Lab: Paul Miller

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnvintage.pngThe British contender for the late '70s budget amp crown won the hearts and wallets of many a budding audiophile thanks to some canny tech. How does it sound today?

In the early days of hi-fi, the budget amplifier was usually considered an object of disdain, to be quickly upgraded as soon as funds allowed. More capable designs such as the NAD 3020 changed this view and by the late '70s improvements in component technology had made it possible to produce really good amplifiers that still could be sold for reasonable prices.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngSitting at the top of the German company’s range, this flexible pre and hefty stereo power amp are designed to take on the high-end’s big names, and take no prisoners

The PA 8.2 preamplifier and SA 8.2 stereo power amp sit at the top of the German company’s Ovation range, although there’s also the option of buying its MA 8.2 monoblock amps in place of the SA 8.2. These are essentially the SA 8.2 bridged internally to give even greater power – rated at 600W/8ohm in place of the stereo amp’s 250W a side. However, despite the commonality, there’s no bridging option on the stereo model reviewed here.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnvintage.pngIt wasn't a budget buy, but this late '70s integrated from the masters of the MOSFET spearheaded fresh thinking on amplifier design. But how does it sound today?

The advantages of using separate pre and power amplifiers over an integrated is a discussion that can still occupy audiophiles for hours. What was almost a necessity in the valve era became less technically significant once transistors were established, a quality solid-state preamp circuit being undemanding in terms of space and power.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngHugely flexible, hugely capable and, well, just plain ‘huge’, dCS’s flagship Vivaldi four-box digital stack has been condensed into a one-box solution. So why a limited edition?

There comes a time when you have to pop the champagne cork, relax and have fun. That’s what dCS (Data Conversion Systems Ltd) has done with its new £55k Vivaldi One single-box disc player/upsampling DAC/streamer. It’s a limited edition of just 250 pieces, designed to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary. In that time, the company has gone from being an Official Secrets Act signatory supplying advanced radar systems for the RAF towards the end of the Cold War, to one of the most respected high-end digital audio specialists around.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngThe latest in a long line of 'affordable audiophile' turntables from a highly popular UK brand, the Planar 2 offers easy set-up, good looks and a taste of serious hi-fi sound

The 1970s were something of a high watermark for the vinyl format. Bolstered by Mike Oldfield's smash hit Tubular Bells, 1975 saw the highest ever LP sales in the UK, and this drove demand for turntables. At the time, the budget king was Garrard's rudimentary SP25, but soon the Japanese gifted us the fine Pioneer PL-12D, a deck that really raised the performance bar.

Review: Cliff Joseph, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfncommended.pngIt's costlier still than its predecessor, but Questyle's updated portable Digital Audio Player-and-dock combo delivers great sound quality – both at home and on the road

Shenzhen-based brand Questyle impressed the pundits with its debut QP1R digital audio player (DAP), launched back in 2015 at just the right time to exploit the increased interest in high-quality portable players and DACs. At first glance, the new QP2R looks very similar, with the same rugged and sturdy design – available in either gold or an Apple-esque 'space-grey' – and that distinctive armour-plated volume control protruding from the top of the device.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfncommended.png‘Junior’ in name and certainly less substantial in build than its flagship stablemate, this latest take on the JC3 theme turns out to be an even more flexible MM/MC phono stage

Does the world really need another phono stage? Back in the late 1980s the Michell ISO was a rare standalone product, but since then there has been a steady stream of the things, multiplying in numbers like Tribbles on Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. We’re now at the point where it feels as though there are as many designs on sale as there are people to buy them – so any new entry has to have a compelling raison d’être.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnvintage.pngWhen launched, this turntable was just one of over a dozen Technics decks offered. Is it now the pick of the radial-tracking pack? Time to take it to the test bench...

Think of direct-drive turntables and the chances are that one brand will spring to mind: Technics. What's more, its SL-1200 turntable will be the model most people think of first. This famous deck casts a long shadow over the others in the company's range and yet there were many to choose from. In fact, when the SL-Q303 seen here was launched in the UK in 1982 it was part of a 13-model lineup – a series that went from the professional-spec SP-10 MkII right down to moulded plastic belt-drive budget models such as the SL-B202.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfncommended.pngThe style may be ‘retro’, but this powerful integrated amp from a Far East legend is no exercise in nostalgia: it lacks fashionable digital inputs, but has serious sonic appeal

OK, so it may help explain the whole ‘vinyl revival’ thing, from portable record players with greater tracking weight than a Caterpillar bulldozer to supermarket own-brand LPs, but looking to the past will only get you so far. Forget all that longer summers, colder winters and ‘jumpers for goalposts’ stuff: even nostalgia’s not what it used to be. Products must stand on their own merits in today’s competitive market.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfncommended.pngLimited to just 175 pieces, this luxuriously-appointed version of Pro-Ject's 'The Classic' turntable is offered in celebration of the VPO. Is this gilding the lily or musical gold?

Forget concept albums, for this is a 'concept turntable' – a striking looking record player that, at first sight, might seem rather 'Trump Tower', and perhaps aesthetically overpowering for conservative European eyes. Put your sunglasses on however, and all becomes clear as the VPO logo engraved into the lower right hand corner of the top plate is revealed. For this is a special commemorative product, a plush limited edition version of Pro-Ject's The Classic turntable [HFN Aug '16], made to celebrate one-and-three-quarter centuries of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Pages

X