From the Vault

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Ken Kessler  |  Jan 06, 2023  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2002
hfnvintageHere's an amplifier that doesn't just look different, it's different through and through. Ken Kessler hears a potent powerhouse from Down Under

There are two piles of magazines, some 150cm tall, sitting in my lounge. They consist mainly of hi-fi titles that I can't read until they're 'out of date'. Why? Because I don't want to be influenced by the reviews, and I don't always know whether or not I'll be reviewing a component I've just seen slammed or praised. Thus it was that I tried to avoid whispers about the Halcro amplifiers from Australia. Even so, I kept hearing about these 'amazing amps' from all and sundry.

Martin Colloms  |  Nov 18, 2022  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1995
hfnvintageThe company is famed for its giant-killing budget CD players, but what can it do for £3000? Martin Colloms hears one of its high-end machines

Marantz is noted in the UK for its decade-long success in producing a chain of fine CD players at moderate prices. If sometimes contradictory on other matters, the audio press were almost uniform in singing their praises. But the success Marantz has enjoyed in Japan is less well known. By all accounts, high-quality audio remains very healthy there and Marantz engineer Ken Ishiwata has finely honed his skills in creating a range of high-end CD players that have achieved record sales in each directed market niche.

Ken Kessler  |  Sep 16, 2022  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2001
hfnvintageLooks like valves, smells like valves, uses transistors – Ken Kessler hears 100W of single-ended MOSFET power from the pen of Tim de Paravicini

Statement amps are nothing new to Tim de Paravicini, his original EAR 509s and 549s hardly being minor projects. Neither were the first amps to bear the Yoshino names, a pair of designs showing that single-ended topology could be applied to both valves and transistors. But the latter, while Tim was able to voice it to ape the tubes, ran just as hot as the valves, and proved just as inefficient as all single-ended designs are known to be, so why bother? Damned if I know, for Tim's latest is a huge mutha of a single-ended amp... and it's solid-state.

Ken Kessler  |  Aug 19, 2022
hfnvintageKen Kessler explains why he believes Audio Research's Reference 1 preamp and Reference 600 power amplifiers are in a class of their own

Whatever your response to once-in-a-generation revelations, the Audio Research Reference 600 monoblock amplifiers and the matching Reference 1 preamp will render all who hear them something akin to 'gob-smacked'.

Martin Colloms  |  Jun 28, 2022  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1984
hfnvintageCan Audiolab's 8000A redefine the market? Martin Colloms finds out...

The new Audiolab range is introduced by the 8000A integrated amp, which sells for around £250. Trade rumours are that the first batch was sold out even before any press mention of the product, and that the few dealers appointed so far are finding it impossible to hold any stock. In these commercially depressed times it is certainly refreshing to cover a success story such as this, though I suspect that this model may be in short supply for some time to come.

Martin Colloms  |  Jun 03, 2022
hfnvintageAt last, Krell Digital presents its CD player system, the MD-1 transport plus SBP-64X, and the less costly SBP-16X DAC. Martin Colloms listens

Krell has determined that digital audio should form part of its future, and has created a separately financed division called Krell Digital Inc. The MD-1 digital transport was shown last year together with the SBP-64X processor/decoder – an amazing combination at a price which left the industry breathless, being around £15,000 the pair.

Ken Kessler  |  Mar 24, 2022  |  First Published: Apr 01, 1997
hfnvintageThere's a glowing new object in the hi-fi galaxy – the Quasar turntable. Ken Kessler makes space for a deck with a sound as sweet as sugar

Gorgeous. That's the word I kept hearing, every time someone noticed the Quasar LE turntable while it was in for review. And one of the first to utter it was the owner of a Michell Orbe, itself no canine. What these individuals cooed over is one of the prettiest LP spinners to come along since the first Oracle. And that's one hell of an antecedent.

Ken Kessler  |  Feb 24, 2022  |  First Published: Mar 01, 1992
hfnvintageThe irrepressible Antony Michaelson is at it again, with pre and power amps from Michaelson Audio and Musical Fidelity. Ken Kessler listens

Upon my taking delivery of the review samples of Da Vinci, about which I was warned in mid-summer 1991, company founder Antony Michaelson launched into his usual tirade about the high-end, with barrels of venom for American ballbuster amps in particular.

Martin Colloms  |  Jan 25, 2022
hfnvintageMartin Colloms hears a power amp setting the pace for the 21st century

The development of this completely new power amplifier has been a major undertaking for Naim. Up to now, its designs have been variants on the late Julian Vereker's founding concept, which led to the first NAP 250 stereo chassis some 25 years ago. Even now, the company's biggest current model, the NAP 135, is a monoblock variant of the '250, with more generous power supplies allocated to the separated channels.

John Atkinson  |  Dec 24, 2021  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1983
hfnvintageJohn Atkinson heats up his listening room with a Class A amp from Krell

It used to be said that the only true way to learn was to find out something for yourself, then it will stick when all book-learning has long since been shed. This was drummed into me when I was working on the development of LEDs (green ones, to be precise).

John Atkinson  |  Nov 23, 2021  |  First Published: Jun 01, 1985
hfnvintageJohn Atkinson reviews a high-end CD player from a specialist Swiss brand

Audiophiles who have spent large sums of money on LP playing equipment, such as myself, find themselves coming up with a number of excuses when presented with the thorny problem of reconciling the increasingly general acceptance of CD with their own love for vinyl.

Martin Colloms  |  Oct 26, 2021  |  First Published: Dec 01, 1982
hfnvintageMartin Colloms hears the A&R Cambridge C200/SA200 pre/power duo

These new products from A&R Cambridge have been long in the pipeline. In an unusually brave step for such a small company, it has invested in moulding tooling for the front panels and also the casework of the preamplifier. Its aim was to achieve close tolerances, and considerable effort has been expended in achieving a good fit of parts, particularly for the array of controls on the preamplifier.

Martin Colloms  |  Sep 17, 2021  |  First Published: May 01, 1999
hfnvintageMartin Colloms hears KEF's no-holds-barred flagship speaker, the R109

In late 1995 an idea began to take shape at KEF Audio. The company had already produced some fair-sized 'reference' models, culminating in the well-regarded Reference Four. But even this powerful and accomplished design lacked the necessary weight and presence to make a major impact at the highest quality level of world loudspeaker sales. So research began to define the key elements of what was intended to be a much larger speaker system, a definitive engineering expression of the company's knowledge.

Martin Colloms  |  Aug 06, 2021  |  First Published: Mar 01, 1982
hfnvintageAs the company continues to develop its expertise in the electronics field, Martin Colloms takes stock of a strikingly-styled pre/power amp

While first established and based in the UK, Mission also now has a design facility and manufacturing plant in Canada. It's here that its latest amplifiers were developed by Henry Azima, the brother of Farad Azima who founded Mission Electronics some years ago.

John Crabbe  |  Jul 23, 2021  |  First Published: Jun 01, 1977
hfnvintageJohn Crabbe, editor of HFN/RR, reflects on two decades of audio advance

The galaxy of experts that were gathered together by Miles Henslow, founder and first editor of HFN, to help fill the pages of his pioneering magazine in 1956 still has a ring of authentic hi-fi quality as it shines across two decades of progress and expansion: Cecil Watts, Ralph West, Gilbert Briggs, Stanley Kelly, James Moir, R S Roberts and H Lewis York.

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