Paul Miller

Paul Miller  |  Oct 05, 2009  |  0 comments
Convergence between national markets is fueling the development of new, one-size-fits-all AV products at an unprecedented pace, often reducing shelf life to a few short months. New BD players are a case in point. Such is the pace of technology, and the scramble to patch both HDMI and Profile standards, that no sooner had we completed our review of Panasonic’s DMP-BD30 Blu-ray player than its replacement, the DMP-BD50, was announced. So one review was shelved and another immediately instigated.
Paul Miller  |  Jun 06, 2009  |  0 comments
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  |  0 comments
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.
Paul Miller  |  Apr 05, 2009  |  0 comments
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.
Paul Miller  |  Mar 05, 2009  |  0 comments
If CES 2008 sounded a warning shot across, if not into the bows of the HD DVD fleet then there was always the consolation that its players were, on the whole, far cheaper than their Blu-ray competition while boasting full compatibility with both the software-driven and web-enabled functionality of its discs. Not all Blu-ray players can currently promise that. Sony’s BDP-S300 is one of those players that neither fully conforms to the BD1. 1 video profile (which means that picture-in-picture, ‘Blu-Scape’ games and other bonus features may not function wholly as intended) nor deliver Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio bitstreams over its HDMI 1.
Paul Miller  |  Mar 04, 2009  |  0 comments
Naming a cartridge after a firebird that rises from its own ashes may be a portentous omen, given Transfiguration’s previous success in crafting high-class pickups. So maybe the incendiary title is supposed to serve more as a pointer to a fiery performance? After the revamp of the brand’s lineup, this model doesn’t have a natural predecessor, by price at least, since it’s pitched below the former top Temper model, and above the similarly obsolete Spirit. But at £1350 it sits neatly between the award-winning Orpheus (£2750) [March ’07] and the new entry-level Axia at £890, and closely resembles the Spirit in body shape. Like former Transfigurations, it uses an unusual ‘yokeless’ generator inside with ring magnets surrounding the sets of coils.
Paul Miller  |  Jan 05, 2009  |  0 comments
Just one of some 20 Pro-Ject ‘Box’ series components, this little number is essentially an outboard – and self-powered – USB soundcard. Priced at just £75 and built into Pro-Ject’s now-familiar wrap-around casework, the hardware also comes with some software on a mini CD. Dubbed ‘Direct Streaming Technology’ this is an installer for Foobar2000, a media player that, on PCs at least, avoids the default Windows Kernel mixer. The idea is to stream ripped CD media over USB at its native 44.

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