Lab: Paul Miller

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 28, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe REF160M monoblocks were a radical change for the venerable Reference Series, and now they have been 'cut 'n pasted' into a single, spectacular stereo chassis

This should have been the simplest, swiftest review for me to undertake: I would simply drop the stereo version of the Audio Research Reference 160M [HFN Aug '18] into my system in place of the Reference 75SE. Double the number of KT150s and double the power, a price tag of two quid shy of twenty grand, fond memories of the monoblocks still tugging at me after 18 months: the Audio Research Reference 160S should have been a doddle, easy to anticipate. But it wasn't.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 27, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnvintageMarketed by Philips yet made by Marantz, is this purposeful-looking integrated packed with premium components an unsung hero of hi-fi's past? It's time to find out...

Philips should have been a dominant player in the hi-fi arena, yet many of its products somehow missed the mark. Despite these repeated failures, every now and again the sleeping giant would wake from its slumbers and produce something miraculous – Compact Disc, Motional Feedback speakers – only to disappear until inspiration struck again.

Review: Jonathan Gorse, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 23, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingForty-five years after the launch of its inaugural phono preamp, PS Audio launches another, this time in Stellar guise, and with the emphasis on flexibility with convenience

Large by phono preamp standards, PS Audio's Stellar Phono is built into the same full-width silver grey or black chassis as its partners in the new Stellar range [HFN Jan '20]. Nevertheless, it's also considerably heavier at a full 10kg because the casework here is steel, not alloy, perhaps in an effort to improve screening. Having asked PS Audio, it seems likely that all Stellars will move from alloy to steel enclosures in time.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 14, 2020  |  0 comments
hfncommendedWhile the industrial design is familiar, the Bellini preamp and Donizetti power amp boast entirely reworked internals for this 'Anniversary' guise. And power is prodigious!

It was back in 1995 that the Italian brand, Audio Analogue, launched its first product – the Puccini amplifier. A no-nonsense stripped-down integrated, it offered little more than an input selector and a volume knob, yet its no-frills approach won many fans. Subsequently the company has built a well-deserved reputation for providing a range of fine-sounding and stylish-looking amplifiers, and has also taken to the CD player market with models such as the Maestro and Crescendo.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 10, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingThe best high-end DACs often employ entirely bespoke converter technologies rather than off-the-shelf chipsets. We look at the first rung on MSB's range of 'ladder DACs'

Based in Silicon Valley, California, Jonathan Gullman and his brother Daniel have become major players on the international hi-fi scene, courtesy of their fine-sounding and technologically innovative range of MSB digital-to-analogue converters. For 15 years this team has turned out increasingly flexible products, and more recently the range has expanded to satisfy a wider group of potential customers.

Review: Jonathan Gorse, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 02, 2020  |  0 comments
hfncommendedInspired by the Florentine Renaissance, this flagship turntable aims to combine avantgarde technological innovation with sumptuous Italian aesthetics

Think of Italy and one pictures a nation blessed with effortless style, eye-catching design and a strong sense of its own history. The Gold Note Mediterraneo boasts all these qualities, sitting atop the company's five-strong turntable range and costing £4990-£5445 (depending on finish) with the B-5.1 tonearm included. As well as the walnut plinth of our review sample, the deck is available in black lacquered MDF, white, and as a truly glorious alternative coated in an exquisitely-textured 24k gold foil. Sleek-looking and superbly crafted, when it comes to the spouse acceptance factor it's on a par with having George Clooney move in as a lodger.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 26, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingIn one swipe, the long-awaited 860A v2 replaces Simaudio's 860A, 870A and 880A power amplifiers and promises 870A performance. We pair it with the 740P preamp

There's something very 'old school' about Simaudio's latest MOON pre/power combination: both units certainly look the part in their combination of black fascias and exposed metalwork, though you can also have them in all-silver or all-black, where they have an air about them of being stripped for action. The £7800 740P preamp, for example, eschews the current trend for digital inputs and network streaming capability, and is a simple, direct, all-analogue line-only affair.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 23, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingBest known for its music rippers and servers, the Korean company has now entered the personal audio market with a comprehensively-equipped DAC/headphone amp

When it comes to affordable music players with hard disk storage, few companies have the pedigree of Korea-based Novatron. Its range of products, sold under the Cocktail Audio brand worldwide – including here, before a UK-only rebranding to Novafidelity – starts from as little as £650 for the X14 model. In this instance the user is able to decide how much storage capacity to have installed, or even buy the unit 'bare bones' and add their own choice of drive.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 17, 2020  |  0 comments
hfncommendedAiming high, this flagship two-box music server uses a separate, outboard linear power supply. But is this the perfect solution to all your music storage and playback needs?

The role of the hi-fi music server is changing. As we've noted in the past, what was once no more than an optimised NAS device, designed to feed an external network music player, has now become a complete storage playback solution, designed to connect straight to a USB DAC or, in some cases, with onboard digital-to-analogue conversion straight into an amp or preamp.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 13, 2020  |  0 comments
hfnoutstandingMobile Fidelity, champion of audiophile vinyl, has now wrapped up an EISA Award for its flagship UltraDeck – does the more affordable StudioDeck give much away?

It might seem that we played this one in reverse, reviewing Mobile Fidelity's dearer UltraDeck turntable first [HFN Jul '19], before working backward. A buzz in the underground, however, suggested that MoFi's less-costly, entry-level StudioDeck might be something of a 'sweet spot' candidate, so what could have been an anti-climax is anything but.

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