Review: Andrew Everard

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.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngHere’s a network audio bridge, a USB player and computer audio cleaning device, and a Roon Ready endpoint – all in one tiny (and affordable) box. Is there anything it can’t do?

The rise of ‘computer audio’ has rewritten the rules on hi-fi components. What once required a full-width separate can now be achieved with an almost vanishingly small box of computer technology, all ready to connect into your existing system. You can stream using a Raspberry Pi, an Asus Tinkerbox or an Intel NUC – to name but a few – and a whole industry has sprung up making add-ons for these mini-computers to turn them into digital or analogue audio devices, or even complete ‘just add speakers’ systems.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfncommended.pngThe Naim ‘platform for the future’ has brought new facilities, and a new look, to its network music player range – but have the signature sonic fireworks been retained?

There was a certain inevitability about it. Back in October 2016, when Naim Audio launched its four ‘new Uniti’ models, based around what MD Trevor Wilson described as the company’s ‘platform for the future’, the elephant was in the room throughout the press event. Eventually it was unleashed, and the question asked: would this new technology also be applied to the ND-series of network music players?

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfnoutstanding.pngThe most ambitious iFi digital product to date is a hugely flexible DAC/headphone amp with an eye on both studio and consumer markets. But is it just a bit too complex?

The idea of the DAC/headphone amplifier is firmly established, whether for ‘on the go’ use, desktop audio or as a main system component. Less than £100 will get you started, with the likes of the AudioQuest DragonFly Black [HFN Oct ’16], Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS V2 or Cyrus SoundKey, while the ambitious might consider models such as the long-running Chord Electronics Hugo [v2, HFN Aug ’18] and costing the thick part of £2000. However, even by the standards of this highly diversified market sector, the range-topping model from iFi Audio, the Pro iDSD, looks pretty punchy with its £2500 price-tag.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 01, 2018  |  0 comments
hfncommended.pngBilled as McIntosh’s most powerful integrated amp to date, the mighty MA9000 combines transistors with transformers and a ‘blue’ aesthetic that’s truly timeless

Right, let’s get the ‘and fries to go’ thing out of the way first. If ever a product deserved the title, this is the ‘Big Mac’. Or at least ‘Big Mc’, for the McIntosh MA9000 is huge in every respect, from the sheer bulk of the thing – at least by the standards of most integrated amplifiers – to the 45.8kg fighting weight, increasing to 60.8kg packed, and the £12,995 price tag.

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