Review: Andrew Everard

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.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 11, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingDescribed as the company's most versatile digital player to date, Lumin's P1 is an unashamedly high-end network audio solution. But can it be all things to all users?

As is so often the case with network audio products, the salient question concerning the Lumin P1, yours for £8495 in a choice of silver or anodised satin black sculptural milled-from-solid casework, is what it is exactly. The company can help with that, suggesting it can be just about anything you want: a network player, a DAC, a preamp (complete with analogue inputs as well as the digital array), or all three.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 08, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedAvailing itself of the latest DSP and Class D amps, the Pearl Pelegrina is a sophisticated 'connected' speaker

There's no escaping it: sitting in front of Cabasse's Pearl Pelegrina, the £22,599 flagship of the French company's Pearl speaker range, the punning phrase 'the eyes have it' kept going through my mind, so great was the sense of these spherical enclosures fixing me with a beady stare. Of course, this look is nothing new for the designers in Brest, out on the tip of Brittany: at the top of its range is the huge La Sphère loudspeaker [HFN Feb '10], its 70cm globe perched atop a helical stand, and driven by a rackful of dedicated crossovers and amplifiers.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 28, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingIn raw form this is a digital streamer/network bridge governed by the Conductor app, but add optional SSD storage and the N200 becomes a fully-fledged music library

Music storage: it can be a thorny subject, not least because those network products offering internal capacity for your library tend either to have fixed, non-expandable storage, or offer the option of dealer-installed drives. The cost of such storage is usually high, too – okay, not 'adding capacity at time of ordering your new Apple computer high', where an extra Terabyte can cost you £400, but still at prices to have you looking at HDDs on the likes of Amazon and scratching your head.

Review: Andrew Everard, Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 11, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingInspired by 1980s behemoths, PS Audio's inaugural loudspeakers have a sound to match their striking looks

At a time when every new high-end product seems to come with an extensive backstory, the legend behind the 'aspen' FR30, the first speakers from Colorado-based PS Audio, still takes some beating. The £28,000-a-pair floorstanders have, we're told, been '50 years in the making', which places their beginnings just before that of the company itself, started by Paul McGowan and Stan Warren in 1973. In between times, McGowan left, worked with Arnie Nudell of Infinity Systems and then bought back the PS Audio name in the late 1990s, becoming its CEO. So we can safely assume that what is now realised as the aspen FR30 has been in the works for all that time.

Review: Andrew Everard, Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 07, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingLockdown afforded dCS's engineers the time and space to look at the implementation of its iconic Ring DAC afresh. The APEX upgrade is tested here in its flagship Vivaldi DAC

You know that old saying about the devil making work for idle hands? While the periods of lockdown over the past couple of years left a lot of hands idle in the hi-fi industry, the wisest turned this fallow period to good use, regrouping and rethinking. That's certainly the case with the engineers at Cambridgeshire-based Data Conversion Systems, better-known as dCS.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 23, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThis Polish hotshot brand broke onto the audiophile scene with its programmable DC PSU, followed by the OOR headphone amp. Now, with DAC onboard, comes the ERCO

The name of this new product from Polish company HEM, selling under its Ferrum brand, is spelt ERCO, but pronounced 'ertso'. Apparently it's Esperanto for 'ore', and so follows on from the mineral-based brand-identity – Ferrum, OOR – you get the idea. What's also not immediately apparent, given that all the Ferrum products basically look the same, is that the £2395 ERCO is perhaps the most comprehensively equipped model the company has made to date.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 09, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedThe first SACD player from French audio artisans, Kalista, is also this spin-off brand's most comprehensive digital hub to date, with wired/wireless network streaming

Having emerged from French manufacturer Métronome Technologie with its inaugural model in 2003 – think Citroën spawning DS, or Seat's Cupra line – Kalista now has a growing range of DreamPlay products. This includes the £21,000 Kalista STREAM – described as 'The only streamer on the market that combines perfect functionality with exceptional looks' – and a turntable, the £44,000 Twenty-Twenty.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 06, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingKEF's flagship Blade cuts to the heart of the music, and with 'MAT' on board its edge has never been keener

More than a decade after their launch, there's still nothing quite like the KEF Blade One speakers. Well, OK, there's the smaller Blade Two [HFN Jul '15], but the point still stands! The result of one of those 'no constraints' projects that speaker companies seem to love, the original 'Concept Blade' created a stir with its radical styling and carbon-fibre construction. The final retail version employed a more production-friendly high-density polycarbonate, but the speakers were unmistakably the same, and just as unmistakably odd.

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