LATEST ADDITIONS

Richard Stevenson & Paul Miller  |  Jun 05, 2009
Sony’s flagship Blu-ray player is a technically advanced and feature-rich beast with a widget for almost every occasion. I say ‘almost’ because Sony has gone to extraordinary lengths to make the BDP-S5000ES a defining statement in silver disc playback, yet has not enabled it to play SACDs. To paraphrase the words of Homer Simpson, d’oh! You see, underneath that rather lush and eminently well put together exterior is a full Profile 2. 0 BD player with a long list of proprietary Sony technologies to enhance your home entertainment pleasure.
Dave Berriman & Paul Miller  |  Jun 05, 2009
Although CD has improved in leaps and bounds since its introduction, the sound initially disappointed many audiophiles and music lovers. One of the first companies to realise that CD replay could be improved was Meridian, giving rise, in 1984, to the Meridian MCD and MCD Pro. Based on a robust Philips mechanism, but with Meridian’s own analogue circuits and oscillator, the MCD Pro really lifted CD sound and a succession of Meridian CD players have continued to set high standards ever since. The CD-only 808 was launched in 2004, but Meridian has developed its replay technology so far since then that it has significantly re-designed and re-launched it as the 808.
Ken Kessler & Paul Miller  |  Jun 04, 2009
Only a fool – in these harsh times – would suggest that £2300 for a complete analogue package is a budget outlay. But judged in context, that amount spent on Clearaudio’s Performance turntable, Satisfy Carbon Directwire arm and Maestro Wood moving-magnet cartridge seems like a gift. After all, the tonearm on its own costs £870, while the cartridge sells for £645. Thus the Performance – sold only with the arm and cartridge – accounts for a mere £785 of the total package price.
Ken Kessler & Paul Miller  |  Jun 04, 2009
For those who use SME arms as the yardstick for all others, the mere presence – no pun intended – of Presence Audio’s London tonearm will come as a slap in the face. No, make that a bucket of foetid, lukewarm water poured over one’s post-modern, refined-by-Wallpaper magazine sensibilities. It looks as if it was made of scrap metal scavenged from a skip behind the Meccano factory, circa 1956. Finish? The review sample hit every branch on the shabby tree, and didn’t even stop at the roots.
Ed Selley  |  May 25, 2009
For readers whose knowledge of particle physics is as lamentable as mine, the muon is the name given to an important elementary particle and one that has a relatively extended lifetime of 2. 2µsec. Muons are difficult to create – something which unquestionably applies to these Ross Lovegrove designed KEFs too, whose superformed aluminium cabinet takes about 160 man-hours to manufacture the shining megaliths you see here. Numbers for the Muon are impressive even before you get to its £70,000 price tag (per pair).
Ken Kessler and Keith Howard  |  May 25, 2009
Who could have anticipated this even a year ago? One of the most beloved of all loudspeakers, the legendary BBC LS3/5A, was finished. Period. Stalwart fans of the product – Doug Stirling, for example – issued limited runs, but who could imagine that the speaker might suddenly reappear as a commercial venture? Well, it has. .
Richard Stevenson & Paul Miller  |  May 06, 2009
I love the design of Classé’s Delta series products. The beefy build, curved fascias and contrasting silver and dark colours make for an extremely cool look. Add in a colour LCD screen as a display and source monitor, a remote control handset hewn from an aluminium ingot and Classé’s audiophile heritage, and the new SSP-800 processor is one of the most desirable pieces of multichannel lushness available today. I want one, can you tell? Some two years in the making and coming to market with a price tag around the £5000 mark puts this beast up against the Denon AVP-A1HD.
Richard Stevenson & Paul Miller  |  May 05, 2009
The battle for supremacy at the top end of the Blu-ray player market is becoming ferocious. Players above £1000 seem to emerge weekly as big name manufacturers attempt to create a definitive statement product from which they will hang, in marketing speak, their more affordable mass-market offerings. You need to be at the cutting edge of the Blu-ray game just to keep up with the Joneses these days. FANCY AUDIO Unless you are Marantz of course.
Andrew Harrison & Paul Miller  |  May 05, 2009
It’s no exaggeration to say that dCS spearheaded – if somewhat reluctantly – the current vogue for upsampling to step-up the sound quality of the humble compact disc. Reluctantly because, as a company founded by earnest IC design engineers, the maths alone couldn’t readily predict any advantage in repackaging the disc’s audio data before conversion into analogue. But improvements were there to be heard, and now many high-end CD players feature upsampling. This may be as much to take advantage of modern DAC silicon which is optimised to work with ‘DVD era’ PCM digital, centred on a 48kHz baseline sample frequency.
John Bamford & Paul Miller  |  May 04, 2009
Before reading beyond this first paragraph, just pause for a moment to take a longer look at our photos of this gargantuan deck. Not for a long time has a product been the cause of so many ‘oohs and aahs’ in HFN’s photographic studio. In the flesh Pro-Ject’s latest turntable looks utterly gorgeous. We first spotted Pro-Ject’s new flagship, dubbed the Xtension, in January when it was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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