Review: Andrew Everard

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Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Mar 19, 2019  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingWith its D series, Wharfedale yet again aims to redefine the art of the possible in budget loudspeaker design

There's something very special about a bargain hi-fi product able to defy expectations with a surprising level of performance. It stood the original Wharfedale Diamond speakers in good stead in the early 1980s, and continues to be a hallmark of the range to this day, in the Diamond 11 series [HFN Dec '17]. So it's intriguing to see the company launch another budget speaker series to run alongside the Diamond 11s, in the form of the D300 lineup.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 12, 2019  |  0 comments
hfncommendedThe entry-level model in Naim's new network music player range may look simple to the point of anonymity, but its performance could make it the true star of the lineup

No display, no power supply upgrade route, not even a remote handset: at first glance, the most striking feature of Naim's £2299 ND5 XS 2, the junior model in its revitalised network music player range, could be everything it hasn't got. After the striking looks of the 'new Uniti' models, with which it shares a software/hardware platform, and the large full-colour displays of the pricier NDX 2 [HFN Sep '18] and ND555, the ND5 XS 2 gives away little about its functionality.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 08, 2019  |  0 comments
hfncommendedMarking brand ambassador Ken Ishiwata's 40 years with Marantz, this 'Ruby edition' SACD player and integrated amplifier aim high. How precious are they?

We've been here before: ten years ago Marantz celebrated Brand Ambassador Ken Ishiwata's 30-year tenure at the company with a KI-Pearl pairing of player and amplifier [HFN Aug '09]. So its only fitting that, now he's clocked up another decade, we should have these latest KI Ruby models, limited to 1000 units apiece (500 of each in gold, 500 in black), and selling at £3500 for each unit.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Dec 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnedchoice.pngThe latest Utopia flagship has improved drivers and cabinets – does the sound match its impressive presence?

When it comes to the description of products – and not just in hi-fi – one word has become so ubiquitous that it no longer has much meaning: that word is 'iconic'. Yet Focal has dodged that particular bullet by describing its new Grande Utopia EM Evo – all 265kg, two metres and £160k-a-pair of it – and its smaller stablemate, the Stella Utopia EM Evo, as 'the most emblematic high-fidelity loudspeakers of all its collections'.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngThe sound of music is raising the rafters in Eastern Westphalia as Germany's T+A celebrates its 40th anniversary with a set of very special monoblock hybrid amplifiers

Not so much monoblocks as monoliths, these new flagship power amps from Germany's T+A certainly have what you'd call 'in room presence'. At least they do when you have got them in position, a task hampered by the fact each is a 50kg+ dead weight, although admittedly the two substantial handles sprouting from the top panel – and the assistance of a friend – will help.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfncommended.pngThe companion to Klipsch's retro HP-3 headphones has similarly 'classic' styling – yet within the casework is a strikingly capable DAC/amp with an appeal beyond the brand

For some reason, one can't help but be reminded of those great American festive TV specials, usually called 'Home for the Holidays' or something similar, hosted by the likes of Andy Williams or Perry Como, and performed in a huge log-cabin set far up in the mountains of a Burbank backlot. You see, Klipsch has gone decidedly retro with its Heritage range, as noted in our review of its HP-3 headphones [HFN Nov '18], with a brochure liberally scattered with downhome images almost clamouring for a fine bourbon and an even finer cigar.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngNamed after Cambridge Audio’s founding father, this new integrated amplifier includes a DSD-compatible DAC and Bluetooth aptX HD. But does it really have an Edge...?

There’s one very noticeable thing about the new Edge range from Cambridge Audio – well, apart from the fact that these hefty new high-end components are quite a long way from the company’s usual entry/midrange territory, that is. Look at any of the new products and you’ll notice the branding – it simply says ‘Cambridge’, as if to set this range apart, and fit in with the minimalist-but-purposeful vibe of the whole lineup.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngSharing the same chassis design as its 3010 series, but boasting double the clout, Exposure’s latest pre/power also offers modular MM/MC phono and DAC options

Available with silver (‘titanium’) or black front panels, both with black main casework, Exposure’s 5010 models replace the rather more overtly styled – and huge – MCX series, with their large outrigger feet, as the company’s flagship models. They sit atop a range running from the entry-level 1010 series through the 2010S2s and 3010S2s [HFN Dec ’14], with the half-width XM lineup as an alternative [HFN Apr ’18]. This top-end range is kept much simpler than its junior counterparts, for where those lineups extend to disc players and integrated amps, here we have just two models: the £2000 5010 preamp, and the £4550-per-pair 5010 mono power amps.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngDesigned to match its compact DACs, Benchmark’s all-analogue headphone amplifier employs the same THX ‘Achromatic’ tech debuted in its 100W AHB2 power amp

With the boom in headphone listening outpacing even the uptake of new turntables, the hi-fi landscape has changed to a significant extent. Not only are hi-fi shows shining a spotlight on the personal listening experience but dedicated headphone events have spun out in their own right. And the hardware is changing, too: the market is awash with DAC/headphone amp combos, all the way from the tiny (and highly portable) AudioQuest DragonFly models [HFN Oct ’16], to the ‘transportable’ Chord Hugo 2 [HFN Aug ’18] and mains-powered units such as the iFi Audio Pro iDSD [HFN Sep ’18].

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngThe Norwegian brand’s latest amp is not just its most powerful integrated, but comes complete with network audio capability. Is this the ultimate one-box amp solution?

Obviously not afraid of a spot of (Russell?) crowing, Oslo-based Hegel describes its new Reference H590 integrated amp, just going on sale at £9000, as ‘Master and Commander’. Apparently it’s ‘A master at musicality’ and ‘The commander of any set of speakers’. Mind you, you might be tempted to forgive the company for its exuberance – after all, the new arrival is something of a monster, standing an AV-receiver-challenging 17.1cm tall, tipping the scales at 22kg and delivering over 300W per channel. Well, 301W a side actually, according to Hegel, making it at least 50% more powerful than its previous top integrated, the H360.

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