Review: Mark Craven

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 22, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedBest known for its 'silverback' speakers, SA also has a range of affordable, compact 'saxo' floorstanders

System Audio's product catalogue, although spanning only three loudspeaker 'families', aims to offer a solution for almost every eventuality. The Danish manufacturer, based in Roskilde, west of Copenhagen, makes on-wall models, including the legend 7.2 [HFN Mar '22], AV-specific centre channel enclosures and subs, plus various standmounts and floorstanders. Many can be bought in active 'Silverback' guise (or upgraded at a later date), their potential then expandable via DSP 'RAM tweaks' and a WiSA-based wireless streaming hub [HFN Aug '21]. There is, to put it mildly, a lot going on.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 21, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingStrip out the digital inputs, BluOS streaming module and preamp stage from NAD's M33 and we get a 'purist' implementation of Purifi's groundbreaking Eigentakt Class D tech

Unlike the traffic on the motorway for which this stereo amplifier is definitely not named, Canadian manufacturer NAD is rolling along at pace. The M23 auditioned here, available in just a silver finish, is its latest amp to feature high-performance Purifi Eigentakt Class D technology, following in the footsteps of the £3999 M33 BluOS-capable integrated [HFN Aug '20], the seven-channel £4499 M28 power amp, and the more affordable £1749 C 298 stereo amp [HFN Oct '21]. That NAD should have chosen to adopt Eigentakt modules for a trio of models before upgrading its flagship two-channel Masters series power amp is perhaps something of a surprise. But it proves to have been worth waiting for.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 24, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingNow owned by AudioQuest cable's parent company, GoldenEar has added the compact Bookshelf Reference X to its range – the final design from longstanding CEO Sandy Gross

Looking at the BRX (Bookshelf Reference X) loudspeaker, it's easy to feel slightly unnerved by the amount of, well, 'technology' that's been squeezed into its compact dimensions. But then we should remember it hails from American brand GoldenEar, a company that – under the auspices of founder Sandy Gross – has always seemed to approach loudspeaker (and subwoofer) design a little differently to many rivals.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 26, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingNo mere trickledown, the R7t floorstander inherits a full flood of technology from its flagship stablemate

Shoppers are always on the hunt for a bargain, so anything labelled 'half-price' attracts attention. Okay, that usually applies more to supermarket biscuits than floorstanding loudspeakers, but with Perlisten's R7t selling for £8100 – pretty much half that of the American company's flagship S7t [HFN Apr '22], while looking strikingly similar – it immediately appears a potential bargain. On the other hand, there must be changes behind the scenes for the price tag to have dropped so much, so the question becomes, will it sound only 'half as good'?

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 31, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThirty-two years after the Digilog set the scene for aftermarket add-on converters, the M6x – the M6 series traceable over a decade – is a no-nonsense DAC for legacy sources

Coming from Musical Fidelity's upper-tier M6 series, the M6x is the Austrian company's priciest DAC, and the latest evolution of a product that originated around a decade ago. Of course, there has been plenty of progression through the M6 [HFN Mar '13], M6s [HFN Jan '18] and M6sR models to where we are now, both outside and in, but a few things haven't changed, including the size of the hardware, and the absence of any network streaming.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 22, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedCanadian brand long-known for its high-end digital and analogue separates has now added a compact standmount to its range. So a full system is no longer a 'Blue Moon'...

Back in 2016, Simaudio added the MOON ACE to its range of pre, power and integrated amplifiers. A slimline machine with analogue, digital and network connectivity (the latter including Roon Ready status and streaming service support through its proprietary MiND module), the ACE clearly warranted 'just-add-speakers' status. The only problem? Simaudio didn't have any...

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 25, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedLaunched 44 years ago, the original 770 loudspeaker with its polypropylene woofer and white baffle was nothing if not controversial. Will the reimagined 770 also make waves?

Hi-fi's 'subjective' revolution was just picking up steam when Mission's 770 shovelled a heap of coal on the fire in 1978. The move away from heavy plastics (Bextrene) was reflected in its polypropylene bass/mid driver while the light but rigid ply cabinet doffed its cap to earlier BBC-inspired designs. Its sound, meanwhile, provoked more column inches over the years than possibly any speaker since! The 770 received a very favourable review in Hi-Fi News [HFN Mar '79, 'Milestones' HFN Aug '12 and 'From the Vault' HFN Dec '15] but, writing elsewhere, a fledgling author by the name of Ken Kessler was, shall we say, less enthusiastic...

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 14, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingHaving wowed us with its flagship S7t floorstanders, Perlisten is looking to do more of the same with its DPC driver tech pressed into a more modest, room-friendly cabinet

Perlisten Audio, a newly arrived loudspeaker manufacturer from Wisconsin, US, has already made an impressive entrance with its flagship model, the seven-driver S7t floorstander [HFN Apr '22]. Yet as that speaker boasts a £16,000 price tag – and a 59kg cabinet – many newcomers to the brand will look elsewhere in the range to see how far their budget can stretch. The £7200 S4b auditioned here isn't exactly 'affordable' but does come with a more manageable bookshelf build, plus the promise of a high-end performance similar to that of its towering stablemate, by virtue of shared technologies.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 16, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingNow a full quartet, T+A's compact but beautifully formed Series 200 has expanded to include a media player, DAC/preamp and Purifi Eigentakt Class D stereo power amp

Siegfried Amft, founder and MD of T+A, declares the intent of the brand's Series 200 is to 'combine the appearance of a Midi system with a high-end performance'. Midi, of course, is a word that evokes memories of 1980s/'90s hi-fi, so I'm surprised to see the term attached to a range that's rather more aspirational in its technology. You might think something has been lost in translation, T+A being a German manufacturer, until you lay eyes on the DAC 200 and its button-heavy compact chassis. From the appearance side, at least, the 'Midi' mission has been accomplished.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 13, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingWith no fewer than eight channels (bridgeable to four), Primare's most powerful amp to date will service the most ambitious bi-, tri- or quad-amp loudspeaker solutions

It goes without saying that an eight-channel power amplifier is unusual. In the hi-fi world, two channels is the default, and even in multichannel home cinemas the trend is to start with five or seven and then, if you must, add more in pairs. Furthermore, the A35.8, priced £4500, arrives not from a specialist custom install brand, or an audio company with pro studio leanings, but from Primare.

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