LATEST ADDITIONS

Richard Stevenson & Paul Miller  |  Jul 06, 2009
With HD technology and disc formats now on a firmer footing, almost every maker worth its transistors has launched a range-topping ‘HD’ amplifier. Enter Denon’s AVC-A1HD, goodbye AVC-A1XVA. Price-wise, the AVC-A1HD amplifier’s £3800 ticket nestles between Denon’s flagship AVR-4308 receiver (£2000, HFN, Dec ’07) and its new £10,000 A1HD multichannel pre/power combination. But of far more relevance is its position against its only serious competition – Yamaha’s DSP-Z11 (HFN, Apr ’08) and Pioneer’s SC-LX90, both at £5000.
Richard Stevenson & Paul Miller  |  Jul 06, 2009
I always get a warm, Sunday afternoon feeling when a new product arrives from Arcam. While you can imagine the Far Eastern competition frenetically working 24/7 to be first to market with the latest multichannel widget, I see Arcam as a little more reserved, a little more British. The AVR600 may have been a long time coming with its HD-audio decoding, multi-room installer features and premium video processing but it simply exudes dedication and polish from the moment you open the box. It’s substantial for starters.
Keith Howard & Paul Miller  |  Jul 06, 2009
This way madness lies. Or so you’d think if you buy hook, line and sinker into the mythology that has grown up around the Swiss darTZeel brand. And yet our Movers & Shakers feature in the March ’09 issue illustrated that darTZeel partners Hervé Delétraz and Serge Roch are nothing if not methodical in their approach to amplifier design. Their goal is to keep the audio path as straight and simple as possible, avoiding input/output switching and even using an optically-coupled rotary encoder for volume rather than a conventional potentiometer.
Ken Kessler & Paul Miller  |  Jul 05, 2009
Our tendency to attribute the revival in separate transports and DACs to the rise of MP3 players, DAB et al, didn’t anticipate Accustic Arts’ flagship models. Its Reference Series’ TUBE DAC II and DRIVE II offer neither USB nor mini-jacks to suggest the welcoming of lesser/newer digital sources. This pair is almost retro, recalling the earliest, most over-engineered high-end transports and DACs, with valves thrown in for good measure. That they’re handsomely-styled, ergonomically intelligent exemplars of Teutonic build quality goes some way toward accounting for painfully high prices of £6150 for the DAC and £6750 for the transport.
Steve Harris & Paul Miller  |  Jul 04, 2009
There must have been at least a few moments in the 1990s when Linn came close to dropping the Sondek for good. In the brave new world of multi-room, AV and custom install products aimed at well-heeled Beocustomers, that old belt-driven LP spinner was becoming a serious anachronism. Then there came a sea-change, as, to its credit, Linn seemed to rediscover its musical roots, launching the Majik CD playing system, and at around the same time starting to wheel out the LP12 for hi-fi shows once more. Subsequently, the latest enhancements of the LP12 and the Ekos arm have been highlighted as ‘SE’ upgrades.
Steve Harris & Paul Miller  |  Jul 04, 2009
Last year saw the 125th anniversary of the oldest brand in specialist hi-fi. While Thorens actually spent its first few decades producing musical boxes, it has a remarkable audio pedigree. So even if you think the current vogue for 12in tonearms is just a craze fuelled by audiophile one-upmanship, you certainly can’t accuse this venerable German company of bandwagon-jumping with its ‘anniversary’ TP 125 Special Edition. This arm looks perfect on Thorens’ flagship turntable, the TD 550.
Keith Howard  |  Jun 25, 2009
Although German speaker manufacturer Audio Physic has had a low profile in the UK for some years, its name still has cachet here among those who remember its products with affection. Now back with a new distributor, C-Tech Audio, it is aiming to re-establish old friendships and forge new ones. Its three-driver, two-and-a-half-way Sitara is the new base member of its three-model High End range and does battle in the competitive market for £2000 floorstanders. The Sitara’s key visual feature is its tall, narrow cabinet which leans backwards at seven degrees to provide time delay compensation for the displaced acoustic centres of the tweeter and bass-mid driver.
John Bamford & Paul Miller  |  Jun 06, 2009
There’s a reassuring matter-of-factness about the design and construction of Bryston’s amplifiers. While they might lack a little glamour – there’s no frivolous dressing up to impress – there’s an understated purposefulness to the marque’s range that has brought the company considerable success in the professional arena since it first began making amplifiers in 1973. Countless professional sound studios around the world employ Bryston electronics for 24/7 amplification duties thanks to the company’s acclaimed quality control and reputation for reliability. In the world of high-end hi-fi manufacturing, boasting to be somehow connected to the worlds of medical and/or the aerospace industries adds a certain cache to a brand, conjuring up images of hard science and meticulous attention to detail.
Ian Harris & Paul Miller  |  Jun 06, 2009
Up to now, Coda Technologies Inc of Sacramento, California, has managed to resist the economic rip-tide which has swept so much audiophile manufacturing towards the Far East. Resolutely continuing to design and build wholly in the US, Coda offers both integrated and pre/power amplification solutions, with prices starting at a point that sits squarely in the territory of the burgeoning Chinese high-end zone. In terms of build quality, the Coda faces tough competition from the latest Far Eastern products. On construction alone, the CS earns a draw, but the CL’s slightly less than hewn-from-solid casework cedes the initiative to the best competition.
Richard Stevenson & Paul Miller  |  Jun 06, 2009
Until the recent addition of high-end Japanese AV processors like Denon’s AVP-A1HD, the upper echelons of the multichannel pre-amplifier market have been dominated by US brands like Lexicon and Krell. Neither of which have ever really got my juices flowing if I am honest. Enter Anthem, a new contender from Canada’s Paradigm stable [see box], with the Statement processor and power amplifiers. It is easier to start with the Anthem Statement P5 and P2 power amps.

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