Lab: Paul Miller

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 22, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe largest standmount in AVID's all-alloy Reference range is bigger and heavier than most floorstanders...

Standmount speakers – it's easy to see why they're popular. They're relatively compact and light enough to position with ease, whether on bookshelves or stands. They aim to offer a compelling sound in smaller spaces, are affordable, often due to mass-production overseas, and can be driven with ease by relatively modest amplification. Trouble is, the AVID Reference Three, while undeniably a standmount speaker, flies in the face of all the above.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 20, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedBetter known for high-end behemoths, the US is also home to high-value hi-fi from Emotiva. We pick up the story as the feature-rich TA1 integrated replaces the TA-100

The general consensus is that film sequels are rarely as good as the original, the likes of The Godfather Part II being an honourable exception. In consumer electronics, on the other hand, any follow-up simply has to better its predecessor to justify its existence. This is the aim of Emotiva with its BasX TA1 integrated amplifier, a refresh of the earlier BasX TA-100 [HFN Apr '19]. Yet unlike many Hollywood studios, it's been careful not to erase fond memories of the original in favour of a full franchise reboot. There's an awful lot about the TA1 that is identical to its predecessor.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 19, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe longest serving, and arguably most diverse of Pro-Ject's turntable ranges is the Debut, launched in 2000. Now there's a new model, with an equally new S-shaped arm

Launching new turntable models as regular as clockwork is part-and-parcel of Pro-Ject's business model, but say what you will: its approach of incrementally improving and tweaking proven designs has certainly not done the Austria-based manufacturer any harm. Lacking accurate market numbers, it's hard to say conclusively, but there seems little doubt the company founded by Heinz Lichtenegger in 1991 is surely the largest turntable manufacturer on the planet, both for the in-house Pro-Ject brand and as an OEM supplier for third parties.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 15, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingCrafted as part of Clearaudio's 40th anniversary celebrations, the Jubilee MC features the brand's proven moving-coil mechanism housed in a 'bullet-proof' jacket

How time flies: Clearaudio was born during the height of analogue playback, survived the arrival of digital, stuck to its guns and is now enjoying the fruits of its loyalty to the vinyl cause. Along with a vast array of record decks, Clearaudio has 16 moving-coil cartridges in its catalogue – yes, sixteen. To mark its 40th birthday, the company has added one more to the middle of the group of MCs, those featuring the distinctive 'flower' top plate as seen on the flagship Goldfinger Statement [HFN Jan '15]. The new Jubilee MC, however, is a third of the Goldfinger's cost at £4460.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 14, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnvintageBelieving portables to be as good as their full-sized rivals, many music lovers sought out the smallest – and this CD player was a compact king. How does it sound today?

Think about portable CD players and the chances are that the Sony Discman [HFN Jul '19] will come to mind. The company's ability to produce enchanting and compelling miniature versions of existing products has been pretty much unequalled, and 'the world's smallest' is a phrase that can often be seen in Sony's vintage catalogues. In comparison, the company's larger models were frequently bland and derivative.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 12, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingReplacing the outgoing 3010 series with trickledown experience from the costlier 5010 range, Exposure's 3510 stable just got busier with the launch of a new pre/power

Who remembers the Stella Artois ad that proclaimed its lager was 'reassuringly expensive'? A slightly odd slogan, if you ask me, but it came to mind when setting up Exposure's 3510 pre/power pairing, only substituting the word 'expensive' for 'simple'. Here are two hi-fi products where simplicity has been elevated almost to an art form, reflected in the casework, choice of connections and user experience. And at £1590 a piece, these recently launched models aren't outrageously expensive.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 08, 2022  |  0 comments
One-time royalty of the horn-loaded full-range driver, Lowther is reclaiming its crown. We hear the 'princess'

Although I am no devotee of horns, I adore two of the genre's specialists, Lowther and Klipsch, and recall the delights of the former's Bicor and Acousta. But I had thought Lowther had joined other defunct brands until I met Martin Thornton in late 2019, at the last pre-Covid Tonbridge Audiojumble. I was overjoyed to hear that he had acquired the company's remnants, designs, name and everything else needed to relaunch it. Three years on, and he's arrived with an all-new Lowther, dubbed the Almira.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 05, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThis Slovakian-built DAC retains the brand's signature triode-tube analogue stage from the companion CD 2.10 disc player, but its digital engine beats to a very different tune

Many manufacturers building tube-based products seem to prefer retro-nostalgic designs but Slovakia's Canor is one of the few that favours a more modern, progressive aesthetic. It not only produces tube amplifiers but also integrates line-level tube stages into source products, such as the CD 2.10 CD player [HFN Apr '21]. The partnering DAC 2.10 also marries an output stage containing four Electro-Harmonix 6922EH triode tubes with a digital mainboard, the latter equipped with a pair of ESS9038Q2M DACs. Otherwise this is a dyed-in-the wool 'legacy' DAC with no network or wireless functions and a fixed rather than variable output. So that large rotary is not a volume control…

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 22, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedBest known for its 'silverback' speakers, SA also has a range of affordable, compact 'saxo' floorstanders

System Audio's product catalogue, although spanning only three loudspeaker 'families', aims to offer a solution for almost every eventuality. The Danish manufacturer, based in Roskilde, west of Copenhagen, makes on-wall models, including the legend 7.2 [HFN Mar '22], AV-specific centre channel enclosures and subs, plus various standmounts and floorstanders. Many can be bought in active 'Silverback' guise (or upgraded at a later date), their potential then expandable via DSP 'RAM tweaks' and a WiSA-based wireless streaming hub [HFN Aug '21]. There is, to put it mildly, a lot going on.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 21, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingStrip out the digital inputs, BluOS streaming module and preamp stage from NAD's M33 and we get a 'purist' implementation of Purifi's groundbreaking Eigentakt Class D tech

Unlike the traffic on the motorway for which this stereo amplifier is definitely not named, Canadian manufacturer NAD is rolling along at pace. The M23 auditioned here, available in just a silver finish, is its latest amp to feature high-performance Purifi Eigentakt Class D technology, following in the footsteps of the £3999 M33 BluOS-capable integrated [HFN Aug '20], the seven-channel £4499 M28 power amp, and the more affordable £1749 C 298 stereo amp [HFN Oct '21]. That NAD should have chosen to adopt Eigentakt modules for a trio of models before upgrading its flagship two-channel Masters series power amp is perhaps something of a surprise. But it proves to have been worth waiting for.

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