LATEST ADDITIONS

Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011
Swiss player combines SACD replay, digital inputs and sumptuous aesthetics to great effect The new 540 SACD ‘Digital Player’, a snip by Soulution standards at £17,850, benefits from the trickle-down of technology from its flagship 745 model. Finish is sumptuous, and the curved edges of top panel and front fascia combine to soften the 540’s physical presence, making it disappear more than most big hi-fi boxes, leaving one to focus on a single rotary dial, a meagre trio of buttons and a slender disc drawer. Screw heads, heatsinks, logos, etc are absent. Digital inputs include coaxial, optical and balanced connections which can all handle incoming data up to 192kHz/24-bit.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011
SACD capability and a clever variable output make the McIntosh a strong performer The SACD won’t go away because enough of us realise that it sounds fabulous. It still has an important market in Japan, and supporters in unlikely places which keep the software flowing. McIntosh is one: as traditional a manufacturer as you can name, and not tempted towards controversy. Mac’s approach to SACD is almost matter-of-fact: it eschews 5.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011
The latest Evolution drops SACD to focus on CD Krell’s first non-amplification component was the SBP 64X DAC. Twenty-two years on we have this high-end player, following on from the Evolution 505 but this time it doesn’t play SACDs. The two look pretty much the same: the front panel layout is virtually unchanged, although the transport drawer is replaced here by a disc loading slot. Above this is a bold, blue-lit dot matrix display.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011
The latest revisions to the big Norwegian increase its appeal Electrocompaniet’s current Classic series looks forward as well as back, with products designed to be integrated into modern multichannel, multi-source systems. The ECI 5 MK II integrated amplifier looks pretty much the same as the previous ECI 5 model, [HFN Oct ’09]. But there are major internal changes, although Electrocompaniet emphasises that all its amplifiers are still ‘made in the TIM-free school based on the principles laid down in the works of Dr Otala and Dr Jan Lohstroh’. The changes in the new ECI 5 MK II seem to have been mainly intended to meet the demands of big modern speakers when driven to high levels with rock music.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 19, 2011
Universal playback, 3D and a huge feature set for £800? Cambridge Audio are at it again. The story here begins with Cambridge’s first universal player, the £400 Azur 650BD [HFN Jun ’10], which set the benchmark for sub- £1000 players. So while the 650BD lives on, albeit temporarily, the new £800 751BD is very definitely its high-end big brother. Like its sibling, the 751BD handles CD (HDCD), DVD-V, DVD-A, SACD and BD media, now including 3D movie discs.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011
Innovative when released, the Celestion is still capable of entertaining results

Launched at the Harrogate Hi-Fi Show in 1981, the Celestion SL6 looked different, and it was more different than it looked. In essence, its all-new drive units had been designed with the help of Celestion’s then-unique and revolutionary laser-based vibration analysis measurement system. It was the first British speaker to use a metal-dome tweeter, but the bass unit was equally innovative.

Ed Selley  |  Nov 19, 2011
Another Ishiwata special edition at a new, lower price point Designer Ken Ishiwata celebrated his 30th anniversary at Marantz by producing the sumptuous KI Pearl SACD/CD player and integrated amplifier priced at £2500 each. A year later came the less elaborately-built Lite versions at £1000 a piece. We thought the SA-KI Pearl Lite fabulous value when we first tested it in Dec ’10 as part of a group test, and since then its suggested retail price has been reduced. Shop around and you’ll find it for even less than £900.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011
Arcam returns to DAC's with a diminutive but well implemented design with the added benefit of wireless. Getting rid of all those computer cables can make wireless hi-fi seem like the next essential, especially if your life revolves around the laptop in your bag rather than a tower under the desk. Enter the Arcam rDAC, Wireless Version.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
This clever little speaker still sounds more than respectable An audio pioneer, Jim Rogers possessed real acoustic engineering talent as well as in electronics. The original Rogers folded corner horn may not offer true stereophonic reproduction, but it’s a fine room-filling beast. And as for the later flat-to-the-wall Wafer speakers, based on Philips drive units and measuring just 2in thick, these are surprisingly magicalsounding. Then there’s the JR149.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
How does the original CD player stand up nearly thirty years after its introduction? It was in March 1983 that the compact disc system officially arrived in Europe. With it came the first European-made CD player, the top-loading Philips CD100. Four years before, in March 1979, Philips had given a first press demonstration of a Compact Disc player prototype, using 14-bit digital encoding. Philips was already marketing 30cm video discs but believed that there should be a separate, smaller disc format for audio.

Pages

X