for a while, favoured by an admittedly growing group of computer-based audio enthusiasts, there’s every sign that Roon – the music server/database software – is finally going rather more mainstream. A number of manufacturers have launched products with, or updated existing models to, Roon-ready status, and now the company behind the software has entered the hardware market with a pair of hub components co-developed with Intel: the £1500 Nucleus, and the £2500 Nucleus+ we have for review here.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnvintage.pngIt was an amp that gave fresh meaning to the term 'cooking on gas', but how does one of Sony's last classic super-integrateds shape up today? Time to find out...

The '70s was a time of great social change. At the beginning of the decade, black and white TVs, bicycles and outside toilets were the reality of life for many British people. But by the end of the '70s, most folks had colour TVs, family cars and swanky modern bathrooms – along with fitted kitchens, wall-to-wall carpeting and stereo systems in their homes. Although the music centre was the height of fashion, separates hi-fi was growing fast and many were willing to pay for serious equipment.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngSporting a unique modular design that accommodates multiple tonearms, a tube-based PSU for the motor and novel heated bearing, this super deck is far from run of the mill

Does the world really need another high-end turntable? That’s the question Brinkmann’s Spyder has to answer, because there’s already a surfeit of fancy vinyl disc spinners sitting pretty in this high value market. This deck needs to be special in some way then, and so it proved. Costing £9795 in basic form, it’s one of two belt-driven decks in the German company’s range of hi-fi separates, sitting alongside the Balance 2 [HFN Jul ’14]. Brinkmann also makes the Bardo and Oasis direct-drive turntables, which themselves are interesting and innovative things.

Pages

X