Review and Lab: Paul Miller

Review: Mark Craven,  |  Jan 02, 2024  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingDerived from Perlisten's S7t flagship, and featuring the same DPC array, the S5t is simply more 'user-friendly'

Few loudspeaker brands come racing from the gate, but Perlisten, from Wisconsin, US, has gone from unheard of to a serious challenger in very short order. First up, in 2022, was the EISA Award-winning S7t floorstander [HFN Apr '22], which introduced the company as a high-end marque, and this was quickly followed by its second-tier R series [HFN Aug '22]. Now we get the S5t, essentially a slimmed down version of the S7t, with all the appeal that this entails.

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Dec 04, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe second phase of Naim's 'New Classics' launch brings a new streamer, a preamp and monoblock power amps, all in redesigned slender casework. Are they true 'classics'?

At times of late, it seems Salisbury's Naim Audio is wilfully courting controversy. It's been causing ripples with the brand's faithful fans ever since it launched its all-in-one Mu-so systems and second-generation Uniti products. It wasn't that these arrivals were on a mission to make hi-fi simpler for all, eschewing the tweakery and 'black magic' once suggested as a prerequisite for realising its true potential – no, what broke the usually calm surface was the fact the Naim logo, for decades lit in green, had turned white. Cue Naim aficionados fanning themselves like Edwardian grandes dames with a fit of the vapours.

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Nov 20, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingDeveloped to celebrate Krell's 40th anniversary, the KSA-i400 combines all the brand's proprietary circuit ideas in one very powerful amplifier. We partner it with the Illusion II

Over time, most hi-fi brands develop an image: ask any audiophile and you'll be told this one is warm, that one is all about rhythm and timing, and another is 'bright and detailed, but I could never live with it'. Of such generalisations, myths are born, and I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that most enthusiasts 'know' what Krell is all about – big, heavy, and massively powerful American amps, with the ability to drive just about any speaker to any level you want, or could imagine.

Review: Ken Kessler,  |  Nov 16, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingHow to upgrade the 'ultimate' optical pick-up? By fitting the Grand Master with a single-piece diamond cantilever and stylus. We take the GM Extreme for a drive...

It's too easy to presume, just because only one change separates a new model from an earlier one, that assessing it will be a breeze. DS Audio's £18,995 Grand Master Extreme optical cartridge differs from its stablemate solely in its cantilever/stylus assembly. Aside from a different body colour for easier identification, I wrongly imagined that a side-by-side shoot-out with the earlier Grand Master [HFN Feb '21] would suffice, and that a couple of LPs' worth of listening would reveal all. Silly me.

Review: Ken Kessler,  |  Oct 09, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingWith technology drawn from its flagship Chronosonic XVX, and already implemented in the Alexx V and Alexia V, the Sasha V is now the most affordable of this new series

Those of an historical bent will know that Wilson Audio's Sasha V isn't merely the fourth-generation Sasha, nor is it simply 'Sasha DAW 2.0'. This two-box floorstander is to the original WATT Puppy [HFN Nov '90] what the current Porsche 911 is to the 911 of 1964: a carefully-developed, decades-long evolution of a brilliant initial concept.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 26, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnedchoiceThe UK's longest-serving cable company celebrates 50 years with a special edition version from its X-Tube range, and it's a 'Golden' upgrade.

Was it really 25 years ago that QED celebrated its Silver Anniversary with a special edition XT speaker cable? Or a full half century since the brand burst into our audiophile consciousness with, three years later, what must surely be the most famous cable of all time – QED 79-strand? Monster Cable would surely argue the toss, but for hi-fi fans building their first system on a budget, the classic figure-of-eight 79-strand (still only £1.99/m) has long been the go-to choice.

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Sep 21, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingWith an impressive back-story, impeccable engineering and glorious finishes, these imposing '5th generation' Italian speakers promise much – so do they deliver? Certo!

The Amati G5 sits at the top of a four-strong new 'fifth generation' range of the company's Homage speakers, so-called because they pay tribute to the tradition of musical instrument manufacturing in Cremona, Italy. And they do so not just in name, but in the way they're made, with extensive use of selected woods, handcrafting based on the work of traditional luthiers of the past, and even a lute-shaped profile, which first saw the light of day in the previous Homage series [HFN Oct '17].

Review: Mark Craven,  |  Sep 07, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThis latest nuvistor/bipolar hybrid integrated marks a return of Musical Fidelity's traditional 'no-nonsense belter'. Difficult speakers? This amplifier will drive anything!

The conclusion to our review of Musical Fidelity's original Nu-Vista 800 integrated amplifier [HFN Nov '14] announced: '16 years from now, we'll remember it!'. That was the gap between the manufacturer's first Nu-Vista product, the 1998 Nu-Vista Preamplifier, and its then-new integrated descendant. Yet while our reviewer was so enamoured of MF's tube/solid state powerhouse that he imagined it flying the hybrid amp flag for years to come, it turns out the Nu-Vista 800 was not to last quite that long.

Review: Andrew Everard,  |  Aug 17, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingAurender's flagship two-box network music library isn't the traditional PSU/player you might expect. Instead, the functionality is elegantly split between data in and data out

Look at any multi-box component and you can usually work out what's going on: CD transport and DAC, preamp and power amp(s), for example. But just as often those two boxes are an 'audio product' – phono preamp, headphone amp, DAC or even a digital audio transport – plus an outboard power supply. The rationale for these latter two-boxers is clear, for by isolating the electrically noisy parts of the system away from delicate audio signals, interference is minimised and signal purity maximised.

Review: Ken Kessler,  |  Aug 03, 2023  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingFrom the man behind the iconic Continuum turntable comes this next-generation range, under his own brand, incorporating a 'negative-stiffness mechanism' suspension

Australia is not only home to some of the world's most fascinating animals but it's also the stomping ground of high-end heavyweights Halcro [HFN May '23] and Döhmann Audio, the latter responsible for the finely-engineered, and robustly elegant, turntable that graces the pages of this month's feature review. For Mark Döhmann, Director of Design, the 'Two' – one of a pair of decks in the Helix range, now in Mk3 guise – represents his latest thinking on the art and science of vinyl replay.

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