Review: Andrew Everard

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 25, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedKorea's Citech group is ploughing its considerable in-house hardware and software resource into a series of network-attached players. Here's its most compact all-in-one

One of the great advantages offered by network-capable audio hardware is that, once a platform has been designed, it can be rolled out across a number of products, re-purposed and scaled depending on the target market. We've seen the same from brands as diverse as AVM [HFN Dec '21], Cambridge Audio [HFN Nov '21] and Naim [HFN Aug '21], and now recent arrival HiFi Rose is following the same path with high-end players designed to be used in existing systems all the way through to one-box soundbar set-ups.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 18, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedThis boutique brand from Sweden has quietly been making a name for itself with a classically-styled, modular integrated amp. We test the 'tickled up' Reference version

Anyone who spends time idly clicking between websites will be familiar with the HTTP 404 error, which occurs when a browser can't find what it was looking for. Coincidentally, the Moonriver Model 404 Reference amplifier, which is priced from £4495, has a similar 'error': there may be a USB-B port on its rear panel, offering the prospect of connecting a computer to play music, but there's nothing behind it, due to circumstances beyond the control of the amp's Swedish manufacturer.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 29, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingAVID's 'sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut' two-way features a massive all-alloy cabinet with tuned mass dampers to kill unwanted resonances – and this is the smallest in its range!

The friend who helped me unload these three AVID Hi-Fi boxes – one for each Reference Four speaker, at £20,000 a pair, plus one for the included (and very hefty) stands – thought he'd nailed it. 'What are these for, then?' he asked, 'heavy metal music?'. He wasn't far off the truth for while most speakers do very nicely indeed with variations on the wooden box theme, the Reference Fours use all-alloy cabinets, with panels up to 15mm-thick, sitting on six 'risers' attached to a thick alloy baseplate. Hence why each of these relatively compact speakers, at just under 37cm tall, weighs 25kg.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 23, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnedchoiceJust 16cm wide, the latest integrated amplifier from Chord Electronics is truly tiny, but the levels of performance it offers elevate it way beyond its apparent novelty status

The Chord Electronics Anni, selling for £1195, isn't the company's first compact amplifier – that honour goes to the £2900 TToby [HFN Feb '17], designed as a partner for the Hugo TT 2 DAC/pre/headphone amp [HFN Dec '15]. But the Anni is smaller, at just 16cm wide and 4.25cm tall, much lighter at 625g, and conceptually different from the TToby.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 04, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingHandbuilt in Berlin, this preamp and monoblock power amp defies the industrial look, favouring instead an exquisite finish. And the sound more than lives up to the style

By any standards, the Noble series from Berlin-based MBL is a looker. The components aren't massive – in place of slabby high-end units wearing their audio prowess on their sleeve, as it were, both the £11,500 N11 preamplifier and the N15 mono power amplifiers, at £13,900 apiece, are relatively slender units. They are also immaculately finished in a choice of gloss black or white, with accents for the control elements available in either polished gold or palinux (silver), with black detailing also offered if you go for the white main colour.

Review: Andrew Everard, Review: Paul Miller  |  Feb 28, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnedchoiceRevised and refined, and now clad in metal, AudioQuest's USB noise filter is still a compelling upgrade for portable DAC users.

As we described in our review of AudioQuest's original JitterBug [HFN Oct '15], this little serial plug-in is not a re-clocker for digital datastreams, but rather a purely passive device (drawing no power from the USB hub) that provides transformer-isolation and RF filtering of both the 5V USB 'VBUS' and its differential data lines. The promise, according to AQ, goes something like this: 'the dual-discrete noise-dissipation circuits reduce internally generated RF noise for improved streaming audio, [reducing] jitter and packet errors'.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 18, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedJBL is promising us 'great things from a small package' as it continues its theme of mixing pro heritage aesthetics with modern acoustic technology. Is the 4309 a blast?

The verdict was in almost before I started listening to the prosaically-named JBL 4309 speakers, yours for £1799 a pair in a choice of natural or black walnut satin wood veneers and with blue or black grilles over their mid/bass drivers. A visitor took one look at the speakers' horn-loaded tweeter and twin front-venting bass ports, and – before even a note had been played – opined that, 'They look like proper little rock-boxes'.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 15, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingLaunched as part of Rotel's 60th anniversary celebrations, this is the latest version of the brand's flagship 'big integrated' amp – and there's rather more to it than meets the eye

Rotel's larger integrated amplifiers have always provided an attractive waypoint between the compact designs of hi-fi's affordable end and the monster amps of the high-end, offering plenty of power, an extensive feature-set and an entirely convincing performance. The new RA-1592MKII, selling for £2295 in black or silver finishes and claiming a 200W output, is no exception.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 08, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingSporting a Signature nameplate, the flagship of iFi Audio's sprawling digital product range has been fine-tuned with 'audiophile' components and offboard iPower Elite PSU

No, you're not having a flashback, but you'd be forgiven a sense of déjà vu, given that we reviewed the original iFi Audio Pro iDSD DAC/headphone amplifier [HFN Sep '18]. Then it sported what we thought was an ambitious £2500 price tag, and pro-audio aspirations with a range of facilities so extensive that it paid to know what you were doing when tackling its myriad options and adjustments.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 24, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe Polish brand scored a prestigious EISA award with its first product, the Hypsos power supply – can it build on that success with its all-analogue headphone amplifier?

Polish company HEM, based just outside Warsaw in Pruszków, had something of a dream debut for its Ferrum brand: its first-ever product, the Hypsos power supply collected a 2021-22 EISA award in the Hi-Fi Accessory category [HFN Mar & Oct '21]. The judges praised it as 'a potent upgrade for a wide range of devices, not least USB DAC/headphone amplifiers, typically encouraging a sound with greater ease and smoothness – and yes, power!'

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