Lab: Paul Miller

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 16, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnvintageWhen it came to Lilliputian LP players Sony was late to the party, but is this early '80s deck with two motors and a tangential arm now an overlooked gem? We find out...

The 'small and square' turntables that appeared in the early 1980s were arguably the last important development in vinyl playback before CD arrived. Begun by Technics in 1979 with its SL-10 [HFN Apr '19], Japan's hi-fi industry rushed to produce something similar, with varying degrees of success.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 15, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingLike its predecessor, the MA9000, McIntosh's mighty MA9500 still combines transistors with transformers but the host of under-bonnet updates bring more than a little polish

What should an audiophile demand from an integrated amplifier with a price tag approaching £15k? There's an expectation it should be beautifully built and finished and, more than likely, hail from a respected marque with a long pedigree. There must be a sense of owning something special and exclusive. The performance, meanwhile, will need to be at or near the top of what's possible at the price, and with no shortage of power. As for the new £14,995 McIntosh MA9500, and without wishing to give everything away in my opening paragraph, it looks to tick all these boxes!

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 11, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingDescribed as the company's most versatile digital player to date, Lumin's P1 is an unashamedly high-end network audio solution. But can it be all things to all users?

As is so often the case with network audio products, the salient question concerning the Lumin P1, yours for £8495 in a choice of silver or anodised satin black sculptural milled-from-solid casework, is what it is exactly. The company can help with that, suggesting it can be just about anything you want: a network player, a DAC, a preamp (complete with analogue inputs as well as the digital array), or all three.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 08, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedAvailing itself of the latest DSP and Class D amps, the Pearl Pelegrina is a sophisticated 'connected' speaker

There's no escaping it: sitting in front of Cabasse's Pearl Pelegrina, the £22,599 flagship of the French company's Pearl speaker range, the punning phrase 'the eyes have it' kept going through my mind, so great was the sense of these spherical enclosures fixing me with a beady stare. Of course, this look is nothing new for the designers in Brest, out on the tip of Brittany: at the top of its range is the huge La Sphère loudspeaker [HFN Feb '10], its 70cm globe perched atop a helical stand, and driven by a rackful of dedicated crossovers and amplifiers.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 04, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThis icon of British hi-fi is typically sparing in its celebration of milestones, but SME's Diamond jubilee demanded something very special indeed. And here it is...

If the engineers at SME felt the need for a motivational quote or two while working on the company's new turntable, Rolls-Royce co-founder Sir Henry Royce's 'Take the best that exists and make it better' would have been a good choice. This summed up the challenge facing the UK company in designing a successor to the previous Model 30 flagship – the result is the £49,950 SME Model 60, and it has a tough act to follow.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 28, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingIn raw form this is a digital streamer/network bridge governed by the Conductor app, but add optional SSD storage and the N200 becomes a fully-fledged music library

Music storage: it can be a thorny subject, not least because those network products offering internal capacity for your library tend either to have fixed, non-expandable storage, or offer the option of dealer-installed drives. The cost of such storage is usually high, too – okay, not 'adding capacity at time of ordering your new Apple computer high', where an extra Terabyte can cost you £400, but still at prices to have you looking at HDDs on the likes of Amazon and scratching your head.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 25, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedLaunched 44 years ago, the original 770 loudspeaker with its polypropylene woofer and white baffle was nothing if not controversial. Will the reimagined 770 also make waves?

Hi-fi's 'subjective' revolution was just picking up steam when Mission's 770 shovelled a heap of coal on the fire in 1978. The move away from heavy plastics (Bextrene) was reflected in its polypropylene bass/mid driver while the light but rigid ply cabinet doffed its cap to earlier BBC-inspired designs. Its sound, meanwhile, provoked more column inches over the years than possibly any speaker since! The 770 received a very favourable review in Hi-Fi News [HFN Mar '79, 'Milestones' HFN Aug '12 and 'From the Vault' HFN Dec '15] but, writing elsewhere, a fledgling author by the name of Ken Kessler was, shall we say, less enthusiastic...

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 21, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedThe game of one-upmanship between portable headphone DACs and DAPs continues with Astell&Kern's 'triple amp' SP2000T featuring a KORG Nutube for 'tube warmth'

Far from listening rooms filled with huge monoblocks and heavier-than-a-grown-man loudspeakers, a few brands are catering to another class of enthusiast by taking the concept of a digital audio player (DAP) to new heights. Astell&Kern, a spin-off from Korea's iRiver, crafts very sophisticated pocket hi-fi that's light years removed from the humble iPod.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 18, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingFlagship of this Italian brand's trilogy of tube amps, the Metropolis NYC 200i occupies a huge footprint and mercilessly sucks power from the wall. But the music is magic...

Is it unkind to suggest some Italian brand names do not carry convincingly into English? Who keeps a straight face with a cooker called 'SMEG'? As for Synthesis – which also has the appropriately named Roma range – choosing to dub its Metropolis integrated amplifiers 'NYC', because New York is a Metropolis, actually makes sense, I suppose.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 14, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingHaving wowed us with its flagship S7t floorstanders, Perlisten is looking to do more of the same with its DPC driver tech pressed into a more modest, room-friendly cabinet

Perlisten Audio, a newly arrived loudspeaker manufacturer from Wisconsin, US, has already made an impressive entrance with its flagship model, the seven-driver S7t floorstander [HFN Apr '22]. Yet as that speaker boasts a £16,000 price tag – and a 59kg cabinet – many newcomers to the brand will look elsewhere in the range to see how far their budget can stretch. The £7200 S4b auditioned here isn't exactly 'affordable' but does come with a more manageable bookshelf build, plus the promise of a high-end performance similar to that of its towering stablemate, by virtue of shared technologies.

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