Lab: Paul Miller

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 19, 2019  |  0 comments
hfncommendedThe inaugural product in Colorado-based Boulder's 500 series is this MM/MC phono preamp – fully balanced throughout, including the connection to your turntable

Modern phono stages seem to fall into one of two camps – those with multiple inputs, multiple gain options and a seemingly endless permutation of impedance and capacitance settings [see EAT E-Glo S, HFN Mar '17], and those, like the Boulder 508, that seek to minimise switching and variable gain in favour of one, potentially simpler, signal path.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 16, 2019  |  0 comments
hfncommendedThis 'music server' is rather more than it might initially appear, and you can apparently use it alone, or with another music server model, the CX. So what's that all about?

One soon comes to realise that, in the new world of computer-based music playback, nothing is quite what it seems. What's more, the terminology used to describe the products designed to make it possible seems almost wilfully imprecise.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 11, 2019  |  0 comments
hfncommendedThe iconic visuals belie Musical Fidelity's recent change in ownership – so will this familiar M2 series CD/amp combination still tempt the budget-conscious enthusiast?

In these evolving days of digital music, cloud storage and online streaming, it might seem counter-intuitive for Musical Fidelity to release a line-only amplifier and 'plain vanilla' CD player. The £799 M2si integrated has no inbuilt DAC, no Bluetooth, no Wi-Fi and not even a phono stage, or indeed the option of one. And, peer round the rear of the matching £799 M2scd compact disc player, and the only connections you will find are outputs. Once again, it has no digital inputs, no antennae sticking out and no wireless wizardry up its sleeve. What's going on?

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 09, 2019  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingWe're a long way from the old idea of hairshirt hi-fi here: the latest heavyweight integrated amp from Krell's Connecticut factory comes fully-loaded – and then some!

You need to do some serious rethinking on first encountering the Krell K-300i. If you're expecting a simple device all about massive power and minimalism, you're going to be disappointed, but for those looking for an amp able to handle all the needs of the modern music listener, this one could just be bang on the money.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 04, 2019  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingMobile Fidelity, champion of audiophile vinyl, has succumbed to the lure of producing its own turntables, like record labels of the past: enter the MoFi UltraDeck

Back in the early days of audio, numerous record labels had electronics divisions, or vice versa. You would see the logos of EMI, Philips, RCA, Decca, JVC and others on both LPs sleeves and hardware. The logic was that they originated the material and could also control the entire chain, from artist to listener. So, who better to introduce its own turntables than Mobile Fidelity, for decades the most prolific source of audiophile LPs? Now you can spin its platters on, well, its platters.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 23, 2019  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingWith a heritage in broadcast and studio environments EMT has always married robustness with precision engineering, witnessed in this 'domestic' high-end MC series

Elektromesstechnik – under the abbreviation EMT – is a brand that needs no introduction to vinyl fans, not least because of the reputation its turntables earned as the workhorses of recording and broadcast studios across the globe. The company's cartridges share a similar reputation for quality, robustness and reliability, but so far these have been somewhat overshadowed by its record decks. That's a pity, because not only has EMT been making pick-ups since 1959 but it has buyers in all four corners of the world.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 22, 2019  |  0 comments
hfnvintageSophisticated styling, touch controls and the promise of all the benefits of direct-drive using a sub-platter driven by a belt. Can this late '70s record player really deliver?

Think of CD players and Philips will be one of the first names to come to mind. This is not necessarily the case when it comes to turntables, even though the company has produced a multitude of models over the years. Its turntable motors could be found in the early Linn LP12 and many other similar designs, yet to most British listeners a complete Philips turntable, like the AF 877 seen here, is something of a novelty.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 20, 2019  |  0 comments
hfncommendedGorgeous looks, superlative build quality, and hailing from Serbia, the Nirvana is a headphone amplifier that oozes luxury. We find out if the sonics match the styling

Having followed Auris Audio from show to show since its 2013 founding, I leapt at the chance to review its stylish Nirvana two-chassis headphone amplifier. I'm no longer shocked by the cost of high-end headphone amps, especially not at a time when £3000 headphones are common, so its £4900 price tag earned a mere 'Meh' from me. After all, I'd be putting it through its paces with, among others, the Audeze LCD-4Z, which sells for £3600.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 16, 2019  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe model name may be a mouthful, but this new arrival from the Japanese music server specialist aims high with a separate linear PSU. Are two boxes better than one?

By now the Melco brand is very well-established in the 'computer audio' arena, with a range of fairly similar-looking slimline server devices designed to feed music to network players, or directly to a DAC via a dedicated USB output. However, the offering isn't as rare as once it was, with rivals now providing alternatives to multifunction NAS units, and also claiming audiophile credentials.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 15, 2019  |  0 comments
hfncommendedThe celebrated brand has given its miniature integrated amp a comprehensive update to mark its fifth anniversary. So is it still a winner in an increasingly crowded market?

We live in uncertain – and expensive – times: the average price of a flat in Greater London is currently north of half a million, which is why there's a major property building boom underway, with almost any space or building being turned over to housing. And with prices so high, it's also no surprise that space is at a premium. Even with London salaries typically higher than those outside the capital, the average income, run through the usual multipliers, doesn't get you a mortgage able to buy anything palatial.

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