Lab: Paul Miller

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 13, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingGuided by theory and practice from the costly REX-series, traditional output pentodes are usurped by a pair of power triodes in BAT's fully-balanced tube integrated amplifier

There's a certain amount of extra-curricular activity that can come with using a valve amp. As with their fellow stalwarts of hi-fi – turntables – valve amps present opportunities for setup, tweaking, and maintenance, and for some that's part of the appeal. Balanced Audio Technology's new £9995 VK-80i integrated, however, is intended to be 'plug-and-play', and provide a user experience more in line with its own solid-state models than some hot bottle contemporaries. All the thrills of the tube sound without the fuss? Where do I sign?

Review: James Parker, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 10, 2022  |  0 comments
hfncommendedThe latest all-in-one compact Class D streaming system from the German company features an enhanced network audio platform – but that's only the start of its appeal

As the model designation suggests, this isn't the first all-in-one network audio system from German high-end company AVM. Replacing its existing Inspiration CS 2.2 model, the new Inspiration CS 2.3, selling for £5250 in black or silver finishes, with a chrome 'Cellini' finish available as a somewhat glitzy extra-cost option, is based around the company's latest streaming platform.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 06, 2022  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe flagship of Paradigm's Founder range has power and precision to delight – and it's a whole lot of fun, too!

At first glance, you may think 'we've been here before' as these Paradigm Founder 120H speakers, yours for a couple of pence short of £8600, look very much like the 100F model [HFN Jul '21]. Yet there's more than enough going on with this flagship design from the Canadian manufacturer to set it apart from the next model down, and justify the £3200 price differential over the £5400 Founder 100F.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 27, 2021  |  0 comments
Arguably best known for its high-end strain-gauge pick-ups, Soundsmith also offers a series of high- and low-output moving-iron/fixed-coil cartridges. Is the Zephyr a 'star'?

The so-called 'vinyl revival' has not only fermented an uptick in sales of both turntables and LP records but it's also created a renewed demand for cartridges of all shapes, sizes and types. Designer/audio artisan Peter Ledermann was far from alone in seizing the opportunity, sensing, very specifically in this instance, that many Bang & Olufsen turntable owners wanted to get their ageing record players going again. He successfully obtained a licence to restart production of these plug-in MMC pick-ups, and Soundsmith was born.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 23, 2021  |  0 comments
hfncommendedLaunched as part of a series including a CD transport and two amplifiers – one with onboard streaming – the Attessa turntable completes Roksan's most stylish offering

There are a few announcements guaranteed to make an audio fan sit up and take notice, one being the unveiling of a new turntable from Roksan. After all, the company burst onto the scene in 1985 with the Xerxes – a deck that is still going strong 36 years later in '20 Plus' guise [HFN Dec '11]. However, the new deck in question is the £995 Attessa turntable, and it forms part of a completely new Roksan range.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 21, 2021  |  0 comments
hfnvintageThis machine marked a step-change in Sony's assault on the early CD player market as the company ditched its own DAC in favour of a third-party solution. How will it sound?

The components in Sony's ES series represented what the company regarded as the most advanced designs available. They were top of the range, and aimed at those who were prepared to pay a little extra to obtain the best possible performance.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 20, 2021  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingFlagship of the ElectroMotion series, this hybrid electrostatic promises a taste of the range-topping Masterpiece loudspeakers at a more wallet-friendly price

The hi-fi market is replete with loudspeakers that look a little 'different', but few are as eye-catching as an electrostatic design where music appears to be coming almost from thin air. MartinLogan, the Kansas-based company established in the early 1980s, is one of the technology's best-known advocates. It began life with a 'static model, and even though its range has expanded since into conventional box-type speaker territory, its mantra remains 'wherever possible, we go electrostatic'.

Review: James Parker, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 16, 2021  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThis London-based company may be a relative latecomer to the all-in-one streaming system market, but its debut models have style a-plenty – and performance to match

Given Cambridge Audio's track record in digital audio, it is perhaps a little surprising it's taken the company so long to enter the network systems arena. It was an early developer of add-on DACs in 1994 [see HFN Jun '21] and has been making streaming components for a good while, even going to the lengths of developing its own network audio hardware. The Cambridge catalogue currently caters for 'computer audio' enthusiasts with the entry-level £169 DacMagic 100 right up to the £4499 Edge NQ network preamp.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 13, 2021  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe latest additions to Chord Electronics' range don't immediately give up the secrets of what they do – but dig deeper, and you'll find they're intriguing digital components

There are times when one might think Kent-based Chord Electronics is being wilfully abstruse in its selection of model designations. After all, its flagship DAC is called DAVE [HFN Apr '16], and its pocket-sized DAC/player combination is the Mojo [HFN Jan '16] and Poly. Then there's the portable Hugo DAC/headphone amp, now in both Hugo 2 [HFN Aug '18] and less-portable Hugo TT (for 'tabletop') versions [HFN Dec '15], to which the company has now added two extra units, named 2go and 2yu.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 09, 2021  |  0 comments
hfncommendedThe artisan of high-end tube audio, Jadis, has imbued more than a little Gallic flair into this 'entry level' integrated. Serve with sensitive speakers for a taste of magic...

Until the mid-1990s, valve amplifiers were typically persona non grata. The '80s had been all about solid-state – from tweaky low-powered integrateds to mega powerful monster power amps – and tubes didn't so much as get a look in. By the turn of the millennium however, the pendulum had swung back and tube amps were reinvented as exclusive objects of luxury and desire, famed for their sweet and satisfying sound. How times change!

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