LATEST ADDITIONS

Andrew Everard  |  Nov 28, 2022
This month we review and test releases from: Clare Farr, Paul Berner & Michael Moore, Octave Records, Howard Shelley/Ulster Orch. and Järvi/Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich.
Peter Quantrill  |  Nov 25, 2022
As an ensemble that defined the sound of quartet playing in the digital age nears retirement, Peter Quantrill explores a legacy from Purcell to Prokofiev and beyond

In October 2023 the Emerson Quartet will take to the stage of Alice Tully Hall in New York. They will fiddle with the music on their stands, as they do. Their eyes will meet, their heads will lift a fraction and they will lay bow to string together for the very last time.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 24, 2022
hfnedchoiceTaking its Carbon range to 'the next level', and celebrating Kimber Kable's 40th anniversary en route, the Carbon 18XL is its latest flagship.

Kimber is a stalwart of the cable scene, emerging alongside Monster and AQ in the late '70s but with its own spin or, more accurately, twist on things. The open-weave geometry, variable-diameter copper stranding and Teflon insulation of the now-classic 4TC speaker cable defined not only its lumped parameters but also informed its 'voicing' – a warm but richly detailed sound that won the hearts of many a budding audiophile.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 22, 2022
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
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.

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.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 17, 2022
hfnoutstandingMatrix Audio's Element X2 introduces design, control and input upgrades to the X's network DAC/headphone amp and preamp. All this and a colour touchscreen to boot

At first glance, one might wonder why Matrix Audio felt any need to update its Element X network DAC [HFN Jan '21], the latter receiving our 'Outstanding Product' tag at £2795. However, look at this new X2 model and – while it's still conceptually the same, with a broad retention of technology from the ESS ES9038PRO DAC to the Crystek clock – it's clear much has also changed.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 15, 2022
hfnvintageFuss-free and highly affordable, this compact valve integrated was an early foray by the Dutch company into the '60s separates market. But how will it sound today?

How much power does your present amplifier produce? Expectations have risen over the years to the point that wattages in the three-figure range are no longer exceptional. But is this necessary? The Philips AG9016 seen here is rated at 2W per channel – not even sufficient to satisfy the fairly lax requirements of the DIN 45 500 'hi-fi' standard, which requires six watts.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 14, 2022
hfnoutstandingA Serbian brand based in Chicago packs a streamer, DAC and headphone amplifier into three bijou cases, topped off with a bespoke outboard PSU. We lend an ear, man

Although UK readers might not recognise the EarMen moniker, it's certainly not a newcomer to the world of hi-fi. Its back story is quite convoluted, for although EarMen is based in Chicago, it's funded by the owner of Serbia's Auris Audio, Milomir Trosic, and most products are produced in the same Serbian factory. Auris is aimed at the premium market, with products including the Euterpe and the Nirvana – both headphone amplifiers lavishly adorned in wood and even leather – plus a neat line of luxurious-looking tube amps and even some turntables on offer.

Steve Sutherland  |  Nov 11, 2022
With its roots in a demo facility in downtown Stockport, this studio would later pump out hits from the likes of 10cc and The Smiths. Steve Sutherland takes up the story

Neither of the two musicians had been in a studio before. The closest they'd come was messing about doing demos on a knackered four-track Teac in an ex-manager's garage. So stepping into Strawberry, all swish and gleaming and stacked with mod cons, they were stunned. And not a little scared.

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