LATEST ADDITIONS

John Bamford & Paul Miller  |  Apr 06, 2009
Hailing from Budapest, Hungary, Heed Audio first made a name for itself with its Orbit range of turntable power supplies, designed as add-on upgrades to turntables such as Rega and Linn. Subsequently Heed has brought to market a range of components designed to offer high performance at not-too-high prices, keeping costs down by utilising utilitarian metal boxes rather than fancily styled casework. This is a philosophy that has proved popular with audio enthusiasts for decades; some HFN readers may remember UK brands of yore such as Nytech and Ion Systems. There’s a family tie-up here, in that Heed Audio’s UK importer and distributor is Tsource Ltd of Cheltenham, run by one Robert Hay, and Robert’s father is Richard Hay who was the designer of Nytech and Ion Systems products way back when.
Ken Kessler & Paul Miller  |  Apr 06, 2009
Back after a hiatus of nearly a decade, Trilogy’s founder Nic Poulson has returned to amp manufacture, having spent the interim producing mains filters and regenerators. Both the promise and the standards of Trilogy ‘Mk I’ have been maintained in the rebirth, but with new twists, including microprocessor control. Poulson has revived Trilogy with three models, continuing the 900-nomenclature of the 1990s units. The 909 preamplifier will most amuse the tweaker because it’s all-valve, using three ECC88/6922s and a 6U4P rectifier, but it boasts features usually found in cutting-edge solid-state products, or valve exotica from the likes of VTL, McIntosh and other American makers.
Andrew Harrison & Paul Miller  |  Apr 05, 2009
It seemed like a brave new world back then. It was early 1999, DVD video had been on the market for less than two years, and already audio people were seeing the possibilities – music in the home at 24-bit, 96kHz linear PCM, with the potential to knock CD audio into a cocked hat. Alongside the small flurry of music DVD discs that were released with 24/96 audio came the first outboard DACs capable of exploiting this high-resolution material. One of the very first companies to take the challenge was MSB Technology, a digital audio specialist based in California.
Paul Miller  |  Apr 05, 2009
So you want to enjoy the best that Blu-ray has to offer but you’re loathe to part with that ‘legacy’ AV receiver, a fine-sounding and perfectly serviceable multichannel amplifier but one that pre-dates HDMI connectivity? Thanks to Pioneer’s flagship BDP-LX91, your options just got broader. You see this is one of the very first BD players with sufficient on-board processing power to decode both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. It’s also one of the first to offer a full 7. 1 channel analogue output – perfect for direct and unencumbered connection to the multichannel analogue inputs of that treasured AV amplifier.
Dave Berriman & Paul Miller  |  Apr 05, 2009
Bel Canto’s little CD-2 strikes an ultra-minimal pose, with its diminutive green display, single rotary knob, brushed solid aluminium front panel and top-loading mechanism. The digital display shows the track number but precious little else, just a pause or play symbol alongside it, but pressing ‘Time’ on the handset, while in play or pause, shows the track time played. The player is more versatile than it seems: the secret lies in the remote handset, which controls or sets everything. The CD-2 can be used without a preamp, as it has a built-in volume control, which can be operated either by the rotary knob, while in ‘Stop’ or ‘Play’ mode, or from the handset.
Ken Kessler and Paul Miller  |  Apr 04, 2009
Like manual gearboxes, film cameras and mechanical wristwatches, turntables are intrinsically ‘retro’. Any or all might argue that, say, a manual gearbox gives a driver more control over the car, but let’s admit it: part of us simply revels in supporting the anachronistic. And no turntable I’ve seen in years better embodies a resistance to the evolution of high-end record spinners than Origin Live’s Resolution Mk 2. Everything about this deck reminded me of some turntable of yore, as did the Encounter arm.
John Bamford & Paul Miller  |  Apr 04, 2009
As with so many of the audio industry’s small, specialist companies, Origin Live is the life blood of an enthusiast who designs products based largely on empiricism. Audio hobbyists of longstanding will be familiar with the Origin Live marque and the leader of this Southampton troupe: founder and designer Mark Baker. Over the years Origin Live has developed turntables, tonearms, amplifiers, loudspeakers, cables, and support stands. Says Mark Baker, this wide experience gives a holistic design approach which translates into products that are designed for system synergy.
Ken Kessler and Keith Howard  |  Mar 25, 2009
Has it really been more than 20 years since Acoustic Energy bridged the worlds of professional studio monitoring and domestic audio? Back in ’88, the former regarded the latter in the way that, say, Labour regards fiscal responsibility. AE was having none of it, and produced a classy, compact two-way monitor of true studio merit, sort of a UK answer to Wilson’s WATT. Given its diminuitive stature, most noteworthy was the AE1’s prodigious bass. Rear-ported and boasting a still-radical metal mid/bass driver, it begged to be positioned away from walls on solid 24in stands.
Keith Howard  |  Mar 25, 2009
Thiel Audio Products Company of Lexington, Kentucky may have a lower profile here in the UK than in its native US, but its reputation precedes it. Designer Jim Thiel holds fast to certain, long established design principles in his loudspeakers such as eschewing high-rate filters to ensure phase linearity through crossover. He also prefers the costlier underhung voice coil geometry (voice coil much shorter than the magnet gap) for the marque’s proprietary drivers, in preference to the more commonly used overhung geometry, because of its inherently superior performance. Thiel is innovative too, examples being its cast aluminium, surface-mounting PowerPoint 1.
Keith Howard  |  Mar 25, 2009
In this era of DSP room correction systems, surprisingly few loudspeaker manufacturers seem to be looking at the issue of room interaction from the speaker design angle, trying to find ways to quell the room’s influence and thus, potentially, render DSP assistance redundant. Danish company Dali is an exception, although to look at the Helicon 400 Mk2 you could be forgiven for thinking that it is an entirely conventional direct-radiating floorstander. The giveaway, although its significance may not be immediately obvious, is the trademark Dali twin tweeter module which combines a 25mm soft-dome unit with a leaf supertweeter whose diaphragm is 10mm wide by 55mm high. Supertweeters are normally deployed these days to extend response out to low ultrasonic frequencies but the Dali supertweeter also has an important function within the audible range, where it takes over from the dome tweeter at 13kHz.

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