Lab: Paul Miller

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 19, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingReplacing the longstanding VPS, Nagra's Classic Phono is not only significantly more flexible but its technical and sonic performance also marks an equally significant uplift

Acelebratory cake is in order. Swiss high-end manufacturer Nagra turned 70 last year, and its birthday present to itself is something of a first for the company. That's for another time, but I'm not giving too much away by saying that, when it arrives, it will make the perfect partner to the item under review here – the £17,000 Classic Phono MM/MC phono stage.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 15, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThis well-established German brand's Reference K loudspeaker series starts off with a compact, but deep, standmount design and it sounds as polished as it looks...

What do you envisage when you think of 'serious speakers'? All too often it can seem that bigger means better, judging by some of the behemoths we've recently had through the HFN listening room. For a while it seemed that every speaker stood taller than us, and had a mass well into three-figure kilo territory, often with a price that would buy a very decent car, even in the current shortage-inflated market. In the face of all that, Canton's Reference 9K could look desperately unfashionable, standing as it does just 41cm tall and with a price of £2850 in either black, white or cherry veneer finishes, all with a multilayer lacquer topcoat.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 12, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingBased on Vertere's flagship RG-1 Reference Groove turntable, and differing only in the bearing and platter, there's a host of innovation in the brand's SG-1 Super Groove...

Anyone who has followed Vertere's founder Touraj Moghaddam, all the way back to the early days of Roksan, cannot fail to have been impressed with his iconoclasm. A lifetime later, he's still making cutting-edge turntables from left-field. I knew he hadn't mellowed as soon as he dissuaded me from using a clamp or a weight on the LP, before removing the spindle with a flourish. That was my introduction to the SG-1 Super Groove, one model below the flagship RG-1 Reference Groove.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 08, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingRotel remains a family-owned hi-fi marque that boasts a three-generation, 60-year history. Now it celebrates its Diamond Anniversary with a very fine disc player and amp

The trend for 'anniversary' products – witness the plethora of celebratory hardware on display at this year's High End show – continues with Rotel's new Diamond Series. Released to mark 60 years since the brand launched, it comprises the £3999 RA-6000 integrated amplifier and £1999 DT-6000 CD player. Not the hefty additions to the Michi lineup you might have expected, these are instead very much classic Rotel designs (fitting, as the traditionalist brand is not one to hop on every new fad that comes along) albeit with trickle-down technology from its flagship stablemates.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 02, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingA bigger PSU, more power transistors and a new input/driver stage – all inspired by the 'Relentless experience' – gives D'Agostino's M400MxV monoblocks more Momentum!

Avoirdupois aside, Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems' Momentum M400MxV monoblock just may be the least fussy or fiddly power amp one can aspire to in the extreme high-end. Of course, something cute and tiny like a PS Audio Sprout [HFN Feb '15] or Quad Vena [HFN Jan '15] can be lifted with one hand and requires no degrees in electronics, but that's 'real world' gear. At £90,000 per pair, the M400MxVs are as exclusive as it gets, and such a strong physical presence is de rigueur.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 31, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThirty-two years after the Digilog set the scene for aftermarket add-on converters, the M6x – the M6 series traceable over a decade – is a no-nonsense DAC for legacy sources

Coming from Musical Fidelity's upper-tier M6 series, the M6x is the Austrian company's priciest DAC, and the latest evolution of a product that originated around a decade ago. Of course, there has been plenty of progression through the M6 [HFN Mar '13], M6s [HFN Jan '18] and M6sR models to where we are now, both outside and in, but a few things haven't changed, including the size of the hardware, and the absence of any network streaming.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 22, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedCanadian brand long-known for its high-end digital and analogue separates has now added a compact standmount to its range. So a full system is no longer a 'Blue Moon'...

Back in 2016, Simaudio added the MOON ACE to its range of pre, power and integrated amplifiers. A slimline machine with analogue, digital and network connectivity (the latter including Roon Ready status and streaming service support through its proprietary MiND module), the ACE clearly warranted 'just-add-speakers' status. The only problem? Simaudio didn't have any...

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 18, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedAurorasound's VIDA (Vinyl Disk Amplifier), launched in 2011, has marked its first decade with a number of revisions to merit MkII status. How does it stack up in 2022?

Small Japanese specialist brands always fascinate me, due in part to my delight that they can co-exist with the Sony- and Panasonic-sized manufacturers. While every nation has its bijou marques, there's an uncanny aura to the likes of 47Lab, Shindo, Air Tight and Kondo, plus countless MC cartridge makers, that differentiates them from equally exotic producers from the UK, USA, Italy, Germany and beyond. Aurorasound could also only be Japanese, its VIDA MkII, an evolution of the VIDA [HFN Jul '13], ticking every box.

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!

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