LATEST ADDITIONS

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.
Paul Miller  |  Jun 06, 2009
If ever a brand typified the most conservative values of reliable, performance-driven British hi-fi, then Audiolab alongside its IAG stablemate, Quad, would be firmly in the running. Which is why the launch of its first AV product demands some serious attention. After all, this processor/amplifier combination even bears the moniker of the company’s formidable 8000-series separates, with the historical resonance that this invites. Audiolab itself is reticent in the 8000AP’s description, referring to its new HDMI-enabled product as a ‘reference quality 7-channel audio processor and preamplifier’.
Paul Miller  |  Jun 05, 2009
You may be forgiven for having not yet heard of Firestone Audio though its quirkily designed little boxes appear to be gaining something of a cult following. Made in Taiwan, there’s a plethora of components in Firestone’s range, encompassing phono preamplifiers, various solid-state and valve headphone amplifers including a battery powered model, digital-to-analogue converters and even a dinky little 8W stereo power amp dubbed Big Joe. One of its headphone amps is called Cute Beyond. Did I mention that these miniature boxes looked cute? Funny, that; Firestone calls them the Cute Series.
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.

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