Review: Andrew Everard

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 05, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe smallest of the five-strong standmount/floorstanding Peaks series from YG Acoustics promises to move mountains

Depending on your age, there's the potential for confusion in the naming of YG Acoustics' latest loudspeakers. The Peaks series is inspired by the Rocky Mountains looming over YG's base a few miles outside Denver, and most of our readers will be from generations with 'life experience', and upon hearing the title 'peak' will likely associate it with products of aspirational quality. In the argot of London teenagers, however, 'peak' is now taken to indicate unexpected bad luck. In truth, the recent collaboration between Cambridge Acoustic Sciences and YG's mid-US manufacturing base has been nothing but fortuitous.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 02, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingYears in the making, DALI's KORE flagship breaks cover and it's a triumph of engineering, style and superlative sound

There are many ways to express that emotion of delighted surprise when encountering something unexpected: everything from the archaic 'Gosh' or 'Goodness', through the more contemporary low whistle or 'Wow', or even the kind of expletive never found in these pages. Meanwhile, the Blessed Google suggests that the Danes might say 'hold da helt ferie', literally 'take a whole vacation', which I guess is somewhere close to the American 'get outta here'. But for those of us brought up on British films of the latter part of last century, perhaps the best reaction to these new DALI flagship speakers is just to mention their name, perhaps followed by 'blimey' for the full effect.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 22, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe largest standmount in AVID's all-alloy Reference range is bigger and heavier than most floorstanders...

Standmount speakers – it's easy to see why they're popular. They're relatively compact and light enough to position with ease, whether on bookshelves or stands. They aim to offer a compelling sound in smaller spaces, are affordable, often due to mass-production overseas, and can be driven with ease by relatively modest amplification. Trouble is, the AVID Reference Three, while undeniably a standmount speaker, flies in the face of all the above.

Review: Andrew Everard, Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 02, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingAimed at very high-end headphone users, dCS's Lina Network DAC, Master Clock and Headphone Amplifier might also be the ideal compact system front-end for audiophiles

Headphone use has changed in recent years, from something to be endured through necessity to its own subset of hi-fi listening, with no shortage of ambitious and upmarket hardware currently available. Now dCS is on that bandwagon, for while it's been busy launching its APEX DAC technology for its 'full-size' offerings [HFN Jun '22] it's also developed the Lina, which is not so much a headphone amp as a complete playback system.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 17, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingMatrix Audio's Element X2 introduces design, control and input upgrades to the X's network DAC/headphone amp and preamp. All this and a colour touchscreen to boot

At first glance, one might wonder why Matrix Audio felt any need to update its Element X network DAC [HFN Jan '21], the latter receiving our 'Outstanding Product' tag at £2795. However, look at this new X2 model and – while it's still conceptually the same, with a broad retention of technology from the ESS ES9038PRO DAC to the Crystek clock – it's clear much has also changed.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 07, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingAuralic's latest streamer/DAC combines with its upsampling processor, and at first glance there seems to be some duplication of effort. So how do they work together?

The trouble with many modern hi-fi ranges is trying to work out what each of the boxes does. I've recounted before the tale of the tower of identical-looking Linn components stacked up in the premium lounge of a well-known airline, and the amusement there was in watching 'elite' passengers trying to work out where to insert their Dire Straits CD. Similarly, Auralic also has a wide range of digital devices, and given that they all look alike, it's sometimes hard to work out what does what.

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: 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: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 22, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedNow in mkII guise, Lindemann's network-attached DAC and analogue preamp sees a raft of internal updates and the promise of 'production secured for upcoming years'

Look at the latest iteration of Lindemann's network music player, the £3450 Musicbook Source II, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that nothing much has changed [HFN Jun '20]. This is still a compact unit, just 28cm wide and a mere 6.3cm tall, with nothing much on show save a power/standby button sunk into one end of the top-plate and an edge-mounted volume control, with a push-to-mute function, at the other.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 15, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThis well-established German brand's Reference K loudspeaker series starts off with a compact, but deep, standmount design and it sounds as polished as it looks...

What do you envisage when you think of 'serious speakers'? All too often it can seem that bigger means better, judging by some of the behemoths we've recently had through the HFN listening room. For a while it seemed that every speaker stood taller than us, and had a mass well into three-figure kilo territory, often with a price that would buy a very decent car, even in the current shortage-inflated market. In the face of all that, Canton's Reference 9K could look desperately unfashionable, standing as it does just 41cm tall and with a price of £2850 in either black, white or cherry veneer finishes, all with a multilayer lacquer topcoat.

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