LATEST ADDITIONS

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.
Steve Harris and Keith Howard  |  Apr 24, 2009
With the grille on, you’d guess that this was another classic British two-way speaker, though perhaps unusually well-finished. Beneath the black cloth, though, you will find just a single metal-cone driver. So is this a classic British one-way? That drive unit is the Jordan JX92, the work of a notable designer who has spent quite a big part of his long working life perfecting full-range units. Ted Jordan first heard a GEC 8in metal cone while working in the company’s radio lab in the very early 1950s.
Keith Howard  |  Apr 24, 2009
Smallest of Leema Acoustics’ six-model speaker range, the Xero really is tiny at just 220x140x205mm (hwd), its front baffle having only about half the area of this magazine’s front cover. The moulding that houses the two pairs of input sockets for the split crossover occupies much of the rear panel, with just room for a small reflex port beneath, while the minuscule bass-mid driver at the front has an effective diameter of only about 80mm – little more than three inches. So this is a speaker for people with small listening rooms or who insist on their speakers having the smallest possible footprint. To this end the Xero can be wall mounted although for best sound its manufacturer rightly recommends using sturdy floor stands.
Andy Whittle and Keith Howard  |  Apr 24, 2009
The latest range from Tannoy is the new Revolution Signature series, a comprehensive line of speakers that can be configured to make up a full AV system, minus an active sub. Alternatively the front pairs alone can be used separately in a high-quality two-channel system. Under scrutiny here is the DC6 T, an elegant three-way floorstander, employing twin six-inch woofers with edgewound coils. A pair will cost you £1000 in either of the light oak or espresso finishes available.
Ken Kessler and Keith Howard  |  Apr 24, 2009
Purists will never yield on the topic of full-range electrostatic vs hybrid. The reality is that ESLs need to be huge if they’re to deliver deep bass and high SPLs. So mazel tov to those who can house and afford, say, big Sound Labs. For the rest of us, hybrids are a sane compromise.
Keith Howard & Paul Miller  |  Apr 17, 2009
As the tone of my reviews of the Linn Majik DS and dCS Scarlatti Upsampler/DAC may have hinted, I am beginning to see hard disk – rather than optical disc – as my audio source of choice in the near future. If you have been thinking along similar lines, your mind may have boggled at all the different ways of achieving this. A single-box music server solution is not for me, if only because for review purposes I’m likely to require a component rather than integrated solution. And streaming players are out because I insist on having multichannel capability.
Steve Harris & Paul Miller  |  Apr 17, 2009
You might be surprised to see Leema launching a massive £20,000-plus amplifier combination now, hard on the heels of its lower-cost Pulse and Stream models. But as with everything this company does, there’s a logical progression. The Pyxis/Altair IV combination forms the heart of Leema’s long-considered reference series. ‘We needed to produce our reference system,’ says Mallory, ‘and from the outset it was always going to be monoblocks.
Richard Stevenson & Paul Miller  |  Apr 06, 2009
Yamaha’s Z11 is an amplifier of extremes. Almost every feature can be prefixed with terms like ‘most’, ‘advanced’ and ‘leading’ and the fit and finish is superb. The specification sheet is impressive and the features list is the size of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and reads like my very own wishlist of AV technology. The Z11 is right at the cutting edge of multichannel audio, HD video and multi-room technology and then goes on to incorporate a level of audiophile engineering that would compete favourably with high-end two-channel components.

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