From the Vault

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Steve Harris  |  Feb 23, 2024  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1999
hfnvintageSteve Harris on a small British manufacturer making a bid for the high ground with a single-ended amplifier offering a choice of output valves

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the audio underground in the US and Europe finally picked up on the efforts of Japanese audiophiles two decades earlier, and started a revival of single-ended triode amplification. The American interest really got going when enthusiasts started salvaging dusty pre-war systems out of old movie houses. Western Electric's 300B triode, dating back to the dawn of cinema sound systems, became the tube of choice.

Martin Colloms  |  Jan 12, 2024  |  First Published: Jul 01, 1992
hfnvintageMartin Colloms hears two outboard DACs featuring 20-bit chips in custom circuits – Enlightened Audio Designs' DSP7000 and the PS Audio Ultralink

American specialists, like their UK counterparts, continue to develop new variations on the available digital technology to produce DACs with audiophile appeal. This review covers two of the more intriguing examples, using some of the most advanced devices available to designers. The Enlightened Audio Designs DSP7000 is based on the 20-bit Analog Devices chip, while PS Audio has chosen an Ultra Analog dual 20-bit converter. What bearing the two choices of technology will have on sound quality remains to be seen!

Martin Colloms  |  Dec 22, 2023  |  First Published: Feb 01, 1998
hfnvintageThe Indian company has reworked its hybrid electrostatic speaker ready for production as the Arca. It's an ambitious project, says Martin Colloms

When they weren't playing, I found the appearance of these loudspeakers to be disconcerting because their normally exposed electrostatic elements are shrouded in a black cloth hood to keep out the dust. But when the cloth is removed, and the elements are exposed for use, their silvery perforated stator elements are presented in striking full view.

Martin Colloms  |  Nov 21, 2023  |  First Published: Oct 01, 1992
hfnvintageThis slim design offers the traditional benefits of transmission line bass loading yet manages to overcome the drawbacks, says Martin Colloms

New ideas are being introduced at Celestion to bring its upmarket SL series into the 1990s. The first example, designed by Bob Smith, was the 100 [HFN Nov '91] followed now by the 300 reviewed here. This is a £1000 floorstander that aims to bring improved bass extension, power handling and superior dynamics to the genre, while sensitivity remains below average at 84dB/1W. A remarkable aspect of the 300 is its transmission line loading, a first for Celestion, and developed with an unusually authoritative theoretical approach, by the designer Martin Roberts.

Ken Kessler  |  Oct 20, 2023
hfnvintageAt last, an output transformerless tube amplifier that needn't play second fiddle to transistors, says Ken Kessler, as he hears the GM 200

Given that few people will defend tube/transistor hybrids, how do you go about satisfying the valve-oriented consumer who wants his or her amp to have everything under one cage? And without simply adding to the buttonry? Italian company GRAAF (Gruppo Richerche Audio Alta Fidelta) has as its slogan 'II Suono Fatto A Mano', which I think translates into 'Hand-Made Sound'. This is about as cool a way of saying 'Lunatic purism' as I can imagine.

Martin Colloms  |  Sep 28, 2023  |  First Published: Jun 01, 1997
hfnvintageMartin Colloms shows some ART appreciation as the US company celebrates 30 years with a statement single-ended line-only preamp

Conrad-Johnson's 'Anniversary Reference Triode' has been some time in the making. In fact, an early version was developed seven years ago which has since been used as a lab reference. The ART is simply a remote-controlled line preamplifier, which at £15,000 is priced far beyond any previous Conrad-Johnson offering in this sector. It will be made in a limited edition of just 250 – probably just right for a modest production run at this elevated price level.

Martin Colloms  |  Aug 21, 2023  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2003
hfnvintageAfter years of development, the US company has come of age with a design that's a landmark in speaker engineering, says Martin Colloms

It was a thought-provoking discussion with Avalon president Neil Patel on the virtues of absolute tonal accuracy in a speaker, and how to achieve it, that led to an opportunity to evaluate the Eidolon. It was to prove illuminating to discover just how closely his objectives had been realised in this design.

Martin Colloms  |  Jul 07, 2023  |  First Published: Apr 01, 1993
hfnvintageIts components may work in all-Naim systems, but in this review of the company's latest pre/power Martin Colloms looks at the alternatives too

Neither I nor the Editor could remember when HFN last reviewed a Naim amplifier so, to redress the balance, we are covering the company's latest pre and power duo here. Priced at £1880, the NAC 82 carries the full remote control first seen on the top-of-the range NAC 52 preamp. An optional extra board (around £120) provides analogue disc input (MC or MM).

Ken Kessler  |  Jun 20, 2023  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2000
hfnvintageKen Kessler brings you an exclusive subjective review of a legend reborn: the Quad ll-forty mono power amplifiers and QC-twentyfour preamp

Goodness me! Two Quad scoops in one season! OK, so it's not like waking up with Kim Basinger, but I am fully aware of the privilege. When I kicked off the Quad 989 loudspeaker review [HFN Jul '00]

Martin Colloms  |  May 23, 2023  |  First Published: Jun 01, 1998
hfnvintageDoes enormous power always make musical sense? Martin Colloms hears a new stereo power amp from a designer who begs to differ

DNM's long-awaited update to the PA3 power amplifier has finally arrived. Fully regulated, the PA3 S reflects the uncompromising approach of its designer Denis Morecroft. Offering just 23W per channel but costing £3750, this stereo power amp has undergone a long gestation, the reasons for which Morecroft outlines in our interview boxout.

Ivor Humphreys  |  Mar 17, 2023  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2000
hfnvintageThe arrival of a new British hi-fi brand is a major event. Ivor Humphreys hears Samuel Johnson's 50W-rated pca100/ppa100 pre/power amplifiers

Abrand new company, Samuel Johnson was founded by a group of enthusiasts, most of whom had met through their work with a Scottish-based manufacturer of control systems for industrial applications and who discovered further common ground in a consuming interest in hi-fi.

Ken Kessler  |  Feb 14, 2023  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2003
hfnvintageThese purist valve amps from France are still something special, reckons Ken Kessler, but first it's time to put your expectations to one side...

Here beginneth a lesson in audio prejudices – mine and yours. Jadis has created a truly 'high-end' pre/power combination of so narrow a focus that we as audiophiles have to search deep into our hearts before even considering reading about them, let alone owning them. In other words, go no further if you refuse to accept that a manufacturer can (and maybe even should) impose restrictive behavioural practices upon the end user. Forget universality, market savvy commercial appeal, user-friendliness or post-remote control era ergonomics – the JPS8 is aimed at out-of-the-closet masochists.

Ken Kessler  |  Jan 06, 2023  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2002
hfnvintageHere's an amplifier that doesn't just look different, it's different through and through. Ken Kessler hears a potent powerhouse from Down Under

There are two piles of magazines, some 150cm tall, sitting in my lounge. They consist mainly of hi-fi titles that I can't read until they're 'out of date'. Why? Because I don't want to be influenced by the reviews, and I don't always know whether or not I'll be reviewing a component I've just seen slammed or praised. Thus it was that I tried to avoid whispers about the Halcro amplifiers from Australia. Even so, I kept hearing about these 'amazing amps' from all and sundry.

Martin Colloms  |  Nov 18, 2022  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1995
hfnvintageThe company is famed for its giant-killing budget CD players, but what can it do for £3000? Martin Colloms hears one of its high-end machines

Marantz is noted in the UK for its decade-long success in producing a chain of fine CD players at moderate prices. If sometimes contradictory on other matters, the audio press were almost uniform in singing their praises. But the success Marantz has enjoyed in Japan is less well known. By all accounts, high-quality audio remains very healthy there and Marantz engineer Ken Ishiwata has finely honed his skills in creating a range of high-end CD players that have achieved record sales in each directed market niche.

Ken Kessler  |  Sep 16, 2022  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2001
hfnvintageLooks like valves, smells like valves, uses transistors – Ken Kessler hears 100W of single-ended MOSFET power from the pen of Tim de Paravicini

Statement amps are nothing new to Tim de Paravicini, his original EAR 509s and 549s hardly being minor projects. Neither were the first amps to bear the Yoshino names, a pair of designs showing that single-ended topology could be applied to both valves and transistors. But the latter, while Tim was able to voice it to ape the tubes, ran just as hot as the valves, and proved just as inefficient as all single-ended designs are known to be, so why bother? Damned if I know, for Tim's latest is a huge mutha of a single-ended amp... and it's solid-state.

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