LATEST ADDITIONS

Ken Kessler and Paul Miller  |  Nov 01, 2011
Emblematic of the evolution of the Chinese-made valve amp is PrimaLuna's ProLogue Premium - in case you hanker after a value-for-money integrated with no rough edges This year, my son turned 21 and graduated from university. That was enough of a reminder of time’s passage to depress me. Far less cataclysmic an indicator was another shock to the system (metaphorical, I stress) in the form of the PrimaLuna Prologue Premium Integrated Amplifier. It’s not that the original, which ‘legitimised’ Chinese-made valve amps for Western consumers, was shabby by any means.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 01, 2011
A very potent performer considering the accessible price In its most recent 15-Series line-up Rotel entered the brave new world of efficient Class D amplification with some of its models. It promotes them more for home cinema and custom installation duties rather than ‘pure audio’ systems, however. For high fidelity music reproduction Rotel still prefers to focus on tried-and-tested Class A/B solid-state designs, in which it has a fine pedigree. Cosmetically, the RB-1552 is identical to the more powerful ’1582, only the chassis’ reduced depth and lighter weight suggesting a smaller power rating here.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 01, 2011
The entry level Belles power amp has some charming characteristics This midi-sized power amplifier from American designer Dave Belles’ Power Modules company naturally has a similarly compact preamplifier to partner it, dubbed Soloist 3; there’s also an MM/MC phono stage. This is ideal for enthusiasts desiring a separates combo that requires precious little space. There are no frills here – while better known for its high-end amplifiers, the Soloist components are Belles’ entry-level models. Build quality is staid and workmanlike, without the gloss of more costly designs.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 01, 2011
A robust design that produces a sound noticeably free of adornment Famous for its uncoloured, bomb-proof monitors beloved of recording engineers the world over, ATC builds not just speaker drive units but also the amplifier power packs for its active speakers in true artisan fashion in its Gloucestershire workshops, populating circuit boards entirely by hand. Similarly, the company’s standalone pre- and power amps are individually hand crafted, only the metal casework is bought in from an external supplier. As mentioned on page 43, we reviewed the P1 and its partnering CA2 Mk2 preamp in March ’10. Since then the power amp has unfortunately crept up in price by some £250.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 01, 2011
The Baby Bryston has many of the behavioural traits of the brand and some likeable sonic qualities Based a couple of hours’ drive north-east of Toronto, Bryston builds its audio components fully in-house. Next year will see the company celebrate 50 years since its initial foundation as a manufacturer of blood analysis equipment. It made its first amplifier in 1973 and progressed into the audio business soon thereafter. Luton’s Professional Monitor Company (PMC loudspeakers) has been Bryston’s UK distributor since the early 1990s – and naturally it’s Bryston amplifier modules that power PMC active monitors.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 01, 2011
A very substantial design indeed with impressive performance to match Owned by Paradigm, Canada’s largest speaker manufacturer, the Anthem electronics brand is renowned for its high value AV offerings. While its ‘bread and butter’ receivers are made in China, its premium Statement components are built entirely in-house, this massive P2 power amp sharing the same case as the company’s five-channel P5 [see HFN June ’09] that draws so much current it needs two power cords. Just as in the P5, each channel of the P2 is built as a monoblock on its own PCB with substantial heatsinks fitted with thermal sensors to monitor operating temperature. And each channel has its own toroidal transformer and regulated power supply.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 29, 2011
This big French three way is strong value for money You’d scarcely credit that the MC40 Minorca is the cheapest speaker here. It’s larger than the ATC, Dynaudio and PSB, it has a piano black finish (a £140 cost option, standard finishes being cherry and purple cherry wood veneers) and, unlike all the others, it’s a three-way rather than a two-way design. Cabasse’s distinctive BC10 coaxial driver is responsible for that last feature, comprising a soft dome tweeter, with shallow horn loading, surrounded by a convex annular diaphragm that handles the frequency range between 900Hz and 3. 2kHz crossover points.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 29, 2011
Despite the small size, this well thought out design has much to commend it As the smallest and lightest speaker here, the Synchrony Two B may seem to be flying a kite in asking £1200 of its buyer. And, indeed, it is significantly cheaper in its native North America. But remember that its sibling, the large, floorstanding Synchrony One, won our group test in Aug ’09 – and take a look at the lab report. It may be diminutive but the Synchrony Two B walks tall: it has one of the flattest on-axis frequency responses here and a waterfall plot so clean that few more overtly prestigious speakers can match it.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 29, 2011
The updates to this long running range have proved particularly effective Dynaudio’s Focus range was getting a bit long in the tooth so we weren’t surprised to learn when we requested the 140 for this test that it had just been replaced with this new model, the 160. Little has changed externally – if you’re the type who can distinguish Aston Martins at a glance then you’ll note a new light grey paint finish on the drivers and the use of Torx fasteners, only three of which now attach the tweeter – but internally there’s more that’s been breathed on. As before, the cabinet side walls taper a little towards the rear from the narrow bevels at the front baffle edges – a feature which helps tame internal standing waves – but the enclosure has been significantly stiffened. The 170mm bass-mid driver retains its magnesium silicate polymer (MSP) cone, and the voice coil is still aluminium to reduce moving mass.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 29, 2011
Some very sophisticated technology doesn't quite come together as a cohesive whole In loudspeaker cabinet construction, curves are good. Curved panels are stiffer than equivalent flat ones – but more difficult to make than the V-groove and wrap box construction that so many speakers today employ. In creating what is the most expensive model in this month’s group, Mordaunt-Short clearly devoted a good deal of its budget to abandoning the traditional rectangular wooden cabinet in favour of a curvaceous enclosure moulded from a well damped polymer resin. Deeper at the bottom than at the top, in profile it looks positively Falstaffian.

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