Paul Miller

Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011  |  0 comments
The latest revisions to the big Norwegian increase its appeal Electrocompaniet’s current Classic series looks forward as well as back, with products designed to be integrated into modern multichannel, multi-source systems. The ECI 5 MK II integrated amplifier looks pretty much the same as the previous ECI 5 model, [HFN Oct ’09]. But there are major internal changes, although Electrocompaniet emphasises that all its amplifiers are still ‘made in the TIM-free school based on the principles laid down in the works of Dr Otala and Dr Jan Lohstroh’. The changes in the new ECI 5 MK II seem to have been mainly intended to meet the demands of big modern speakers when driven to high levels with rock music.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Innovative when released, the Celestion is still capable of entertaining results

Launched at the Harrogate Hi-Fi Show in 1981, the Celestion SL6 looked different, and it was more different than it looked. In essence, its all-new drive units had been designed with the help of Celestion’s then-unique and revolutionary laser-based vibration analysis measurement system. It was the first British speaker to use a metal-dome tweeter, but the bass unit was equally innovative.

Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Arcam returns to DAC's with a diminutive but well implemented design with the added benefit of wireless. Getting rid of all those computer cables can make wireless hi-fi seem like the next essential, especially if your life revolves around the laptop in your bag rather than a tower under the desk. Enter the Arcam rDAC, Wireless Version.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011  |  0 comments
A well priced Italian design with an impressive USB implementation.

Among cost-conscious hi-fi enthusiasts, Italy’s North Star Design company has a reputation for making cutting-edge digital audio products that sport sensible price tags. Its latest Essensio DAC is a new entry model in its portfolio that undercuts the price of its existing £1420 USB dac32 by dispensing with balanced outputs and AES/EBU (XLR) digital input sockets. Also missing is the RJ45 socket for I2S interfacing with North Star’s £1750 Model 192 MkII CD transport.

Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Another digital masterclass from dCS but with added aesthetic charm. Down the years a great many words of praise have been directed at dCS products but I doubt that ‘stylish’ or ‘chic’ have often been among them. Well, the new Debussy DAC represents a big step in the right direction. Let’s begin the tour with that striking fascia, festooned with no fewer than 17 blue LEDs.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Impressive sound and considerable flexibility thanks to six digital inputs With the 99 CDP-2, Quad took a full-function CD player, fitted its DAC with a selection of digital coaxial and Toslink optical inputs, and provided both fixed and variable outputs to enable the device to serve as a preamp. Aside from not featuring digital inputs such as balanced XLR, USB and others current and forgotten, the 99 CDP-2 and now the Elite CDP enable their owners to accommodate six extra digital sources. The new player is essentially an update, with circuitry improvements and aesthetic changes like the better front panel illumination. It has the exact same dimensions, right down to the same indents in the top for stacking.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Swiss player combines SACD replay, digital inputs and sumptuous aesthetics to great effect The new 540 SACD ‘Digital Player’, a snip by Soulution standards at £17,850, benefits from the trickle-down of technology from its flagship 745 model. Finish is sumptuous, and the curved edges of top panel and front fascia combine to soften the 540’s physical presence, making it disappear more than most big hi-fi boxes, leaving one to focus on a single rotary dial, a meagre trio of buttons and a slender disc drawer. Screw heads, heatsinks, logos, etc are absent. Digital inputs include coaxial, optical and balanced connections which can all handle incoming data up to 192kHz/24-bit.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 16, 2011  |  0 comments
The latest version of the budget classic features additional bracing and a revised tonearm Rega’s philosophy is that while the plinth has to be as rigid as possible, it also should be as light as possible. And seeking to maximise the plinth’s rigidity between tonearm and main bearing, a phenolic stiffening brace is added. On the RP3, the brace visible on top of the plinth is complemented by a second one below, forming a stressed beam assembly. The actual plinth is a piece of special light furniture board, finished to a very high standard by something akin to a printing process.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 16, 2011  |  0 comments
The latest improvements to a long-standing classic are subtle but extremely effective After launching the turntable range 20 years ago with the Model 30/2, SME founder Alastair Robertson-Aikman followed it with a lighter version called the Model 20 – thinner in upper chassis and subchassis plates, with a smaller, thinner platter and other reductions in mass. In 2006 SME released the 20 in a widened version that would accept a 12in arm. It was a huge success, so the Model 30/12 appeared to equal acclaim [HFN Mar ’09]. In the interim, the external power supply had been upgraded, and was made common to all models, while 2010 saw the introduction of a new black platter mat material.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 16, 2011  |  0 comments
The American brand arrives in the UK with a design determined to make an impact Only recently have Spiral Groove products become available this side of the Atlantic. The SG2 turntable is determinedly luxurious, with an exemplary quality of finish. The SG2 eschews suspension in favour of constrained layer damping in its plinth and platter. The plinth has two thin layers of unspecified material separating three aluminium plates, while the platter comprises a thick phenolic layer followed by two thinner layers, one of vinyl, the top surface of graphite.

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